Lifetime of Simpsons

S11 E07 – Eight Misbehavin’

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Hey everybody, at some point the writers of the show seemed to decide that every season needed an episode filling us in on the continuing adventures of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. I’m not really sure if that’s super necessary or not, but hey, let’s see what Apu’s up to now!

Things start off with the family visiting a new IKEA-like store that’s just opened called SHOP. They wander around, getting visual gags off of all the weird furniture for a while. We also see Bart talk to some horrible robotic alien that the store owners found in a meteorite that needs tungsten to live. So that happens. But the plot really gets going when the family stop at the food court before leaving, and run into Apu and Manjula. And while Apu chats with this family that have been so ingrained in his life, Manjula takes the opportunity to play with a baby.

And if there’s anything I’ve learned as a married man, it’s that baby fever is a real thing. And Manjula has it hard now. So she and Apu discuss it, and decide that it’s time for them to start having babies. So they get conceivin’! And things aren’t going well. They just keep trying, and the weird slot machine style pregnancy tests they’ve been using just keep saying it’s not working. So they start to panic. But Homer comes to the rescue! Because after asking for some advice, Homer helps Apu out by giving them a little role-playing that’s guaranteed to result in a pregnancy. Fake high-schoolers in the back seat of a convertible.

And it works! Nine months later Manjula is massively pregnant, and we see that the Simpsons have been having all sorts of mediocre adventures that we miss out on. But we don’t really focus on any of that, because it’s time for Manjula to give birth. So they race to the hospital, and get to the birthing. And after a whole lot of labor, Apu is out sleeping in a waiting room, and is rushed into the operation room to see his children. And wouldn’t you know, it’s not just one baby, it’s eight! Apu and Manjula have octuplets!

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Yeah, that sounds horrible. I intend to have children, but even twins sounds pretty awful to me, let alone eight of the little bastards. And Apu and Manjula aren’t exactly stoked either. It’s pretty terrifying. But at least this many children is making them local celebrities, which causes them to get interviewed on the news a bunch, and causes a bunch of companies to donate all sorts of supplies to the family. Which is pretty great. That is until some family in Shellbyville have nine babies, which makes all the companies to decide to rescind their donations and give it to that family, utterly screwing Apu and Manjula over. Nice work folks.

And with no support, Apu and Manjula quickly go mad. Homer and Marge decide to stop by and give them some banana bread, only to find their apartment has become a total hellhole, and that the couple have become complete assholes. Which is understandable. Anyone with eight babies and a weird milking vest is probably going to be a little cranky. But a ray of hope arrives while the Simpsons are visiting when some mysterious man arrives and tells Apu he has a proposition that can save them. So Apu obviously follows the man with no questions.

And that man turns out to be Larry Kidkill, the owner of the Springfield Zoo. And he has an insane idea to bring the octuplets to the zoo and give them their own exhibit where they’ll be taken care of and given everything they could possibly need, in exchange for living in a goddamn zoo. Apu’s obviously hesitant, but the sudden appearance of Butch Patrick, the guy who played the son in the Munsters, shows up and that for some reason convinces Apu and Manjula that this is a good idea.

So the children get brought into the zoo, and at first things seem okay. They have a nice little home, there’s plenty of nurses and nannies there to take care of them, and Apu and Manjula really do get a nice break. But then the shows begin. Because apparently part of the deal was for the babies to have these elaborate shows for the stupid people of Springfield, where the babies are dressed up in costumes and forced to dance around in little cribs. They’re given weird names, costumes, and little attributes, like a rock star, a dancer, a stand-up, and the dreaded Baron!

So yeah, Apu and Manjula are having second thoughts. Unfortunately the contract is pretty iron-clad, so there’s nothing legally they can do about. Which mean that it’s time to start breaking some laws! So Homer and Apu break into the zoo during the middle of the night, seeing how different the animals act when no one is watching them, and get to work stealing the babies back. They manage to steal all the kids, and get them back to the Simpsons house (for some reason) and everything’s fine! That is until Larry Kidkill shows up. However, he makes a deal with Homer in exchange for not pressing charges for stealing the babies back, Homer and Butch Patrick are now going to replace the octuplets with the greatest show of all time. They’re going to ride around a giant unicycle, dressed like Eddie Munster, while getting bitten by cobra to the dulcet strands of “Danger Zone.”

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This is a weird one. There are some incredibly solid jokes in the episode that I really love. That last little scene with Homer’s insane show, and the idea that Apu’s one weird son that looks like Sanjay still loves wearing his little monocle made me laugh a whole lot during this viewing. But the episode just feels weird to me. I like Apu, but I think it’s kind of weird that they just keep doing Apu shows. We’ve seen him marry Manjula, have marital problems, and now have kids, all within like three years. And I feel like they just keep happening. And really, I think my biggest issue with an episode like this is that the Simpsons are so oddly crammed in. They’re there at the hospital when Manjula gives birth, they all slipped her fertility drugs, they go back to the Simpson’s house once they’re stolen the babies back. It just feels weird. The episode may have been better with less Simpsons in it, which seems odd. I feel like this is one of those episodes that would have really worked great if they had ever made that spin-off show the writers talk about, that would have just been about the people of Springfield. Because around this point in the series it felt like they were running out of great stories about the family, but still had a lot of ones for the side characters. And it feels strange that they just cram the Simpsons into these other stories. Sometimes it works great, but this is a story that’s not really helped in any way by including the family. But I doubt we’ll ever get to the point that there will be episodes that don’t feature the family, for better or for worse.

Take Away: Don’t trust zookeepers, and having octuplets seems like a horrible punishment.

 

“Eight Misbehavin'” was written by Matt Selman and directed by Steven Dean Moore, 1999.

 

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