Monday, April 6, 2009

March 15th episode - Gone Maggie Gone

This episode was another that also dealt with the Christian faith. When Marge’s vision is damaged from looking at the solar eclipse, Homer is in charge of looking after the children and taking care of the house. When Maggie ends up being taken in by a convent under the supervision of Homer, the nuns keep her there, refusing to let any child leave who is left on their doorstep. This episode was interesting because it dealt with a lot of mystery solving, both for Homer and for Lisa, who went into the convent to try and save Maggie. The funny part was that Lisa’s mystery was so much more complicated than Homer’s and she was very close to being able to solve the whole thing. All Homer had to do was find a way to get Maggie, Santa’s Little Helper, and the poison for their rat problem over to the other side of the river by boat. Homer failed at this because Maggie was left alone on the other side and ended up being taken. Lisa’s mystery involved deciphering codes, playing “Heart and Soul” on the piano, and reading Latin. In the end it turned out that the nuns at the convent discovered that Maggie was the “gem child” and that she would bring peace to Springfield. This shows that Maggie is also some kind of child prodigy like Lisa is, making the girls of the Simpsons family humorously much more exceptional than the boys.

April 5th episode - Eeny Teeny Maya Mo

This episode was all about Moe, who is the character that I’m focusing on for my group project. It was one of the few episodes that I’ve seen where he was pretty much the main character of the entire episode. He is seen chatting online with a woman named Maya, and when the two finally meet for a date, Moe discovers that she is a little person. My prior opinion of Moe was that he was very shallow, grumpy, short tempered, and rude. However, I think that this episode showed Moe in a new light, as we saw that he was capable of falling in love and being a thoughtful boyfriend, for the most part. Everything is going perfect with Maya, and he even ends up proposing to her. But, like typical Moe, he ruins his chances with her when he goes too far with making short jokes, and her feelings get hurt. Moe wants Maya back in his life, so he takes another thoughtful but drastic measure to try to win her back. He goes to get an operation to make himself shorter, but he doesn’t go through with it because Maya says that she doesn’t want to be with someone who looks at her as short, but someone who sees her as beautiful. In the end Homer tells Moe that at least he knows that he was able to fall in love once, so maybe he can fall in love again, and this uplifts Moe’s spirits a little bit. I thought this was a very nice thing that Homer said and I think both of these characters surprised me a lot in this episode as being more compassionate people.

March 29th episode - Wedding for Disaster

The Simpsons episode “Wedding for Disaster” began with a clever new intro that depicted each member of the Simpson family in a different type of food, such as spaghetti and soup. I thought it was interesting that the ending with the family sitting on the couch was not portrayed in its usual way, but instead the picture was outlined through the napkin that the customer eating the food was using. The episode itself caught my attention because I recognized that part of it was a spinoff of the horror movie Saw. It also demonstrated modern sentiments about going to church and religion. In the very first scene, one of the characters faints when he hears that the parson is coming to the First Church of Springfield. Homer sees this as a prime opportunity to make a run for it as he grabs his family and announces that they will go get “smelling salts” to help the man. As we see the Simpsons drive away in the middle of mass, Homer yells “suckers!” to everyone still inside, expressing the common disinterest in going to church among many people, and especially younger people today. The movie Saw was imitated when Marge’s sisters kidnap Homer on his wedding day and chain him up in a torture chamber. They use a voice modulator to sound like the voice in the movie, except they don’t give him legitimate ways that he can save himself, because they don’t want him to be with their sister. I thought it was funny in the end when Lisa and Bart found out what their aunts had done and they made them pay for a proper reception for Marge and Homer’s remarriage.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

March 22nd episode - In the Name of the Grandfather

This week The Simpsons episode was entitled “In the Name of the Grandfather.” The Simpsons decide to buy a new hot tub in the beginning of the episode, and the family proceeds to spend the rest of the night and the next day soaking in it. They are so absorbed by their new purchase that they forget about a family reunion they were supposed to attend. This upsets the grandfather as he realizes that he doesn’t have a lot of time left to do the things he’s always wanted to do. So the family takes a trip to Ireland so grandpa can go back and have a drink at his favorite pub from his youth. Like in the episode that we watched in class about their trip to Australia, it seems that the Simpson family, particularly Homer and his father, do not respect the laws of other countries while they are visiting them. When they drunkenly agree to buying the rundown pub, they realize that they have no customers, so they go against the law and allow smoking within the building to promote sales. Homer and his father don’t see it as a problem that they are blatantly breaking the Irish law, and when they get arrested and go to court, Homer plays the innocent card by saying that they did it to bring the ways of old Ireland back. I see this as an indication of ethnocentrism, in that Americans think their ways are the best and they should be treated differently than everyone else. I also found it funny that the potato-headed judge at the end makes a comment about deporting all of the Irish “incompetent halfwits” to America, where we foolishly made them police officers, as we learned about with immigration.

Monday, March 2, 2009

March 1st episode - How the Test Was Won

This week, the Simpsons episode “How the Test Was Won” was funnier than I had expected it to be. It was my first time actually watching a new episode on my own, for I had never been a fan of the television show in the past. The opening to the show was obviously the first thing that captured my attention, with its references to other popular TV families such as the Brady Bunch and what I thought to be the Cleavers from Leave it to Beaver. These are shows that I was familiar with, and it was amusing to see those connections being made.
The two main focuses of the episode are Homer forgetting to mail the family’s insurance check, and most importantly, Lisa and Bart facing the Vice President’s Assessment Test at school. The superintendent of the school is only concerned with getting a lot of money from the students’ good test scores, and the episode shows all of the drastic ways in which he tries to get the kids to learn facts. He even ships away Bart and some of the other “under-achieving” students on test day because he does not want them bringing down the school’s average score. The school principal is also tricked into being sent away with these boys, and after spending the day with them, he ultimately finds that the best way to learn is by being able to relate things to real life situations and people, and not just by drilling facts into someone’s head. I think this is the main lesson that the episode is trying to get across, underneath all of its witty comments and the bizarre and entertaining story line.