The Simpsons, Season 24, Episode 9: Homer Goes to Prep School, Review

The apocalypse is nigh in Springfield and Homer is prepping, with the rest of his dooms-dayers . . .

Homer in prep school? I know what you’re thinking. He’s too old. And stupid. But it’s not THAT kind of prep school…

The couch gag (hooray, it’s back!) has the family made up as various awards statues that are crushed into one “World’s Best Grandpa” award for Abe.

Homer and Marge are taking the kids to “Smart Tykes” to play in the “Learn Zone,” although there’s very little learning going on (and a lot of trampolining instead). The kids have to wear “anti-kidnapping bracelets,” but Homer just laughs and asks (in regard to Bart) “Is this a kid YOU’D pay ransom for?” He briefly loses track of Bart and Lisa, finding their primitive animated counterparts at first, until he climbs up the tallest structure, finds the kids, then gets shot down with pink rubber ball guns.

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When achild escapes, the Learn Zone goes into lockdown. Marge tries to keep the peace among the women, while the men are going ballistic. Homer ends up being beaten up, envisioning his attackers as savage apes. He is so traumatized that he takes eight months off work and still sees apes when he tries to go back. Homer goes to his usual haunt, Moe’s and meets a doomsday prepper who says that “anarchy lurks around every corner” and shows Homer a video about the importance of getting ready for the collapse of society. “America can’t collapse,” Homer argues. “We’re as powerful as ancient Rome!”

Homer is allowed to meet up with a group of preppers (that he mistakes for “preppies”) and is allowed in as long as he keeps his prepping a secret. Of course, we all know how well Homer keeps secrets…Lisa catches him reading a book about the end of the world and Bart asks if they’re going camping when Homer starts gathering survival equipment and squirrelling food away in the basement. Bart and Homer watch end-of-the-world movies; soon after, Homer gets a set of keys to the survival cabin. He’s touched until he asks if they are just letting so they can use his fat to make candles later…which they were planning…but anyway…

An EMP (electromagnetic pulse) knocks out power in Springfield and the preppers think it’s the beginning of the apocalypse, so Homer takes his family to the cabin. Groundskeeper Willy can’t shave, Disco Stu can’t dance…maybe civilization IS falling apart! Homer tells Bart to say goodbye to Milhouse forever (which Bart takes almost too casually). Marge is concerned about everyone they left behind, saying that it’s not Christian to turn their backs on their friends, to which Homer responds, “If Jesus had a gun, he’d be alive today.” When they return to Springfield with supplies, dodging the preppers who are pursuing them, they find that the power was only out for a few days and everything is fine. Even the zoo animals weren’t eaten…although Chief Wiggum is seen chomping on a zebra leg.

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Final review:
As Lisa states near the end, she is glad that there is an imperfect but peaceful civilization as opposed to the savagery of starting a new one. Again, The Simpsons is keeping with the times (well, ok, it’s been a while since the apocalypse was supposed to happen in December) in that they are mocking America’s dependence on electronic devices and our overreaction to potential disasters. Surprisingly, there is no Montgomery Burns section at the end of the episode. I would have liked to hear his take on the failed end of the world.

Best quotes:
“The Mormon Church…America’s most respectable cult!”

Marge telling Homer, “You can’t keep secrets from your wife!”  And Homer complaining that it’s waaaaay too late in the marriage to tell him that.