Bat Signal

Issue 250 – “Batman’s Super-Enemy”

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Last week I got pretty lucky for my first installment of this series. Batman faked his death to beat up some thugs. Pretty good comic. This week though…not as good. Which is weird, since I happened to pull Issue 250, which you would think would be a big, special issue. I don’t know, maybe back in the 50s things were different, but today a nice round number 250 would be celebrated, not relegated to a weird story with some one-hit-wonder villain.

But enough stalling, let’s get to this weird comic. It starts off with a weird looking guy named John Stannar running through the woods, trying to escape from Batman. The setup kind of feels like I should know who Stannar is, but I’m not sure, because some research I had to do later said that this was his one and only appearance. Anyway, Stannar is running through the woods, and comes across a downed alien spaceship. He doesn’t really find this that odd, and start poking around in it, especially after a recorded voice starts telling him that it’s full of cool inventions that aliens sent down to better Earth. But Stannar ignores that nonsense and just steals the gadgets, getting really excited about the one that the recording tells him is a “weapon of pure destruction.” Stannar loads up the gadgets and uses the first one, a machine that will paralyze anyone for an hour, and carjacks some dude driving around. He steals the car and drives off to Gotham, while Batman and Robin find the guy while flying around in their plane. Batman finds the UFO too, and listens to the recording, and once he realizes the gadgets have all been stolen by Stennar, he and Robin race away. But Stennar was waiting for them, and uses the paralyzing ray on them as they fly their plane, hoping it will cause them to crash. But luckily Batman turned on an auto-pilot, so they’re fine.

Stannar then uses a device that will amplify his strength to ridiculous proportions, but only for a few minutes before it needs to recharge. He uses it to break into a prison and free some goons, which draws the attention of Batman and Robin again. But he’s able to throw a damn car at them, which is a pretty good distraction. So Stannar and his goons run off again, and Batman and Robin begin planning what to do next time Stannar shows up. And wouldn’t you know it, another opportunity for Stennar to commit crime shows up when it’s announced that a country singer named Sonny Sims is being given a platinum record, so Batman and Robin head to the ceremony, and just ominously stand behind the guy while he gets his record, waiting for Stannar to show up. But they weren’t planning on another invention called “four-dimensional tongs,” which go through the wall and steal the record. Sure, why not. So Batman and Robin race out, and as Stannar gets ready to use that paralyzing ray again, this happens:

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Damn straight Batman was just able to figure out that copper can mess with the ray, and then make him and Robin some giant copper shields! This makes Stannar panic, so he and his goons just peel out of there, and plan their next heist. Which uses two more inventions, one that makes anything weight nothing, and a magnet that can attract any type of metal. So they use that by removing the gravity from a bank, so it just float there, and then use the magnet to draw all of the gold out. Which isn’t exactly a very subtle plan, so it drawn Batman, Robin, and their crazy copper shields out immediately. Stannar gets all mad that Batman is cheating by using the shield, so he uses his strength-amplifier to pick up a light-pole and try to smash Batman with that. Luckily Batman is able to dodge the light-pole until the device runs out of juice, and Stennar runs away again, after threatening Batman with that device of ultimate destruction from earlier. So they hop in the Batmobile and chase after him, until he ends up in the country outside Gotham. And when Batman confronts Stannar, he takes out the ultimate destructor, and brandishes it at Batman, who has gotten super cocky, because he figured out what the gizmo actually does. Apparently it doesn’t cause destruction, it destroys the other gadgets, because that makes sense. Stennar uses it, breaks all of his other toys, and Batman and Robin arrest him.

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And that’s pretty much it. That’s the story that they decided to put in Detective Comics #250. Not that good. Stannar was a very boring villain, and it was basically just an excuse to cram as many weird little inventions as they could. And Batman just bests them all. There’s no real detective work going on here, Stannar just uses alien stuff to commit huge, obvious crimes, and Batman stops him. There’s not much to this story, and Batman and Robin don’t even really do that much except chase the guy around. And the other stories in the issue weren’t much better. We had some story about people trying to make a TV show, and a boring story about the Martian Manhunter. Just an odd effort all around. The most interesting thing about this comic is that I really can’t find out who made it. Nowhere in the issue does it list a writer or artist, and when I check places like the DC Wiki or Comic Vine, not much comes up. There are some names associated with the issue, but it’s not really clear if they did this specific story, or one of the other back-ups. I think this was kind of standard at the time, DC didn’t think anyone cared who made the comics, it’s just kind of strange to me that I can’t figure who wrote this boring little story. The mystery of the author was kind of more interesting than anything that happened in the story.

Detective Comics #250 was written by Dave Wood (maybe?) and drawn by Sheldon Moldoff (I think?), 1957.

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Marvel Madness

That Time Howard the Duck Ran for President

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Hey everybody, politics are weird, right? It’s that time again where for the foreseeable future we’re just going to be inundated with politics, with no escape in sight. Just like Christmas, Presidential Election season seems to be getting earlier and earlier each term, to the point where we have to suffer through the freak-show that is the process of finding the parties nominees a full year before the actual election. So I felt like looking into the politics of the Marvel Universe, trying to find a good story about a presidential race. And boy did I find a good one. That’s right, there was a story in the 70’s where Howard the Duck, possibly the weirdest creation in Marvel Comics, ran for President. And almost won!

Now, in case you aren’t familiar with him, let’s talk about Howard the Duck. He’s an incredibly strange creation, from comic book writer and satirist Steve Gerber, and basically was a tool for Gerber to make fun of stupid things in the 70’s culture, while also having a crazy comic story. Howard is a four foot-tall anthropomorphic duck, who wears a suit coat and a fedora, who smokes a cigar, and is just generally apathetic to everything around him. People often don’t even comment about the fact that he’s a duck, and he mainly just wandered around the country, looking at all kinds of ridiculous things that were allegories for stupid things were doing in the real world. But I think the most insane thing about Howard the Duck was that he was fully in the Marvel Universe. Hell, the first issue of his solo series had him interacting with Spider-Man. So No matter what dramatic, serious story some one is trying to tell in the Marvel universe, remember that there’s a four foot-tall talking duck out there somewhere, and people almost elected him President.

