THE SIMPSONS

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

A TALE OF TWO SPRINGFIELDS


SEASON 12 EPISODE 2 (EPISODE 250)

THIS IS IT:
The episode where Springfield gets split in two separated like Berlin by a big wall.  It begins with Bart feeding Santa’s Little Helper (“here you go boy, soups on”) but as he passes the bowl into the doghouse a badger snatches first the food, then the bowl out of his hand.  Initially Bart is confused by what is happening until he looks in the doghouse spotting and telling the snarling badger “sorry man, you can’t crash here”.  Briefly he attempts to get the badger out the doghouse using a stick before giving up and telling Santa’s Little Helper “well boy, looks like you’ve got yourself a roommate”.  Inside the house he asks Lisa for advice on luring the badger out who looks on www.whatbadgerseat.com listing various things they eat including stoats which Bart promptly looks in the kitchen cupboards for.  Lisa tells him “stoats are weasels Bart, they don’t come in cans” as he reveals a can asking “then what’s this?”  Unfortunately for Bart it is just a can of corn.  Researching further Lisa discovers that badgers have been “in a pinch” known to eat woodpeckers as Bart calls to Todd next door to see if he can borrow his woodpecker.  Todd says yes but he “needs him back by 6PM, it’s his birthday” as he reveals a pet woodpecker wearing a birthday hat.  As Bart attempts to prise the badger from the shaking doghouse the woodpecker spots the danger and promptly pecks at Bart’s head before flying off accidentally crashing into a bug zapper.  Still wrestling with the badger Bart and Lisa stare at the kennel as Homer joins them asking what they’re doing.  He disputes that it’s a badger stating “badger my ass, it’s probably Milhouse” before sticking his head in and getting savaged.  He concludes “it’s a badger all right, or possibly a griffin” before asking Bart if he has any dynamite in his room (“tonnes”) and telling him to get it.  Not wishing to kill the badger Lisa suggests calling Animal Control to which Homer sarcastically responds “great idea” adding “then we should call the doctor about this” revealing his stomach where a huge hole has been ripped to reveal his internal organs.  Surprisingly not alarmed by the injury Lisa is more shocked at “how did the badger do that without ripping your shirt?” to which Homer responds “what am I, a tailor?”  Taking Lisa’s advice Homer calls Animal Control but finds he is using the wrong area code even though it’s a local call and should not require an area code.  With this Marge points out that the phone company ran out of numbers and split the town into two area codes with half the town keeping the old 636 code while their side gets to use the new 939 code.  Naturally this enrages Homer “939 what the hell is that?  Oh my life is ruined”.  Marge responds “you only have to remember three extra numbers” as Homer protests “if only it were that easy Marge”.  At this point the badger appears at the kitchen window prompting Homer to order “go away, we’ve got bigger problems now” prompting it to pull a sad face and slope off.  Now charged Homer picks up the phone and declares “I’m not gonna stand for this.  I’m gonna call the newspapers, the TV stations, the gas stations, everybody”.  Unfortunately he forgets the area code and misdials his call as the unable to connect tone plays through the line causing him to roll up in a ball on the floor psychotically shaking.  Later over at the power plant Homer is sat with Lenny and Carl complaining about the area code having to write “939” on his left hand stating “like I don’t have enough to remember already” revealing his right hand as reading “Lenny = white, Carl = black”.  He asks Carl what he thinks of the new number who offers the pros and cons of the 6 being closer to the 3 on the dial for convenience but the 9 being less closer to Satan “which is a plus in this religious world of ours”.  What really annoys Homer is that the phone company did not give one word of warning to which Carl states there was television and radio campaign as Lenny adds that they also dropped leaflets from a space shuttle and the two weeks they had at area code camp.  Not listening Homer concludes “not a single word of warning”.  Meanwhile at KBBL Bill and Marty are informing that traffic is all backed due to a mattress on the freeway (“a mattress?  Uh oh, Joan Collins must be in town”).  Listening it Homer at home laughing along commenting “Joan Collins, that girl sleeps with everybody”.  Continuing their show they announce that it is time to give away free concert tickets to The Who gig next week at Springfield’s “historic” Yahoo Search Engine Arena.  Excited Homer exclaims “The Who?  I love bands”.  At random they dial 555-0113 which Homer states “that’s me!”  Unfortunately Bart informs him that was their old number before the area code as on the radio Mr Burns is heard being called and winning the tickets.  Angered Homer grabs the radio and throws it to the floor stating “it’s not fair. I’ve been a fan of The Who since the very beginning back when they were the Hillbilly Bugger Boys”.  Responding to this Bart suggests “you should phone that radio station and let him have it” knowing that Homer will misdial.  Then when he does Bart cracks up laughing as Homer chokes him with the phone cord.  In defence Bart grabs the phone receiver and hits him until he stops as they both pass out on the floor.  That night at Springfield Town Hall a representative from the telephone company addresses the town saying she knows how some are upset “especially those of you covered with dynamite” (as in protest Homer is).  She continues in a corporate tone “first let me reassure you your fears are groundless and your complaints moronic” before showing everyone a film that explains everything “in words you can understand”.  Using a character called Phony McRing-Ring, who is mascot and president of the telephone company, the film explains the convenience of having two area codes.  Within seconds Homer is raising his hand to ask a question as Lisa points out that it is a movie.  Using mind tricks McRing-Ring states that scientists have proved that even monkeys can memorise ten numbers asking the viewer “are you stupider than a monkey?” prompting Chief Wiggum to ask the screen “how big of a monkey?”  Brainwashed Lenny comments “well I’m convinced.  A professional looking film like that, its gotta be right” as Dr Hibbert adds “I agree, two area codes is more convenient” followed by the rousing sound of a room in agreement.  With this Homer stands up “wait a minute, we haven’t heard from me yet, the nut with the dynamite”.  Correctly he states “the phone company is bamboozling you”.  As the tide of the room changes he walks to the stage saying “I accuse the phone company of making that film on purpose” as the phone representative responds “well of course we did” and the entire room gasps.  Now onstage Homer says “I’m not one to make trouble but it seems to me everyone that go to keep the old or “classic” 636 area code lives on the rich side of town!”  An accusation that is disputed by Mr Burns and various other affluent types.  Continuing Homer states “and as usual we Joe 12 Packs get the royal screwjob”.  Hopping up in agreement is Moe who adds “Homer’s right, we’re getting the old Joan Collins special” as the room completely sides with Homer.  Now with momentum he states the rich snobs are pushing them around any more.  Affronted Kent Brockman snaps “what are you pathetic slobs going to do about it?” to which Homer’s response is to grab a dynamite detonator and plunges it.  Fortunately it doesn’t go off as Homer moans “nice wiring Bart” who replies “worked on the test corpse”.  With this he reverts to Plan B as he suggests that fellow 939ers break off and form their own city.  And with that he leads a march of his side out the room yelling “now who’s stupid?”  Act 2 begins with Homer painting “new” onto an “Entering Springfield” sign commenting “there, we’re officially a city.  Now we just sit back and wait for an NFL franchise”.  With this a suited man with a briefcase approaches stating “I could help but overhear.  I represent the Arizona Cardinals” to which Homer responds “keep walking”.  Moe stands by him “good decision there Homer, you showed a lot of poise” as Carl adds “yeah, maybe you wanna be mayor of New Springfield”.  Thinking over the proposal he imagines himself as a gunslinger in the old west with his own television series.  Off the back of this fantasy he responds “I reluctantly accept this highly paid glamorous job”.  Meanwhile on the other side of Springfield Mayor Quimby is unveiling/presenting a professional Olde Springfield plaque.  In his address he says “the time for bitterness has passed, let us extend to our brothers in New Springfield the olive branch…” at which point he is struck by a flying beer can thrown by Homer shouting “New Springfield rocks!”  Principal Skinner responds “go ahead and laugh, we have a better town bird” as Homer asks what it is.  It’s a Bluebird.  Back at the Simpson house Marge is offering Homer more wheat cakes and he spills syrup on his mayor sash.  Fortunately he has clean automatic spares on a customised belt.  Ever the voice of reason Lisa states that it is stupid to divide the city over “something as silly as an area code.  It would be like you and mum splitting up every time you have a fight”.  Brushing off this comment Homer responds “you know your mother and I only stay together for the sake of my political career” which makes Marge growl “that’s not true” as a paparazzi photographer pops up at the window and takes a posed snap (“big grins!”).  The photo turns out well as Homer expresses “that’ll play well in the sticks”.  With this he gets, finishes his coffee, wipes his mouth on his sash before rolling up a clean/fresh one only discover it was his last and the new sash states “time to reorder” as he observes “fifty already?”  From here we cut to Bart and Milhouse outside playing frisbee which accidentally crosses the town border and flies into Olde Springfield when Milhouse says “go long”.  It falls at the feet of Jimbo, Kearny and Dolph.  Naturally they refuse to return the “novelty flying disk” when Bart demands they give it back.  