Thursday, November 16, 2017

22 Short Pieces About Springfield: Number Twenty-Four - “Three weeks?! This has got to be some kind of record!"

Season 20, Episode 19
Waverly Hills, 9-0-2-1-D'oh”
First Broadcast:
May 3, 2009

Image result for Waverly Hills, 9-0-2-1-D'oh quotes
Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Simpsons Wikia.


Marge finally realises what the audience have taken for granted for twenty seasons – Springfield Elementary School is a complete dump, and her children will be forever damaged by their time there.  In an attempt to get them a better education, Homer and Marge rent a tiny, overpriced apartment in Waverly Hills, to give them a foothold in a much better school district.

Bart establishes his reputation as a bad boy early on, whilst Lisa makes friends only through lying about a connection to singer Alaska Nebraska – but you can ignore all that for a bit, as the impending arrival of a school inspector forces Homer to move into the apartment, reverting instantly to a bachelor lifestyle with his college-aged friends.

His new set-up unexpectedly rekindles his relationship with Marge, as both act like newly-dating singles – until Marge moves in, harshing Homer’s buzz.  Having survived the visit of the apparently homicidal school inspector, it’s all rendered redundant as Bart and Lisa both have issues at their new school and the family returns to their old home, albeit with Homer and Marge annexing Bart’s treehouse to act as their new love nest.


The school inspector, apparently based on a hitman from “No Country For Old Men”, and his hope to kill Homer and Marge and make it look like suicide.  I bet Channel 4 cut that one out.

Image result for Waverly Hills, 9-0-2-1-D'oh quotes
Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Simpsons Wikia.
Chief Wiggum’s adapted Miranda reading.

The college boys’ disastrous hook-up with Patty and Selma.


Weezer revisit their peppy hit “Beverly Hills” here, replete with obvious re-lyricing.  But here’s the original, which unfortunately doesn’t include the killer line “get education fraudulently”:


Hm…  Not a lot to play with here.  Bart and Lisa have switched schools before, notably in "You Only Move Twice" and the military school in "The Secret War Of Lisa Simpson" plus in later seasons we have Bart's move to a Catholic school in Season Sixteen's "The Father, The Son And The Holy Guest Star", and Lisa's move to a school for the "academically gifted and troublesome" at the end of "The President Wore Pearls"...  Yep, I'm out.  That's one of the troubles with later episodes - they're yet to have a legacy.


Let me open with a negative: in revisiting this I’ve noticed that the Hannah Montana references are going to age this episode horrendously – not only is it a reference to a flash in the pan, but Miley Cyrus doesn’t even do the voice, it’s Ellen Page.  The whole thing risks being utterly impenetrable in a few years’ time, and does sum up a problem with later offerings: as with anything that moves to closely chronicle a moment in time, it risks a lack of timelessness.

I stand by its position in my countdown and my heart, though.  It's full of gags, with only Lisa's side of the story sagging, and even then only slightly, otherwise being a relatively on-point skewering of celebrity worship.  Bart's travails in trying to avoid a birthday party he doesn't want to go to are...  Well, they're a lot better than what I just typed makes it sound, anyway.

But the heart and soul of this episode is Marge and Homer's playful rekindling of their romance.  Their shotgun marriage, after a short romance ended in a semi-wanted pregnancy, has endured season after season of adversity; they've made it work for the greater good, and it's always nice when they get a break from that and remember why they loved each other in the first place.

It makes this deeply cynical soul feel warm inside, at a time when I am closer than ever to believing in love eternal, and as cool as it is to be stony-hearted, I need that every so often.

Join us next time as we hit number twenty-three, and to celebrate: we’re having ribs.

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