But let’s get on with the story. The beginning of Howard’s political rise and fall begins in issue 7 of his series, which opens with Howard and his human companion Bev fighting a giant Gingerbread Man who has been brought to life like Frankenstein’s Monster. Yeah, that’s the kind of stuff Howard the Duck dealt with, monster cookies. Anyway, Howard eats some of the cookie-man letting him and Bev get away before the mansion that the cookie was created in exploded, killing everyone involved in the previous story. Bev and Howard then hitchhike to their next adventure, and end up in the limo of popular country musician Dreyfuss Gultch, who is headed to New York to perform at the national convention for a new political party, the All-Night Party. Gultch creeps on Bev and condescends to Howard, but gets them to the headquarters of the All-Night Party, and even sets them up with jobs. Bev gets to be a “hospitality girl,” and Howard is a security guard.

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So Howard and Bev go off to do their jobs, and since Howard’s boss is busy sleeping with interns, he decides to go wander around the convention and busy himself. He comes across a bunch of people debating about what their party should stand for, so he waddles in and gets involved. They try to get Howard to tell them what their platform should be, and he basically just tells them to try and tell the truth, which blows all of their minds. So Howard just keeps wandering around the convention floor, stopping people from arguing, while receiving these strange notes that seem to hint at some conspiracy that’s trying to get him involved, but he just ignores those and keeps working. Howard becomes aware that the leading candidate for the All-Night Party just dropped out, and they’re scrambling to find someone to be the nominee, which isn’t going well. But as Howard watches them searching for a new nominee, he finally pieces together all those messages he’d been receiving, and realizes that there’s a bomb in the crowd, getting ready to blow up the Alaskan delegation, and the people on the stage. So Howard runs out on stage while the new nominee is giving a speech, and ends up saving everyone from the bomb. He destroys their big cake, and the nominee quits, but he saved the day. Which is enough for the delegates to begin chanting his name, ensuring that Howard is the next candidate. So the 1976 Presidential race is now going to be between Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Howard the Duck.

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Howard is then tossed into the political world, and everyone is fascinated with him. And almost immediately, he begins drawing fire from would-be assassins, because apparently no one wants a duck to be running for president. Howard and Bev dodge a bevy of assassins in the streets of New York, and end up getting saved by Gultch again, who has a bullet-proof limo for some reason. He gets them back to the convention hall. And as soon as Howard gets into the convention hall, he realizes that this campaign is already falling out of his hands. The party big-wigs are debating what Howard should stand for, and creaking campaign posters for him that will appeal to every demographic. They start telling Howard what he’s going to believe in, and he gets pissed off. No one tells Howard the Duck what he does or does not believe! So Howard leaves the convention hall, and begins working on his campaign as the All-Night Party nominee, by himself. He starts to go on TV and begins selling himself. And it actually starts to work great.

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Howard makes his own platform, and starts stumping, getting people to vote for him. He runs as a reformer, dedicating all his time to fixing the different societal ills he’s noticed. And probably different things Steve Gerber had a particular problem with. Howard wants to crack down on pollution and get the environment fixed, he wants to cut military spending, he wants amnesty for draft-dodgers, he doesn’t care about scandals, he wants bipartisanism, and he wants to improve education. Honestly, I would totally vote for Howard the Duck, given his platform. Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter aren’t exactly thrilled with his campaign though, and begin to mock him in the press, but it doesn’t do much to stop his momentum. We see that 30% of Americans would vote for him, even though the poll also said 48% would kill him. He even becomes more of an honest politician when we see that he shoots down offers of campaign contributions from lobbyists, ensuring that he wants an above-the-board Presidency. So Howard becomes a big deal, with everyone wanting to interview him, but he’s also getting more and more assassination attempts. He and Bev survive another round of assassinations, and end up getting back to the hotel, thinking that they’re all set to keep campaigning, when the one thing that could destroy his campaign happens. Sex Scandal!

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And that’s basically the end of Howard the Duck’s presidential ambitions. He ran a good campaign, but apparently couldn’t come back from this scandal. By the next issue he’s given up and moved onto his next adventure where he and Bev fight a weirdo in a Beaver costume with a Mountie. Because Howard the Duck is an insane comic. And man was this a silly story for him. I really can’t believe that Marvel was letting Steve Gerber make this comic in the 70’s. It was clearly so personal to Gerber, and made very interesting comments about American culture at the time, while basically serving as Steve Gerber’s soapbox to stand on and shout his beliefs. All with a smart-ass duck. And this story definitely seems the most satiric from the run. It has the actual real-life candidates in it, and really tries to show what Steve Gerber thought about politics at the time. It kind of reminded me of Hunter S Thompson’s Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, just a really real and bitter portrayal of how a political campaign works. The All-Night party’s mad-dash scramble to find a candidate that they can boss around is probably not that far off from what actually happens at a political convention, and the way they immediately try to compromise Howard’s opinions and make him a puppet for their interests is basically exactly how I see politics. It’s a messy world where someone trying to run an honest campaign where they express their true thoughts is brought down by a stupid scandal that has nothing to do with the issues. Honestly, and this is a little bizarre to think about, but Howard ended up coming off as a liberal Donald Trump in this comic. He’s a political outsider, basically running from a third party, and disrupting the typical progression of a political campaign by telling people what he actually believes. The only difference is Howard wanted to make the world a better place instead of creating a fascist state. Oops, getting too into my own personal politics, this is supposed to be about a ridiculous cartoon duck running for president, not a ridiculous racist troll. So that’s the story of Howard the Duck’s attempt to become President of the United States. Now be depressed when you realize that that cartoon duck was probably a better candidate than we’ve actually had in decades.

Howard the Duck #7 and 8 were written by Steve Gerber and drawn by Gene Colan, 1977.

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Lifetime of Simpsons

S07 E06 – Treehouse of Horror VI

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And how do we end this week of great episodes? A Treehouse of Horror! Man I love this show. Although I’m getting increasingly worried about the dark seasons I’m approaching. But let’s focus on the episode at hand. We’re officially out of the era of wrap-around stories, and things just start right off, we don’t even have a Marge warning us it’s too scary. Just a Headless Horseman Krusty riding up and making the name of the episode in blood. Then it’s on to the stories!

