The Simpsons season finales are never a let-down, they always go out on a funny note and tonight’s episode was no different. Set against the unlikeliest mine for jokes, math.
Lisa, probably the only student in Springfield Elementary, or any elementary school, who would get pumped up over integers, was at the center of Mathlete’s Feat.” The annual Springfield Elementary Mathlympics, where good seats are always available.
Professor Frink, inventor of the frog exaggerator and the 8-month-after pill, is the impartial judge and emcee at both the math contests. He is the resident nerd and presumed genius of the town, in spite of the inventions I just mentioned. He may have moved out of this parents’ basement, but he hasn’t conceived a startup since just after the bubble burst in the 90s.
Krusty the Clown comes on to tell meth jokes. The consummate professional doesn’t need to prepare for appearances. A limo picks him up and drops him off and he reads about what he did later. Krusty has always been a stand-in on The Simpsons for The Simpsons. The lowest common denominator on TV, he manages to lower the entertainment bar even as he is ignored by audiences nationwide.
The Waverly Hills Elementary School is so rich every kid has a laptop. The school can afford self-proclaimed movie genius Michael Bay to make their infomercials. “Quadratic equations are hotter than a million Megan Foxes,” he promises and somehow we believe him and his dancing Rubik Kube Kids. As opposed to Springfield’s poorest, like Nelson who only gets steak when he can spell it out on marshmallows.
The rich kids from the Waverly Hills Elementary No Equals math team slam Lisa and her mathletes, The Action Fractions, so bad the entire school is retrofitted into a high-tech long distance learning system. That lasts less than a segment because of low tech power strips masquerading as surge protectors.
Springfield Elementary overreacts to the new technology, like everything else in Springfield. As soon as the tech comes in they throw the old learning tools, that have served them so well for far too long, out the window. Right on Willie’s head. The new tech also gives them an excuse to burn all the books, something they have wanted to do for a long time. Springfield is America and even classic education is disposable, just remember to empty the trash folder.
Are The Simpsons trying to tell us that progress doesn’t always make things better? Of course they are, Springfield is an old fashioned society with small town values. They only tolerate the Simpson family because of Marge and Lisa. So when Lisa transforms turns Springfield elementary into a learn-by-doing Waldorf school there is no resistance, especially after the teachers learn they would have to even less work, a concept so mind-blowing they had to call in Professor Frink to explain it.
Groundskeeper Willie is a natural savant, not quite a genius, just a savant. He can turn a leaf blower into a jet pack but still measures his sod by the haggis. Willie is uses the ancient Druidic technology of the rumbly scope to compute geometric figures that most kids have to learn at the poolroom, miniature golf course or marble field. Bart shows his dexterity with 45-degree angles with a well-tossed egg (as opposed to an untossed Waldorf salad) and is immediately named captain of the math nerds.
“Mathlete’s Feat”celebrates lowered expectations and I wonder if I have had my expectations systematically lowered by The Simpsons. Harry Shearer left the show and most outlets are reporting it as a money thing. It isn’t. He’s been complaining about the lower quality of The Simpsons since 2004. Tonight’s episode was very funny. I thought it was up there with classic seasons, if not classic episodes, but it could be because it came at the end of lackluster season.
“Mathlete’s Feat” was written by Michael Price and directed by Michael Polcino. The Simpsons stars Dan Castellaneta as Homer Simpson and Groundskeeper Willie, Julie Kavner as Marge Simpson, Nancy Cartwright as Bart Simpson, Yeardley Smith as Lisa Simpson. Hank Azaria plays Professor Frink. Harry Shearer is Ned Flanders. Guest stars: Justin Roiland as Rick Sanchez and Morty Smith.
But It All Went By So Fast: Math Tournament Today: Good seats will always be available. Springfield Elementary: Where Excellence Is In The Dictionary. Noxious pork fumes. A Chalmskinn Production. Waverly Hills Elementary film written and directed by Michael Bay. Written by Alex Kurtsman and Roberto Orci with Shane Black And Diablo Cody. Additional Equations by Stephen Hawking. My other shirt is gold lame. Tenure Is The Night. Flags: Russia, Pirates, Starfleet Federation, Anarchy, Red Sox Nation, Reunite Pangola, Blockoland. Anti-Gutenberg 3000, Temperature 451 Farenheit. Springfield Elementary Server Farm High Voltage. School Electronics Destroyed! Old-Timey Headlines Once Again Necessary. How To Know Higher Worlds. Education Satisfies Peculiar Nerds. Dad Overestimates Hype. Luigi’s Closed for private pizza party. Congratulations Springfield Mathletes No One Is > You.