Sunday, April 25, 2010

Recap: "The Squirt and the Whale"

"South Park- We'd Stand Behind You if We Weren't So Scared" and thus begins another high profile moment on the Simpsons. My Google Alerts have been going crazy with this homage to South Park by Simpsons writers. I'm just getting around to watching the episode now (I know I should of watched it earlier since LOST was a repeat tonight [still Ab Aeterno is an incredible episode], but I've been distracted).  Expect a recap of the whole episode soon, especially now that my internet is reconnected.

So, this episode starts with Bart and Lisa watching a trailer for a movie called Tic-Tac-Toe: X vs. O.  It is very Star Wars like, but Homer quickly puts the plug out of the TV. He does this because he their electricity bill is really high and quickly goes around the house pulling out all things that run on electricity in their house.  Lisa urges Homer to consider alternative energy and go to an expo featuring these innovations in energy.  But before they leave the house Homer turns on all the lights in order to deter criminals.  But Snake, who is waiting outside, is just annoyed that they think he is stupid enough to be tricked. So they go to the expo and they go to a booth for the Royal Danish Wind Society and learn about wind energy.  Homer decides to buy a fan although they said it would take him several lifetimes to pay it off.

When they install the enormous fan, Homer decides to cancel his electricity and declares "the Simpsons are off the grid!" (great for a Earth Week episode).  But living off of wind power alone proves to be very difficult.  They don't live in the Windy City, so when the wind stops blowing they are left with no electricity.  This leads Homer to declare that "the Simpsons are living intermittently."  When the Zii goes off Bart and Lisa fight and when the air starts to decrease in the kids' bouncy house they start to get wary.  Eventually, Homer uses regular fans powered by Ned's electricity in order to keep his fan going.  When Ned complains Bart and Lisa are forced to take turns pushing the fan, so they could watch TV.  But their luck changes when a storm comes to Springfield and they receive so much electricity that the TV lights are like X-Rays.

The next day Lisa and Bart decide to take a ride to the ocean.  There they find a beached whale that Lisa names Bluella. Lisa cares deeply for the whale, so she encourages people to keep it wet.  She even enlist the help of her dad.  He leads a group to try to push the whale into the water and a group of boats that try to pull it into the water, but all their efforts fail.  One night Lisa reads Bluella stories for Walt Whitman.  When she wakes up she finds that the military is using Black Hawks to lift the whale into the water.  Lisa is thrilled, but she when the whale jumps into the sky and floats in the stars she realizes that she is dreaming.  When she wakes up she finds that Bluella has died.  This was a really sad moment for me. I couldn't believed that it was dream sequence and that the whale actually died, but it got worse...more on that in a second.

Well Homer tries his best to comfort Lisa (Homer to Bart: "I'm trying to be a sensitive father you unwanted moron"), but she is still really hurt. Meanwhile, Bart and Milhouse head to the beach to poke the whale (it'll be the biggest dead animal we've ever poked).  But when they get there they find the police and other townsfolk attaching dynamite to the whale.  They then blow up part of Bluella and whale chunks fly everywhere.  This part of the episode really shocked me! I mean I guess it shows what they do with beached whales when they die, but it was pretty brutal and disgusting. Or maybe I'm just a sensitive person. 

The mayor then declares that they will make use of all parts of Bluella's body.  They Bluella perfume (I'm guessing it smells pretty fishy, but then whales aren't fishy, so maybe oceany) and whalebone corsets.  Homer tries to get Lisa over the loss by getting her a pet that will never die, an invisible dog, but the dogs proves to be unruly LoL.  This doesn't help Lisa though. She starts to hear whale wails (LoL whale wails). When she ventures to the ocean she hears the sounds again, but this time she isn't hallucinating. The wails were coming from Bluellas babies/calfs/whatever they're called.  But before she can even enjoy them they are surrounded by sharks.