Attack of the 50 ft Eyesores

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Our first story starts with Homer driving down a street that’s full of billboards and giant mascots, before finally getting to his final destination, the Lard Lad Donuts store, with the goofy Big Boy parody mascot. Homer goes in, and asks for a colossal donut, and when he gets an average sized one, he gets furious. That night he comes back to the store, while there’s a mysterious lightning storm going on. He steals the giant donut from Lard Lad, and drives off with it, vengeance complete! But as Homer leaves, a bolt of lightning hits Lard Lad, bringing him to life. So Homer comes home, and assures Marge that he acquired his donut legally, and we find out that Lard Lad wasn’t the only mascot who got hit by magic lightning. They’re all coming to life now, and start wrecking havoc on the town. We see Kent Brockman get eaten by himself, Chief Wiggum shoots the captain of the high school basketball team who he thinks is a monster, and Lard Lad shows up at the Simpsons home. Homer tricks Lard Lad into destroying the Flanders house, but Marge convinces Homer to give him back the donut, and end the reign of terror. So Homer gives Lard Lad back his donut, which he starts using to destroy more houses with. But Lisa notices that there’s an advertising company’s logo in Lard Lad’s shoeprint, so she visits them to see if they can help. The ad exec then explains to her that when people stop paying attention to advertisements they fade away. So he and Lisa write a jingle for Paul Anka to sing that convinces the people of Springfield to ignore the monsters. And it works! All the monsters die, and we get out Kang and Kodos cameo when Lard Lad’s donut goes rolling down the street, and they assume it’s a vehicle that can take them to the President. The story then ends with Kent Brockman warning the viewer that the next advertisement they see may kill them, before breaking for commercials.

Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace

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Our second story is essentially a parody of Nightmare on Elm Street, but with Groundskeeper Willie as Freddy Krueger. Things start off inside Bart’s dream, where it’s animated like a Chuck Jones cartoon and he’s playing Frisbee with Santa’s Little Helper. But as they play, Willie shows up, dressed like Freddy, and he ends up slashing Bart across the chest with a rake, waking him up. But Bart finds that when he wakes up there are rake marks on his chest, which seems odd. So he goes to school, and finds that all the other kids had dreams where Willie attacked them, and the effects followed them into the real world. But they ignore that for a bit and take a standardized test, which has the great gag of Mrs. Krabappel telling them that “the worse you do on this standardized test, the more funding the school gets. So don’t knock yourselves out.” But Martin finishes his test quick and decides to take a nap while he waits for the rest of the kids. And while he’s having the nerdiest dream about Latin anyone has ever had, Willie shows up and crushes him to death with his tongue, killing him in real life. So Lunchlady Doris wheels Martin’s corpse out through the kindergarten, and Bart and Lisa go home to tell Homer and Marge what happened.

Turns out Marge and Homer know exactly what happened to Willie. The PTA had a meeting to discuss the misprinted calendars the school bought, “Lousy Smarch Weather,” and while they were there Homer misread the sign telling people not to touch the thermostat as saying “Don’t Touch Willie,” which he took to be good advice, and cranked up the heat. This caused the furnace to erupt, lighting Willie on fire. He heads to the PTA meeting, and the ignore him to discuss spaghetti meals, which ends with Willie dying. He swears mystical vengeance on the parents who let him die by killing their kids in their dreams. So Bart, Lisa, and Maggie decide to never sleep again. But that isn’t a very practical solution, so Bart decides to go to sleep and face Willie in his dreams. Bart enters the dream, which is a spooky version of the Elementary School, and ends up getting chased by a lawnmower shaped like Willie. They run around the playground before Willie gets stuck in some quicksand Bart made. So with the threat over, Bart returns to his normal dream of winning the Superbowl with Krusty. But as they’re coming up with their play, Willie emerges from the sand as a giant bagpipe monster, and he attacks. Lisa shows up, having fallen asleep too, and the siblings realize they’re doomed. But Maggie appears, and vanquishes Willie by sticking her pacifier in Willie’s exhaust, causing him to explode and die. So they wake up, happy to know that Willie is gone, until he shows up outside having taken the bus. But he apparently lost his magical powers, so I guess it’s okay.

Homer³

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And now we reach our last story of the episode, which is probably the most famous. And not because it’s the funniest, because it’s actually kind of the weakest of the segments, but it’s pretty important from a historical standpoint. Anyway, it all starts with Homer being freaked out because Patty and Selma are coming over. Instead of just being openly hostile like he usually does, he decides to hide, and since Bart and Lisa called dibs on the closet, he ends up hiding behind a bookcase in the family room. But when he gets back there, he finds that the wall behind the shelf appears to be a portal to another dimension. But when the kids get caught by Patty and Selma, he decides to take his chances with the portal. And what he finds inside it is another dimension. The third dimension! Homer then becomes a crude 90’s CGI creation in a world that basically seemed to be a demo for the CGI program that just had various shapes bouncing around a grid. But Homer isn’t really pleased with being 3D, and he starts calling for help which the family can hear. He explains that he’s “somewhere we he doesn’t know when he is,” and the family start trying to help. They find that he’s stuck in the wall, and work to get him freed. So Homer has to stand around in his new dimension, realizing that just standing there feels expensive. But as he’s hanging out, he gets stabbed in the butt by a roaming cone, and throws it away. It lands in the ground, and creates a hole that begins rapidly expanding, destroying his dimension. Back in the real world, Reverend Lovejoy, Dr. Hibbert, Chief Wiggum, and Professor Frink show up to help. Lovejoy tells Homer to walk into the light, which electrocutes him, and Hibbert asks him to describe what he sees. He explains that it’s basically Tron, but no one saw that movie, so that doesn’t help. Frink then explains the third dimension to everyone and teaches them about cubes. Meanwhile, the hole Homer created is growing, and threatening to swallow him, so Bart ties a rope around his waste and dives into the new dimension, also becoming CGI. He finds that the whole world has been eaten by the hole, and it’s just him and Homer on opposite sides of a huge gulf. Homer tries to jump to Bart, but falls immediately, blowing up while yelling “crap.” Bart goes home, and explains that Homer died with dignity, as we see what really happened. Homer has gotten to our world, and is initially horrified, until he finds a store that sells Erotic Cakes.

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So that’s Treehouse of Horror VI. Not my favorite, but not one of the worst. The mascot one is a little weak, although it has some great gags when the mascots are destroying the town. And I really love the gag of Marge being wrong and Lard Lad just using his donut to further destroy the town. The real winner is the nightmare Willie one, because it’s just great. So many great references to the crazy Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, and I’m always a fan of crazy Willie episodes. Plus, “Lousy Smarch Weather,” and “Don’t touch Willie, good advice,” have entered my lexicon to an embarrassing degree. And then there’s Homer³. It’s okay, not great but it has some funny jokes. The real draw was the 3D animation, which was leaps and bounds ahead of most CG from that time period, and it really just serves as a historical document to see the effects of the time. It wasn’t really about the story, it was about the effects, just like a Michael Bay movie!