As Bart steps into Olde Springfield they point that his pants are in their part of Springfield so they pants him before he adds that his homework is also in their part which they also grab and promptly do.  It turns out that the Kwik-E-Mart is in Olde Springfield where New Springfield residents are liable to a 50% out-of-towners tax as Marge buys “root bear, bananas and Henderson’s toilet paper”.  Back at the Simpson house Marge is complaining about not feeling comfortable in Olde Springfield (“they were looking at me….with their eyes”).  On TV Kent Brockman is stating “as expected New Springfield bold experiment in slob rule is a disaster” followed by a shopping list of examples of why the low brow side of town is failing.  That night at Springfield Power Plant Homer and Bart enter and turn off the electricity to Olde Springfield (“Old Snobfield”).  One of the first places to lose power is Springfield General Hospital where Krusty is having heart surgery.  As the surgeon continues his nurse states “you can’t do heart surgery in the dark” as he responds “sounds like a wager to me” and ever the gambler Krusty pipes up “I’ll take a piece of that”.  Elsewhere Professor Frink is just turning on his invention which will transport Sir Isaac Newton into the modern day.  Alas the power failure means only the bottom half of Newton comes through which sees him repeatedly kicking Frink in the arse.  Back at the Simpson house on TV Brockman is reporting in retaliation Olde Springfield Patriots have intercepted a Duff Beer truck bound for New Springfield dumping the beer in the river.  In revenge Homer, Lenny and Carl cut off the Olde Springfield water supply at the damn only to reveal gold in the riverbed which only serves to make them slightly river (according to Mr Burns).  With that on the latest news report a blinged up Kent Brockman states “with the money made from the gold Olde Springfield was able to buy the Evian water factory and fly it over from France”.  As Homer lets off a groan Brockman “thanks Mayor Simpson.  Because of you we’re all taking golden showers” prompting the studio crew to laugh at him behind the scenes.  Attempting to be the voice of reason Marge says they can’t keep fighting with Olde Springfield “we see them everyday” at which point Homer responds “you’re right, we’ve got to block them from our sight with a giant wall”.  Marge asks “like the one in Berlin?” which Homer says is a good idea as he attempts to call “the guys they used” as once more he fails to correctly dial the call.  3 days later we are offered a bird’s eye view of Olde Springfield and New Springfield which now has a wall built by Low Ball Construction.  At a town meeting by the wall Homer thanks said company which is owned by Fat Tony as he states that it has been made by 90% recycled material.  Its plainly a piece of crap but being that it used recycled material Homer gives Lisa the thumbs up as she states “I’m so conflicted”.  Continuing his address Homer thanks the New Springfield residents for remaining loyal “despite a total lack of hospitals and schools.  And a sewage nightmare that threatens to consume us all”.  Karl raises the question “how do we get our food?  All the roads are blocked”.  Ever the politician Homer replies “don’t worry, we have plenty of supplies to get through tomorrow”.  Before he has even finished his speech New Springfield residents are climbing over the wall including the badger.  With everyone gone Homer states “I can’t believe all those rats left town.  I guess it’s just us and the tumbleweed” which also promptly climbs up the wall and leaves New Springfield.  The third act begins with Homer and family walking the empty streets as Bart comments “well dad, you’re mayor of a ghost town”.  Homer remains angry as his former townspeople commenting “they could take one lousy famine” as he punches through the window of a deli and grabs a chain of sausages.  Lisa points out that his hand is bleeding so he promptly punches through the window of a pharmacy and grabs some gauze.  He then states that “those rats” will come back when he notes that The Who are playing in Springfield tonight.  Scuppering plans Lisa points out that the arena is in Olde Springfield but Bart says maybe they can get the band to play New Springfield instead as Homer states maybe with some “liquid persuasion”.  With that we cut to him stepping to Just Chloroform where he punches through this window before kissing the bottle and knocking himself out.  The Who is staying on floor 12 of the Hotel Pillowmint which is where Homer and Bart head to with the chloroform.  Upon arriving on their floor they are confronted by their bodyguard as Bart nudges Homer telling him to use the chloroform as Homer goes “I’ll give you this bottle of chloroform if you take us to The Who” at which point the bodyguard picks them both up and throws them through a door which looks like an exit but is actually the room The Who is staying in.  Obviously a rubbish guard Roger Daltrey comments “I thought we fired that guard” as sarcastically he comments “oh yeah right.  I got fired by The Who.  Whatever you say pal”.  Impressed to be in the presence of The Who Homer sets about trashing the hotel room as they look on horrified and Pete Townshend comments “but we promised the desk clerk we’d be good” with Daltrey adding “we don’t want to lose our pool privileges”.  As Homer introduces himself as the mayor of New Springfield his notoriety has reached the band.  He implores them not to play Olde Springfield (“or as it is sometimes known: Sun City”).  Daltrey replies “but we have a handshake agreement with a concert promoter and that’s a sacred bond” as the three of them say in tandem “sacred bond”.  Still trying to persuade Homer pleads “come on, what happened to the angry defiant Who of “My Generation”, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Momma’s Got A Squeeze Box”.  Homer continues “but those Olde Springfield squares are just gonna make you cut your hair, turn down your music and wear frilly shirts like Keith Partridge”.  This seals it as Daltrey calls a “Who huddle” to discuss the situation.  Finally Homer has managed to change their mind.  Meanwhile across town at the renamed Olde Springfield Arena (formerly the Yahoo Search Engine Arena) a full house awaits the band.  In the audience is Krusty The Clown with Sideshow Mel who states that he opened for The Who at Woodstock where he came out in a Beatle wig playing a ukulele (“Hendrix said he almost plotzed, he exact words”).  In front of them is Burns and Smithers as Montgomery asks “why did you iron a crease in these dungarees?  I look like a square”.  Worryingly Smithers points out “that crease is in your legs sir”.  Elsewhere dressed like Austin Powers, Smithers is sat with Krabappel as he comments “not like The Who to be tardy, I’m worried”.  At this point Krabappel asks “what’s that?” as Captain McAlister opens a door and hears the band playing “The Seeker” in New Springfield.  Wearing a Union Jack t-shirt Moe comments “Homer stole our rock performance.  That fat, dumb and bald guy sure plays some real hardball”.  And with that Sideshow Mel shouts “who’s ready to riot?” as the crowd storms out the venue.  Back in New Springfield Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie are sat on folding chairs rocking out as Daltrey asks “how ya doin; out there New Springfield?” as Marge responds “to be honest it’s a little chilly” as he accidentally swings the microphone into her head with him adding “get out of the way Marge” and Townshend adding “we were expecting a bigger crowd Homer” as he promises that they will be here soon at which point they will see who has the better town.  With this he climbs up on top of the wall and hands them a list of tunes he wants them to play but Daltrey points out that a lot of them are Grand Funk Railroad songs while John Entwistle states they don’t know “Pac-Man Fever” as Homer states “oh come one, it plays itself” promptly grabs Townshend’s guitar and begins playing the song badly.  Having a ball he shouts down “look Lisa, daddy’s in The Who” before finding a mop head and putting it on his head.  Suddenly a bottle smashes against the back of his head as he looks down at Mayor Quimby saying “give us back our concert Simpson”.  Feeling vindicated Homer says “so New Springfield is looking pretty good now isn’t it with our ample parking and daily Who concert” to which Daltrey enquires “daily?”  Frustrated Moe shouts “enough chit chat.  Lets see how you like flaming garbage” as a Rent-A-Pult catapult as they fire a ball of flaming garbage into New Springfield which only lands on the Springfield Tire Yard.  Homer promptly mocks their failure only suddenly to be struck by another flaming ball.  As he runs around screaming “why me?” trying to put his burning clothes out Entwistle throws water over him and puts it out.  With this he calls for an end to the madness.  As Townshend explains its due to them having different area codes Daltrey states “well I’ll be chuggered, that’s the sticky wicket?” before suggesting the solution of everyone buying telephones with auto ring or “as you yanks call it” speed dial.  The townspeople agree that it is a good idea as Daltrey adds “Radio Shack has some great ones” as Townshend disagrees “says you”.  At this point Homer (and the rest of the town) request “Magic Bus” which Daltrey agrees to play provided that they tear down the wall.  Not responding to this Homer then requests “Pinball Wizard” as Pete Townshend declares “oh hell I’ll do it myself” turning his amp up to “Whuh-Oh!” before strumming the opening riff from “Won’t Get Fooled Again” which vibrates the wall causing Homer to fall off it and a huge block crumbles allowing the people of Olde Springfield to enter New Springfield and rock out.  With this Homer turns to Marge and says “looks like your insane experiment is over” as she disputes it was her idea and he uses the chloroform on her as he holds her up and dances with her.  And as “Won’t Get Fooled Again” plays the camera pans out showing Springfield in all its glory finally reaching the edge of town where a badger watches on.  At this moment it is joined by several other badgers as it turns and says in badger language “Come on!  Let’s get ‘em while they’re dancing”.  Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

