Episode 14 - Brother From the Same Planet
28 June 2011
Synopsis: Homer forgets to pick up Bart from soccer practice and Bart is furious. He pretends he has no father to secure the services of a "Big Brother" in the form of all-round great guy Tom. Homer finds out and seeks revenge by taking on a little brother himself in the form of Pepe. Meanwhile Lisa has become addicted to a hotline where she can hear the voice of heartthrob Corey.
The Good: The plots were solid if predictable. Homer's absentee parenting finally gets him into trouble with Bart because for once he needed his Dad's help. Just like his son, Homer was full of bad excuses and tried to wriggle out of being blamed for anything. Bart's decision to seek out a Big Brother was clever and it was nice to see him show some guilt over his deception. Homer's "revenge" was petty and humorously futile. By spending so much time with Pepe he actually proved Bart's point that he was perfectly capable of making an effort with his children.
The Lisa story was interesting because we saw the innocent girlie side of her. We spend so much time seeing her precocious intelligence that it was a nice change to see her having a crush on a celebrity. The escalation of her addiction was nicely handled as she obediently stopped calling from home but then stumbled upon new sources of temptation. The "Corey Hotline" was suitably satirised as a corporate money spinner.
The Bad: However neither storyline was especially funny or satisfying. Lisa overcame her addiction just fine but without any particular revelation. Similarly Homer and Bart suffered no particular consequence for their bad behaviour. The long fight scene between Homer and Tom was pretty silly and involved several impossibilities of physics which I could happily do without. In a couple of scenes Bart and Homer's bickering was written to make it sound like they were lovers quarrelling which was more weird than funny.
In one shot of Homer neglecting his responsibilities he had moved from the couch watching TV to someone's room watching TV while sitting on a bean bag. It looks like he is in Bart's room in fact. I didn't think Bart had a TV nor was there any particular reason for Homer to have moved. Maybe it was a reference to something but if not it was an odd moment.
Best Joke: During the long fight scene Homer used some star fish like throwing stars and hurled them at Tom. Tom, caring guy that he is, carefully caught them and popped them back into an aquarium tank. Suddenly a shark swam past and swallowed them. It was an unexpected and typically cynical gag.
The Bottom Line: Something of a flat episode. The stories were fine but the jokes never got going.
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