As the Simpsons have gone on there have been certain types of episodes that have kind of dropped off. It used to be that we would get a Mr. Burns episode several times a season. And a Grandpa episode. Hell, there were a couple years where we got episodes that revolved around Itchy and Scratchy every year. But they’ve kind of dropped off and become rarer. But there’s one thing that just won’t die. Goddamn clip shows.
The episode starts off with Homer sitting on a park bench, dressed like Forest Gump, reenacting the opening of that movie. Except here the feather ends up stabbing him in the eye. Sure, let’s go with it. And from there Chief Wiggum comes wandering up, briefly threatening him against impersonating movie characters, before getting drawn into Homer’s life story while eating chocolates together.
And from there we realize this is a clip show, and the clips start pouring in while Homer narrates over them. We start off seeing examples of his familial relationships, like him with Grandpa, him meeting Marge for the first time, him and Marge being in love, and for some reason him with Stampy. But after giving Wiggum some unwanted history that section of the episode ends when the rest of the Simpsons show up at the park bench to take Homer away. They stick him in the car, blindfold him, and bring him to the local Friar’s Club where they’re hosting a roast for Homer.
And Homer is not excited about this. Which turns out to be correct after Bart and Lisa get up to tell stories about Homer. They include him helping them rob all the Funzos on Christmas, them begging him to go to Mount Splashmore, the family having seizures in Japan, and Homer singing a lot. That could have gone worse I suppose.
Next up is Mr. Burns, who wants to tell everyone that Homer is a dangerous disgrace that has almost destroyed the town countless times, and people just laugh at him, assuming that he’s telling a joke. And they just keep laughing when he starts playing clips of Homer doing stupid stuff at the Plant. So that didn’t work.
Grandpa and Agnes then get up next, there’s a weird reference to a dress that Jennifer Lopez wore to an Awards Show at the time, and for some reason we get a bunch of clips of Homer getting hurt. We see him having skiing accidents and going parasailing, all while we see that Homer’s getting more drunk an belligerent.
However the episode takes a weird turn when Kang and Kodos show up, crashing Ned and Reverend Lovejoy’s set, and announcing that they’re going to destroy the world unless Homer’s past adventures could convince them of Earth’s decency. And of course that doesn’t go well. We just get a bunch of clips of Homer being angry and violent, yelling at people and strangling Bart.
But with the world’s existence at stake Lisa decides to throw a Hail Mary and tells Kang and Kodos to judge Earth on Maggie instead of Homer. So they hook Maggie up to a memory probe and start to check out her memories. And we see some sweet stuff, like Maggie seeing Marge after the foster parent thing, and her first word. But it wasn’t enough to change Kang and Kodos’ minds, and they decide to destroy the Earth. That is until they start showing a bunch of celebrity cameos that Lisa remembers, which gives the aliens a reason not to destroy Earth. They love celebrities. So they agree not to blow up the Earth in order to go to the People’s Choice Awards.
The episode then ends with a hilarious little song that references a bunch of episode plots while also suggesting horrible future stories and apologizing for having to do a clip show. Which was probably the best part of the episode.
Yeah, I’m not a clip show guy. They’re pretty much wastes of time. Yeah, I know that they’re network mandated, and they try to make the best out of a bad situation, but this was a pretty weak one. At least stuff like the 138th Episode Spectacular show us stuff we haven’t seen before, or try to tackle it in an interesting way. This episode is just kind of odd. It’s like it breaks the 4th wall, by having them just straight up play clips from episodes, as if they know they’re in a show. I don’t know, no clip show I good, but this is one of the weaker ones. That song in the end is pretty fantastic though, and basically justifies the entire episode’s existence.
Take Away: If aliens come to judge us, we’re screwed.
“Gump Roast” was written by Deb Lacusta and Dan Castellaneta and directed by Mark Kirkland, 2002.