Lifetime of Simpsons

S21 E23 – Judge Me Tender

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Howdy everyone, and welcome back to another week of Lifetime of Simpsons. And folks, we’ve done it again. We’ve conquered another season! Today brings a close to the 21st Season of the Simpsons, and tomorrow we’ll be boldly stepping forth into Season 22. The Simpsons is old enough to drink! And what better way to celebrate that than by closing the season out with a Moe episode?

Things start off at the Simpson’s home while Homer and Bart and hard at work applying all sorts of makeup and props to Santa’s Little Helper’s face to make him as ugly as possible. Why? Because Springfield is holding one of those “world’s ugliest dog” competitions, and they want to fix it so that Santa’s Little Helper becomes a sure winner. However, nothing they do seems to be enough to make Santa’s Little Helper ugly enough. Until Bart gets a great idea. But we don’t get to see it yet.

The next morning the whole family backs up with a covered up Santa’s Little Helper and they head to some sort of pet-centric fair. Which means it’s time to wander around and check out some sight gags while Homer and Bart hide Santa’s Little Helper until the competition begins. There’s some good gags, like Krusty and Mr. Teeny selling chimp diapers and Flanders selling some Jesus fish that he unknowingly created through evolution.

But after the requisite number of sight gags it’s time for the ugly dog competition to begin, and everyone filters into the pavilion. Even Moe! Who, as usual, is sad and lonely, especially when not a single person will let him sit next to them, causing poor Moe to sit on the ground. But at least he has a fun show to watch! Well, not really. Turns out Krusty has been hired to judge the show, and his heart is clearly not into this, and his hackneyed jokes are not exactly going over well with the crowd.

And this lack of funny material is what causes Moe to blossom, because he becomes so bored that he has no choice but to begin heckling Krusty. And people love it. Moe’s jaded sense of humor is perfect for this scenario, and he eventually just comes up on stage and begins mocking all of the animals, much to the amusement of everyone else. Hell, he even lets Santa’s Little Helper win, even though all they did was glue some googly eyes to his butt, hoping that people would believe that it was a weird head. But it works, and people loved Moe’s sense of humor so much that he becomes popular and beloved. Which is sure to last.

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The next day people are still fawning over Moe, and the barflies begin telling him that he has some real skills at being insulting. And it just so happens that Springfield is hosting some sort of heinous beard competition, and they send a representative to hire Moe to mock them. Which he gladly does. And he actually does so great a job that the Rich Texan offers to get him more work in the field. Yep, Moe has found a new calling. Being a professional asshole.

Unfortunately, because Moe had the beard contest to judge he had to close he bar early, which means Homer has to return home, sad. And because Moe is getting more and more work that means that Homer is more and more frequently barless. Which means he’s spending a whole lot more time at home, driving Marge absolutely insane. Homer begins utterly cramping Marge’s style, and she’s rapidly approaching a breaking point.

And that’s not going to end anytime soon. Because Moe’s mocking abilities have suddenly become very well known, to the point that a talent agent has been sent to Springfield to sign him up. Moe obviously agrees to this, and specifically given his pick of reality shows to be a harsh judge for. So, of course, Moe chooses to become the latest (and apparently fifth?) judge for American Idol. Which means Moe’s headed to Los Angeles!

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But hey, this episode is loaded with weird extraneous subplots, so we might as well check in on some. First there’s the incredibly strange and utterly thrown-away idea that Santa’s Little Helper is sad because everyone thought he was ugly. This is dropped basically as soon as it’s brought up by having Lisa tell him he’s not ugly. Simple! But then there’s also the problem of Homer driving Marge crazy, because that’s just getting worse and worse. She does make Homer go to a new bar, but it’s a sports bar and the guys inside actually know things about sports, so Homer gets bored and leaves.

This just gets worse and worse until Marge is so desperate to get Homer out of her hair that she asks Grandpa for advice. And, shockingly, he has some. He tells Marge that the perfect way to keep Homer out of the house is to get him into golf. So Marge gets Homer some golf accessories and drops him off at a course, hoping he’ll pick it up. Unfortunately she strikes up a conversation with some random old guy, who talks about all the things in life he missed because of golf, and Marge changes her mind. So she rescues Homer from the hell that is golf, and they just decide to deal with each other.

And now that all of that is taken care of it’s time to finish Moe’s plot. He’s brought to Los Angeles and is introduced to his logical mentor, Simon Cowell. Cowell shows him around, and has some advice for him. He tells Moe that being the mean judge is an incredibly lonely life, and recommends not going down that path like he did. Moe really takes this to heart, and in his first show decides to be a less judgmental and kinder person. Which means he falls directly into Cowell’s trap. Because when Moe acts nice Cowell pounces on him and reveals it all to have been a ruse. And that was apparently enough to make Moe lose all interest in this line of work, and he quits after his first night, returning to Springfield to keep his bitter and jaded personality to himself.

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There’s really not much to this episode, and it feels like kind of a weird note to end a season on, but it was a pretty fun little bit of nothing. I’m always a fan of episodes that revolve around Moe, and I think the idea of him finding a way to monetize and get praise for being a wretched human being is a really solid idea. As is him joining American Idol, even if it does feel like a mandated move by Fox at times. Where the episode starts to fall apart for me is all of the weird side plots. The Homer plot is really dull to me, and the idea of Marge being so incredibly sick of Homer is weird and doesn’t really add up to their usual dynamic. And the less said about Santa’s Little Helper being sad about his looks the better, we could just forget it like the writers did. I feel like usually the closing episodes to the seasons have something really special about them to end on a high note, and this was not that. It was a fun episode, but it’s one that I feel like I’ll completely forget about next week.

Take Away: There’s always something about yourself that you can get praise for, even if it’s your hatefilled personality. Oh, and golf sucks.

“Judge Me Tender” was written by Dan Greaney & Allen Glazier and directed by Steven Dean Moore, 2010.

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2 replies »

  1. That American Idol thing was dated even when it aired. That Ellen/Simon/Randy/Kara season experiment was not good, and I’ve seen at least some of each of the AI seasons (usually the first few only). That was their ninth season, which ran from Jan 2010 to April 2010. This episode aired May of that year. Ellen was such a mismatch she never came back as a judge. But I’d say she’s done alright for herself. Really, I got sick of Simpsons characters crossing over into Hollywood, and Moe had already done that in Pygmoelian!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! They had already done American Idol, they had already had Moe be successful in Hollywood, and American Idol was on such a decline that it just reeked of Fox asking them to bump the ratings.

      Like

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