Lifetime of Simpsons

S23 E10 – Politically Inept, with Homer Simpson

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So…today’s a weird day here on Lifetime of Simpsons. It’s an interesting episode, I’ll give it that. I’ll get into it later, but this is a difficult episode to talk about. Because it deals with some seriously repugnant stuff, but mostly serves to take the piss out of it. But it certainly hasn’t aged well. I’ll just get this going, and you’ll see how weird it all is.

The episode begins with the family sadly standing around in massive lines at the airport, waiting to go to a wedding for some cousin that no one cares about. So no one is pleased. And, to make matters worse, when they finally get to the front of the line they find out that their bags are over the weight limits. So they begin to do the awkward shuffle to trying to move things from one bag to another, while everyone is watching.

In the end they had to toss a bunch of stuff, and just head onto the plane without some of their belongings. And the air-travel problems don’t end here. They have to deal with the TSA testing Maggie’s milk, Homer gets an invasive pat-down, they can’t fit their bags in the overhead compartment, and to top it off, their flight is going to be delayed for 7 whole hours, with very little reasons given as to why.

The people on the plane then slowly begin going insane, snapping from the heat, the wait, and the smell of weird food. And, of course, after a while Homer snaps and ends up getting out of his seat and tries to lead a small revolution. He begins yelling at the stewardesses and the flight marshal, getting everyone all riled up. Things then escalate to the point that Homer gets caught and beat up, all in full view of the passengers.

Oh, and Bart was filming them the entire time. Apparently the family then gets kicked off the plane, because we then immediately see Bart head home so he can upload the video of Homer being beaten up to YouTube. Homer then goes viral, with everyone in Springfield, and apparently the world, watching the video. But they aren’t making fun of Homer. They agree with him. Everyone is fed up with airline travel, and they think that Homer made some valid points.

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This then escalates to the point that Homer is asked to come on some weird political pundit show to get yelled at. Homer agrees, and is just kind of passive, being talked in circles by the host. So during a commercial break Marge comes up to Homer and tells him that he needs to be more assertive. This is a bad call, because Homer then snaps and starts ranting and raving on the show. He claims that he’s a spokesman for the common man, and everyone in the studio loves it.

In fact, they love it so much that it inspires some network suits to approach Homer after the show and offer him a new show. They explain that their horrible conservative news network has plenty of loud blowhards, but none that specifically act like they’re a member of the common people. So, Homer agrees, and thus Gut Check with Homer Simpson begins. It’s basically everything you assume a Fox News talk show is, with Homer yelling about patriotism.

Homer becomes a huge hit, complaining about liberals, refusing to call soccer football, and constantly crying about America. The crying thing becomes so weird that Lisa finally asks him about it one night, and Homer explains that he’s just playing a character, and the crying helps him emotionally manipulate people. Which Lisa finds rather questionable, but Homer insists that nothing bad will come from inflaming conservatives. Whoops.

And, just on time, Homer goes too far. He gives a huge speech one day about how liberals aren’t respecting the troops, and ends up talking about the “gravy of freedom.” He then pours out a bunch of gravy on a steak shaped like the United States, and starts wearing the gravy-boat like a hat. And boy does that catch on. A bunch of lunatics begin wearing gravy-boats on their heads to show that they’re true patriots, and the Gravy-Boat movement is born.

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The Gravy-Boat movement then begins to gain steam, eventually getting so much clout that Homer’s opinion is actually integral for the Republican Party to chose their next Presidential nominee. So Homer heads to the creepy castle the Republicans meet in, and looks at their list of potential nominees for him to give his blessing on. There’s not a lot of great choices, but Homer manages to pick the absolute worst choice. Ted Nugent.

Yeah, Homer endorses Ted Nugent to be the President of the goddamn United States. Lisa tries her damndest to explain to Homer what an awful person Ted Nugent is, but to no prevail. Homer is too obsessed with the power he has, and doesn’t want to let it go. It would take something insane to happen for Homer to change his mind! Cue James Madison showing up in Homer’s dream that night, trying to teach him the truth of democracy.

Homer is a little against it at first, but the ghost of James Madison ends up convincing Homer to go on a walk with him, and they eventually end up at the signing of the Constitution. Madison tries to convince Homer to do the right thing, and by the end of the night he does. Homer wakes up the next morning and goes to tell Lisa all about his crazy dream, when he notices something odd. Lisa has a flier about aSpringfield colonial village, with their famous James Madison impersonator.

Yep, Lisa planned an elaborate fake ghost-dream in order to convince Homer to do the right thing. But, now that he’s learned the truth, he doubles down on his horrible decision. He gets ready to formally endorse Ted Nugent, and put a horrible chain of events into motion. But when it gets down to the wire Homer finally sees the light, and refuses to endorse Nugent. He also gets rid of the whole Gravy-Boat thing, and leaves his show, hoping to bring back some logic and decency to American politics. Good luck.

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So yeah, this episode’s a little weird. Obviously at the time they had no idea that America would be taken over by conservative demagogues, making this whole episode a bitter pill to swallow. Now, I will say right now, I am a very liberal and progressive person. I don’t believe in conservative politics, and personally think they are everything wrong with the country at the moment. If that’s your thing, more power to you, but I don’t understand the mindset in the slightest. So seeing Homer become a horrible conservative “journalist” who just yells nonsense at simple people and tries to incite their anger for rating is kind of infuriating. Yeah, the episode takes pains to explain that this is a bad way to live your life, but it still is really upsetting. I don’t like seeing Homer Simpson yell about libs. It’s weird. Plus, they actually have Ted Nugent in this episode. The Ted Nugent who frequently talked about how much he wished he could assassinate President Obama, and who got invited to the White House by the mentally deficient failed gameshow host who currently lives there. It’s all just very irritating. And I think that’s primarily with hindsight, and knowledge of where the world has gone since this episode. Those factors are really keeping me from judging this episode in any sort of objective matter, and just fills me with disgust. I do not like this episode. It may not be the episode’s fault, but that’s all I can think about at the moment. Let’s move on.

Take Away: Fox News is not a source of information. It’s full of hacks who know the secret to rating is convincing people that people different than them are responsible for all of their problems, and fans the flames of hate for profit.

 

“Politically Inept, with Homer Simpson” was written by John Frink and directed by Mark Kirkland, 2012.

 

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