Take Away: Don’t pay attention to advertisements, Don’t touch Willie, and don’t explore alternate dimensions to avoid in-laws.

“Treehouse of Horror VI” was written by John Swartzwelder, Steve Tompkins, and David S Cohen, and directed by Bob Anderson, 1995.

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Lifetime of Simpsons

S07 E05 – Lisa the Vegetarian

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Well what do we have here? Another flawless episode? Thank you golden age of the Simpsons!

The episode starts off with the family, and Grandpa, driving off to some terrible amusement park called Storytime Village. And no one is happy about this, except for Maggie I guess. And it’s confirmed how horrible this is going to be when they see the sign at the entrance proudly proclaiming that it’s fun from ages 1 to 7 ½. Which even seems like an over-estimate, since this place blows. It’s just dioramas of fairy tales, all of which are falling apart, including the great joke of the Mamma Bear in the Goldilocks section’s voice recording not working, so the robot bear just gestures while this horrible electronic whining happens. There’s also the great gag of Bart sneaking onto the little train ride, despite being too tall for it, which ends up with his slamming his head against a bridge, and ruining the ride. Although it does end with him causing the Paul Bunyan statue to decapitate the Mother Goose statue, which causes the kids on the train to cheer. But the plot of the episode starts to get going when they visit the petting zoo, and after Homer tries to get a goat to eat a tin can, the family find a series of progressively adorable lambs. And Lisa is a total sucker; getting drawn into how cute the baby lamb is, making a little friend.

So the family heads home, and as they’re getting into the house Homer notices there’s a lot of people in the Flanders backyard, and heads over to investigate. Turns out there’s a family reunion going on, and there’s just a slew of creepy Ned and Maude clones, all having a barbeque. There’s even a Mexican Flanders, and a stuffy British one. Homer gets all upset that he wasn’t invited to the Flanders party, and announces that he’s going to have an amazing barbeque that everyone in town will get jealous about.

Homer begins planning his barbeque that night, while praising Marge for her amazing lamb-recipe. The family are chowing down on the lamb-chops, when Lisa starts to feel guilty. She remembers the cute little lamb she made friends with earlier, and can’t come to terms with the fact that she’s eating a lamb. She announces she can’t eat it, and Marge offers to make her rump roast, chicken breast, or hotdogs, but Lisa gets grossed out at the animals involved to make those foods, just completely grossed out at the notion of eating an animal. So Lisa’s going to be a vegetarian now.

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But it turns out being a vegetarian in Springfield is super hard, as she finds out when she goes to school the next day. She tries to talk to Janey about it, but she doesn’t care, and Lisa is then given the issue of dissecting a worm. Everyone else in class is all for slicing up the living worm, except Ralph who ate his and gets to sleep while the other kids are learning. “Oh boy, sleep! That’s where I’m a Viking!” Lisa is unable to justify killing the worm, especially since in her head it talks like the lamb, so she tells Ms. Hoover that she won’t be involved in the experiment, causing Ms. Hoover to press an “Independent Thought Alarm.” And she really runs into issues at lunch when she sees that there are no vegetarian options, and only gets sarcasm from Lunchlady Doris, who also has to hit the “Independent Thought Alarm.”

Lisa continues to run into problems when she gets home, and watches an episode of Itchy and Scratchy that she realizes kind of promotes violence against animals being funny. Bart ignores that comment, before getting smashed in the face by a door when Homer bursts in to show them the invitations to his barbeque, which is shaping up to be an amazing meal. Lisa tries to convince Homer that he shouldn’t serve meat to people, and he mocks her by announcing “you don’t win friends with salad,” which then becomes a conga line with Bart and Marge, mocking Lisa and her beliefs.

Lisa then goes to school the next day, where Principal Skinner has come to her class to show them an educational video about how great meat is, since Lisa had been raising issues. We’re then treated to my favorite Troy McClure video of all time, and seriously one of my favorite Simpsons things ever. Meat and You: Partners in Freedom is one of the greatest things the Simpsons have ever made, and I could talk about this clip forever. It starts with Troy McClure, dressed as a cowboy, giving his previous credits (Firecrackers: the Silent Killer) before coming across a little boy in a cattle ranch. Troy then explains why vegetarianism is wrong, and brings the kid to a slaughterhouse. He then explain the food chain, which is just every animal pointing to man, before almost getting an interview from a “scientician.” We then see a montage of animals eating each other in nature, which features a lion eating a gazelle, a dog catching a frisbee, a hawk carrying away a sheep, and a shark eating a gorilla. The video then ends with Troy McClure’s warning that if a cow got the chance it “would eat you and everyone you ever cared about. Lisa is understandably horrified at the video, but none of the other kids are, and her complaints are ignored.

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But now it’s time for Homer’s BBBQ! And the whole damn town is there, ready to eat as much meat as humanly possible. Although Lisa does inform everyone that she made enough gazpacho for everyone, which just earns her mocking laughter, and Barney’s demand to “Go back to Russia.” So she leaves the barbeque, choosing to be in her room rather than eat the meat. But things really push her over the edge when Homer accidently flings a burger up into her room, and into her face. The barbeque goes great, and everyone has stuffed themselves with meat, until Homer reveals a final course, a whole barbequed pig. Everyone is looking at the pig, when Lisa shows up in a riding mower, pushing the cart with the pig on it away. She steals the pig, and ends up driving away with it, while Homer and Bart chase after her. Lisa ends up dropping the pig cart down a steep hill, and it goes rocketing away. Homer and Bart keep chasing it, even though the pig gets dirty, falls in the river and gets slimy, and ends up getting stuck in some hole in a damn, firing the pig like a missile. “It’s just a little airborne, it’s still good, it’s still good!”

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So everyone comes home, and Homer is furious at Lisa about ruining his barbeque. Lisa then gets super indignant, and says that Homer is in the wrong, since he wanted to eat meat, leading to the two having a huge fight. The two stop talking to each other, but Homer just keeps pissing her off, leading her to leaving the house. She wanders around the town, and finds her views being mocked. Some of the kids make fun of her for wanting to marry a carrot, she sees Krusty Burger selling beef-flavored chicken, a sign telling people not to eat beef and to eat deer instead, and finally some hotdogs at the Kwik-E-Mart. She then gives up, and decides to eat the hotdog and just stop being a vegetarian.

