Howdy everyone and welcome back to another week of Lifetime of Simpsons. And what better way to ring in the new week than with a vacation episode? Well, I can think of a lot of better ways, but this is what we got dealt, so let’s go to Ireland.
The episode starts off with the family driving to a Home and Garden convention, and no one but Marge is excited. Actually, it seems like they were all lied to by Marge about what they were doing, and when they got in the car and realized where they were actually going they were crushed. But Marge doesn’t care, this is something she wants to do and they so infrequently do Marge things. You know what, treat yourself Marge.
So the family arrive at the convention, and you know what that means. Gags ahoy. We see Homer and the kids practicing to complain the whole car ride home and Principal Skinner having to hock some fancy hose, which obviously results in Bart pranking him. But after that we kind of just skip straight into the Simpsons making a wonderful discovery at the expo. The hot tub exhibit. And the whole family is super into hot tubs. Even Marge. So they decide to take the plunge and buy themselves a fancy new hot tub.
The family then bring the hot tub home and set it up, ready to start relaxing. And they love it. They do have to deal with some roving gangs of swingers, but other than that it’s just a lot of sitting in hot water and being happy. Hell, they even convince Ned to come soak with them when he comes to complain about the noise from the pump. So everything seems to be going great for the Simpsons and their new lifestyle, so they just keep spending all of their free time in the tub.
However, one day when they’re just being bums it turns out that they’re actually missing something. Because there’s some sort of field day going on at the Retirement Castle, and the Simpsons were supposed to show up and be with Grandpa, and they’re flaking. He stands there, waiting for them and feeling embarrassed until it’s clear that they aren’t coming. So Grandpa freaks out, storms over to their house, and breaks their hot tub. This then results in a terrible Family Guy-esque joke where the family flops around on the ground like fishes, for what feels like ten minutes. It’s interminable.
But once we get through that stupid joke we see that Grandpa is really hurt. He complains that at his age a wasted day really means something, and that they really hurt his feelings. So the family decide to do something really nice for Grandpa, and ask if there’s something on his bucket list to do. And it turns out there is. Apparently during the War Grandpa spent some time in an Irish town called Dunkilderry, and he absolutely loved it, and really wants to go back. So the Simpsons are off to Ireland!
Obviously their plane is flown by leprechauns, and after a pleasant flight they land in the beautiful shores of Ireland and head out to Dunkilderry. Grandpa is really hyping up the town, telling the family how quaint and beautiful it is, while also being full of drunken revelry. But when they get there they find something surprising. Dunkilderry has become the location of a tech boom in Ireland, and has gentrified into a trendy and hipster city full of rich techies. And Grandpa is furious.
However, the pub that he loved is still there. And it’s still run by the same man, Tom O’Flanagan. But there are some problems with the bar. Namely being the complete lack of customers. Apparently O’Fanagan’s is not a trendy bar with the new citizens of Dunkilderry, and the bar is completely tanking. But Tom does perk up a bit when he learns that Grandpa and Homer have basically come to Ireland just to get drunk at his bar, so that’s pretty cool!
And while Homer and Grandpa drink their vacation away Marge and the kids decide to go see the sites. Now, in doing so they seem to be able to traverse the entire country of Ireland in absurd speed, but who cares, they’re just gags. They go to the Giant’s Causeway to play Q-Bert, go to the Guiness factory and learn that it’s just bog water and chocolate syrup, Bart makes his ass the Blarney Stone, they run into Glen Hansard who sings some songs from Once, and they see some people participating in Bloomsday.
Meanwhile, Homer and Grandpa are getting drunker and drunker with Tom O’Flanagan, to the point that they just pass out at the bar. And when they wake up the next morning they find that they’ve made a terrible decision. They bought the bar. Tom O’Flanagan then peaces out of the bar, leaving Homer and Grandpa to figure out what to do with their new bar. Homer tries just running around and demanding people drink, but no one seems interested. So they’re screwed.
Homer and Grandpa obviously need to do something to fix things, so they decide to ship Moe across the Atlantic to have him help out. But Moe really only seems to be willing to give them ideas. He tells them that their bar needs a hook, something that no other bar in town will provide, and it probably needs to be something illegal. So they look around and find the perfect answer. They’re going to start letting people smoke inside.
So Homer and Grandpa open up Tom O’Flanagan’s as a smoker friendly pub, and it’s an almost instant success. People pack into the pub, smoking as much as possible. And they’re raking in the cash. For once something good happened on one of the Simpson’s vacations! Well, until the police burst in and raid the bar, arresting Homer and Grandpa. They’re then brought before a judge who is a Mr. Potato Head, and learn that the punishment for this infraction is deportation, so the family just head back to Springfield and the bar presumably closes.
I have not been overly fond of the vacation episodes during this viewing of the series. There have been some good ones, but overall they tend to be pretty lackluster. They’re typically these weird American-centric episodes that just shove all of a nation’s stereotypes into one episode while bombarding the viewer with as many celebrity cameos as humanly possible. And this episode doesn’t quite do that. Yeah, Marge and the kids race around Ireland at breakneck speed, seeing as many sights as possible, and they do run into the stars of Once, but other than that it’s really just a story that takes place in Ireland. Which I very much prefer. This isn’t the Simpsons just walking from scene to scene to meet more cameos and look at sites, this had a real story backing it up, and it was an okay one. Everything’s a little rushed, but I do like seeing Grandpa and Homer working together on a project, even if that part of the episode just takes like seven minutes of the episode. Honestly this episode may have worked better if they did something goofy like have Grandpa find out he inherited a bar, letting most of the episode revolve around them trying to get the pub successful instead of having them go to Ireland, meet Tom, get conned by Tom, then try and save the bar. But what do I know, I’m just some random dude on the internet who talks too much about the Simpsons!
Take Away: Owning a bar is hard.
“In the Name of the Grandfather” was written by Matt Marshall and directed by Ralph Sosa, 2009.