Lifetime of Simpsons

S13 E22 – Poppa’s Got a Brand New Badge

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Holy crap everybody! It’s the end of Season 13! I’m still marveling every time I finish a season of this show, slowly but surely making my way through this ridiculous decision I made. I’m almost halfway through! And honestly, things aren’t looking that bleak yet. We’re around the place that I think I bailed on, but looking through the lists of episodes I’m having a hell of a time pinning down the last episode I saw. The show is certainly different from the Golden Age, but it’s not getting terrible. It’s just different. I don’t like it as much, but it’s not awful or anything like a lot of huge fans of the Golden Age feel. And hey, let’s end the season with a pretty solid one.

The episode starts off with a killer heat wave slowly boiling everyone in Springfield alive. This seems to happen a lot. Springfield has bad luck with heat. Anyway, we see that the city is responding to this climate crisis by doing what we all do. Cranking that AC! Everyone starts blasting their air conditioning, even the Elementary School, which begins drawing in all sorts of students who don’t usually go anymore, like Jughead, Fonzie, and Fat Albert.

Now, one thing that we should have learned by now is that heat waves are really dangerous for power outages. When everyone’s blasting their AC it drains a lot of power, but Mr. Burns assures the city that the Plant has enough capacity to keep everyone cool. Which is obviously a blatant lie, because as Mr. Smithers mentions, they’re at capacity and even a single appliance could overload the system.

Cut to the Simpsons house! They’re miserable and hot, desperate for some breeze from a series of fans, when Homer has a great idea. He thinks they should plug in a dancing Santa robot, which would then get them all in the Christmas spirit, and cool them down. So Homer plugs Santa in, he starts dancing, and a citywide blackout commences. Which happened with bad timing, because we see Lenny and Carl driving at night, talking to each other on their cellphones, when they accidentally crash into each other, and into the windows of a department store.

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And if there’s one thing we know people like to do when there’s a blackout, its start looting. And with Lenny and Carl accidentally leading the pack, the whole damn town starts to riot, loot, and just generally destroy the town. Well, not the whole town. Homer isn’t allowing the rest of his family to go participate in the looting, because he feels responsible for the blackout, so they just put chairs on their roof and watch the town slowly implode.

The next day order is restored, and the town does what they always do in this kind of situation, have a Town Hall meeting! Everyone piles into Town Hall and start to complain about all the looting they did the previous night. And gradually the anger all gets funneled at the police and Chief Wiggum specifically, because they failed to stop people from looting. So Quimby swears that he’ll start a new committee to solve the police problems, and that seems to placate the citizens. That and all the stuff they stole.

But that committee isn’t enough for Homer, because he’s pissed about the looting, and gets even more pissed when he finds out that Lisa’s Malibu Stacy collection has been stolen. And because the police are useless, Homer decides to investigate by himself. And after briefly assuming that the culprit was Bart, he actually starts doing some detection, and ends up finding a hat that must have belonged to the thief. So he tracks the hat down, and ends up finding that it’s Jimbo. So Homer gets the dolls back from Jimbo, reprimands him, and heads home a hero.

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The next day Homer is at the Kwik-E-Mart when he spots Snake about to rob Apu, and ends up saving the day by throwing a bucket of nacho cheese on Snake. Homer has found a new passion. So he heads home, briefly runs through every ridiculous job he’s had in the series, and tells Marge that he wants to start yet another career, a private security firm. So he goes and tells Lenny and Carl that they work for him now, and starts up his security company, SpringShield.

And things are going great. They make some insane commercials and slowly build up a strong customer base. People love SpringShield, and think that Homer’s doing a great job. Which turns out to be in his favor when Mayor Quimby and the Channel Six newsteam stop by the police station for a surprise report, and find Wiggum playing shotgun piñata. So in his rage Quimby fires Wiggum, closes the police force, and says that Homer and SpringShield will now police the town.

So yeah, Homer’s basically the chief of police now. He sets up shop in the police station, they briefly play with the lie detector and free the town drunk, and then get to work. And their first case is to bust Fat Tony and his guys, who are busy gluing cotton balls on ferrets to pretend they’re poodles. Fat Tony’s schemes are odd. But Fat Tony is arrested, and Springfield is declared crime free!

That is until Fat Tony is immediately freed from prison and publicly announces that he’s going to kill Homer and the rest of SpringShield unless they leave town. But Homer isn’t afraid. The town loves him! Surely they will support him! Right? Nope. They all abandon him, even Lenny and Carl, and leave him alone to die.

Which seems likely, because Fat Tony has a whole crew of backup arrive. They all pile into his car, and start driving around town like the Sopranos until they get to Homer’s house, ready to kill him. And Homer decides to face them. He heads out to deal with the mobsters, ready to face the music, and they all get in a standoff. But right before they kill Homer a mysterious sniper starts shooting them in the arms, incapacitating all the police. Homer’s saved! And he relinquishes power back to Wiggum, assuming he saved him. But he didn’t. And they don’t see who did it. But we do. It was Maggie! She has a rifle in her crib, and saved her father. We’re briefly reminded that she shot Mr. Burns that one time, which I guess is justification that she’s a crack shot, and the episode is over.

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This isn’t the best episode, but I do like it. There are times when it just kind of feels like a hodgepodge of previous episodes, like when Homer became a vigilante to stop the catburlgar who stole Lisa’s sax and when the town started to riot after the soccer game, but it does eventually stop cribbing on itself, and tells a unique story. I like Homer as the head of this security company, and I love that this was the only time he’s ever had a job that wasn’t lazy or corrupt at. Plus, as stupid as it is, I kind of adore the insane Maggie ending. There’s a lot that doesn’t work in this episode, but it’s just kind of silly and fun, and I had a good time with it.

Take Away: It’s super easy to take over the police force in your local town, but you’ll probably be killed by mobsters, so don’t chance it.

 

“Poppa’s Got a Brand New Badge” was written by Dana Gould and directed by Pete Michels, 2002.

 

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