The Simpsons, Season 24, Episode 5: Penny-Wiseguys, Review

Steve Carell "guest voices" Dan as he tries to make his local Mafia branch financially stable.

Guest voice:  Steve Carell as Dan

Ok, so the burning question for me has been, will they show Marge’s new car?? It wasn’t in the last episode AT ALL. I need to see it, for some odd reason.

AHHHH the old car is in the intro! Seriously?? Where is the car that caused the baby fight???

Homer is in a new bowling league, with a new member, who gets called to a work emergency mid-throw. Cut to Fat Tony, with his buddies, who needs a temporary replacement, Dan. The mob is losing money…and Dan is the guy who just got called away from bowling, with Homer.

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The Simpson family is at Lisa’s concert, which sucks, except for Lisa’s solo…but she collapses. Groundskeeper Willy is the sub school nurse, who scoops her off the stage with a rake. Lisa sees the doctor, who gives her iron supplements to keep her from fainting.

Dan tries to run the mob, but his “spreadsheets” are met with…consternation. He tries to draw on Godfather references with little success.

Lisa struggles with her iron pills, but the school nurse gives her beetle mush, convincing her that insect parts are in pretty much everything. I guess they’re not considered “vegetarian,” even though Lisa promised Paul McCartney she wouldn’t eat animals.  Interesting…what is considered “vegetarian?” I know a lot of people who don’t think seafood is meat (although seafood is clearly ANIMALS…). Insects?  Who knows…

Dan shows up at Moe’s, looking for job advice. Lisa joins the Insectivore Society. Dan stands his ground on the finances of his little “club” and places limits on the meals at the Italian restaurant, which strikes fear into the hearts of the mafia! No more tortellini? WHAT?? BLASPHEMY!

Lisa starts cultivating her own insects for consumption, only to have the cat accidentally dump a bunch of chemicals into her growing medium. She goes up for dinner, attempting to eat shrimp, but the dog gets to hers before she can have one. Dan tells Fat Tony he has cut expenses by 12 percent and announces a layoff of “staff.” He doesn’t realize this means killing them…oops! Well, this is the mob, after all.

Lisa has a horrible dream about eating insects, which makes her decide to stop. She asks Bart to release her insects. The tank crashes onto the floor; “Free is free,” Bart says and leaves them in the basement.

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Dan goes to Homer to confess what has happened with the mob, asking for help. Homer tries to avoid him (“This is how I get out of doing the dishes,” he whispers…hahaha!) Dan forces Homer to drive him somewhere with a gun…”Say something original!” he demands. So Homer responds with a bunch of gibberish. They end up in the Simpson basement, where Homer ties Dan to a chair, saying he will come back every hour. Grasshoppers start to show up. LOTS of grasshoppers. Dan’s screams coincide with the screams Homer and Bart are watching on TV.  

Homer frees Dan, who pulls a gun, but knows he has time to escape because it will take Homer a while to get up off his knees. Not exactly a shocker there. Dan fires at a mob member in the barbershop. Fat Tony is in court, helping to free Snake. Homer keeps finding Dan (“You really should Tweet less,” Homer says.). Dan finally gives up his gun, which Homer takes…they argue over it and end up holding a loaf of bread. They grab the gun and accidentally shoot Snake at Apu’s store.

Lisa lets the grasshoppers go and they start destroying crops immediately. Dan ends up wielding a gun…at an ear piercing station at the mall. Which is probably safer for everyone…this is the boss from The Office, after all.

It was great to hear Steve Carell as the wimpy Dan and to see him attacked by Lisa’s grasshoppers, which tied the two story lines together and provided an “end of the world,” plague-type reference once they started eating all the crops. Lisa’s consumption of insects isn’t just there to make you squirm about the actual eating of bugs; it calls into question the fine lines people draw to justify certain behaviors, beliefs, diets, etc.  This is one of the reasons I love The Simpsons, and why it has such staying power (it was renewed for its 25th season).  


Dan telling his cronies that they’re going to have to put a horse head in someone’s bed to get the money they need;

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Groundskeeper Willie filling two job roles, presumably because of budget cuts in the school?  

And Homer keeps finding Dan because of Dan’s “tweets.”  Who knew that Homer could figure out Twitter?