The Simpsons, Season 24, Episode 6: A Tree Grows in Springfield, Review

Soooo, anyone else notice the maybe not-so-conspicuous absence of a Simpsons Thanksgiving episode?

I’m just now realizing that The Simpsons did not have a Thanksgiving episode, although the other Sunday night cartoons did. Perhaps a tribute to Lisa’s vegetarianism? That’s ok with me. We didn’t even have turkey at our Thanksgiving dinner.

And they STILL do not show Marge’s new car in the intro. What’s up with that?At the start of the episode, Homer is dreaming that he’s a baseball star…with Santa as pitcher and food as the announcers and staff. Turns out he’s just sleeping in the hammock and the pipes are leaking as the rain falls. Homer’s usual reaction: Go to Moe’s. Classic avoidance technique.Moe calls in the Duff truck to cheer up Homer, but it’s not working. Even the Duff man gets so depressed, he quits. As Homer leaves, Chief Wiggum is writing a ticket for Homer’s car. The night gets worse when he gets dragged to the school fundraiser. Principal Skinner is in charge of the silent auction, which includes an iPad (oops, sorry!  “MyPad”) up for raffle. Surprisingly, Homer wins! He gets up on stage and says, “Free Tibet!  Free him now!” Heh, heh…”Steve Mobs” helps Homer from beyond the grave…Homer submits, rather than buy from Hewlett Packard. Marge sees the MyPad as more of an “Etch-a-Sketch.” Homer even uses the tablet to seduce Marge…at least, until he gets caught doing an app behind her back…He even plays a game called “Distracted Driver.” In fact, he seems more interested in the tablet than his kids’ actual activities…although the Rosetta Crone translator proves useful when he talks to Burns.Marge tries to get Homer back to the real world by reading to Maggie…but he says, in response to an actual book, “A paper-based read-a-ma-jig?” It ends up in the fire and, shortly after, Homer finds himself falling into a manhole while taking Maggie out for a walk in her stroller. This is very similar to the Springbook episode, where people were reliant on a “social media site,” only this time it accentuates our dependence on handheld, Internet-connected devices. Even Homer is not immune, despite his apparent idiocy.  Homer ends up in the hospital, but the MyPad is fatally wounded, shattered into pieces. Homer prays for a solution and the next day Ned Flanders (of course) shows up, pointing out where the MyPad was buried. “Hope” is written into the side of the tree. Ned thinks it’s a miracle; Homer goes back to Moe’s and drinks to hope. He is even brazen enough to interrupt Reverend Lovejoy’s sermon to show the tree to people in the town.However…Kent Brockman, the newsman, turns up vowing to debunk the myth of the tree. He tries unsuccessfully to bribe people at Moe’s bar. He claims to have footage of someone painting the words on with syrup…Homer says he doesn’t know what to believe anymore, but Marge assures him that the hope he felt was real, and that’s all that matters. It turns out that Homer did it himself…in his sleep. At the very end, God is begging Steve Mobs for time off for his kid’s birthday and Steve says no. Well, shows you who’s boss!  Best of the rest:  Reverend Lovejoy trying to outbid everyone on a building set at the silent auction.  Bart writing on the blackboard, “20 More Shoplifting Days Until Christmas.” Ned Flanders scores with a lady dressed in Native American attire, while Skinner strikes out.Worst:  The end sequence, with all the toys.  What?