Episode 9 - Holidays of Future Passed
13 December 2011
Synopsis: At Christmas time we get a peek into a future year where Lisa and Bart both have children and question their parenting skills. Lisa and Milhouse's daughter Zia is distant and Lisa wants to interfere. Bart's children live with their mother and see him as a deadbeat. They both head home for Christmas and realise that Homer and Marge did a better job than they thought.
The Good: If you don't care about story and just want a lot of jokes then this episode is for you. I don't mean that quite as dismissively as it sounds. This was like one of the Family Guy Star Wars parodies. Twenty seasons of regular Simpsons made for good source material to have a whole episode set in the future, filled with gags about what happened to the characters we know so well. We have seen the future before of course (619, 1117, 1615) but this story toured the town pretty thoroughly for silly ideas.
A bunch of those ideas worked ok. The vision of the future owed plenty to Futurama with cryogenic freezing, holograms, aliens and dystopia living alongside utopia depending on the neighbourhood. I smiled at Homer reminiscing about "Blood" Prince Harry who brought back beheadings. The way Lisa's daughter plugged herself into the internet felt amusingly plausible. As did Kearney (now a taxi driver) yelling "Computer, Hospital" and his cab driving to the "Computer Hospital."
The future of our characters had its moments too with Homer clean and sober, Krusty old and bitter, Ned cheerfully telling us that Homer accidentally killed Edna or Apu's eight adult children helping him fight off Snake. Some of the sillier jokes were pretty solid even if just for the novelty as we see Lenny and Carl switching bodies, Ralph getting cloned or Milhouse spending Christmas under Sharia Law. I did laugh on a few occasions too including Moe not being able to update his bar because it always a crime scene and the simplicity of Bart laughing at Lisa when she admits to being a bad parent.
The Bad: The actual story was pretty thin. The idea that Bart and Lisa would fret about their parenting and realise that Homer and Marge did a pretty good job should have written itself. But instead the endless stream of jokes got in the way. We also had the story of Maggie about to give birth and travelling home (without being able to talk) which took up time as well. In the end neither Bart nor Lisa really did anything to improve their parenting but were naturally forgiven anyway to force a happy ending on proceedings.
Some of the jokes went too far of course. The dystopian future of flying was kind of funny until the crew shot a man. The revelation that trees are sentient and could talk was totally unnecessary. Using a dummy to help Maggie get through child birth felt foolish in its pandering.
Best Joke: Probably the "Computer Hospital" bit as everything about that seemed entirely believable.
The Bottom Line: I enjoyed this less than I imagine most people will. There were certainly a lot of jokes to enjoy and some of them I really did appreciate.
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