The Simpsons: The Town Review

The third ball drops for Homer and the family might leave Springfield in the gutter.

The Simpsons: Season 28 Episode 3

This The Simpsons review contains spoilers.

The Simpsons visit Boston in “The Town” in this season’s Hatecation, but they don’t get run out by the Southies. They get guttberalled by the colleges, the learning and the history. They come looking for the gangs in The Departed and find civic lessons with dried macaroni and pipecleaners from Doris Kearns Goodwin. Beantown has the promise of being Bartown, but the delivery Lisatown.

Pot pies know who they’re for, but baseball caps have to fit more than a bald man’s dome. The episode begins with a diatribe on the cheatingest gamesters of New England. From the magnetized coin-tosses through the fattening of cheerleaders to the browning of their volleyballs, their trophies are less for winning than traversing loss. Sure, they pulled off a prank so great, the Boston Tea Party, that a whole nation was formed. It comes out that Boston teams only win because their methods of cheating are the most inventive. Any rule is in play in Boston. They also have a quarterback who thinks he‘s so damned handsome just because he’s drop dead gorgeous sexily going back for the pass.

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Bart starts rooting for the out-of-towners, to his father’s shame. Springfield’s Isotopes have been a town tradition since 2003 when they were stolen from Portland and their red and white uniform colors are dyed in the hearts of the town. But Bart has a desire to break out of the losing rut he’s been in and no amount of hat shaming is going to change that. Not while there are gangs of ruffians rustling around on the South Side of Boston and hooligans in Fenway Park.

Homer can’t disown his son just for rooting against the home team, not when he’s already forgiven him for so much worse so he has to lead by example. Homer will save The Simpsons even if he has to drag them straight to hell. But the family finds that those clam gargling tea tossers actually have the towniest townies of any town.

The family’s Hatecation is part of a new American trend, like hate voting, but the Simpsons have long known that there is nothing like the delicious rage that comes from attacking the unfamiliar just because it is unfamiliar. But while high hopes usually make the hate stronger, in this case, The Simpsons are no match for the cradle of liberty.

It all starts to crumble when Lisa notices that between the campuses and the parks, Boston is a hospitable environment for every species of nerd. A long-time University town, every need Lisa might have to really get ahead in life. With her liberal leanings and learned, that’s pronounced “lernd,” aspirations, the middle child would be free to thrive. Homer’s self-inflicted health woes would be paid for by the hardworking taxpayers’, about a quarter of which are doctors anyway, dollars. Marge can finally avail herself to the culture she’s so steadfastly visualized only peripherally. Think about it, Boston has a Sympony and a Pops.

The Simpsons may have as much a chance to do as well in Boston as they did in Cypress Creek from the Season 8 episode “You Only Move Twice.” Homer not only is good at his job, and not only do his inevitable screw-ups not threaten life, but he is no threat to the 59th Street Bridge, like under Scorpio, only sweet, sweet candy.But it’s the third ball in candlestick bowling that tips the scale for Homer. Well, that and the Boston Cream Pie, which is actually cake, but very good for cake.

But Bart is the most important part of the family and his needs are the family’s needs. He may have started the ball rolling by wearing the Boston cap, but at heart he is a Springfieldian and the reason The Simpsons will never relocate. Lisa will some day leave the town. Marge might move in near by, but Bart and Homer are locked in Springfield.

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City episodes of The Simpsons are always a mixed bag. Except of course, for Bart’s first trip to France. The family has visited New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, Beverly Hills, Australia, China, Italy, England, Cuba and made a few trips to outer space.  They usually clash with the local décor, sometimes to the point where they need a big booted kick to the ass.

In each city the Simpsons visit, they encounter the worst the towns have to offer, even if it’s their best. While it’s good to get out of Springfield once in a while, the Simpson family needs their neighborinial support. The Simpsons need the Principal Skinners, Burns and Smithers, Krusty the Clown and even an occasional Capital City Goofball. Flappy the Flag just doesn’t cut it, even if he is listed on the roster and scores. We get glimpses of The Flanderses and a line or two from a rifle-toting Moe, Apu and Sideshow Mel, but not enough, and we realize how much the show needs their regular irregulars. Oh, and did anyone else notice how different Lenny’s voice sounded?

Ultimately the Simpsons are limited by who they are, not where they’re from. But they still take Springfield with them wherever they go.

“The Town” was written by Dave King and directed by Rob Oliver. The Simpsons stars Dan Castellaneta as Homer Simpson, Julie Kavner as Marge Simpson, Nancy Cartwright as Bart Simpson, Yeardley Smith as Lisa Simpson. Hank Azaria plays Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy and Moe. Harry Shearer is Mr. C. Montgomery Burns and Waylon Smithers. Guest stars Rachel Dratch as Doctor, Bill Burr as Townie, Dana Gould as Murphy and Doris Kearns Goodwin as herself.

Chalkboard: There was no chalkboard tonight, which some of you might find disapponting. But remember this, the longer they spend on couch gags and opening segments, the less time they have for the episode proper. Usually this is a good thing, but as this is n out of town episode, the chemistry is different.

But It All Went By So Fast: Frosty Krusty Os – Have you eaten too much Krusty Os? Try this Amazing Maze. Start – Finish. Finest British Tea. Lawful Seafood Restaurant. If it isn’t fresh it isn’t lawful. Beantown Bobblers. Boston’s Best Bobbleheads. Dukakis Eyebrows. Noam Chomsky’s Grinders and Frappes. Welcome to Er, Ah, Quimby, Mass., City of Mayors. Bulgers Bowl-O-Rama Candlepin Bowlers. Yankees Suck Candlestick lanes. Paddy O’Murphigans Irish Pub and Candlepin Lanes. Taxichussettes Candlepin Lanes and Accountants. Just Huck It already Candlepin Lanes. The Lanes of Eddie Coyle. Lakers Suck Candlepin Lanes. Jordan’s Furniture and Motel. Free Neon No ESPN. NEKCO, New England Kandy Company. Today’s Lunch: Fenway Franks, ID Garden Salad, Gilette-O-Fish. Steven Tyler was in the crowd when Homer split his hat.

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3 out of 5