The Simpsons: Season 28 Episode 8
This The Simpsons review contains spoilers.
The Simpsons‘ season 28, episode 9 “The Last Traction Hero” teaches that the one thing a know-it-all doesn’t know is that everyone hates a know-it-all.
Life at the Springfield nuclear plant is fraught with danger. Forget the radioactive particles that are slowly shrinking the seminal energies out of the quickly shrinking testicles. The workers live at the whim of their boss, C. Montgomery Burns. The richest man in Springfield and a founding member of the ancient Knights of St. Caucasian, can take away their livelihoods, their hopes and dreams, knee-caps, hub-caps or their very lives. Hell, he even took away the sun and apparently, fed on the town’s beloved rare panda.
But the pièce de résistance in Burns’ arsenal of forced compliance is his trap-door. The trap door has gotten a lot of attention this season. The Simpson family even complemented Mr. Burns on its harrowing features in the opening. But the poor thing has fallen into disrepair and bringing it up to code is not on the annual budget. He already skipped the whole handicapped-accessible regulation thing by barring employment to the disabled. Subpoenas are being printed as we speak.
Luckily, Homer takes a fall. He lands, not only in the soft assuring fossilization of concrete, he may bounce into a bounty of riches. Homer can live out the working man’s dream. Getting hurt on the job while living like Mr. Big Stuff and being able to sue the boss. He also falls into the nightmare of a wayward husband waylaid into spending more time with his adoring wife. “More time together? Only a fool would admit otherwise,” he grins through falser teeth than Grandpa’s. Marge, we love you and you really do forgive a lot, but the things that excite you make our brains bleed just to give us something to do.
You would think Homer could use the distractions. The doctor told him it will be another three months before he can scratch his ass and six before he can really go nuts. But Marge even bakes all the sex out of the promise from a puzzling a puzzling Black and White movie flashback, complete with a blonde femme fatale. When Homer had his jaw wired a few seasons ago, he learned to listen, becoming a perfect father, son, and husband. Being able to talk, but being confined to traction and baby mobile lazy Susans, is not spiritually transformative. It’s agonizing.
Thank god for Waylon Smithers. Now that he’s come out of the closet he can be the gay best friend every female character on this show has been waiting for. I can’t wait for him to get an hour with Mrs. Reverend Lovejoy. Oh, the gossip they will share. Of course, Marge and Waylon share their impossible loves. Who but Smithers could so understandingly ask Marge what she sees in her husband? The last thing Smithers’s grandmother saw before she died was Mr. Burns glowering at the time Smithers was wasting at her death bed. He knows what it’s like to live an unrequited life. Homer may requite, but it’s not quite requisite.
Marge and Smithers bond over their shared coping mechanism wisdom, like her wall of “It is what it is” plaques or his “give me the strength” schpiel, which Homer heard at Alcoholics Unanimous, where he was one of many proud tipplers. Not that he’s complaining. If Smithers wasn’t only throwing those liability clause cakes at him, he might actually engage in foreplay conversation.
Meanwhile on the schoolyard, or on the way to the schoolyard, Otto the bus driver, is under new management but they are making the same mistakes. Sure, bullying is down by more than eighty percent, but the stoner in the yellow road sore still has to keep his hands on the wheels. Lisa gets to live her dreams of being a liberal fascist transit authority out of a not-too-distant dystopian future where everyone must fulfill their dreams. You might think this is a little too much responsibility to heap on the shoulders of a six year old. But Lisa is eight and has been eight for over 25 years. Bart is her mindless and headless resistance, when he’s not dropping tarantulas down Homer’s body cast.
But Goya oh boya, this was a fun episode. Quickly now before I think this through but I think this episode is a sight gag dream. It is a true cartoon in the best of the funny animation tradition. Every scene is a perfect strip, every exchange comic. From the Wiki Waka transformation of the presidential office to the skipping rock propulsion of ground tension or the cupcake codicils, every joke lands. Mr. Burn’s cell phone sends skeletal skulls as emojis while Principal Skinner still has those old school windup cell phones. We learn the revelation that Burns was responsible for the devastation in Chernobyl and Groundskeeper Willie loses another shack. Too bad we didn’t get a snapshot. This was an extremely funny episode, if you’re willing to accept a man’s handshake as his word.
“The Last Traction Hero” was written by Bill Odenkirk and directed by Bob Anderson. 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.
But It All Went By So Fast: That’s Bob Fosse in the opening. Carl wears Parking Lot Supervisor, Lenny wears Parking Lot Intern t-shirts. The Big Book of Spats. Danger Hard Hat Area. There is a picture of Moe on Homer’s mobile. Geezer Cancelling Headphones now with coot mute. Begins in F, ends in CK – Father, Good Luck. Foggy Day in Berlin. You’re on my mind, Lenny. Work, school, museum, church, Iraq, elevator plumbing, uneven sidewalk, hit by foul ball, hit by fair ball, Iditarod viewing party. Nerd/Nerd, Bully/Bully, Marxist/Leninist, Millhouse, twin/twin, Goth/Goth, latchkey/latchkey, Special Needs/Special Needs. Tragic School Bus. Bully on Board. Liberty and Justice for Most.