Episode 9 - Saturdays of Thunder
28 December 2010
Synopsis: Homer is busy ignoring all his children as Bart tries to build a soap-box derby racer. Marge encourages Homer to be a better father and he helps Bart build his racer. Their racer is a failure and is trounced by both Martin and Nelson's cars. However Martin is injured and asks Bart to race in his car.
The Good: After a Homer-Lisa parenting story we get a similar tale about Bart. Again the writing does a good job of showing us what motivates Homer and why he ignores his family in favour of the TV. The story is better paced than last week's episode with more time showing Homer and Bart bonding before Bart heads off to work with Martin. Homer comes to his senses at the last minute (the use of the fatherhood quiz was clever) and rushes to the race to support his son.
Actual jokes were in short supply though I did enjoy Martin pricking the bubble of Simpson's joy by pointing out that "I did design that racer, the driver is essentially ballast."
The Bad: The lack of jokes hurt this as did its proximity to "Lisa's Pony", making Homer's bad parenting too familiar a theme.
Best Joke: Martin is trying to gee Bart up before the race but he is not focussed. He explains "It's my Dad, lying there on the couch, drinking a beer, staring at the TV. I've never seen him like that." It's a particularly clever line because it does make sense from Bart's point of view, having never seen his father so hurt by him before.
The Bottom Line: Another solid parenthood story, a little familiar though.
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