Well, yesterday was kind of a bummer of an episode, but what about today? How about a silly-ass episode where Homer and Ned go to Vegas to learn how to live life to its fullest, with disastrous consequences? Yes please!
And since this is an episode about Vegas, we of course start off at the dilapidated Monty Burns Casino, where the entire town has shown up to watch it get imploded. Which does lead to the hilarious joke from Lisa, where she wonders aloud why they even bothered to move the Casino when the whole town got moved last season. But before she gets an answer to that legitimate query, the implosion is ready to begin. Or, actually, the explosion. There was a bit of a miscommunication, causing the Casino to explode around them, covering the town in a blast-radius of dust, debris, and Don Rickles. So, logically, the family decide they need to go to a car-wash, since their car is covered in like four inches of dust.
Do car washes like this still exist? The kind where you get out of your car and watch it get washed from inside some little convenience store? I remember going to these as a kid, but I haven’t seen one like this in years. Anyway, we see Marge raiding the Crap Rock cassette bin while Homer goes up to pay the $10 for his wash. Which outrages Homer, causing him to go on a rant. However, his rant loses steam when Ned walks up, flashes some sort of card, and is only charged $5 for his. Homer demands an explanation, and learns from the clerk that Ned has a senior discount. Which Homer assumes is complete bullshit.
So the next Sunday at church while Reverend Lovejoy is explaining how much more money the congregation should be tithing, Homer gets up and starts ranting. He tells the congregation that Ned isn’t to be trusted, and that he’s defrauding a carwash with a phony senior discount card. The people of the church are stunned at this revelation, and Ned has to admit that he isn’t defrauding anyone, and that he’s actually 60 years old. Which stuns everyone. They quickly begin demanding the answers to looking that good, and are greatly disappointed when Ned reveals that the secret is not living your life, and ignoring all of your urges. Which quickly gets the crowd to stop envying him, and start pitying him.
And that pitying really starts to gnaw away at Ned, who is shocked to find that he’s so bland and predictable. The next morning he tries to blow his family’s minds by being different. Which include him not trimming his mustache, and sitting in a chair wrong. Woo. And these crazy acts of defiance don’t really land, so Ned has to come up with no ideas. And wouldn’t you know it, he spots Homer on the roof of his house, cooking meet with the chimney. Which for some reason makes Ned think that he’ll be a great teacher. So Ned heads up to Homer’s roof, and they make a deal for Homer to teach him how to live his life.
Ned then joins the Homer Simpson Program, and head out to live life to its fullest. Which Homer decides will begin with a trip to the Monty Burns Casino! Which was blown up in the first act, so they turn around, and head out to Vegas, baby! And after briefly passing by Raul Duke and Dr. Gonzo (which I loved) they make it to Vegas, where it’s time for endless gag casino names. Ned starts to get cold feet at this point, beginning to get over-stimulated, but after being attacked by Joan Rivers he decides to stick with Homer for his own safety.
So they get to Nero’s Palace, the hotel they’ll be staying in, and get living. First up in volunteering to help Lance Murdock out with a motorcycle stunt, so Homer gets up on a little target and prepares to get jumped over. Murdock races down, gets through the ring of fire, the ring of ice, and the dog doo stick, only crash when Homer starts getting up. And with Ned’s first taste of bloodlust out of the way, they start gambling. And when Ned starts recommending some Biblical numbers, they hit a hot streak and make some money, especially after the pit-boss pretends to be God and recommends Ned keeps playing. And after losing a lot of money they take a break and go get some drinks. Ned starts asking Homer for advice, leading to this spectacular joke:
Ned: “How do you do it Homer? How do you silence that little voice that says think?”
Homer: “You mean Lisa?”
Wonderful. But it turns out Homer’s advice is alcohol, so they call over some cocktail waitresses and order a white wine sprtizer!
We then cut to the next morning, after they’ve been having a crazy bender, to find the wreckage of their room. They’ve now in a suite, sitting in a heart-shaped hot-tub, while everything around them is trashed. Which makes Ned super excited. He finally lived his life! Yeah he can’t remember any of it, but he did something unexpected and crazy! The Homer Simpson Program is a success! That is until they realize that they went a little too far, and accidentally married those cocktail waitresses. Whoops!
So Ned and Homer start panicking, and take their Vegas Wives down to the buffet thing to think things over. They explain that they’re already happily married, and that it was all a big mistake, but the waitresses are holding fast, and aren’t going to let them sneak out of their drunken commitment. So Homer and Ned do the mature, responsible thing, and book it. They start running through the hotel while Elvis’ “Viva Las Vegas” plays. And it’s great. So many silly sight-gags with them running for their lives. But it all comes to an end when the entire casino staff gets ready to take down these fools who aren’t cherishing their marital vows. They end up getting cornered by Ernst and Gunter, Drederick Tatum, the wives, and the Moody Blues, which is amazing:
Homer: “Ah! The Moody Blues!”
Graeme Edge: “Cold hearted Homer, ditching his wife while ancient Ned, runs for his life.”
Justin Hayward: “Chips of red, and blue, and white, but we decide which-“
John Lodge: “Can the poems, it’s ass-whooping time!”
Ray Thomas: [pulling a knife] “I want Fatty!”
Amazing. They then get their asses kicked by the denizens of Las Vegas, and are kicked out of Nevada, even having the Vegas Wives give up on them. So they’re in the clear!
Okay, listen. This episode is pretty stupid. There are hints of emotions and real issues being tackled, but it’s primarily just a vehicle for crazy Las Vegas sight-gags. And I’m not complaining at all. This is some great silly Simpsons. This could be another episode that has a whole lot of nostalgia warping my opinions, because this is one of those episodes that ran constantly in syndication when I was a teenager. But it’s great. There are so many quotes and scenes in this episode that still make me laugh out loud like crazy. I was still rolling with laughter while re-watching this episode. Seeing Ned live his life for once, and having crazy fun with Homer was great. I love when they pal around, because Homer and Ned make for such a goofy little couple. I love it! Plus we get a weird-ass Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas reference, which always gets bonus points.
Take Away: Live your life to the fullest! But not so full that you regularly black out drunk and marry random ladies. That’s too far.
“Viva Ned Flanders” was written by David M Stern and directed by Neil Affleck, 1998.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons