Lifetime of Simpsons

S21 E10 – Once Upon a Time in Springfield

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Well, yesterday we were treated to a Grandpa heavy episode and today we get something almost as good. Sadly it’s not a Mr. Burns episode, I guess we’ll never get that lucky again, but it’s still pretty good. It’s a Krusty episode folks. Haven’t had one of these in a while, so we should savor it, because it’s very fleeting.

Things start off with a quick glimpse into Krusty’s show where he and Mr. Teeny are shooting flaming arrows at each other’s crotches. Ah, the theater. This is of course quality entertainment to people like Bart and Homer, but once the show’s over Krusty is quickly approached by some network suits who have some suggestions. They claim that Krusty’s show is skewing too male, and that he needs to focus on getting girls interested in the show. So he’s getting a costar to help jumpstart the rating.

Meanwhile we’re introduced to our B-Plot, which opens up with Marge proudly making her own donuts for the family with a brand new fryer. However, shockingly, Homer isn’t interested. And it’s because he gets free donuts at the Power Plant, so there’s no need to eat any at home. Which means it’s time for some dramatic irony, because when Homer gets to work he’s horrified to find that the Plant no longer gives away free donut in order to cut costs. And guess what? Homer doesn’t take it well.

But we’ll just let that percolate for a while. It’s time to check back in on Krusty and his new costar. It turns out to be a woman named Princess Penelope who dresses like a Disney princess and sings songs about friendship and magic. Which obviously horrifies Bart and Milhouse. Lisa is also pretty irritated by how low of a common denominator they’re shooting for, but is easily swayed when a unicorn shows up, instantly becoming a huge fan of Penelope.

Oh hey, it turns out this episode is going to switch between the A-Plot and the B-Plot pretty frequently, because it’s already time to see what’s up with Homer. He’s not happy. And neither is Lenny and Carl, who sit at Moe’s complaining about how they’re being treated. And while they’re bitching about Mr. Burns they get a surprising visitor. A headhunter who wants to help them get a new job at the Capital City Power Plant. Turns out Nuclear Power Plant workers are in high demand, and he’s sure he can get them a much better job.

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But that’ll take a while, for now let’s see how Princess Penelope is doing. Really well! So well in fact that Krusty’s audience is suddenly mostly comprised of little girls. Which is a little unnerving to him, but he’s a professional, so he keeps putting on a quality show. And the girls respond by booing and heckling him, insisting that they get more and more of Penelope. So that’s probably not going to be a good thing.

And Bart’s really irritated about it. Bart starts wandering around the studio, complaining about how women ruin everything like he’s a goddamn neck-beard sporting MRA asshole, trying to avoid everything with Princess Penelope’s face on it. Which is pretty hard. He even finds that all of the Krusty merchandise has been thrown out of the little store on the studio grounds. Hell, they even have thrown Krusty out, leaving him to sit in an alley pathetically. But Bart gets talking to him, and Krusty decides that it’s time for a comeback! Again!

Krusty then storms back into the studio, deciding that the perfect way to start his comeback is to tell off Princess Penelope. So he storms into her dressing room, ready to yell at her, when something shocking happens. She starts hitting on him. Turns out that Penelope has been obsessed with Krusty for almost her entire life, and she’s been madly in love with him from a far. And now that they work together, her dreams are coming true. And because Krusty is a sleaze, he’s of course fine with starting a sexual relationship with this woman who’s decades younger than him.

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But hey, let’s see how things are going on for Homer, Lenny, and Carl. Quiet well, actually! Their new headhunter friend has brought them to the Capital City Nuclear Power Plant, which is significantly nicer than the Springfield one, and even has Gary Larson in-house making personal Far Side comics. Apparently this Plant really needs people like Homer and the guys, so they begin pampering the guys like crazy, trying to get them to sign up.

Homer and the guys are then sent to a spa where they get massages and treated like princes, fully convincing them to jump ship. However, Mr. Smithers happened to be at this spa as well, and tells Burns that some people are about to be poached. So M. Burns comes up with a plan to keep the guys. He approaches them in the parking lot before they quit, and offers them some magical donuts made from incredibly rare ingredients. And because they’re idiots, they agree to stay at the Plant in exchange for these magical donuts every day.

So that’s fixed. But what about the Krusty show? Well, the girls are certainly liking it. The boys, not so much. Now that Krusty is dating Penelope the whole show has become about their relationship, full of love and goodness and everything that little boys find distasteful. And when Krusty even goes so far as to propose to Penelope on air, Bart realizes that something needs to be done. Yep, Bart and Milhouse decide they need to ruin Krusty’s wedding, for the good of the show.

We then skip right ahead to Krusty’s wedding, with Rabbi Krustofki officiating, when Bart springs his plan into action. He replaces Mr. Teeny as the ring-bearer, and once he gets up to Krusty and Penelope starts things off. Basically his plan is to show Penelope how horribly Krusty treated all of his ex-wives, most of them former costars, and implies that Krusty will be a terrible husband and leave her as well, adding her to the list of jilted lovers.

Shockingly, this does not bother Penelope. But it does bother Krusty, who realizes that he’s incapable to loving another person, and breaks the wedding off, fearful that he’ll crush Penelope sooner or later. Penelope then leaves the show, and heads to Paris where she becomes a folk singer, trying to find herself. Well, until Krusty shows up and proclaims that he was stupid, and will strive to make the relationship work, getting back together with Penelope. Now let’s just wait and see if Penelope ever comes back to this show. By money is on ‘no!’

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Oh, and we also get a nice message from the creators thanking us for 20 years of viewership, which means I’ve now been talking about two decades of the Simpsons. Please, someone send help.

I actually liked this episode quite a bit. There are a lot of chances for this episode to go off the rails and become awful, and they thankfully never went off track, and delivered a really enjoyable little story. Krusty getting in a war with a new costar who is appealing to the female demographic could have become a real bummer of a story, with Krusty saying that little girl interests are dumb, but thankfully they didn’t do that. There also could have been a really sketchy plot with Penelope faking to be in love with Krusty to advance her career, which would have been gross. But instead we have Krusty actually find someone that makes him happy. The idea that she’s essentially a stalker fan is a little weird, but they find a way to make it work. Krusty deserves to be happy, and his final realization at the end that he wants to strive to be a better man and find a way to love someone other than him is actually a pretty sweet message. We’ll just have to see if this led to anything, and wasn’t just another week of the show, resetting Krusty’s emotional development back to zero.

Take Away: Learning that your habits can hurt people, and finding ways to change your behavior is a key to becoming a functioning adult.

 

“Once Upon a Time in Springfield” was written by Stephanie Gillis and directed by Matthew Nastuk, 2010.

 

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