Episode 10 - Flaming Moe's
29 December 2010
Synopsis: Homer shows Moe a strange cocktail he once invented. Moe steals the idea calling it a "Flaming Moe" and suddenly his bar becomes the hottest in town. Local elites and celebrities are there every night and Homer becomes increasingly angry about the success Moe is having because of his drink.
The Good: This is a memorable episode for many reasons. It's our first proper look at Moe Szyslak who certainly lives up to his reputation as a sleazy bartender. Not only does he steal Homer's drink but he lecherously hits on his new waitress from the moment he meets her. His conscience forces him to do the right thing by Homer and even after Homer blows the whole thing he doesn't hold a grudge, accepting that he sowed the seeds of his own demise.
It's a different kind of story too. So far we have seen a lot of stories surrounding Homer's failures and the Simpson family dynamic. This feels like the first time we fully depart from that and focus on one of the Springfield residents who isn't related to the family. It's a breath of fresh air and shows off Springfield's characters in a different light. We see Quimby, Krusty and Kent Brockman all keen to be seen at the new cool place to be and Mrs Krabappel chasing men and booze.
The fresh setting allows the writers to go parody crazy too referencing Cocktail, The Phantom of the Opera and The Nutty Professor along with the most memorable of all: Cheers. The parody of the famous Cheers theme tune is brilliantly executed with appropriate new lyrics and images and Barney taking on Norm's role as barfly. For the first time Bart's crank call goes wrong as the very polite "Hugh Jass" answers the phone when Moe calls out his name. We also get the first band to appear on the show as Aerosmith become one of Moe's more famous patrons.
The story was well told with Moe's success gradually building along with Homer's misery. I particularly liked Homer's attempt to find another bar to go have a beer in. He finds an even worse dive than Moe's where the owner taunts him for requesting a clean glass. It was a nice gag and established another important aspect of the loss Homer had suffered. The use of the waitress to trigger Moe's conscience was fine too, again showing the benefits he had accrued from Homer's drink.
The opening sequence with Lisa's slumber party having negative effects for Bart, Maggie and Homer was pretty funny (see Best Joke).
The Bad: The relentless parodies mean the episode doesn't produce that many good gags of its own.
Best Joke: Amongst the girly games which Lisa and her friends play is one where they drip candle wax into a bowl of water. Whatever shape the wax forms indicated their future husbands job. The first piece of wax looks like a mop leading Wanda to worry that her husband will be a janitor. Lisa uses her imagination to argue that perhaps it's actually a torch, an Olympic torch and that her husband could be an athlete. The next piece of wax looks like a dustpan leading to more wails and this time Lisa solemnly says "the wax never lies."
The Bottom Line: This is an enjoyable episode with a memorable story. It's one of the first transformation stories where a character goes from hero to zero in one episode.
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