IS IT ANY GOOD:
Yes, it’s very tight.

WHAT IT TAUGHT ME:
It’s not only me that has trouble dialling telephones.

EXTERNAL REFERENCES:
The Who and their songs are all over this episode with Roger Daltrey getting most lines and Keith Moon briefly appearing in cartoon form.  KBBL has a Gary Coleman recorded “what'chu talkin’ 'bout” clip that it uses for concert ticket competitions.  Joan Collins takes a metaphorical battering.  And Evian water gets a nice reference/mention.  Krusty references Jimi Hendrix and Woodstock while Homer again mentions Grand Funk Railroad in addition to Pac-Man.  The title of the episode is an explicit reference to A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

BEST LINES:
“What am I, a tailor?”  “Go away, we’ve got bigger problems now”.  “I accuse the phone company of making that film on purpose”.  “Hey, the TV is talking about us” – all Homer.  Lenny “there’s nothing like revenge for getting back at people” as Carl responds “I don’t know vengeance is pretty good”.  “What’s that gold coloured substance in the riverbed?” from Skinner after their water supply is cut off.

BEST JOKES:
Homer’s swift dismissal of the badger.  The sneaking in of a golden shower job.  The “sacred bond” music promoter dig.

PERIPHERAL MOMENT:
Todd Flanders has a pet woodpecker.  The telephone number for Springfield Animal Control is (555) X-TERM-N-8 (555-937668).  The Springfield telephone area code is 636 (and also for a while 939).  Springfield has a venue called the Yahoo Search Engine Arena.  The old telephone number for the Simpson house was 555-0113 but now it is the number of Mr Burns.  Henderson’s Toilet Paper is the softest toilet paper in Springfield.  Olde Springfield Patriots are a fringe group featuring Chief Wiggum, Sideshow Mel, Dr Hibbert and Seymour Skinner.  Springfield has a store called Just Chloroform which sells just chloroform.  In the Springfield Heights section of town is Pillowmint Hotel.  The Who gig is being presented by Lemon Pledge.  Krusty The Clown played at the Woodstock Festival.  In the front row of the Olde Springfield Who concert is Bumblebee Man, Professor Frink, Hans Moleman, Comic Store Man, Arnie Pie, Lenny and Carl.

REALITY CROSSOVER:
I have to admit nothing like this has ever happened in my life.

MVP:
Homer all the way.

GUEST APPEARANCES:
The Who although technically it is just Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle with obviously no Keith Moon but more surprisingly no Pete Townshend who is played in this episode by Paul Townshend.  Also Gary Coleman of course.

SONGS:
The Who close the episode playing “Won’t Get Fooled Again” after first being heard performing “The Seeker”.

EPISODE LINKS:
Included in the wall is the mall angel from “Lisa The Skeptic”.

PERCULARITIES/RUBBERBAND REALITY:
Homer would not survive the attack by the badger.

BART ON THE BLACKBOARD:
I will not plat subliminAL messaGOREs.

OTHER:
This is one of the best guest appearances by a music act.

FINAL WORDS:
Shame on you Pete Townshend.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

WHO SHOT MR BURNS? (PART ONE)


SEASON 6 EPISODE 25 (EPISODE 128)

