19 September 2013

The Long Halloween Vol. IV: Simpsons Edition - Talk Like a Pirate Day

We're at the end of a very long rope. For the past four years for some reason, Norwegian Morning Wood has paired the greatest Holidays of each month with the most appropriate food, movies, and TV specials to watch and enjoy. When we (quickly) ran out of mainstream holidays, we opted for super-obscure moments like Hermit Day and Puzzle Day. After that, we just ran through The Simpsons. Starring with Halloween, we've explored the following episodes:

October - Hurricane Sandy: "Hurricane Neddy" (S8;E8)
October - Halloween: Treehouse of Horror Ranking
November - Thanksgiving: "Bart vs. Thanksgiving" (S2;E7)
December - Christmas: "Marge Be Not Proud" (S7;E11)
January - New Year's Day: "Itchy & Scratchy Land" (S6;E4), "Trouble with Trillions" (S9;E20), "Treehouse of Horror X" (S11;E4)
February - Valentine's Day: "I Love Lisa" (S4;E15)
March - St. Patty's Day: "Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment" (S8;E18)
April - April Fool's Day: "So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show" (S4;E18)
April - Spring Break: "Bart on the Road" (S7;E20)
May -  Whacking Day: "Whacking Day" (S4;E20)
June - Flag Day: "Much Apu About Nothing" (S7;E23)"
July - Independence Day: "Summer of 4 ft 2" (S7;E25)
August - Roman Holiday: "Stark Raving Dad" (S3;E1), "Grade School Confidential" (S8;E19), "Rosebud" (S5;E44)
September - Talk Like a Pirate Day: "The Mansion Family" (S11;E12)

So yes, on two months we covered multiple Holidays / Episodes, including a Hurricane. Despite this, we ignored "Mother Simpson" (S7;E8) for Mother's Day. Or "Grandpa vs. Sexual Inadequacy" (S6;E10) for Father's Day. There were also a few months where multiple episodes fit the theme and others where we really just ran with the first thought that came into our heads. The whole list is admittedly wacky. And we certainly didn't set out to bring in half the episodes from either Seasons 4 or 7.
Oh yeah, and Britney Spears
is in this episode for no reason

So today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. For that reason we're highlighting a small part of the Season 11 episode, "The Mansion Family," where Homer, Bart, and a gaggle of male Springfield partiers are captured by Chinese Pirates on the High Seas. "The Mansion Family" is very much one of those episodes that showed up more in Seasons 11 and 12 that signaled a transition in the humour style of The Simpsons. The jokes come fast and super-nutty, often without much context or ramification. It's the Family Guy-ification of the show. There are still some high spots, though.

In general, the high spots come from this rapid-fire plot progression. Instead of a convoluted path to inheriting Burns' mansion, Burns handpicks Homer as that "bumbling idiot that screws everything up all the time" because Burns figures he's due to succeed. There's also a monkey knife fight ("Oh ho! He ain't pretty no more!" "Furious George!"), Tyson v. Secretariat ("Slaughter in the Water"), and Homer riding around drunk on a lawnmower though the halls of Burns' mansion.

A lot of the goofiness comes from the family adapting to Burns' Manor ("I believe you use that fork to scratch your arse."). From the mysterious guy in the safe that Bart Cracks to the innocuous Triceratops Head on the wall, the house is full of craziness that flies by rapidly. Looking back, it's still pretty funny, but it's certainly a shift away from the high concept years of Seasons 6 - 8 and the heavily character and family based years of 1 - 5.

On the other side we see Burns getting checked out at the Mayo Clinic and just how sick he is. My personal favourite moment comes real fast as he's going up and down this little escalator ("I'm a big boy.") There's just this overall level of weirdness everywhere, including some painful Smithers moments ("Do you know how many eggs it laid in your brain?" "This monkey is going to need most of your skin."). These quotes don't really seem Simpson-esque at first; although they contain the wit of earlier episodes in some cases they're also heavy non sequitors.
Lenny's a heavy favourite.

Oh yeah, the pirates. Homer takes the party out to International Waters so Moe can sell them beer earlier on a Sunday. Naturally, the gang is attacked by Pirates, who are Chinese but sort of dressed like Johnny Depp. This was a bit before Somalian Pirates became all the rage, and it has no real comment on modern piracy other than the perils of being on the bottom of half a big net of people dropped into the ocean.

So that's it. That's The Long Halloween. Forever. We may be highlighting some future great moments, but we'll throw any kind of structure to the wind. From here on out, anything goes. You cared.

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