Homer comes to the rescue using a boat that he took for a test drive.  He tries to kill the sharks with a harpoon, but an environmental duo in the Seahuggers stop him because they believe it's wrong to kill any kind of wildlife. Homer isn't convince and still tires to kill them, but Lisa sides with Seahuggers and Homer not to kill them.  As Homer declares his hate for sharks he falls into the water and the sharks surround him.  Luckily, the whales' father shows up just in time to save Homer.  As the entire Simpsons watches as the whales swim away, Lisa ponders whether they will be okay.  Homer responds yes and that the father whale is young and has two cute kids. He also says that he will probably move in with a "sexy, lady octopus," although he'll have to sell his old place - too many memories - and they will be some whale-a-puses on the way. Marge tells the family they will draw pictures of the story Homer just told.  And then they roll the credits with pictures of father whale and his new family and that Let's Go Sailing song in French.

Overall, I loved this episode. It was sweet and made you care about what was going on. I did not like the brutality of the disposal of Bluella, but like I said maybe this is what happens in real life. I also loved whole leave the lights on so robbers will think we're home bit, sounds like someone I know.  I also thought it was perfect for Earth Week.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Recap: "Chief of Hearts" ...So Bromantic :-)

Yay I'll be able to watch this episode of the Simpsons live because The Amazing Race is not airing tonight. So check back for a recap soon.  I missed the Amazing Race, but it was great watching this episode in HD on an HDTV was awesome

OMG what a cute episode of the Simpsons.  Clancy Wiggums hasn't been the focus of many Simpson’s episodes, so this episode was really appreciated by me.

So, the episode starts with Marge driving Bart and Lisa to a birthday party for a kid named Dylan. The kids don't want to go because they don't remember Dylan and can't even remember what sex Dylan is. All I could think is who would name their daughter Dylan? Marge looks at the card to get an idea of who Dylan is but it is a fish themed invitation, so they still had no clue. They decide that they would know once they arrive and see the theme of the party. However, it is still impossible to tell because there was both a girly/princess theme table on one side and a superhero rumble on the other. Even the cake makes it difficult to tell. When Bart takes a bite of a cupcake he realizes it's carrot cake, so he spits the chewed piece out, puts it back in the cupcake and puts the cupcake back on the platter. A kid then picks up the same cupcake takes a bite and says "mmm moist"...gross!

The most important part of this party was that Bart encounters a group of kids playing with Battle Balls which they claim make "Digimon look like Pokemon." I have some insights on this. First of all these Battle Balls on based on these transforming magnetic balls called Bakugan. They are after my time, but I know about them because as a former summer camp counselor I had to deal with kids bringing these balls to camp all the time. They are pretty cool being that they transform when they attach magnetically to the cards or to other metal objects, but I'm way too old for that stuff. However, I am old enough that I watched both Pokemon and Digimon....and Yu-Gi-Oh. I liked each of these shows and find it strange that they implied that Digimon is better that Pokemon. Digimon was good until they aged 10 years after one season and started with a whole new group of kids. It threw me off and stopped watching the show and I'm pretty sure it was cancelled in America. But I think I'm done with this tangent.

Ok back to the episode. So, next we see what Homer was up to. He was walking to the bank while eating a candy apple (an odd snack choice), but when he gets to the bank we sees a sign that says no food allowed. So he puts the apple in his pocket and keeps his hand inside. But when the bank patrons see him with his hand in his pocket they assume he has a gun (he is 1/64th black LoL). When he tries to explain himself he finds himself unable to talk due to sticky candy apple. As he mumbles they assume that he is saying that he is demanding money and threatening their lives. The cops in the bank eventually taze him and he sentenced by the lady judge (oh no I forget her name) to 100 hours of community service. Homer is mad that he got community service ("but that's work!") and begs to go to jail instead. Good ol' lazy Homer :-).

So Homer's community service is supervised by Chief Wiggum. Initially Wiggum seems like he going to be really tough, but when Homer offers him a parmesan sandwich (Wiggum's wife banned him from parmesan) he begins to favor him. Instead of making Homer work with the rest of the other community service workers he allows him to chill and talk with him. When Krusty calls Homer Teacher's Pet, Wiggum grabs his nose throws and tells him to find his nose. Krusty chases it screaming "there was cocaine in there." Looks like Krusty has a really bad drug problem. Homer and Wiggum discuss things like their weight including sleep apnea and the fact that Wiggum has his underwear specially made in another country where they call him Daddy Round Round LoL. They then plan to hang out at Moe's while Lou and the other officer make of this budding bromance. As Homer waves Wiggum squeals "he likes me. Officer up! Officer up!"

