The Simpsons has been around for about a quarter of a century and Homer Simpson has gotten to do a lot. He’s eaten potato chips in space. He’s had pork chops in a domed community. George Harrison himself showed him where he got those brownies when he sang first tenor with the B-Sharps. Homer has had donuts in Hell. Hell, Homer was on an alternative earth where it rained donuts. Is there nothing they aren’t good for? Too bad his hair didn’t burn out in a fire that left him in a candy factory.
James Bond may get to live twice, he also gets Shirley Bassey to sing his theme songs, but Homer learns from Millhouse’s dad that YOLO, yeah, I regret I even typed it. He learns it after the weirdo picks up his weirdo kid, who can go straight into the garbage can if he lingers too long. Curt Van Houten is scared of dying, that happens in midlife to people who think they’ve wasted their lives. Not Homer. He’s happy where he is, until Marge tells him where he is. In a cycle that will never ever ever ever ever change. Same job, same car, same house, a disrespectful kid who calls him by his first name and a very short memory. He can listen to his wife when he’s dead. Homer Simpson was also the guy who watched football with Gerald Ford after escaping the worst neighbor in history, not Ned Flanders, though he sounded like him, George Bush.
Homer Simpson is tired of living once.
“You only live once. Or so it seems. No life for yourself and none for your dreams. You work every day. At a job so lame. And every night the ending’s the same. No dream will come true. You only live once”
Luckily Homer’s pen pal from grammar school saved all his unfinished business. All the things Homer wanted to accomplish when he was a kid. All his unfilled dreams, like striking out Jesus in the world series or fighting a Gorn in a recreation of Star Trek’s “The Arena.” Worst recreation ever. It looked like something you could buy for $10 from Comic Book guy.
But mostly the thing the Simpsons wanted to do most was honor June Foray, a legend in the cartoon community, with a cliffhanger commercial break a la the classic not-just-for-kids-kiddy show The Adventures of Bullwinkle and Rocky the Flying Squirrel. We all want to fly like Rocky. I plopped my kids on my heads for hours to the opening of Rocky and Bullwinkle. Simpsons recreations are always first rate and they do (“something something”) Jay Ward proud. Will Homer’s squirrel jump end in “Fat Splat”? or “When You Squish Upon a Car”?
Kent Brockman introduces Gotcha Journalism to Springfield in a segment I like to call “Cheater Cheater Booger Eater.” It seems every kid has been writing the same essay and this conspiracy goes right to the top. Through the middle. The only thing that can save Springfield Elementary from a scandal of this significance is fainting. It worked in Vietnam. Just stay on the floor until somebody comes up with a solution you can call your own. Lisa, as always, comes to the rescue as a kind of moral police. She comes up with an honor code and then subtly manipulates everyone to sign on.
Everyone, of course, but the one person who doesn’t know how to spell honor system. He was sick that day. He has a note. Santa’s Helper ate it, but he had it. It is revealed that Bart really is as smart, or something, as Lisa. He just chooses to put his talents to use in other directions because he never wants to become her.
The billboard on the opening credits reads “Santa’s Lap, the line is already forming. Springfield Mall – Never Leave!” and Bart writes “My school schedule does not include a bye week,” on the blackboard. Homer yells “not again” before the Simpsons couch is the only thing between them and a zero gravity pull strong enough to lift Homer. The sign on the PTA meeting reads, “Today’s Topics: Cheating Epidemic, skorts vs jeggings.” The infallible Pope tweets “@PONTIFEX Honor Thy Father + check out this epic votive candle fail!” Bart’s entry in the detention quilt reads “I will not drop a stitch.
“YOLO” was written by Michael Nobori.
Marcia Wallace had a few lines in this episode as Edna Krebappel has not yet been retired. Jon Lovitz put in a cameo as Llewelyn Sinclair, Springfield’s director at large.Now can I be given morphine forever?