THIS IS IT:
The Season 6 cliffhanger.  The first real time The Simpsons performed a plotline related publicity stunt.  This was their version of DallasWho Shot J.R.?  Did this mean they were about to kill off one of their major characters?  And with the show at the peak of its powers these were exciting times.  It begins with a new day at Springfield Elementary and Principal Skinner opening the front doors of the school with the sun blazing behind him.  Breathing it in Skinner comments “ah, is there nothing so intoxicating as the school hallway at early morn”.  His joy is cut short when he catches whiff of a bad smell (“the school normally doesn’t smell so rank”).  After checking his own pits he determines that it must be one of the classrooms.  It turns out to be a class gerbil crushed by his own water bottle.  From here we cut to Groundskeeper Willie sat laughing while reading My Weekly Read.  With this there is a knock on the Custodial Dept door as Skinner states that over the weekend the Grade 4 gerbil Super Dude died.  He asks that he airs out the classroom and give Super Dude the proper burial.  Willie digs a hole for the gerbil in the boiler room saying to it “you’re lucky that you’re getting a decent burial, me own father got thrown in the bog”.  Then while digging he suddenly notices a thick black liquid on the end of his shovel and bubbling up from the hole.  Promptly the floor begins to vibrate before oil begins to gush.  Cutting to the Grade 4 classroom Mrs Krabappel sprays over the now empty gerbil cage as Bart asks “what reeks” before the oil gush shoots up through their floor continuing to the classroom above and beneath Ralph where we worries Miss Hoover about the floor shaking before he gets caught and shot up in the gush.  At this point we cut to the nuclear plant where a board meeting is in progress and Mr Burns stating that a parcel of profit projections needs to be sent to Pete Porter in Pasadena.  The package is promptly passed around until it finally arrives on Homer’s desk where he reads Burns’ name on the return address thinking it is the sending address.  Ever eager to impress he rushes to Burns and places it on his desk.  Naturally annoyed/angered Burns tears him a new one before having to ask Smithers what his name is.  Responding to this gesture we hear Homer thinking “I’ve worked here for ten years and my boss doesn’t even know my name, well that’s going to change right now”.  So just as he is about to shout his name in Burns’ face he presses a button that drops a weight from above.  Fortunately/unfortunately it is just 1000 grams which disappoints Burns causing him to comment “sounded large when I ordered it”.  Back at Springfield Elementary Skinner is on the roof surveying the damage (“my lord, such destruction”) as Superintendent Chalmers arrives who blasts “why is it when I heard the word school and the word exploded I immediately thought of the word Skinner?”  Luckily it is at this point a contractor pops up stating “congratulations gentleman, your custodian struck oil, you’re standing on top of the richest elementary school in the state”.  He also found the oil-drenched corpse of Super Dude the gerbil, which Skinner promptly throws off the roof.  From here we cut to Executive Spa as Burns shudders while reading the Springfield Shopper sporting the headline “Awful School Is Awful Rich”.  Angrily he exclaims “a non-profit organisation with oil, I will not allow it”.  In front on the tandem exercise bike is Smithers doing all the work who asks “have you had enough exercise for this morning?” as he says no suggesting that they do another 20 miles as he goes and plays pinball.  With this we cut to Smithers exhausted and bent over staggering into an elevator with Burns where Homer, Lenny, Carl and Guillermo are.  Spotting everyone Burns acknowledges them all by name (even Guillermo whose face is covered by a safety hood) except for Homer whose name he cannot place despite him wearing a name badge and wearing a safety helmet with his name on.  After Burns exits Lenny notices that Homer is hurt so he comforts him only to have Guillermo undo his effort pointing out that Burns even knows the names of his sons Ronaldo and Rolando (even though at the company picnic he got them mixed up).  Back at Springfield Elementary Chalmers is firing up a large cigar while Skinner is showing him that the school made the front-page of the Springfield Shopper tactically covering the first “awful” in the headline with his hand.  Suspicious of this Chalmers asks what’s beneath his hand as he responds “its an unrelated”.  Still dubious Chalmers comments “an unrelated article within the banner headline”.  To redirect the conversation slightly Skinner says that he has had some ideas on how to spend the money.  Chalmers responds “well we could give each a student a full college scholarship” as the pair of them burst out laughing.  Seriously though before they draw up the budget he states that some students and faculty have some suggestions.  This begins with Willie requesting a crystal bucket for his slop water and a brand new filthy blanket.  Approved.  Lunch lady Doris says the cafeteria staff are complaining about the mice in the kitchen and that she wants to hire a new staff.  Approved.  Lisa requests that they start a jazz programme in the music department offering Tito Puente as the teacher.  Approved.  Ralph requests chocolate microscopes.  Approved.  Otto asks for one of those guitars that are like a double guitar.  Approved.  And busy with rubber-stamping so many proposals he puts in a request for more rubber stamps.  Approved.  One last student turns up with a suggestion.  It is Mr Burns in a purple wool hat and Punisher t-shirt stating “me and my fourth form chums think it would be quite corking if you’d sign over your oil well to the local energy concern”.  With a cough Principal Skinner says “Mr Burns it was naïve of you to think that I would mistake this town’s most prominent 104 year old man for one of my elementary school students”.  Taking on a threatening tone Burns snaps “I want that oil well, I’ve got a monopoly to maintain.  I own the electric company and the water works.  Plus the hotel on Baltic Avenue” to which Skinner responds “that hotel’s a dump and you’re monopoly’s pathetic”.  As he reiterates the well is not for sale (“especially to a black hearted scoundrel like you”) Burns lurches at Skinner and attempts to attack him.  Unfortunately his efforts are feeble and fall short as his arms flail in the air failing to connect.  Calling to Smithers for assistance he comes in with an open stapler pointed at Skinner which he fires a number of times to zero results prompting him to request “please don’t waste those”.  At the Simpson house it is dinnertime as Marge says that she is happy that the school has the money as it is going to offer new opportunities.  Not so happy Bart says “big deal” before moaning that they didn’t approve his idea to use the money to resurrect The Three Stooges.  Also down is Homer who says that he hates his job adding “what’s the point when your boss doesn’t even remember your name?”  Trying to help Marge says that she has an idea stating that when her father was trying to catch the eye of her mother he sent her a box of candy with his picture inside it.  Feigning interest Homer responds “that’s all well and good but that’s not really YOUR idea, is it now Marge?”  Meanwhile at the nuclear plant Burns stands on his balcony looking at the school oil well through binoculars before panning across to where Burns Construction Co is building something for his plan to deal with the oil.  Feeling a sense of guilt Smithers goes against code and requests that Burns reconsiders his plans stating “this isn’t a rival company you are battling with it is a school, people won’t stand for it”.  Dismissive Burns snaps “pish posh, it will be like taking candy from a baby” as hit spots a baby in a sandpit licking a candy stick “say, that sounds like a laugh, lets try it right now”.  Fortunately before Burns carries through with the deed Smithers points out a box of candy on his desk which they can eat instead of stealing.  As they pick at the chocolates it slowly reveals a photo of the Simpson family beginning with Maggie (“the baby who found my precious teddy bear Bobo”).  Next they reveal “that Simpson mutt, my former guard dog” followed by Bart (“he was my heir for a brief period”).  Soon they have finished almost the entire box with only the sour quince log remaining covering Homer’s head.  Unimpressed Burns says “dispose of it” adding “please send a thank you note to Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson”.  With this we cut to Oil Appreciation Day at Springfield Elementary where Skinner is giving a speech stating “today Springfield Elementary embarks on a new era of unbridled spending where petrol dollars will fuel our wildest educational fantasies”.  They get top student Lisa Simpson to turn on the oil pump for the very first time.  Unfortunately there is no gush as an engineer reports that there is no pressure stating “someone else has tapped this well”.  It transpires that it is unsurprisingly Mr Burns that has dug into the oil supply as the camera cuts to where Burns Construction Co has completed building and become Burns Slant Drilling Co situated right next to Moe’s Tavern.  And now about to burst Burns comments to Smithers how exciting it is as finally they hit oil sending a huge shot across Springfield which hits Bart in his treehouse where he is sharing a strawberry ice cream with Santa’s Little Helper.  The impact destroys the house and the tree sending both of them flying.  Bart is just dazed and bruised but Santa’s Little Helper’s injuries are serious as we quickly cut to Springfield Animal Hospital.  Emerging from the Canine Trauma Ward happily the vet announces that his status has been updated from “stable to frisky” but still injured his hind legs are now cradled by a wheelabout.  With this Bart pats the dog telling him that he will get even with whoever did this.  At this point the vet attaches a cone to his neck to prevent him gnawing on his cast.  This is coincides with Nelson passing with parrot which laughs the same as Nelson.  Back at Springfield Elementary Skinner informs his staff that they have no legal recourse against Mr Burns and his slant drilling operation.  Alarmed Willie asks about all the expensive they ordered and whether they can still have it.  Obviously they can no longer afford it so when Skinner tells him “no” he rips his overalls in anger.  In fact to pay for all the construction, operation and demolition of the well the school will have to elimate all non-essential programmes which means music and maintenance further incensing Willie prompting him to proclaim “I’ll kill that Mr Burns!  And wound that Mr Smithers”.  And back at the Simpson house Lisa is on the phone to Tito Puente who is giving her the bad news.  Turning to Homer Lisa asks how he can work for such a horrible man.  In his defence Homer offers “he’s not all bad, he did send me this nice thank you card” but Lisa points out that it does not include him in the message.  Now at the height of frustration he asks Lisa and Bart to step outside for second as he screams the F word at the top of his voice which rattles Springfield prompting Ned to comment “dear lord that’s the loudest profanity I have ever heard”.  Meanwhile at the slant oil well fumes are rising and entering Moe’s.  Inside Barney comments “these fumes aren’t as fun as beer.  Sure I’m all dizzy and nauseous but where’s the inflated sense of self esteem?”  Elsewhere another patron passes out as Moe point “hey if you guys are getting loaded off them fumes I’m gonna have to charge ya”.  With this a public health officer in a contamination suit steps in declaring “man alive there are men alive in here”.  His assistant runs a scan detecting over twenty different toxins in the air.  On that reading everyone is ordered out as the bar is to remain closed while Burns is still pumping oil.  Resigning the bar to closure Moe says “just let me get one thing” as he pulls a pump action shotgun from behind the bar.  Responding in kind Barney says “me too” as he pulls a pistol from beneath his bar stall (“now there’s the inflated sense of self esteem”).  Now digging further into the ground the slant oil drill causes vibrations beneath Springfield Retirement Castle as Grandpa is wakened jumping from his bed thinking that it is an earthquake.  In the end it causes the old people’s home to subside.  The next day Smithers looks over Springfield from the Burns’ office balcony seeing all the damage that has been caused to the town.  Feeling angered by this he turns to Burns surrounded by money and says “well sir you’ve certainly vanquished all your enemies: the elementary school, the local tavern, the old age home.  You must be very proud”.  However he is not.  Pursuing his greed he looks to his greatest nemesis still providing the town with free light, heat and energy: the sun.  With this he reveals a model of Springfield and explains his latest plan: “since the beginning of time man has yearned to destroy the sun.  I will do the next best thing: block it out”.  He adds “imagine it.  Electrical lights and heaters running all day long”.  Promptly attempting to dissuade him Smithers states “but sir every plant and tree will die.  Owls will deafen us with incessant hooting.  The town sundial will be useless”.  Standing against the plan Smithers says that he won’t be part of this project as Burns accuses him of insubordination while Smithers accuses him of being on the brink of insanity.  And with that Burns fires Smithers before tearing on a rampage crushing various landmarks on his model of Springfield including Barney’s Bowlarama, the Kwik-E-Mart and accidentally the nuclear power plant.  The third act begins with a shot of Homer reading the latest issue of the Springfield Shopper carrying the headline “Burns plans sunshine halt”.  With this Marge states that “Mr Burns is being awfully inconsiderate.  Selfish even”.  In agreement Bart adds that Mr Burns needs “some serious boostafazoo” before yanking the newspaper from him for attention only to reveal Grandpa Simpson behind the newspaper prompting them to scream in shock as Lisa apologies saying that for a moment she thought that Homer had melted.  It turns out that Grandpa is now living there until they fish his bed out of the sinkhole at Springfield Retirement Castle.  Marge then serves up breakfast in the form of “string carrots for Maggie, string carrots for Grandpa”.  Meanwhile Homer is driving to work where Burns’ ignorance of his name is affecting him to the extent that he is envisage multiple Burns asking his name.  After accidentally crashing through the security distracted by his hallucinations Homer sneaks into Burns’ office where he sets about spray painting the walls with “I am Homer Simpson”.  Just as he finishes the lights come on as Burns catches him in the act reacting by saying “who the devil are you?”  Further angered Homer grabs him and repeatedly tells him his name until two plant heavies come and drag him away as he shouts “you’re dead Burns” on the way out.  Back at the Simpson house Grandpa is unpacking in the front room as Santa’s Little Helper wheels past prompting him to inform Bart “hey the lamp’s running away”.  Bart explains that it is his dog as Grandpa tells him to stop loafing and to help him unpack at which point Bart discovers his Smith & Wesson inside a Two Stars Cigars box.  Blasé Grandpa comments “if you’re gonna play with be careful cos its loaded”.  At this point Marge spots Bart with the gun and freaks out grabbing it and saying she is going to bury it in the yard.  Annoyed Grandpa tells Bart “you should have fired it, she would have run off”.  From here we cut to Springfield Town Hall where Mayor Quimby is telling the people of Springfield to “take it easy”.  He states that it is time for decisive action as he pulls out a “polite but firm letter addressed to Mr Burns’ underlings who with some cajoling will pass it along to him or at least give him the gist of it”.  While this announcement is made the camera cuts to various Springfield residents stroking guns.  As Quimby is informed by one of his bodyguards that a number of people are stroking guns he promptly steps aside and gives them the floor.  Making first comment is a drunk Mr Smithers followed by an angry Willie saying how Burns cost him his job at the school (“and I’m too superstitious to take the one at the cemetery”).  Grandpa Simpson pops up next saying because of Burns he lost “his room, his things and his buddy’s collection of old sunbathing magazines” prompting Jasper to state “you bastard”.  Holding his shotgun Moe snaps “I lost my bar” as Barney follows adding “I lost his bar”.  Lisa then offers “he robbed the school of music” as Skinner attaches “he robbed the school of financial security” while in the background Tito Puente says “he robbed the school of Tito”.  Angry as anyone Homer shouts “he can’t remember my name” as Marge points out “he’s causing us all to yell”.  Finally Bart remarks “look what he did to my best friend” as everyone looks at Milhouse stuffing his face with Cheese Puffs before correcting “no, my dog” as Santa’s Little Helper wheels himself into the hall.  With the room aghast we hear Burns laughing as everyone turns to see him at the door where he comments “those wheels are squeaking a bit.  Perhaps I could sell him a little oil”.  Offended by this Santa’s Little Helper growls at Burns while Bart snaps “you twisted old monster” before running at him at which point he reveals he is carrying a gun because he has decided to “protect myself ever since I was attacked in my office by an unidentified assailant” causing a frustrated doh from Homer in the distance.  Now having pushed the town to its limit Captain McAlister, Sideshow Mel and Otto threaten him.  In response Burns says “you all talk big but who here has the guts to stop me”.  And panning across the room no one has.  As he turns to exit Burns asks if they have ever seen the sun set at 3PM as he engages his latest scheme: a huge round panel that blocks out the sun.  With Burns walking off into the distance laughing Krusty arrives late having been in Reno for six weeks asking “did I miss anything?”  Stepping outside into eternal darkness Lunch lady Doris comments on the sorry state while Apu adds to the list of people saying that they need to get Mr Burns.  With the streetlights now turning on in the middle of the afternoon Mr Burns celebrates “perpetual twilight bathed in the glow of Burns brand electricity”.  As people disappear and the town goes quiet Burns continues to walk the empty dark streets as he states “after all these years things are finally starting to go my way, I feel like celebrating”.  Then as he walks out of shot he recognises somebody and asks what they are so happy about.  Off camera he tells the person to “drop it” as a struggle ensues before a gunshot is heard and he emerges outside Springfield Town Hall having been shot.  As in the background the clock strikes 3PM he collapses on the town sundial and a crowd surrounds him acknowledging he has been shot.  Chief Wiggum stops everyone saying that it is Mr Burns at all and it is a person in a mask which he promptly attempts to remove before realising that it is Mr Burns (“his wrinkly skin looks like a mask”).  At this point Marge comments “I don’t think we’ll ever know who did this, everyone in town’s a suspect”.  From here the camera pans across several guilty looking faces before stopping on Dr Hibberd who laughs and says “well I couldn’t possibly solve this mystery.  Can you?” as he points to the camera getting the response from Chief Wiggum of “yeah, I’ll give it a shot.  I mean, it’s my job right”.  To be continued.

IS IT ANY GOOD:
It’s pretty decent.  Away from the gimmick element it packs a lot in with a number of characters getting opportunity to shine.

WHAT IT TAUGHT ME:
Quite frankly not a whole lot.

EXTERNAL REFERENCES:
Bart wants to try and resurrect The Three Stooges.  And the episode in general is a tribute to the Dallas episode “A House Divided” when J.R. Ewing was mysteriously shot.

BEST LINES:
“I can’t made hide nor hare of these metric booby traps” says Burns after he hits Homer with a 1000 gram weight.  “What I’m about to say violates every sycophant urge in my body” Smithers to Burns.  Tito Puente saying “aye carumba” reacting to the news that someone else has tapped the well.  “Soon that mighty apparatus will burst forth with its pressure fluid, almost sexual isn’t it Smithers?”  “The town sundial will be useless”.  “Hey, the lamp’s running away”.  Chalmers dubiously commenting “an unrelated article within the banner headline”.

BEST JOKES:
Burns and Smithers feebly attempting to beat Skinner coupled with Burns’ tiny weight and his later stomping his own nuclear plant on his town model.  Skinner and Chalmers make a good team especially when Skinner is his most transparent.

PERIPHERAL MOMENT:
The Springfield Executive Spa comes with the motto “physical fitness for better tyranny”.  When Mr Bouvier was trying to catch the eye of Marge’s mother he sent her a box of candy with a picture of himself beneath the chocolates.  Burns Construction Co carries the logo “building a better tomorrow for him”.  Grandpa has a box of Habana Two Stars Cigars.

REALITY CROSSOVER:
Two of my bosses at separate jobs in the music industry (The Studio and Baker Street) thought my name was “Justin”.  Neither individual has since thrived.  A third acquaintance at Butt Road back when I worked in Colchester thought my name was “Steve”.  I can really empathise with Homer’s frustration and pain.

MVP:
Burns gets off some good lines in a widespread episode where nobody really stars.  Grandpa also comes up with the goods.

GUEST APPEARANCES:
Tito Puente.

SONGS:
No specific tracks other than the sombre take of the closing credits.

EPISODE LINKS:
When eating Homer’s gift candy and recalling the Simpson family Burns refers to episodes “Rosebud”, “Dog Of Death” and “Burns’ Heir”.

PERCULARITIES/RUBBERBAND REALITY:
Nelson has a parrot.  When did Nelson get a parrot?

BART ON THE BLACKBOARD:
This is not a clue…or is it?

OTHER:
Turns out slant drilling is a real thing.  Mr Burns must love fracking.

FINAL WORDS:
I’m not a fan of two-part episodes.

Friday, 3 December 2010

HOMER’S PHOBIA


SEASON 8 EPISODE 15 (EPISODE 168)