But when she eats the hotdog, Apu shows up and tells her that it was really a tofu dog, and that he switched out the beef ones a while ago. She’s stunned that there are vegetarian alternatives, and that Apu is fine with other people eating meat. He brings her to his rooftop garden, which is behind a secret door that looks like a non-alcoholic beer case. They go up there and we see the Simpsons complete their “Then Living Beatle Hat-Trick” by having Paul McCartney show up. He and Linda are apparently friends with Apu, and are there to meditate in his garden, while talking about being vegetarians and revealing that “Maybe I’m Amazed” has a secret lentil soup recipe hidden in it. They explain that it’s fine to be a vegetarian, but you shouldn’t shame other people. Apu then sings a cover of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” and Lisa slinks away. She then finds Homer, who is wandering around town trying to find her, and the two have a heart to heart. She admits that she was wrong doing what she did, and they both agree to be more tolerant to each other. The episode then ends with the father-daughter duo heading home, happy with each other again, while Maybe I’m Amazing (with a lentil soup recipe spliced in) plays over footage of the flying roasted pig.

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This episode is so great. One of the best Lisa episodes of them all, mainly because it’s also so incredibly funny. I’m not a vegetarian. I don’t think I would ever be a vegetarian. I know that the meat industry is terrible, and I should probably not be eating meat, but I don’t care, I’m too addicted. But this episode is still so great, showing Lisa’s struggle to be something that no one else in town wants her to be. She has a moral and ethical issue with meat, and struggles to have anyone understand that. It just hammers in how idealistic Lisa is, and that she will fight for her beliefs. Although I think the real draw of this episode is the fact that in the end, Lisa doesn’t just realize that it’s okay to be vegetarian, but that she shouldn’t mock others for their beliefs. People who are vegetarian, or especially Vegan, are stereotypically very arrogant about their beliefs, and often badger and belittle people who don’t do things the way they do. And Lisa sure was going down that path for most of the episode. But she learns that she should lead by example, and not pressure people into believing what she does. It’s an incredibly important lesson, and one that can be applicable for your eating habits, religion, politics, and basically anything else in the world. It’s fine that you have you beliefs, but there’s nothing more obnoxious than a person trying to cram their thoughts down other people’s throats. Plus, as with all great Lisa episodes, its great seeing the struggle between Lisa and Homer, and that in the end, they always find a way to relate to each other. It’s just a tremendous episode, plus it’s freaking hilarious. Any episode that can have Meat and You, the flying pig, and still teach an emotional lesson is just about perfect. Good work everyone!

Take Away: Be tolerant to others. You don’t need to push your thoughts and opinions on other people.

 

“Lisa the Vegetarian” was written by David S. Cohen and directed by Mark Kirkland, 1995.

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Lifetime of Simpsons

S07 E04 – Bart Sells His Soul

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Oh look, another day another one of my favorite episodes of all time. Seriously, this episode is great. Seeing Moe’s struggles to become a successful restaurateur is some of the most compelling stuff this show ever created. Just kidding, that stuff’s fun, but it’s the soul plot that’s the real draw for this episode.

Things start off with everyone showing up to the Church for their Sunday sermon, and man do I love that the Church’s sign says “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Salvation.” And right away we see that Bart is up to something, since he’s passing out the hymnal sheets. We then see Reverend Lovejoy introduce the hymn, “In the Garden of Eden,” by I. Ron Butterfly, because Lovejoy apparently isn’t that familiar with seventeen minute acid-jam songs. So the congregation begins singing “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” while the poor old organist gets most of the trouble. She soldiers through the epic song, while the congregants are starting to lose their minds at the length of the song. Lovejoy gets suspicious when he notices it sounds like “rock and or roll,” but doesn’t put a stop to things until the hymn ends and the organist faints.

Lovejoy then brings all the kids together, knowing it was one of them who pulled the prank, and makes them recite some horrible paragraph about going to hell and having crows eat your soul if you lie. This freaks Milhouse out enough to rat out Bart, and Lovejoy sends Bart and Milhouse to church detention. They have to clean the organ while Lovejoy is busy raking in the money from the collection plates. The boys start to talk about souls, since Bart thinks Milhouse ratting on him was super shitty. Bart explains that he doesn’t think souls are real, while Milhouse tries to come up with all sorts of justifications, including the soul being able to swim and having wheels so it’s good for all terrains. Bart gets irritated with Milhouse’s naivety, and uses the wonderful insult of “how can someone with glasses that thick be so stupid,” and makes his case for why souls aren’t real. Milhouse then takes advantage of Bart’s statement, and proposes that Bart sells his soul to Milhouse for five bucks. Bart takes him up on the offer, and writes “Bart Simpsons’ Soul,” on a piece of paper, and gives it to Milhouse.

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We’re then introduced to the crazy B-plot, with Dr. Hibbert and his Cosby Show family driving around looking for somewhere to have dinner. They find Moe’s, and assume it’s a restaurant for some reason, and head on in. They’re shocked to find it a gross bar, and leave, making Moe sad. He decides that all the real money is in family restaurants, and begins planning on changing the Bar to a restaurant. But after that we pop over to the Simpson house to see that Bart wasted his five bucks on some dinosaur sponges that he assumed would turn gigantic and eat Lisa, but actually just puffed up a bit and went down the gutter. He complains about the waste of five bucks, and Lisa gets interested, and is then horrified when Bart announces he sold his soul. But, just like with Milhouse, Bart mocks Lisa for believing in a soul, confident that nothing bad will happen to him.

But that turns out to not be the case, because right after that he starts to notice weird things happen. Santa’s Little Helper and Snowball II both get really mad when he’s around, the automatic doors at the Kwik-E-Mart won’t open for him, and he’s unable to get his breath to frost on the ice cream freezer. Which is odd. We briefly look over at Moe, who is trying to get Homer and Barney to help him come up with restaurant names, leading to Chairman Moe’s Magic Wok and Madman Moe’s Pressure Cooker, before Moe settles on Uncle Moe’s Family Feedbag. But after that diversion we check back on Bart, and see a new symptom. He can’t laugh any more. He watches Itchy and Scratchy and doesn’t find it funny, and Lisa even pulls a prank that ends with Homer stuck in the banister while getting his ass bit by Santa’s Little Helper, all to no result.

