Lifetime of Simpsons

S23 E07 – The Man in the Blue Flannel Pants

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Well folks, it’s been a really odd week here on Lifetime of Simpsons. We’ve had some highs, and some lows, and I’ve been given just a bit of confidence that the rest of this season is going to be a lot of fun. And we’re going to close the week out on another fun little episode. Because who doesn’t want to see Homer be thrown into a Mad Men parody?

Things open up with Bart and Milhouse sitting at a live taping of the Krusty show, and they’ve decided to get there super early. They’re basically the only people in there, watching Krusty and this crew get all of the gags ready for the show when they see some corporate suits approach Krusty. Apparently Krusty has been trying to launch some sort of personal brand vodka, and the sales are abysmal. But they have an idea on how to boost sales.

They tell Krusty that if he holds a massive party, sponsored by his vodka, that will make it more popular and easy to sell. Krusty agrees that this sounds like a good plan, and decides to hold a contest on his show, saying that any fan who wants to offer their parent’s home for the party will get to meet him. So, of course, lots of kids submit their parents houses, and of course, Bart wins. Because who would want to have a goddamn party at the Van Houten’s?

Krusty and the suits then arrive at the Simpson’s house, to vet Homer and Marge, and give them the rules. They promise to supply all of the booze, but Homer has to invite all of the cool people he knows. And, shockingly, they do a great job. The party begins and whole bunch of Springfield’s best show up to party at the Simpson’s house and drink Krusty’s terrible clown vodka. Meanwhile all of the kids get to get lectured by Sideshow Mel in the basement. Fun!

The party is actually doing really well, until someone shows up and utterly kills the mood of the party. Mr. Burns. I’m not sure why he was invited, but as soon as Burns shows up at the party it starts to die. The suits demand that Homer kick Burns out of the party, but he knows that that will have some bad repercussions on his career, so he tries a different tactic. He manages to find a song Burns knows on the karaoke machine, and manages to actually make people think Burns is fun.

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And the next day, Burns is still feeling really happy about what a great job Homer did schmoozing everyone and making him seem like a person people would want to spend time with. He’s so pleased with Homer’s performance that he calls him up to his office for some good news. He wants to give Homer a new job. Apparently the Nuclear Plant has a big department full of people trying to schmooze potential customers and get them to invest in the Plant. And Burns thinks Homer will be perfect at it.

Homer obviously agrees, and he gets taken to the Executive Building on the Plant’s property, where he’s introduced to a very different world. Specifically, the world of Mad Men. Yeah, the Power Plant is basically just a 1960’s Madison Avenue business. Homer is shocked at how nice the offices are, and how much alcohol everyone is allowed to drink during work. He’s also introduced to Robert Marlowe, the old account’s man who is retiring.

Marlowe decides to show Homer the ropes before he retires, and the two head out to convince Mayor Quimby to invest in the Plant. They go out to a fancy lunch, while Homer tells fun stories to make Quimby like them more. However, Marlowe really seals the deal when he and Quimby appear to head off to the bathroom to do cocaine. But whatever, Homer doesn’t notice any of that and is more interested in his fancy lunch.

However, this was apparently all the training that Homer needed, so when they get back to the Plant Marlowe heads off into the sunset, after giving Homer a legacy cocktail set as a gift. Which means now it’s time for Homer to become a Mad Man. He starts living the life like crazy, going home to have cocktails and sex with Marge, travelling all around the state, and of course driving around a John Deere tractor in the office until he runs over Smither’s foot. You know, typical business stuff.

Oh, but I guess this is a good time to talk about the baffling like B-Plot that’s put into this episode for seemingly no reason other than padding out the runtime. It starts off with Bart complaining that he needs to read Little Women to Lisa for a bedtime story, since Homer is busy drinking, which is made harder because he has trouble reading. So Lisa decides to teach Bart how to read better, and actually does a great job. So great in fact that he begins reading Little Women on his own at school, earning the ire of the bullies because he’s reading a chapter book for fun. But when Bart starts to tell them about Little Women they all decide to listen instead, and have a great time reading the book together. Yep, that’s it. It’s weird.

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Anyway! Homer is getting kind of depressed with his job. He’s really good at it, but it’s kind of a meaningless job to him, since he can’t actually see any fruits of his labors. Marge notices how sad Homer is getting, and decides that something needs to be done. So she goes and finds Robert Marlowe at his retirement apartment, and tries to convince him to un-retire and take back his job so Homer will be happy. But Marowe has no interest in that, because he’s turned very hollow from that job and doesn’t want to be forced back into that life.

So Marge is going to have to do it herself. She then marches to Homer’s office one day and demands that the family go on a rafting trip together, giving Homer some time off. Unfortunately Burns has been working Homer way too hard, and he doesn’t think that he’s going to be able to swing this. Until he gets a brilliantly terrible idea. Because he’s going to have to host several new prospects soon, and decides to kill two birds with one stone.

Homer then agrees to take the family on a rafting trip, while simultaneously holding some sort of business meeting with Burns and the prospects on a different raft. Yep, Homer’s gone full Doubtfire. Homer begins trying to switch between both rafts, keeping everyone happy, but Marge quickly realizes something is up, and yells at Homer. He gets caught between the two rafts, not sure of who is more important, when disaster strikes.

They’re rapidly approaching a waterfall, and Homer has to decide who to save. Obviously he chooses his family, letting Burns and the prospects fall off the falls. Well, except Burns. Because Marlowe shows up at the last moment to save Burns, saying he’s bored and wants his job back. The prospects die I think, but it’s okay I guess, they didn’t have names. Anyway, everything is all back to normal, and the Simpsons, Marlowe, and Burns have a fun time camping.

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This episode sure isn’t as good as the last two, but it’s still a lot of fun. An episode length Mad Men parody is maybe not exactly timely at this time period, but it’s still quite a bit of fun. I like the Mad Men aesthetic, and seeing Homer thrown into that world was a lot of fun. I also quite like the idea that Homer would find this world unpleasant and unfulfilling. Because as much of a goober as Homer is, I feel like he wouldn’t like this type of life. It didn’t feel outside of his character to get bored with this type of life. Yeah, Homer likes to party, but on his terms. I will say that I have no idea why that weird Little Women plot was sprinkled throughout the episode, but whatever, it doesn’t distract from the fact that this is a pretty fun little episode, and a nice way to end the week.

Take Away: It’s important to find meaning in your life and your career, otherwise it’ll all become hollow.

 

“The Man in the Blue Flannel Pants” was written by Jeff Westbrook and directed by Steven Dean Moore, 2011.

 

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