The next day Homer and Wiggum have breakfast. When Homer complains about possibly being late, Wiggum escorts him with his sirening cop car and Homer feels like a pregnant lady. Meanwhile at school, Bart plays Battle Ball and challenges Ralph for his balls because they are the best. Ralph agrees to battle on the condition that if Bart wins he will teach him how to play Battle Balls (oh Ralph I missed you LoL). As they play Martin and Skinner listen in on their playing and suspect that something odd is going on with Bart.

We then go back to Homer and Wiggum who are spending a lot of time with each other. This time they are riding the cop car and Homer ask to search for himself on the computer (you know the one where they look up your license and stuff) and Wiggum allows him to delete his record. But Homer accidentally puts himself on Amber Alert and to fix it Wiggum just puts Moe in his place. After this Wiggum confides him Homer that he doesn't have many friends because people tend to fear him, but suddenly the get a call from Lou about a burglary. When they arrest Snake he charges him with burglary and killing a moment.

Back at school, Chalmers and Skinner tell Marge that they suspect that Bart is dealing drugs. When she goes home and eavesdrops on Bart and his friends playing Battle Balls, she hears them saying suspicious things like "you know how to roll them" and "this product is unbelievable. It's imported you know?" After hearing this out of context remarks, Marge is convinced that Bart is selling drugs.

Once again we get another moment of Homer and Wiggum hanging out. Wiggum confides in Homer that Ralph has a lot of worries, for example he worries what would happen if Superman suddenly decided to kill everyone LoL that is a scary thought. Homer tells Clancy that he is a good dad and Wiggum thanks him. They then get a call from Lou about an armed robbery. Turns out it was Fat Tony and his goons. When they go to arrest them Homer asks to cuff them, but when he tries one of the mobsters whips out a gun Wiggum rushes to Homer's aid and gets shot in the process. Wiggum is in a coma at the hospital and Homer keeps him company by reading to him and watching television while Wiggum is just laying there or falling off the bed. When Homer cries for him, he wakes up and calls him a good friend. When Homer asks to leave so he can see his family, Wiggum gets him to stay and read a story to him with a guilt trip

At the Simpsons home, Marge searches Bart’s room for the drugs. She rips open is toy and pulls out his drawers, but finds nothing but itching powder. When she asks Bart where he has been, he tells Marge that he has been getting higher and higher...scores on Battle Ball. Marge is relieved and finds the Battle Balls really cute. Immediately after learning this Bart flushes the ball down the toilet because if his mom likes it can't possibly be cool. The toilet clogs as he tries to flush it, but Bart believes that if the toilet can handle Homer it can handle the Battle Balls.
Meanwhile, Homer and Wiggum's friendships are facing some difficulties. Homer thinks that Wiggum has become needy and Wiggum thinks that Homer is a bad friend. They spend time apart, but the cop shows and pigs he sees on TV make him miss Wiggum. Homer then learns that Wiggum has gone missing and Homer is the only one who knows that Wiggum must be at the top of the Springfield hill. Homer meets Wiggum there and they bond over a bucket of fried chicken, Soon, they encounter Fat Tony who Wiggum tries to bust with only a chicken drumstick instead of gun. Needless to say they end up in Fat Tony's trunk. In the trunk Homer and Wiggum apologize to each other for the neediness and ungratefulness and Wiggum comes up with an escape plan. He uses his tongue to change the music CD in Fat Tony's car. When one of the mobsters comes to the back to change the music they attack him. When Wiggum sees the tire changer rod he figure out that it was poking him in the back..."explains a lot" (LoL one of those undercover jokes of the Simpsons that you don't really get until you're an adult). After this experience, Homer and Wiggum are happy to say that their friendship has found a happy medium. The episode ends with a montage of all the fun things that Homer and Wiggum have done together.

Overall, I thought this was good episode. It didn't exactly capture the heart that the Simpsons earlier episodes are known for, but it was still really cute to see this bromance grow, struggle then find a happy medium. I thought the story of the Battle Balls was a good secondary story. Funny in a typical Simpson’s way. And like I said in the beginning, I don't remember the last time there was a Wiggum’s centric story. It was nice hear about what he thought of Ralph.  This episode is currently streaming on Hulu.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

My Favorite Simpsons Episode

"Trilogy of Error" was on FOX last night. It's my favorite episode because of the story telling technique.  Each (well most) of the Simpsons had a story that told their day and they each of them connected in the end.  I'm a huge fan of comoplex story telling techniques. For example, the backwards story telling in Memento and the story within storie technique found in The Prestige. I also enjoy twists in the end like in Fight Club and The Sixth Sense. I also love the connections that are made in epic stories like the Harry Potter series. This is why I love Trilogy of Error.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Simpsons Links Update

Trying to catch up with Simpsons news. Here are some interesting links:
  • Check out the best Season 2 links according to TV Fanatic.
  • Check out the best Season 4 links according to TV Fanatic (Ralph: I Choo-Choo-Choose you).
  • Want to learn even more about curling? Check out ESPN.
  • Pop Culture forces collide. The Glee stars are going ot be on the Simpsons. The news originally broke on Twitter...I Love Twitter!
  • Interview with Harry Shearer (aka Mr. Burns and Smithers) on Gather .
  • The Simpsons Mocking Apple and Ipods...oops I mean Mapple and MyPods.
  • Writer Rebecca Stead loves the Simpsons.
  • Marge is Britain's favorite mom. I love Marge too because she is such a mom...very much like my own mom.
  • If you enjoyed the Itchy and Scratchy House oops I mean Mouse, MD episode.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Happy One Year Anniversary of my blog!!

Just wanted to mention that it has been exactly a year since I started my blog. And in true Simpsons fan fashion I got an awesome Simpsons surprise in the mail.

I ordered if from Kohls the other day. The original price was 29.99, but with the help of some online tips I managed to get it for exactly $5.40.  That includes shipping in handling. I don't know if it's still on sale for 5.99, but you can check.

But yeah thanks for visiting the site and I hope you find my insights interesting.  I'm going to try to stay on top my recaps and news (you know instead of the whole links thing I have been doing recently). Oh yeah and I need to include some more pop culture news (like Lost is in it's last season and I still haven't given my review of New Moon). But keep looking out for new stuff. Until next time :-)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Recap: "American History X-cellent"

Expect a recap soon. Haven't seen the episode yet, but I hope it is nothing like the movie (American History X) that I refuse to promo image yet, but maybe I'll use a regular one.

Luckily this episode did not contain the graphic scene I feared from American History X.  This episode begins with a visit to the Springfield Penitentiary. We follow as a group of security guards as they pass various jail cells containing some very crazy people, including some guy who lit his blanket on fire and still covered up with it.  Finally, the guards open the cell of a particularly skinny inmate who turns out to be Mr. Burns. The episode, which is narrated Mr. Burns, proceeds to tell the story of how he ended up in the Spring Penitentiary. 

So rewind to the time where Burns is working at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. He tells the employees that he will be hosting a 4th of July Picnic, but only for himself (D'oh). It is the employees job to setup picnic and serve Burns. One of the workers has the unlucky task of dressing up the hounds in Uncle Sam beards and top hats.  Burns makes other crazy demands, including having the workers put on a play and he even asks a worker to break a leg. When asked again the employee actually uses a hammer to break his own leg.  Burns then shouts "It's a figure of speech! You're fired!"  Burns's selfishness really angers Homer, Lenny and Carl.  They decide to retaliate by taking Burns's wine. Homer drinks from a huge $60,000 bottle of wine which he claims is worth what he makes in a year.  After drinking copious amounts of wine Homer and friends proceed to trash Burn's Mansion.  They even play twister on his art masterpieces.  When the police arrive to help Mr. Burns, they discover that these are stolen portraits and they arrest Burns instead.  So, Lou cuffs Mr. Burns around the waist (yes he is that skinny). 

As Mr. Burns is carted away to jail in a 1870s style wooden cart, the townsfolk of Springfield watch and carry signs saying things like "Burn in Hell."  Meanwhile, Moe sells rotten fruit (fresh fruit is at a discount).  Marge meets Homer on his way of out of the house with a rotten pumpkin. Marge asks Homer what the pumpkin is for, Homer replies that it is his lunch, Marge says eat it then, Homer asks what?, Marge says you say it's your lunch, so eat it, Homer says ok I will, Marge says I don't see any eating,  Homer says I will, Marge says go head then...It goes on like this for some time.  Finally, Homer stops taking pretend bites and actually bites the rotten pumpkin and surprisingly he enjoys it. 

Marge then leaves to go shopping because the malls are usually empty during town riots. She leaves Bart and instructs him to play with Lisa.  Bart doesn't want to play with Lisa, but Lisa reminds them that they should keep communication open because they might need organ transplants from one another in the future.  Lisa asks him to play with her ant farm, but Bart doesn't want to because the ants don't grow or plant things. 

Meanwhile, Burns has Smithers run the plant in his absence. Smithers intends to be a employeed friendly boss by doing things like making a suggestion bos that is not a guillotine for the hand (a person with claw hands claps profusely).  In order to show appreciation to Snimithers for his niceness Homer gives Smithers a view of his chest.  They then ask Smithers to leave early and he allows them to. When Smithers steps away form them they proceed to call him a marshmallow and make fun of how stupid he is. After this Smithers understands why Mr. Buns is so cold to his workers.

At the jail, Burns  is not haing much fun.  They took everything from him.  He tries to "befriend" the warden, but befriending is just another word for blackmailing to Mr. Burns. His blackmailing fails because he isn't sure what H drug the warden is using (it's actually Helium).  So, the warden has Burns treated horribly.  They use a hose to wash him and the flash of his mugshot pushes him to ground.  He is paired with another white collar criminal who digusts Burns because he went to Dartnouth.

At the Simpsons home, Lisa find somthing odd in her ant farm.  Se learns that Bart put some pop tart pieces in it. This makes Lisa angry and shet tells him that she is glad she is not his mother.  Bart replies that "If I was in your tummy I'd poo in our throat." Lisa gets mad because she doesn't want that image in her head and she fights with Bart over her ant farm. During the fight the farm breaks and before they can collect the ants Santa's Little Helper eats them all. He does however burp up on that Lisa names know because she is an orphan. Bart is sad because he didn't intend to kill the ants and he and Lisa bond over their love for her.  They both watch over Annie, but they decide to set her free because she only has a fews day left to live.  They release her in the yard together and thank her for bringing them together. Unfortunately, Santa's Little Helper is there to gobble her up as soon as she touches the ground.

Meanwhile at the plant Smithers has started treating the workers like dogs. This causes Homer and his friends to miss Mr. Burns.  They decide that they are going break him out of prison.  Mr. Burns has taken a turn at the jail. A black man who looks a lot like the Green Mile guy provides Burns with guidance and sucks all the evil out of him and turns him to Jesus. Burn feels the love in his vein.  He joins the choir and the Beatles band (at some point during this collection of scenes we see Snake washing and drying Sideshow Bob). Soon Homer, Lenny and Carl show up in the jail dressed as prison guards (the ones we see at the beginning of the episode) and attempt to lead him out of the prison.  The large black prisoner who has been Burn's spiritual guide tries to stop them and we find out the reason he took an interest in Burns in the first place is because he has killed many old, rich men just like him in the past.  Burns decides to leave because he still had a bit of evil in that managed to multiply and overtake his soul once more.  Burns is then back in charge of the plant and the black prisoner decides to help out Fat Tony.

Overall, this was a really good episode. It was very funny and the story was original and fun.  I thought Duncan (the guy from the Green Mile) did the voice acting, but it was actually a guy named Kevin Michael Richardson who has huge career in voice acting according to IMBD. Some notable roles for me are him playing Bishop in Wolverine and the X-Men (more new episodes please) and the Joker in The Batman.  No original Marvel cartoons, but still good stuff. But yeah I'm mad they didn't give his prisoner a name, but he was still pretty effective and funny.