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This has all freaked Bart out enough to go confront Milhouse about the trade. He tries to get the paper with his soul back from Milhouse, but he’s gouged the price up, making Bart leave empty-handed. And that night Marge even notices something is missing from him when he gets his nightly hug, really freaking him out. And as a cherry on top, Bart has a crazy dream that night about all the kids in Springfield playing with their souls, and him being alone, not allowed to hang out with them. Bart’s obviously not doing very well, and things escalate the next day when the family heads over to Moe’s restaurant.

They get to Uncle Moe’s Family Feedbag, and it’s hilarious that Homer sees Moe as a celebrity, and that Marge finds all the goofy crap on the walls, like a TGI Friday’s, hilarious. But while we see the Simpsons get ready for their meal, we see that Moe is having a hard time being a pleasant person to his customers, and it’s wearing a toll on him. But we’re back to the Bart plot when we see Lisa picking on him for not having a soul during her Grace, which pushes him over the edge and causes Bart to go running off into the night to find Milhouse and get his damn soul back.

Bart gets to Milhouse’s house, only to find it being fumigated, and the Van Houten family gone. The exterminator tells Bart that they went to Milhouse’s grandma’s apartment in Capitol City, so Bart heads off to the big city to get his soul. We finish up the Moe plot at this point, by showing him get increasingly frustrated at his customers, especially the kids ordering the birthday fries that he has to wear on his head. And he finally blows his fuse when a little girl, who looks like Samantha Stanky, complains about the ice in her soda being too cold, and ends up yelling at all the customers. They get mad about this, and everyone leaves, ruining Moe’s business.

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But enough about Moe. We see that Bart has gotten to Capitol City and is trying to find his way to the apartment, and even gets his bike run over by a street sweeper in an incredibly bizarre scene that ends with the evil street sweeper driver steering his vehicle down into a subway entrance. And it’s great. So Bart begins skulking around the streets of Capitol City, and ends up coming across Chief Wiggum and Ralph. Wiggum has gone to talk to a crazy derelict, and while Ralph is unattended Bart gets into the car and tries to steal his soul. This doesn’t work and Bart runs off, finally getting to the Van Houten apartment. He asks Milhouse for his soul, and Milhouse reveals that he actually sold the soul to Comic Book guy, in exchange for some Alf pogs.

Bart is incredibly depressed at that point, but still isn’t giving up. He makes his way back to the neighborhood, and gets to the Android’s Dungeon, sleeping on its doorstep until Comic Book Guy shows up. He assumes he’s there for a Hi and Louis signing, which is hilarious, and Bart explains what he’s there for. But unfortunately Comic Book Guy announces that someone else already bought the soul, and he won’t tell Bart who it was. So Bart heads home, depressed, and makes his way to his bedroom, since apparently Homer and Marge didn’t go look for him. He then starts praying, doing his best to get his soul back, leading to some incredibly sad dialogue:

Bart: [praying] “Are you there, God? It’s me, Bart Simpson. I know I never paid too much attention at church, but I could really use some of that good stuff now. I’m…afraid. I’m afraid some weirdo’s got my soul and I don’t know what they’re doing to it! I just want it back. Please? [starts crying] Oh, I hope you can hear this.”

Jesus. But as Bart is openly weeping while praying, the paper with his soul in it comes fluttering down from the sky, and we learn that Lisa was the person to buy it. Bart grabs the soul, ecstatic that he has it back, while Lisa begins to talk about souls. She says that some people believe no one is born with a soul, that they have to earn it, which is a pretty heavy thought to have while Bart is shoving the paper into his mouth, getting his soul back where it belongs. Bart is whole again! And we see that by having him have that same dream again, but this time he has a soul, and the two team up to prank Martin and his soul.

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This episode is great. I’ve talked a lot during this project about my thoughts on religion, as it pertains to the Simpsons at least, but I don’t think I’ve ever talked about souls. I certainly don’t think that there’s any Heaven or Hell, but I do have a kind of notion about souls. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I kind of see things like the Force. Not Jedi’s and stuff like that, but that there a Force that keeps the universe together, and when we die we become part of that Force. And that’s pretty much a soul, to me at least, but I think another important part about my thoughts on the soul come from this episode. I definitely saw this episode at a young age, and I think Lisa’s final thoughts, about earning a soul, really played a part in my theological evolution. It thinks about the soul as this thing that doesn’t require a religion to maintain it, you don’t need to follow Commandments or religious rules, you just need to be a good person. Bart had to want his soul, to work for it, and I actually find that kind of inspiring.

Take Away: Soul’s are complicated business. As are family restaurants.

 

“Bart Sells His Soul” was written by Greg Daniels and directed by Wesley Archer, 1995.

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Lifetime of Simpsons

S07 E03 – Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily

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Huh. Well this is a weird one. It’s not that I forgot about this one, I just feel like I haven’t seen it in ages and forgot just how strange this episode is. Let’s dive on into this bizarre story!

We start off by seeing just how into a routine Marge is. Her morning duties are practically muscle memory at this point and she multi-tasking like crazy to get Homer and the kids ready for the day. She makes their breakfasts, lunches, and takes care of Maggie, all before they get down to the table. Marge has also gotten some old newspapers from the dump for Lisa, taken a piece of paper with “I’m a Stupid Baby,” written on it off Lisa’s back, and stops Bart from wearing plastic vampire fangs to his school picture day. But when the kids are sent off to school, Homer reveals that he has a different plan for the day, and is apparently going to play hooky from work and take Marge to some fancy spa, because he’s obtained some free passes. He basically pretended to buy a fancy car, and then just stole the tickets, but hey, it’s the thought that counts. Marge is initially against the idea, since the house is a mess and she says she has a lot to do, but Homer gets Grandpa to watch Maggie and convinced her she needs a day of, so they head to the spa!

But we quickly see that this was a bad day to bail, because things start happening to Bart and Lisa pretty quickly. Bart’s class is getting ready for their class-photo, and Mrs. Krabappel is shocked to see that Bart has picked up head lice. We see that he got it from a monkey Milhouse found in a wicker basket, but Bart apparently doesn’t tell anyone that, and they assume he got it from home. Principal Skinner and Willie burn Bart’s clothes and give him a burlap sack to wear, and decide they need to check on Lisa too. And at this point in the day Lisa is getting picked on by some other girls, who have stolen her shoes, making her walk through the mud to get to Skinner. And as she walks away she gets cracked in the head by a volleyball, messing up one of her teeth. So Lisa shows up, looking even worse than Bart, and Skinner gets alarmed enough to call Child Protective Services.

