The Simpsons: Covercraft Review

The Simpsons’ cover themselves in Covercraft but fall flat. Here is our review.

O to the M to the G, and I only write that because I know how lame it looks. Lame, yes lame. The B-sharps gave us George Harrison and who do we get in the reboot? Sammy fucking Hagar. Why didn’t they lay Huey Lewis on us too? This episode was a flat root beer tequila float well within the speed limits.

I understand that Homer has lost a lot of brain cells in his short eventful life, but do The Simpsons writers have no memory at all? The B-Flats was a classic episode and proved Homer a songwriter. Homer was a one man band playing Archie Bell and the Drells when he was a teenager. It was his first job. I mean gig, musicians call them gigs. He was hip to the bong-rattling bass of Mel Schacher and the competent drumwork of Don Brewer when Grand Funk was still a railroad. He went to rock and roll fantasy camp.

Also, Van Houton put out a record when he was first divorced, Can I Borrow a Dream or something. Rev. Lovejoy has accompanied the Sunday school choir on his electric, but doesn’t play rock and or roll (the church organist once knocked out an inspirational version of In a Gadda da Vida, baby).  Apu, or as he was once known, the fifth Beatle, apparently performs regularly for Paul McCartney in his secret garden in the shade.

And these are just off the top of my head. The Simpsons sometimes falls in the abyss of hyper-repetition, but they are usually self-referential. If ever they could have pulled from the past, it should have been here. I understand they were just cutting corners in order to tell a story they didn’t get a chance to tell: That suburban dads need to get out of the house, but did they have to turn them into soccer moms?

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“Covercraft” falls into other series’ clichés, montages and all. The premise could be on any show. I’m sure the writers of Blackish are already penning a teleplay. This could have happened to Raymond or whoever the dad is on The Middle. It would never have happened on Seinfeld. And it shouldn’t have happened on The Simpsons, not without a better twist. As Butters likes to paraphrase to Cartman, South Park did it. But Randy retains enough not to learn from his mistakes.

Oh there were jokes, and good ones. But the overall refried bean quality hung over them like old saffron. Halfway through watching I wanted them to go back to the Moe and King Toots story. Especially when they kept playing that song over and over again. We get it. Working at a Kwik E Mart sucks. It’s repetitious and is the circle of hell where elevator music is played. The idea that Apu would sing perfectly due to the sheer brainwashing drone of Bachman Turner Overweight or Oreo Speedwagon makes as much sense as a horse with no name. Show me a horse with no legs and we can talk (Tom waits for no one). How come Apu didn’t sing Sgt. Pepper without an accent?

Wait, I’m not done about that song. I had to hear it over and over while I was listing the Covercraft tour itinerary below. Listening to Sungazer made my ears want to stare into the sun until they went dumb, blind and deaf.

I know, it’s not all about canon and series history, but I’m talking about missed opportunity. When The Simpsons throw out their past in order to throw up a new episode they lose half their joke arsenal, making fun of themselves. Only The Simpsons can draw on The Simpsons. They can be referenced by other shows but other shows don’t live in their universe and share their history. That self-mockery is important. How come Lisa says finally another musician in the family when she’s never appreciated it before? How does Homer, who has proclaimed the Starland Vocal Band as cool, know enough post-Peter Gabriel Genesis to almost delve into Phil Collins’ Brand X prog repertoire? He didn’t, but he could have. I was envious. Not jealous.

The sight gags were good. The bass rumbling the Simpsons family through dinner and into dessert was a giggle. Fans spelling out Apu Nahasapeemapetilon on their chests across an entire row of seats, equally larfable. All musicians wish it were that easy to break down their equipment. Just seeing Sammy Hagar next to John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison had me rolling.

“Covercraft” was written by Matt Selman. The Simpsons stars Dan Castellaneta as Homer Simpson, Julie Kavner as Marge Simpson, Nancy Cartwright as Bart Simpson, Yeardley Smith as Lisa Simpson. Hank Azaria plays Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Moe Szyslak. Harry Shearer as Rev. Lovejoy. Guest stars: Sammy Hagar as Himself, and Will Forte as King Toot.

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But It All Went By So Fast: Sammy Haggar has a harmonica in the jail cell, Toots throws a harmonica into a dumpster in the opening scene. Sprawl Mart, still not a parody of Wal Mart. Just Linens Etc. Toys B This Babies B This. Pets and Lamps. Guitar Central, where dreams become purchases. Stacko A Game of Stacks. Zerz America’s all-appetizer restaurant, how can the concept possibly fail? Try our new entrée-sized ‘Zerz! Rock Light Gels, Feel the Tint. Cabbage toss. Caramel cabbages. Bumper cabbages. Live at the Cabbage Shell. The Saurkraut Festival, Springfield Policeman’s Ball, The Purple Cabbage Festival, Sideshow Mel’s 45th Birthday Party, The Kimchi Festival. “Don’t Text and Drive” School Dance. The Savoy Cabbage Festival.

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2.5 out of 5