Well folks, we’ve made it through another week and another season. We’re into the wild unknown of Season Eighteen. I’m looking ahead, and just about none of these episode seem even remotely familiar to me, so either this was when I bailed and these will all be first views, or they’re all so forgettable that I have no recollection of them. Neither of which instills a lot of confidence. But none of that matters, because we have an episode to talk about.
The episode starts off with Lisa and Bart waiting for the school bus in the morning, and Bart is ready to start acting like an asshole. He won’t let Lisa sit with him, and since there are no other seats she’s not left with a lot of options. So, doing the only thing she can, Lisa heads over to Otto and asks him to help. But, shockingly, Otto isn’t that much help, and more or less just ignores her. But Lisa is persistent, and starts bothering Otto, trying to get his attention.
Which is when disaster strikes. While Lisa is trying to get Otto’s attention she accidently pulls on his headphone, and ends up breaking both his tape player and his cassette. So, Otto’s ready for suicide. Which isn’t helped by the fact that the children start singing songs about farts to try and help him out, which just makes him more and more insane. However, there is a silver lining, because as he’s driving the kids to school he sees something ridiculous on the side of the road. Metallica’s tour bus.
Turns out Metallica’s tour bus has broken down, and they’re in need of a lift. So Otto pulls the bus over and goes to talk with them, offering to drive them wherever they need to go. Unfortunately Otto takes too long talking to Metallica, so Bart decides it’s up to him to get the kids to school, and he starts driving the bus away from Otto and the band. Otto then has to chase after the bus while Metallica gets a ride from Hans Moleman.
Bart actually does this fairly competently, and drops off all of the kids. And when that task is accomplished Otto manages to catch up, and he is not happy. His whole morning has been terrible, so he snaps, grabs Bart, and spanks him. Principal Skinner happens to be around and sees the spanking, and he freaks the hell out. Otto shouldn’t be allowed to hit kids, so he suspends Otto, making it so that the kids have to get to school by carpool, for like the sixth time on this show.
Yep, it’s carpool time. Which means Marge is going to be carting around a whole gang of kids. She sticks Bart and Lisa in the car, and then goes to pick up Nelson, Sherri & Terri, Milhouse, and some new kids named Michael. Everyone seems to hold Michael in disdain, and he’s super awkward, which isn’t helped by the fact that he forgot a book and makes them drive back to his house. Which is when things get crazy, because it turns out that Michael lives in a massive mansion. Why? Well it turns out his dad is none other than Fat Tony.
That’s right, Fat Tony has a son, and he goes to Springfield Elementary. Which is news to everyone, and it quickly spreads around the whole school, making everyone terrified of Michael, which really bums him out. Lisa notices this, and decides to take pity on Michael, and hang out with him. He seems like a nice kid, and he even takes Lisa out to the playground and makes her a surprisingly decent salad out of the greens that grow around the school. Yep, Michael’s a little cook.
Michael really wants to be a chef, but he knows that Fat Tony won’t stand for it. Lisa tries to encourage Michael, but he doesn’t have a lot of confidence. And this is put to the test when the kids find out that Fat Tony is also participating in the carpool, and will be driving the kids home after school. Which obviously leads to Fat Tony’s car being attacked by a rival gang, while all of the kids are inside. So the kids get to survive through a mob battle, and everyone’s okay. The Simpsons even get invited over to Fat Tony’s estate for dinner that night.
So that night the Simpsons head over to Fat Tony’s estate, and have a lovely evening with him. Turns out Fat Tony is a widower, and Michael is his whole world at this point. However, the night takes a turn when members of that rival gang from earlier show up for a meeting. So Fat Tony excuses himself to deal with the mobsters while Michael decides that this is going to be the night that he admits to Fat Tony that he wants to be a chef. And there’s only one way to do that. Soufflés.
Fat Tony is having a meeting with the mobsters, and things aren’t going well. They’re just flat out threatening him, telling him that they’re going to kill him and take over his territory, and Fat Tony’s only defense is saying that if he dies Michael takes over, and will conquer them. Which is right when Michael strolls in with the soufflés, impressing no one. They just mock Michael, and tell Fat Tony that they’re going to kill him.
Fat Tony is furious that his son would make him look weak, and he tells him that he’s never going to be a chef, that he’s destined to be a mobster. Which really becomes important when Fat Tony is almost immediately shot by the rivals, and is put into a coma. They rush Fat Tony to the hospital, and start trying to figure out what to do. Johnny Tightlips is going to stay with Fat Tony and keep him safe, while Bart and Homer offer to help Legs and Louie run the mob.
So now Homer and Bart are mobsters, and we get to see them shake down local businesses! Homer goes over to Moe’s and ends up paying Moe the money to give to the mob. Bart goes to Krusty Burger, where Krusty is for some reason working, and they threaten him into giving them money. So they’re doing well. And they really love it. Homer and Bart take to mob life very quickly, and Michael starts to feel bad that his cowardice has made these two people start a life of crime. So Michael fires Homer and Bart, and says that he’s going to fix everything.
Michael’s next move is to call those rival gangsters and tell them that he’s giving up. For some reason they decide to have a meeting at the Simpson’s house, where Michael makes them a delicious meal to keep them happy while he gives up. And as soon as the mobsters finish, they promptly die. Turns out the meatballs were poisoned, and now everything is fine. Lisa is shocked at the sudden murder in her home, and she tries to get Michael to admit that it was an accident, but the episode becomes the end of the Godfather, and Michael doesn’t want anyone to ask about his business.
I’m kind of ambivalent towards this episode. I’m a big fan of Fat Tony, and I always like checking in on Springfield’s mob and seeing how they’re doing. But there was something about the episode that just didn’t work for me. It might have been the fact that Michael was super dull. The idea that he wants to be a chef, and not be a mobster is pretty interesting, but Michael was just such a boring character that it didn’t work great for me. Although now I finally understand who Michael is, since he’s been in my Simpsons Tapped Out game for a quite some time. I also think that this is an episode that really suffers from having to have the Simpsons crammed into it. Having Homer and Bart join the mob for like five minutes was so weird and derailed the episode, which should have just been all about Michael and Fat Tony. But they couldn’t just let us see those characters and not the title characters, so I guess it makes sense. I don’t know, it’s not a bad episode, it’s just one that I’m not going to remember in a week, which isn’t that auspicious opening of a Season.
Take Away: Always follow your passions, and if those passions need to help you kill someone, so be it.
“The Mook, the Chef, the Wife, and her Homer” was written by Bill Odenkirk and directed by Michael Marcantel, 2006.