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The Simpsons

The Simpsons is an animated comedy about a family in the fictional town of Springfield. The family is made up of selfish father Homer, fretting mother Marge, precocious daughter Lisa, rebellious son Bart and silent daughter Maggie. FOX 1989-???


Episode 3 - When Flanders Failed

23 February 2012


Synopsis: Grudgingly Homer attends Ned Flanders' barbecue where he announces he is quitting his job and opening a store for left handed people. He and Homer split a wish bone and Homer wishes for his business to fail. Soon the wish begins to come true and Flanders becomes desperate. Meanwhile Marge encourages Bart to do more exercise and he chooses to take karate lessons.

The Good: Picking up on Homer's petty jealousy of his neighbour (206) this story takes those feelings to their logical extreme. Homer wishes that Flanders will fail to make himself feel better about his own lack of success in life. Not only is that the epitome of the shameful joy of which Lisa speaks but it leads to Homer fleecing Flanders in his hour of need turning Homer into a first class jerk. Of course his conscience kicks in when his wish comes true and he does the right thing and saves Flanders' store. A nice subtle joke comes when Homer weeps over his guilt and dries his tears with one of Ned's monogrammed handkerchiefs.

Bart's laziness is well characterised as he skips out on karate the second it seems like hard work and spends his money on video games and junk food.

The Bad: This episode was actually written during season two and it certainly feels more like a straight morality play with very little satire peeking through the cracks. The story is utterly predictable, lacks many good gags and leans heavily on It's a Wonderful Life for its conclusion.

The moral of Bart's story is a slight misstep. Karate wouldn't teach a ten year old how to defeat three older boys in a fight. Even with studious training he would have still got his ass kicked.

Best Joke: Akira, the karate teacher, runs through many a stereotype gag in the commercial for his school. These continue as Bart realises the class isn't for him. I did smile at the culmination of this when Bart asked if he could go to the bathroom and Akira replied "You can if you believe you can!"

The Bottom Line: As straightforward a morality play as you will see.



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