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So while Marge and Homer are enjoying the spa and fending off creepy Mafia guys in the sauna, Child Services have shown up at their house to investigate. They find the house a wreck, Grandpa asleep and confused, and Maggie drinking from the dog bowl with the “Stupid Baby,” page stuck to her. So the Service people stay at the house until Bart and Lisa show up, confused that Marge and Homer aren’t there either. And when they finally do get home, the Child Services people are not pleased. They rattle off a list of things that were wrong with the Simpson home, including putting the toilet paper in the wrong direction, which I think about every time I put new toilet paper in. And at the end of the list, they announce they’re taking Bart, Lisa, and Maggie away and giving them to a foster family, which seems crazy drastic. There wasn’t anything too crazy going on in the house, and I’m sure things wouldn’t move that quickly without giving Homer and Marge a chance to fix thing. But whatever, they have to cram this into twenty-something minutes.

The kids are then taken away from their parents, and delivered to their new foster family. The Flanders. They then barricade the two houses so Marge and Homer can’t see the kids. I really love the interaction between Grandpa and Homer when they get inside, still trying to figure out what the hell just happened:

Homer: ” We leave you the kids for three hours, and the county takes ’em away?

Grandpa: Oh, bitch, bitch, bitch!

Man I love Grandpa. Anyway, that’s enough about Homer and Marge for a while, we’re now treated to some scenes showing what life in the Flanders household is like. Rod and Todd play with a printing press where they make their own newspapers, and shoot down Bart’s headline of “Extra! Extra! Todd Smells!” And Ned even tries to give them “nachos,” which are cucumbers with cottage cheese on them. I love that Lisa describes the Flanders house like theirs, but with a creepy “Pat Boon-ish” quality. But it’s not just the Flanders influencing the Simpsons, because we also see Bart get Ned, Rod, and Todd watch Itchy and Scratchy with him and Lisa, and it’s great. This may be my favorite Itchy and Scratchy, all because of the end. Scratchy basically gets an orphan Itchy on his doorstep, and Itchy kills him, all standard, but as Itchy runs away with Scratchy’s stolen TV, Scratchy delivers a weeping line of “Why? Why? My only son!” And that made me laugh to hard. But Ned didn’t find it funny at all, and it pretty much scarred Rod and Todd.

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And at this point in the episode Homer and Marge start working on getting the kids back, and visit the courthouse, which is sporting an amazing statue of John Swartzwelder. They talk to a judge and are informed that they can get the kids back when they complete a parenting course. So they go to the parenting class, which is taught by one of the Child Service people, and sadly not Troy McClure. Marge is mortified about how remedial the skills they’re being taught are, but Homer is learning all sorts of new things, like putting garbage in garbage-cans.

But while the parents are learning, Bart and Lisa are starting to get worried about the situation, because they think that Maggie may be forgetting Homer and Marge, and loving Ned more than them now. There’s then an incredibly sweet scene when Bart and Lisa reminisce about their parents and end up getting really sad. They then make a copy of Todd’s newspaper with a message about how they miss Homer and Marge, and stick it to their door while Homer and Marge are sadly reminiscing about the kids. It’s really adorable.

But we’re now in the part of the episode where things start to go wrong. We see that Homer and Marge are passing their test, because Homer can role-play well with Cleetus. But Ned is having everyone play some weird Bible trivia game, and makes a startling revelation. Because Bart thinks that the Beast from Revelations is Jesus, it comes out that none of the kids ever got baptized, which makes Ned freak out. He calls Reverend Lovejoy, who is irritated with Ned and tries to get him to switch to one of the other major religions, since they’re basically all the same. “Damn Flanders.” And since Lovejoy wasn’t much help, Ned decides it’s his Christian duty to go baptize the kids himself.

Meanwhile, Homer and Marge have passed their test, and are now allowed to take the kids back. But when they get home to rescue the kids from the Flanders house, they find that Ned has taken them to get baptized, and they book it to save the kids. Ned takes them to some river, and is getting ready for the baptism while Homer discovers where they are by thinking like Flanders. “I’m a big four-eyed lamo and I wear the same stupid sweater every day.” So they get to the river, and Homer comes crashing down to the river, desperate to stop the baptism, even going so far as diving into the river and taking the baptism for Bart. And the kids are saved! Bart and Lisa run to Homer, thrilled to have him back. But Maggie doesn’t seem to be on board for getting into the river with her weird family, and starts to tottle back to the Flanders, before seeing Marge, and she quickly decides she would rather go to Marge. Marge comes and picks Maggie up, and Maggie’s a Simpson again. And with the family whole, they head back home together while Homer tries to get dirt about Ned.

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This is such a weird episode. There’s a lot of great family stuff throughout that really works for me. Bart and Lisa telling stories about their parents while missing them, while Homer and Marge are doing the same thing in the house next door was really well written and handled. I really loved that. And the ending is super sweet, the animation of Maggie’s little fingers wiggling because she’s so excited to see Marge is wonderful. But the whole subject of the episode is kind of weird. The kids getting taken away, and given to the Flanders with basically no legal problems is super strange. It was just an odd setup, and really wanted us to ignore the logical problems the episode had. I don’t know, the plot just kind of fell apart for me, but it had some truly great moments sprinkled in it.

Take Away: It’s apparently super easy to get your kids taken away. And get them back.

“Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily” was written by Jon Vitti and directed by Susie Dietter, 1995.

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Lifetime of Simpsons

S07 E02 – Radioactive Man

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Okay, so here’s the deal. We’re in a period of the Simpsons where just about every episode is perfect. Basically all of season’s Six and Seven are perfection for me. They’re all just so wonderfully constructed and just some of the best television ever made. And this episode is another crowning jewel in the series.

Things start off with a scene that’s very familiar and dear to my heart, Bart and Milhouse complaining about comics while wandering the stacks of the Android Dungeon. I don’t think there’s a comic-book fan alive that hasn’t walked around their local comic shop with a friend, bitching about what’s going on in their favorite books, and how the newest event is ruining everything. Bart and Milhouse look at all the new superheroes that are coming out, like Man-Boy, and decide that they’re all lame. This was the mid-90’s too, so yeah, those comics probably suck pretty bad. But while Bart is extolling the virtues of Radioactive Man, and why he’s the best superhero of them all, Comic Book Guy overhears their conversation, and blows their mind by announcing that there’s going to be a Radioactive Man movie. Now, once again, this is the mid-90’s, so the idea of a big budget superhero movie is a shocking idea to Bart and Milhouse, as opposed to our world where I wouldn’t be shocked if we’re close to getting a real Radioactive Man movie in our world.

Bart and Milhouse are shocked about this news, and Comic Book Guy makes them even more excited when he announces he’s about to find out who will be playing the hero. He then waddles into the back room, and pulls up a goddamn Usenet site to ask who will be playing the role. We then see a montage of nerd, and I think Prince, working on solving the mystery, which happens when we see a guy just hiding under a boardroom table in Hollywood. We see some studio execs argue about the role, and I really love that one of the guys is really pitching for Dirk Richter, the actor who played the character in the 60’s, and as we’ve previously learned was shot to death in a bordello. The producer points out that he’s dead, and we then get a wonderful scene of the old Radioactive Man show, which is basically just Adam West Batman, complete with Paul Lynde as the villainous Scout Master. Radioactive Man and Fallout boy then fight him and his scouts, complete with ridiculous sound effects, like NEWT!, and the scene ends with dancing. They end up deciding on Ranier Wolfcastle, and start looking through Variety to find a city to film in, since they need a Nuclear Plant, a gorge, and an easily bossed around local government. And wouldn’t you know, they end up deciding to flim in Springfield!

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We then cut over to Springfield Elementary, where Principal Skinner interrupts class with an announcement about the movie:

Principal Skinner: (on P.A. system) Students, I have an announcement. One of your favorite comic book heroes, Radio Man…

Nelson: Radioactive Man, stupid!

Principal Skinner: (on P.A. system) Strange, I shouldn’t have been able to hear that.

Skinner then tells them that the studio will be holding open auditions in the school to find the new Fallout Boy, which makes everyone incredibly excited. And of course Bart becomes convinced that he’ll make the perfect Fallout Boy, and begins practicing around the house. But while Bart is practicing we see that the whole town is getting movie fever. All the local businesses are jacking up their prices for the Hollywood bigshots, and we’re treated to the wonderful reveal that Moe was one of the original Little Rascals, because he’s apparently 100 years old. We also learn that Moe killed the original Alfalfa, but it wasn’t a big deal, since he was an orphan owned by the studio.

And now it’s audition time. Pretty much every boy in town is at the Elementary School, waiting to get their shot to awkwardly read lines against Lunchlady Doris, who couldn’t be less interested. We sadly don’t see that many auditions, really only Ralph and Nelson, before Bart comes in. Bart gives his performance, and the director loves it, unfortunately Bart is an inch too short, and is disqualified. Bart is crushed, and heads home to try and get taller. He basically tries to quarter himself by tying his hands and feet to Santa’s Little Helper and Snowball II, assuming they can stretch him, but that only gets him half an inch. So he decides to wear clothes and get a dog that makes him look taller, and he heads back to the audition, only to find that they’ve picked Milhouse as their Fallout Boy.

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Milhouse gets terrified of the attention this gets him, which begs the question of why he even auditioned, but whatever. He runs away from the crowds gathering to look at him, and finds out that his folk have already started spending all the money he will theoretically make for the movie. But as Milhouse is starting to freak out, we see that it’s time to get the movie going! And man are there some crazy stuff going on.

Homer has apparently agreed to let them film scenes of the movie in the Simpson house, which results in teamsters pretty much destroying it. We also see Bart wandering around the film-set, seeing the magic of the movies. First he sees Ranier Wolfcastle stuggling with his dialect coach to pronounce Radioactive Man’s catchphrase, “Up and Atom!” Then he sees a dummy of Milhouse explode, before seeing Milhouse’s stunt double get hit by a truck, which leads to seeing the real Milhouse getting blasted with real x-rays. We also learn that “cows don’t look like cows on film, you gotta use horses.” But things start to crack when Bart visits Milhouse’s trailer, and finds that Milhouse hates being a movie-star, and showbusiness in general.

We then get to the most famous scene of the episode, when the movie is getting ready to perform the biggest stunt of the picture, which takes place in the Nuclear Power Plant. They have Wolfcastle tied up in a trench in the Plant, and are going to dump a bunch of real acid in the trench, which would actually burn Wolfcastle. Milhouse is supposed to swing in and save the day, but as the stunt gets going it’s apparent that Milhouse isn’t there, and Wolfcastle gets swept away in a wave of acid with the perfect line “my eyes! The goggles do nothing!” Seems like someone should have checked that Milhouse was at his mark before releasing the acid, but what do I know?

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Milhouse has fled the production, and gone into hiding, which causes the production team to go crazy. They begin storming around the city, looking for him and hanging up wanted posters. The director and producer head to the editor, who has the horrible idea of splicing together previously shot footage to finish the movie, which doesn’t work but does lead to a hilarious scene of the trainwreck he’s made. But Bart decides he can find Milhouse, so starts looking for him at all Milhouse’s usual hangouts, which are sad. He goes to some sort of Slot-Car racing store and an abandoned Spirograph factory where some creepy guy lives, obsessed with Spirographs. But no Milhouse. So Bart ends up at the last place, his own treehouse, which is where Milhouse was hiding. The two have a conversation about how phony the film business is, and how much Milhouse hates it, and Bart’s unable to convince him to change his mind. So the studio uses their big gun, and helicopters Mickey Rooney into the treehouse to get him to talk to Milhouse. Rooney does his best, but Milhouse still refuses to come back to the production, so they’re left with no choice but to cast Mickey Rooney as Fallout Boy. This doesn’t go well, so they end up cancelling the whole production. The director and producer then head back to Hollywood, where they’re greeted by all the lovely, friendly people that hang out on Hollywood and Vine.

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I love this episode so much. That’s not too shocking, I feel like it’s pretty widely beloved, but man does it check off a lot of my interests. The making of movies, comic books, casting gossip, and superhero movies. Such great stuff. Seeing the old Radioactive Man show is great, and I really just kind of love the character. He’s a weird hodgepodge of Batman and Superman, and is just such a ridiculous thing, and I love how much Bart and Milhouse love him. Plus everything about the making of the movie is wonderful, especially the classic goggles line. Everything about this episode works for me, and it’s just all around great comedy. Yeah, not much emotional depth or anything, but who cares, this is a silly episode, and it’s silliness at its finest.

Take Away: As Bart says George Burns said: “Show-business is a horrible bitch-goddess.”

 

“Radioactive Man” was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Susie Dietter, 1995.

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