THIS IS IT:
Homer’s Phobia is the episode with John Waters guesting as a local kitsch store owner the whole family befriends except for Homer.  It begins in the Simpsons’ basement where Bart is hosting his own lottery the “Super Barto Jackpot Brine” by placing numbered balls in the family washer dryer.  Things go wrong when a ball gets lodged in the cycle causing it to jam and shake/vibrate out of its fixings as Bart and his friends (including Milhouse and Ralph) run from the basement with flames being shot from the dislodged connection.  The next thing seen is a van from Springfield Gas Company outside the Simpson house driving away having mended the washer leaving a repair bill of $900.  After grimacing at the amount Homer resigns himself to having to “dip into the retirement fund again”.  From here we cut to the address of the Springfield Gas Company which reveals itself to be attached to a large bottle of pennies which Homer is breaking his back on to lift and send off.  Unfortunately Homer barely gets through the front door of his house with the pennies as he accidentally drops the bottle which falls through the ground.  Looking down the hole created Homer yells “hello?  China?”  Returning to Marge the family assemble in the front room as she announces “well, I never thought it would come to this.  I guess we’ll just have to sell Grandma’s civil war doll”.  At this point Lisa asks if she really wants to sell a family heirloom to pay a gas bill.  When asked what her grandma would say about the situation Marge pipes up “I am sure she would be proud about her descendents have piping hot water and plenty of warm dry underwear” to which Homer agrees “that is so true”.  The Simpsons go to Springfield Mall to sell the doll ending up in collectibles store Cockamamies.  Already in the store is Seymour Skinner looking at US Campaign buttons but being discouraged by them being “all partisan.  Don’t you have any neutral ones?  May the better man win?  Let have a good clean election.  That kind of thing?”  The sales assistant points him towards some buttons (“they’re kooky”) at which point disgusted Skinner tells her that she has just lost a sale.  Lisa and Bart are somewhat more impressed as they head over to an actual robot from the movie Clank, Clank, You’re Dead.  Lisa then wonders “think of how awful it would have been for the poor midget inside” as the front opens after they walk off to reveal a small skeleton inside.  Elsewhere in the store Marge finds herself excited by the discovery of a TV Guide, featuring Laverne & Shirley on the cover, which was owned by Jackie Onassis (it still has her address sticker attached to the cover).  At this point the storeowner John appears adding “you should see the crossword puzzle, she thought that Mindy lived with Mark”.  Immediately Homer jumps to her defence “give her a break, her husband was killed!”  With this John asks if he can help as Marge states they have brought something to sell and he responds “please tell me its your hair”.  Upon inspecting the civil war figurine John points out that it is actually a Johnny Reb bottle from the early 1970s, one of the J&R Whiskey Liquor Lads which was purchased for two books of Green Stamps.  Marge responds in denial of it being a liquor bottle as John promptly twists off the top and pours a drink.  Defeated Marge resigns herself to “I guess it will always be a monument to Grandma’s secret drinking problem”.  Angered and annoyed Homer responds “OK so that thing is a hunk of junk but look at what you’re selling”.  John tries to explain the appeal of his items with the colours and graphics stating “its camp!” to which Homer responds blank faced.  John adds “tragically ludicrous?  The ludicrously tragic?”  Finally Homer thinks he has it as he says “oh yeah, like when a clown dies”.  He doesn’t get it.  Still trying John offers further examples of “inflatable furniture, last supper TV trays or even this bowling shirt.  Can you believe somebody gave this to goodwill?”  It is a Pin Pals bowling shirt with Homer inscribed over the chest pocket which prompts a guilty Marge to shrink away before questions are asked.  Slowly understanding Homer asks “and that kind of stuff is worth money?  Man, you should come over to our place, its full of valuable worthless crap”.  And with that John is invited over for 5PM (“the snacking hour” according to Homer).  For his visit Marge makes her patented Happy Cracker Snack Platter.  John loves their house “oh man, you weren’t kiddin’ about this place, well I just love it” as Homer sits on the couch watching bowling having forgotten about his invitation (“do I know you?”).  From here John continues to rummage through their house including the record collection.  With this Homer asks if the records have camp value as John responds “everything does, you yourself are worth a bundle Homer, I could wrap a bow around you and slap on a price tag”.  At this point John puts on a disco record (“I Love The Nightlife” by Alicia Bridges) and encourages Homer to dance as in the kitchen Lisa, Bart and Marge extol his virtues (“and your father has certainly taken the shine to him”) as at the end of the song Homer bumps John with his bum prompting the response “oh Homer, you are the living end”.  Next morning Homer comes down to breakfast declaring “that John is the greatest guy in the world, we’ve got to have him and his wife over for drinks sometime”.  Responding Marge says “I don’t think he’s married Homer” causing him to comment “oh, a swinging bachelor, eh?  Well there’s lots of foxy ladies out there”.  Realising that Homer isn’t clocking that John is gay tactfully Marge asks “didn’t John seem a little festive to you?”  Eventually Marge just has to shout “he prefers the company of men” at Homer as still he doesn’t see it responding “who doesn’t?”  Finally Marge says “listen to me carefully: John is a ho-mo-sexual” prompting Homer to scream.  For some reason Homer is freaked about by this news/information.  He is spooked that he “danced with a gay” forcing Lisa to promise that she won’t tell anyone.  Annoyed by his reaction (“you’re being ridiculous”) Marge informs Homer that John has invited everyone for a drive today.  With this they continue to argue until a car horn playing “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” is heard outside.  Wondering what the noise is Homer pops his head out to the front window to reveal John at the wheel of his car with zebra seat covers with him firing a toy ray gun at Homer saying “zap!”  Remaining stubborn Homer refuses to even say hello to John as the rest of the family get in his car.  Also in the car with them is a Santa robot from Japan where it is called “Annual Gift Man” and lives on the moon.  Driving through town John gives the family a tour of all the notorious spots (“and there was where Kent Brockman was caught cheating in the Springfield Marathon”).  He takes them to the Sha-Boom Ka-Boom! atomic café.  Inside Bart thanks John for the “killer tour” as Lisa adds “I never realised how many celebrities humiliated themselves right in our own backyard”.  At this point Smithers walks past and spots John who introduces the Simpsons to him as he responds “so this is your sick mother?”  Marge returns home laughing as Homer enquires “what happened?  He didn’t give you gay did he?”  Angered Marge snaps “you don’t even know what you’re worried about anymore.  John’s a witty, urbane person” prompting Homer state “oh and I’m not?”  At this point Bart comes running up saying “hey dad, look what I got” as he points a ray gun at him and says “zap!” just like John earlier.  Later Homer is on the couch watching TV and drinking a beer as Bart walks past wearing a Hawaiian shirt.  Promptly Homer grabs him asking “where’d you get that shirt?” to which he responds “I dunno, came out of the closet”.  Later at dinner Marge emerges with their favourite dessert: store bought snack cakes as Homer agonises whether Bart selects chocolate or pink frosting.  When he selects the latter (the gay) again Homer freaks out.  During the night Homer is talking in his sleep as Marge enquires “Homey I can hear you chewing on your pillow, what’s wrong?”  With this Homer expresses he concerns at Bart wearing a Hawaiian shirt “there’s only two kinds of guys who wear those shirts: gay guys and big fat party animals.  And Bart does not look like a big fat party animal to me”.  Ever the voice of reason Marge asks “so if you wore a Hawaiian shirt it wouldn’t be gay?”  With this Homer says “right, thank you!” adding “hope you realise this is all your fault.  I mean, do you have to be so effeminate around the boy?”  Angered Marge responds “I don’t think there is any problem with Bart but if there is its because you don’t spend any time with him”.  Food for thought for Homer.  The next morning when he comes down the stairs it is to the sound of the “Shoop Shoop Song” and the sight of Bart dancing to it wearing a woman’s wig with pink bow.  Promptly Homer rips the wig from his head and switches off the record while in the kitchen Marge and John gossip about Helen Lovejoy (“I’ve heard cuffs and collar don’t match, if you catch my drift”).  Stepping into the kitchen snaps “you!  I should have known” as Marge says “he’s brought us cactus candy”.  At this point Homer tells John to “stay the hell away from my family” as he pulls the candy away before changing his mind telling him he can have a “teensy piece”.  Cutting through the moment John outright asks Homer “what have you got against the gays?” as he struggles to respond stating “you know, its not usual, if there was a law would be against it”.  As Marge tells Homer he is embarrassing himself he continues to rant “they’re embarrassing me, they’re embarrassing America.  They turned the Navy into a floating joke.  They ruined all our best names like Bruce and Lance and Julian.  Those were the toughest names we had”.  Homer even resents gay people using the word “queer” because “that was our word for making fun of you!  We need it!”  He continues “well I’m taking back our word and I’m taking back our son”.  The next thing we see is Homer and Bart in the car with Homer saying “don’t worry boy, we’re going to set you straight.  By tomorrow morning you’re going to be a regular Burt Reynolds”.  With this Bart asks where he is taking him as Homer assures “just a couple of good old fashioned manly places” before putting his arm around him then worrying that he’s holding there too long.  Eventually to counteract any potential ill effects he shakes his hand.  Their first stop is the middle bank of a Springfield motorway where Homer sits Bart down on a folding chair to sit and stare at a Laramie Slims billboard featuring two attractive ladies enjoying “pure enjoyment” from a pillow fight.  When Homer returns two hours later he asks Bart how he feels as he responds “I dunno.  I kinda want a cigarette”.  Homer considers this a good start as he offers to buy Bart a pack until he requests “anything slim”.  The next stop on his manly tour is the Ajax Steel Mill when Homer introduces Bart to Roscoe who runs the mill.  This plan also backfires when Roscoe gets the mill workers to say “hello” to the Simpsons as it is revealed they too are homosexual.  At this point Bart asks Homer “why did you bring me to a gay steel mill?” as he proclaims it to be a nightmare before yelling “you’re all sick” at the workers as one responds “oh be nice”.  With this a whistle is pulled as Roscoe announces “we work hard, we play hard” as “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” by C+C Music Factory breaks out and a sign is lowered proclaiming the place now transformed into The Anvil.  Much hard dancing ensues.  From here Homer drags Bart out with his hands over his eyes.  The third act begins with Homer at Moe’s saying how “the entire steel mill was gay” as Moe adds “where you been Homer?  Entire steel industry’s gay.  Aerospace too and the railroads”.  At this point Barney chips in saying that he “always thought Bart would grow up like us”.  Moe reconciles “it ain’t no mystery, whole modern world’s got a swishifying affect on kids today.  And their MTVs and their diet sodas ain’t gonna set them straight either” before pointing the finger at Homer to do the job on Bart (“and you gotta do it fast”).  With this Homer pleads advice as Moe offers that sending a son to war and shooting someone used to make a man “out of ya” but unfortunately these days where are no wars (“thank you Warren Christopher”) so Barney floats the idea of taking Bart hunting to shoot a deer (“that’s like shooting a beautiful man”).  Moe is agreement as the next thing you see is a cut away to the three of them at Springfield Mall emerging from Springfield Hunting Supplies all dressed and tooled up ready to hunt.  At this point Homer hears Marge and Lisa laughing as he spots the whole family in Cockamamies joking with John.  Angered Homer enters the shop saying “stand aside Marge I’m taking the boy deer hunting, he going to grow up straight for once”.  Disputing his idea Marge states “you’ve never went hunting before and you’re perfectly straight” as Homer hits back “oh yeah, how long since you’ve had a baby?”  Then ever the tree hugger Lisa pipes up “but dad its barbaric, how does killing a deer make you more of a man?” to which Homer responds “it just does, name me one gay Indian”.  At this moment John comes around the corner commenting “otto, something’s gonna die”.  Naturally Homer tells him to butt out asking John “what would you know about hunting?” to which he promptly responds “I know this much, I wouldn’t wear that hideous hat” before offering him a safari hunt which was worn by Yale Summers in Daktari.  In refusal Homer snaps “hold onto it toy boy, you might need it when it starts raining naked ladies”.  With this Homer grabs Bart away from playing the Astro Blast arcade machine to drag him hunting with Barney and Moe.  From here we cut to the four of them riding a truck to the forest with Barney telling Bart “today you’re gonna be a man, Bart” as excitedly he thinks/asks that they’re going to teach him to drive which prompts Moe to comment “oh yeah, gonna let Twinkletoes drive Betsy, right”.  Laughing Homer explains to Bart that he can’t drive because he is only 10, instead he’s going hunting at which point Moe asks if he’s ever been hunting before as he responds no stating “there’s something about a bunch of guys alone together in the woods, seems kinda gay”.  An awkward pause hangs in the air until Homer scolds Bart stating “that is a very immature attitude young man”.  Now in the woods we see the guys bedding in as Barney opens one of two Duff six packs while Moe reminds that his truck can only hold six carcasses “so don’t shoot nothing but trophy bucks, huh”.  Time passes as dusk arrives without much action and Barney having drunk most of his cans.  Finally they arrive at night as it turns dark and a now drunk Barney comments “we shoulda just stayed at the bar and shot some rats” and Moe pipes “those aren’t your rats Barn” before asking Homer if he is ready to call it quits.  Visibly tired Homer wants to quit but comments “but Bart’s not fixed yet, he hasn’t even…” as Moe points to him fast asleep.  With this they pack up and head home as in the truck while Barney and Bart sleep Moe tells Homer “don’t take it so hard, you’ve still got that other kid, ugh, Lisa.  Let’s take her out hunting tomorrow, make her into a man”.  Homer answers saying “she’d never go, she’s a vegetarian” to which Moe reacts horrified for his friend “oh jeez, Homer, jeez.  You and Marge ain’t cousins, are you?”  Feeling down Homer continues to look down defeated blaming it all on himself stating “this whole thing is my fault, I’ve been a lousy dad”.  Then with an apparent stroke of luck Moe suddenly sees a sign for Santa’s Village where you can “see real live reindeer” as he proclaims “cheer up Homer, Christmas is coming early this year” before driving into Santa’s Village through the front gate even though it states “closed for season”.  Back at the Simpson house Marge and Lisa worry about the whereabouts of Homer and Bart as John asks “did he say where they were going?” to which Lisa responds “no, they were just going to find a deer and make Bart shoot it”.  Amused John comments “deer? Not around here.  They all migrated north from the state park converted into Astroturf”.  He then comments “the only thing close to deer around here is….” as the episode cuts to a pen of reindeer at Santa’s Village.  With this Moe opens the gate as the four of them creep in and Homer wakes Bart to tell him “your old man found some deer”.  Immediately Bart spots that they are reindeer as Homer hands him a rifle stating “yup, and its your turn son”.  Naturally Bart refuses as Homer commands “be a spot and kill Blitzen, OK”.  Pressured Bart begins to well up as Homer continues “I’m gonna turn my back and when I turn around I wanna see a whole pile of dead reindeer” at which point he, Barney and Moe turn round and put their fingers in their ears.  The sound of gunshot is then heard as Homer tells Bart how proud of him he is as he responds “I didn’t do anything” as suddenly spooked the reindeers are “going nuts like in those nature films” as Barney announces.  In a different take Moe offers “must be mating season”.  With that the reindeer begin approaching the four of them in threatening fashion as they scream and Barney hides in an upturned food trough while Moe does likewise in the water trough.  As Homer picks up Bart he declares “dad, I’m scared” as Homer responds “me too son” as he holds his boy aloft declaring “there’s a time in every fathers life when he must…” just as the reindeer begin butting him across the pen.  Safely held above Bart enquires “dad, are you hurt?” as Homer responds “just my bones and organs”.  As the butting becomes more intense and vision suddenly in the background the sound of a tinny version of “Jingle Bells” can be heard causing the reindeer take attention and back off as a robot Santa Claus (Annual Gift Man) approaches scaring and shepherding the reindeer away.  Now safe Homer declares “it’s a miracle!”  At this point we hear John comment “no, ultra suede is a miracle, this is just good timing” as Homer goes running to Marge as they embrace and she comments “you feel softer than before” as he replies painfully “I’ve been tenderised”.  Bart then asks John “how’d you know that thing would work?” as he explains “well the sound is just brutal and I figured reindeer would naturally be afraid of their cruel master Santa Claus, I mean, wouldn’t you be?”  At this point Barney pops his head from beneath the food trough asking “is it OK to come out now Mr Gay Man?  Sir?” as Moe repeats the question “I’ll do anything you say.  Anything”.  Exiting Santa’s Village Barney grips “oh Moe, we were saved by a sissy” as he adds “yeah, yeah, we’ll never live it down.  Oh boy, it looks like it suicide again for me” before Homer jumps to John’s defence stating “hey, we owe this guy and I don’t want you calling him a sissy.  This guy’s a fruit.  No, wait, wait, a queer, that’s what you liked to be called, right?”  Remaining stoic he responds “well, that or John” as Lisa suggests “this is about as tolerant as dad gets so you should be flattered” to which he responds “great!  Well Homer I won your respect.  And all I had to do was save your life.  No if every gay man could just do the same, you’d be set”.  “Amen to that”.  Driving back in John’s open top car Homer turns round from the front and says “you know Bart maybe its just the concussion talking but anyway you choose to live your life is OK with me”.  Confused Bart turns to Lisa who whispers “he thinks you’re gay”.  With that Bart says puzzled “he thinks I’m gay?” as the strands of C+C Music Factory begin with “everybody dance now” and onscreen the episode is “Dedicated to the steelworkers of America.  Keep reaching for that rainbow!”

IS IT ANY GOOD:
Definitely, anything with John Waters attached will always be good.  Its lefty, upbeat and promotes positive stereotypes.

WHAT IT TAUGHT ME:
Homophobia is based on ignorance, fear and misunderstanding.

EXTERNAL REFERENCES:
The robot from Clank, Clank, You’re Dead is very like Robby The Robot in Forbidden Planet and Lost In Space.  When John first introduces himself to Marge and Homer at his store there is a Pink Flamingo in the background.

BEST LINES:
“Think of the property values, now we can no longer say only straight people have been in this house” – Homer to Marge.  “You know me Marge, I like my beer cold, my TV loud and my homosexuals flaming!”  “This is a sordid little burg, isn’t it”.  “There’s only two kinds of guys who wear (Hawaiian) shirts: gay guys and big fat party animals.  And Bart does not look like a big fat party animal to me”.  “Hang onto it toy boy, you might need it when it starts raining naked ladies”.

BEST JOKES:
Homer’s many attempts to turn Bart into a man’s man culminating in his theory/observation that it is only gay men and big fat party animals that where Hawaiian shirts.

PERIPHERAL MOMENT:
The Springfield Gas Company address is: PO Box 2323, Springfield USA.  Shops at the Springfield Mall include One Size Fits All Lingerie, Simply Shoes and of course Cockamamies.  Amongst the items in the store are old campaign buttons, a Krusty cardboard stand up, an old Fudd beer poster, a poster for the movie “Clank, Clank, You’re Dead” and the robot from the film, a Buzz Cola toy zeppelin, a Rex Mar Atomic Discombobulator amongst items.  Homer’s record collection includes albums by The New Christy Minstrels, “Ballads Of The Green Berets” by Sgt Barry Sadler, Loony-Luau and The Wedding Of Lynda Bird Johnson.  In Japan there is a Santa robot known as “Annual Gift Man”.  Kent Brockman was once caught cheating in the Springfield Marathon.  Sha-Boom Ka-Boom! serves Little Boy and Fat Man items for $3.95 and $12.95 respectively.  Astro Blast was a popular coin-op back in the day.  Moe has a truck that he calls Betsy.

REALITY CROSSOVER:
I have shared Marge’s disappointment in discovery that priceless trinkets are not valuable collectibles.

MVP:
John Waters as John.

GUEST APPEARANCES:
John Waters as John the owner of Cockammies collectibles shop.  He took the role after deciding that if the show was good enough for Elizabeth Taylor to be on, it was good enough for him.

SONGS:
Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” by C+C Music Factory is an unmistakable anthem.  The disco record John puts on in the Simpson front room is “I Love The Nightlife” by Alicia Bridges.  John’s car horn is “Over The Rainbow” from The Wizard Of Oz.  And finally the robot Santa Claus plays “Jingle Bells” while it operates.

EPISODE LINKS:
John is wearing Homer’s Pin Pals bowling shirt which was his bowling team in the Team Homer episode.

PERCULARITIES/RUBBERBAND REALITY:
After this episode Cockamamies is never mentioned or featured again.  And neither is storeowner John.  What happened to the guy?

BART ON THE BLACKBOARD:
No blackboard.

OTHER:
I sense Marge’s fondness for Jackie Onassis stems from the pair of them sharing the maiden name Bouvier.

FINAL WORDS:
John Waters is a greatest living American.