Well everyone, here we are. The beginning of Season Twenty. We’re now in the twentieth year of this show, and there’s still quite a bit to go. But there’s no sense in getting ahead of ourselves, let’s just focus on the beginning of Season Twenty, this truly ridiculous episode about bounty hunters and sex cakes.
The episode begins with the family traveling downtown for a St. Patrick’s Day parade. They’re just strolling along, noticing that the Nuclear Plant made the river a festive green, when they learn some bad news. Mayor Quimby is announcing that this will be the first alcohol-free St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Springfield, since the city is sick of repairing itself every year after the drunken debauchery. And people aren’t pleased.
But maybe things will be smoothed over by some floats! Well, maybe not, since the floats have subject matters like “small” Irish families just overflowing with children, a mostly empty float of straight priests, and a boy who most looks like a potato. And things are made even worse when a Northern Irish parade arrives, all decked out in orange, and the two parades obviously begin beating the hell out of each other. Lisa tries to soothe the crowds by getting them to sing a lullaby together, but the leprechauns in charge of the two parades incite them to further rioting.
The police then show up and begin arresting all of the rioters, Homer included, and Marge is left on her own. And while she’s walking through downtown she’s attacked by a group of street urchins who steal the box of cupcakes she’s carrying. The urchins are stopped by a man named Patrick Farrely, who gives Marge back the cupcakes. She gives him one as a reward, and he’s really impressed. He also runs a local bakery, and offers Marge a job baking cakes for him. She of course accepts.
But maybe we shouldn’t be glazing over the fact that Homer just got arrested. We then follow up on that plot by showing him being brought before the court, along with all of the other idiots. Judge Snyder gives Homer a pretty massive bail though, so Homer’s going to need to go talk to a bail bondsman. He then makes his way to a man named Lucky Jim, who is voiced by Robert Forester and is obviously just Max Cherry from Jackie Brown.
Lucky Jim gives Homer the bail, but also introduces him to the idea of bounty hunters who would track him down if he faults on the bail. This doesn’t really scare Homer however, and instead inspires him to become a bounty hunter. And since there’s no formal training or licensure involved, he immediately starts his own business and gets to work. And his idea is to market a fake condo that caters to bail-jumpers.
This actually works, and Snake comes strolling into get himself an apartment. Homer then chases him through the streets, trying to capture him, when they make it into a dead-end alley. Snake then pulls a gun and is shoots at Homer. The bullet is deflected at the last second though, and flies back and incapacitates Snake. But how did the bullet get deflected? Why Ned Flanders is just walking by with a pane of bullet-proof glass for the Leftorium and sprung into action. He then heads off on his day while Homer deals with Snake.
So that’s crazy. And you know what’s also crazy? The things going on in the Marge plot. Because she came to Patrick’s bakery and began working, getting rave reviews on her cakes. But that’s ruined when Marge accidentally learns that Patrick actually runs an erotic bakery, and she’s been secretly making sex-themed cakes. Marge is pretty pissed about his, and ends up yelling at Patrick for a while, but he explains that these cakes aren’t hurting anyone and that it’s not a big deal. Marge then realizes that that’s true, and this is a ridiculous thing to be upset about, and keeps making erotic cakes.
Meanwhile Homer is strolling into the Springfield Mall to meet up with Ned. He thanks him at first for helping him not get killed, but then gives him a stack of money. Homer explains that this is Ned’s cut of the bounty, and then suggests that the two work together as bounty hunters. And, surprisingly, Ned’s down with this idea. So the two set up an office and get to work chasing down the criminal scum of Springfield, treating us to a hilarious montage of them catching bail-jumpers in ridiculous ways, including by using a magic show.
And the two love it. Homer and Ned seem to be naturals at bounty hunting, and really have a great time with it. Homer’s even able to bring home presents for the kids, giving Bart some bullets and Lisa a meth lab. And this all leads to the two getting ready for a stake-out to catch Fat Tony. They sit in Homer’s car for hours, bonding and having fun, when they see the gangster leave Luigi’s and give chase.
But Fat Tony doesn’t feel like getting in a car-chase, and instead boards some sort of El Train that Springfield now has. That’s right, it’s time for a French Connection parody. Homer races after the train, trying to keep track of Fat Tony, and eventually is able to launch the car into the train, crashing into it. Homer then captures Fat Tony and begins choking him with a plastic bag. And all of this nonsense has finally worn too much on Ned, who gets in a huge argument with Homer about his violent methods. But Homer sticks to his guns, and the two decide to end their partnership.
Ned then heads back to Lucky Jim’s to tell him that he’s out of the game, and not to contact him anymore. But Lucky Jim offers him one last bounty before he retires. Homer’s. Turns out Homer never came to his trial for the St. Patrick’s Day riot, and now it’s time for someone to track him down. And because Ned doesn’t want any of the other shady hunters to do it, he decides to do it himself. Bringing down his best friend.
So that night Homer comes home, and finds that the family is missing, and Ned is sitting in the family room. Ned explains what’s going on, and Homer obviously starts to flee. This leads to a ridiculous sequence where the two run all through the streets of Springfield, doing all kinds of parkour stunts. But it all comes to a head when the two get atop some construction girders like they’re in Casino Royale, and they begin talking through it.
Ned talks about how he only did the bounty hunting because he liked being with Homer, but that Ned won’t let Homer escape justice. However, Ned then slips off the girder, and Homer springs into action, grabbing his friend. Unfortunately Homer also falls from the girder, and they land in some wet cement like they’re the Juggernaut. The two get trapped in the cement over-night, but Homer is finally caught by Chief Wiggum, who sends him to jail for a day. But it’s not too bad, since Homer gets to eat a non-erotic cake while in his cell.
This episode is really goofy, but I had a pretty good time with it. It’s actually a pretty solid season opener, because it didn’t rely on anything too big and extreme, other than the idea of Homer and Ned being bounty hunters, and just provided a solid episode. The whole erotic cake plot was a little underdone and maybe could have been stretched to be an A-Plot in a different story, but that’s okay because the main plot with Homer and Ned is great. Obviously that Dog the Bounty Hunter dude was popular at the time, so of course Homer had to be a bounty hunter. They were running out of professions that he hadn’t dipped his toes into at this point. And being a bounty hunter is just kind a of an inherently ridiculous idea. I once worked with a guy who did some bounty hunting on the side, and I found that to be the funniest thing in the world. Lots of bean-bags. But the thing that really takes this episode from being okay to pretty good is the addition of Ned into the proceedings. The idea of Ned Flanders becoming a bounty hunter with Homer is great, and honestly the only thing that I think would be more fun for the two to do is if they became private detectives. There’s really not a lot to the episode, it’s just a lot of fun, and compared to the other episodes we’ve had this week, that’s all I need.
Take Away: It’s apparently really easy to become a bounty hunter, just as long as you make sure there isn’t a bounty out for you.
“Sex, Pies, and Idiot Scrapes,” was written by Kevin Curran and directed by Lance Kramer, 2008.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons