Hey everyone. Welcome back to another week of Lifetime of Simpsons, my increasingly frustrating project to watch every damn episode of the Simpsons. We got a weird week here folks. So let’s start things off by talking about a Milhouse episode that’s not really about Milhouse.
Things start off with the fourth graders heading off to a field trip, riding the bus and making fun of how poor Nelson is. And once that’s taken care of they talk about where they’re going. Apparently Springfield has a Museum of Television, and that’s where they’re heading. Which causes Milhouse to start getting sassy, which everyone on the bus finds odd. Surely that’s not an omen of further angst to come!
But before they get to the museum, let’s set up the B-Plot, which begins with Homer, Lenny, and Carl goofing off in the Power Plant while Burns watches. There are apparently some big deal investors coming to the Plant that day, so Burns decides to send the three morons to Moe’s to get drunk all day and not goof around the Plant. So they head over and start getting trashed in the daytime with Apu and Manjula, who are celebrating their anniversary in the saddest way possible.
Meanwhile, at the Museum of Television, we see that Milhouse’s bad attitude is continuing strong. Because as they wander the museum, checking out the exhibits, Milhouse convinces Bart that they should sneak off and cause trouble. Bart obviously thinks that that’s a great choice, and they head off to prank the museum. And while wandering around Milhouse starts to bare his soul, saying that he no longer cares what people think about him, which does sound like the beginning of a very dark episode, but we aren’t going down that path.
At the end of the day the two friends leave the museum after a day of goofy pranking, and they begin walking back to Milhouse’s house. And when they get there, we finally realize why Milhouse has been acting so strange that day. He’s moving. Luanne has accepted a job in Capitol City, and she and Milhouse are literally leaving town that day, despite Kirk’s complaints that he has some custody rights. But those don’t matter; it’s off to Capitol City!
Oh, and while Bart is having his world crushed around him, Homer’s having an interesting adventure too! Because after drinking a ridiculous amount of alcohol in the middle of the day, Moe has kicked him out of the bar to walk home. Homer doesn’t like that plan though, and just sits on the sidewalk outside Moe’s where people promptly decide that he’s a panhandler, and start giving him money. So much money in fact that he has enough to afford a bouquet of roses for Marge so that she’s not mad when he gets home late and reeking of booze.
Back to Bart though, things aren’t going well. He watches some absurd Itchy and Scratchy that’s all about Asian people eating cats, and Lisa is shocked that he’s so depressed he doesn’t laugh. Things are just too bleak for Bart, and he even tries to replace Milhouse with Ralph, which doesn’t go well. He briefly has a flicker of hope when he gets to fly out to Capitol City to hang out with Milhouse, but that doesn’t go that well. He goes to Luanne’s apartment in the city, but Milhouse has completely changed his personality and style, and starts making fun of Bart to fit back in with his new buddies.
Man, this episode really flips between plots a lot. Anyway, Homer! He’s decided that with his anniversary coming up he should by Marge some diamond earrings. But he doesn’t have enough money for them, so he decides to start panhandling professionally. He even meets a real hobo, who teaches him the finer points of panhandling. And Homer’s a quick study. And after a lot of work he actually does buy Marge some earrings, which blows her damn mind.
But while Homer is enjoying his new profession as a panhandler, Bart is getting more and more depressed, to the point that he’s just watching old home-videos of him and Milhouse hanging out. And Marge can tell that’s he’s bummed, so she tries to fix things by having Bart hang out with Lisa and wash the car. At first they squabble like siblings, but they slowly start to have fun together, and goof off, having a great time.
And, despite how biology usually works, Bart and Lisa start having a great time together. They start spending most of their time with each other, even riding bikes together in the woods. And while wandering around in the woods they stumble upon an Indian burial mound. They explore the mound and decide that they’re going to keep it secret, and have it be their secret place, a testament to their new friendship.
Oh, and I think it’s time to wrap up the Homer B-Plot. Because even though he’s gotten those earrings for Marge, he’s still panhandling, because he’s just too damn good at it. And this is starting to piss off the real hobos, because he’s getting all the business. So they go, find Marge, and tell her what Homer’s been doing. So she confronts him and tells him to stop panhandling, while also saying that she plans on keeping the earrings that he bought her with ill-gotten money.
Anyway, Bart and Lisa are still having a great time together, even though things start to get a little weird. Because one day Lisa blows off Janey, and Bart blows of Nelson, which is when the two siblings realize that they’ve become each other’s best friends. Which is a little odd, but whatever, they lean into it and just start palling around.
Which is when disaster strikes. Because one day when Lisa comes to hang out with Bart she’s surprised to find Milhouse back. Turns out Kirks succeeded in getting Milhouse back because of his custody, and Milhouse is back to stay! And Bart immediately starts ignoring Lisa, and hanging out with Milhouse again. He even goes so far as to take Milhouse to the burial mound, despite promising to keep it between just him and Lisa. And Lisa is pissed.
But because Bart is a male, he’s stupid, and doesn’t realize that what he did was shitty. He even starts to try and hang out with Lisa again, and she blows him off. At which point Homer teaches Bart about women, and hurting their feelings, and Bart’s realized what he’s done. So Bart decides to right things, by asking Lisa to play Monopoly with him. She’s against it at first, but decides to give it a shot, and realizes that Bart has created a whole new deck of Chance cards which are sweet things that he’ll do for her. So their relationship is fixed, the siblings hug, and the episode cuts the emotion by having this all be a segment at the Museum of Television so they can explain how sappy endings aren’t fun.
I don’t know about this episode. It’s just really weird. The Homer plot as a lot of fun, and really stupid. I like the idea of Homer becoming a master panhandler and earning the ire of the actual hobos who taught him. That’s a great B-Plot premise. But the main plot’s kind of odd. The Milhouse stuff is just kind of weird. I love the premise of Bart and Lisa becoming best friends, and I suppose they needed some reason for that, but Milhouse moving, becoming a jerk, and moving back is weird. Especially because the episode has his name in it, and he’s barely involved in it. But whatever, let’s focus on the sibling stuff, which is pretty great. I loved seeing Bart and Lisa actually become friends and have a great time together, and Bart’s betrayal of Lisa is a real bummer. But then it redeems itself with that great ending, which is then kicked in the crotch by that stupid stinger. I don’t know why or when the Simpsons started to actively disdain emotional endings, but it’s not a good look.
Take Away: Don’t be a dick to your friends, even if they’re related to you.
“Milhouse Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” was written by Julie Chambers & David Chamber and directed by Matthew Nastuk, 2004.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons