The Simpsons: Season 28 Episode 8
This The Simpsons review contains spoilers.
Chores, is there nothing that will get them done? Finally, there is an app for that. The Simpsons‘ season 28, episode 8 “Dad Behavior” starts misbehaving right away, messing with the opening couch gag. Everything goes bad for everyone in the family except Bart, who only loses a skateboard. Well, he still has it, but it’s broken in half, so I suppose he loses his family, but he finally gets the remote. At first, I worried at the strong opening gag, because of my long-standing theory that the more involved the couch gag, the more inferior the episode. But not this time. It may be because the gag doesn’t run long, but it isn’t trying to cover anything. The episode is very funny, very clever and ends on a classic sequence.
The episode opens with Homer watching a DVD of the best of college football mascot wars, which turns out to be very exciting actually. Especially the part where one mascot’s head pops off and we see there’s a person under it. Who would have thunk? Not Homer, obviously surprised at the mascots’ long-time masked charade. Homer should know this, of course, having once been a mascot himself and hanging with the Capitol City Goofball himself. But luckily, he’s never learned and if he has, he’s never retained.
Almost given the choice between all the carpentry needs in the house or taking Bart to the mall, Homer is chored with putting together all the Ikea bric a brac, which he is far more skilled at than Millhouse’s father is with block of bricks. He has an epiphany which, happily for The Simpsons, reveals itself in song. “I’m a fool to do my dirty work,” paraphrased off of the early hit by Steely Dan, who recently appeared in a drug-free concert in Springfield. “I can hire all these dirty jerks for free,” Homer continues, laying out the premise and ultimately the denouement in one quick ad-lib.
Although The Simpsons play out the family jealousies a lot, this one kept it fresh. As fresh as a day at the aquarium with Bigger Brothers, learning to kick an opponent in the nuts. Millhouse and his dad have also been bonding in the past few episodes, and really, maybe they should spend some time apart. Absentee fathering works in a lot of cases. The “Milk Dud” nickname for Millhouse is new, but if it sounds familiar, it’s because he looks just like the dud on the old Mystery Date board games.
Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart runs this into the end zone. He is very funny, self-deprecating and really, has the best lines of the night: “I misspelled my name. That makes it worth more” and “How would you like it if the other team let you win all the time? “That would have been really great.” It’s funny because it’s true.
Homer leaves Abe alone for six months and what happens? The old coot gets slapped with paternity. He wasted his whole life on one paternity: Homer and he’s too old to get straddled with another. It’s all the damned easy old people dating on the internet, I tells ya, it’s got all the Jaspers and Molemen reaching for blue pills. Abe of course does the right thing, he plans to abandon the kid. But loses his sense in a pang of generational identity. Men of his age don’t change diapers, watch deliveries or talk to their kids until they’re drafted. They were the sweet peas in their own pappies’ eyes and if they did wrong they could be hurled into the sun and it wasn’t called child abuse.
The first segment was completely perfect. Every joke lands. The animators are really taking care of the smaller details. The Simpsons had been lagging on layering on all these multiple background gags for years. This season has been filthy with them. Most of them clean, of course, unless you are grossed out by the quick snip of Homer’s nostril hairs.
Music is very important on The Simpsons. The theme is a classic, and most of their parodies are spot on. But it’s the incidental music that makes it. Tonight’s highlight was the rising orchestral tension in the scene where Abe finds out about the baby’s lineage. The music builds on Abe’s face, the mother’s face and lingers on Jasper’s beard. Thrilling. Chilling. Ultimately freeing.
The Allen Wrench recurring gag was perfect. I was sad to learn that stolen Itchy and Scratchy golf carts are taken out of the theme park workers’ pay, but it never gets old. The hostage negotiator sequence began as clever but it move to pure brilliance in the coda to the show. Maggie outmaneuvering the FBI vet out of a helicopter is a brilliant ploy.
I think this is the beginning of a beautiful unhealthy dependency.
“Dad Behavior ” was written by Ryan Koh Tilden and directed by Steven Dean Moore. The Simpsons stars Dan Castellaneta as Homer and Abe Simpson, Julie Kavner as Marge Simpson, Nancy Cartwright as Bart Simpson, Yeardley Smith as Lisa Simpson. Hank Azaria plays Chief Wiggum and Moe. Harry Shearer is Kirk Van Houten, Kent Brockman, C. Montgomery Burns and Waylon Smithers. The special guests are Dan Fouts and Matt Leinart.
Chalkboard: I will watch all 600 episodes without sleeping. (Boy, they’re not going to let us forget that for a while.)
But It All Went By So Fast: Costington’s Open Thanksgiving. Celebrate your holiday by ruin others’. Shamrock Spice: Thanks for a great two weeks. Itchy and Scratchy’s Hungry 500. Fat-Ass Cars. Skinny-Ass Cars.