Lifetime of Simpsons

S24 E09 – Homer Goes to Prep School

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Hey there everybody, and welcome back to another week of Lifetime of Simpsons. And guess what? We’re going to have a whole week of utterly forgettable to actively bad episode! Yeesh. It’s been a while since I’ve had a whole week of such rough episodes, and I’ll do my best to make it as palatable as positive. And it’s all going to start with today’s episode and the destruction of civilization. Neat!

The episode starts off with the family arriving at some place called the Learning Zone. It’s essentially just a giant Chuck E Cheese but with activities and games that are vaguely education. Which, actually, wasn’t what Marge was anticipating, and she’s a little disappointed that it’s going to be fun. But that does mean that Homer and the kids are finally excited about going to this weird place, and they immediately head on in to see all of the possibilities.

Homer is in charge of keeping an eye on Bart and Lisa, which he almost immediately fails at. The two vanish and Homer has to search around the complex, finding all sorts of weird clones of the kids, before finally locating them atop a massive jungle gym. And when he finds them they decide to make it harder on Homer, because they start demanding that Homer come up to play with them, meaning that Homer Simpson, a grown man, is going to have to climb through a jungle gym.

And it doesn’t go well! Homer has to crawl and claw his way through the thing, but in the end he finally gets to the top of the structure to hang out with the kids. Which is when they promptly start pelting him with plastic balls from some sort of machine guns. This ends up pushing Homer off the top, and he falls all the way down to the ground. And after this, Homer isn’t really interested in hanging out with the kids anymore, and goes to hang out with all of the other dads, who have taken over a cafeteria.

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However, Homer’s day is about to get even worse, because we see one of the kids in the facility waddle out the front door while Shauna is busy talking on her phone, causing the whole building to get slammed into emergency mode. Metal door close off every exit, and people quickly start panicking. Marge and Lisa manage to calm all of the mothers down by having them talk about their birth experiences, but Homer is less lucky.

Because that cafeteria with all of the dads quickly falls into anarchy. The dads have begun constructing crude weapons and armor and have begun beating the hell out of each other while trying to break out of the shuttered room. And things aren’t going well, until Ranier Wolfcastle just picks Homer up and slams him through the door, freeing everyone. But, in doing so, Homer has a bit of a mental breakdown, and starts to see his fellow humans as horrible and violent apes, which really messes with him.

Sometime later we see that Homer is still a little messed up, and is still seeing the rest of humanity as angry apes. But I guess they didn’t think to take him to some professional to fix this mental disturbance, so Homer just heads to Moe’s and begins complaining to his buddies about how quickly humanity can fall apart. And this idea really resonated with a weird man sitting at the end of the bar. He gets up and starts talking to Homer, telling him that society is at all times about to crumble into chaos, and that the only way to be prepared is to become an insane doomsday prepper, like himself.

Homer is immediately fascinated with this man, whose name is Lloyd, then invites Homer to join his cause, and meet his fellow preppers. Homer agrees, and ends up going to learn how to become a survivalist with Superintendent Chalmers, Lindsey Neagle, Herman, and who appears to be LT Smash. They all then begin teaching Homer the secrets to prepping, as long as he promises to keep it a secret. Which he almost immediately fails at, telling Lisa that he has some secret business to attend to.

But Homer keeps hanging out with the preppers, and slowly begins building his stockpile. Homer starts trying to build a shelter with food, water, and guns, and initially decides that the garage is a good location for his shelter. But, when Bart immediately finds it, Homer decides he needs a better location. Oh, and he also makes the decision that Bart needs to know about the Apocalypse and puts on a post-Apocalyptic movie marathon to get Bart educated. And this doesn’t slow Homer down, because he continues building his stockpile, he ingratiates himself further with the preppers, and ends up being invited to their weird compound in the country if the world ever falls apart.

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Which is exactly when Marge finally finds out that something is afoot. She notices that they seem to be missing a lot of food around the house, and when she confronts Homer he just admits what’s going on. He takes Marge down to the basement where he’s hidden their stockpile, and she’s a little horrified. She thinks it’s horrible that Homer wants to hide and not help other people, and that this whole thing is insane, which just serves to irritate Homer, not dissuade him.

We then cut to the Nuclear Plant, where Homer is busy watching prepper videos, and not noticing that something appears to be wrong. Some malfunction in the Plant occurs, and it triggers an EMP that devastates the electrical grids of Springfield, plunging the city into darkness. The town obviously freaks out immediately, and they all meet up at the Town Hall to complain to Mayor Quimby. And while everyone is standing around, not sure what to do, Homer is approached by the preppers who tell him it’s time to bug out.

So Homer rounds up the family and they all head out to the weird compound in the country where they’ll presumably spend the rest of their lives. And Marge is instantly not cool with it. She can’t believe that Homer wants to abandon all of their friends, and starts trying to convince Homer that this isn’t the right thing. And, after several days of this it finally clicks for Homer, and he suggests to the preppers that they maybe go help the rest of Springfield. And they refuse.

This whole thing really starts to grate on Homer, and he decides that he needs to do the right thing. So the next morning he and the family get a bunch of supplies together, and flee from the compound, hoping to help the people of Springfield. Unfortunately the rest of the preppers quickly figure it out, and they give chase, following the Simpsons to what they assume will be the wreckage of Springfield. However, when they get there they find that Springfield is doing great.

Turns out that the electricity almost immediately came back, and society didn’t even come close to collapsing. Hell, they said that things went even smoother than they thought it would since it seemed like all the angry people were gone. Which really disappoints the preppers, because now they aren’t so sure that humanity is doomed. Lisa then gives a passionate speech about how resilient civilization is, and that we’ll always have each other’s backs. Right as a meteor filled with zombies approaches Earth.

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This may be one of those episodes that’s just hitting me at a weird time, because after the last couple of weeks the idea of this episode just kind of irritates me. Not to become too much of a bummer, but after the events that we’ve had to live in the last couple of weeks I don’t really have a whole lot of hope that humanity could get its shit together, and that we all won’t just turn on each other when things get dire. I hate to think that way, but I really don’t buy the moral of this episode right now. And, even beyond that, the episode just feels kind of bland. I do enjoy seeing Tom Waits play a crazy doomsday prepper, but the whole concept of Homer hating humanity because McBain beat him up, and then deciding to screw over his fellow man is just kind of dull. I don’t know, it’s a fine episode I guess, it just did absolutely nothing for me, and came off as pretty instantly forgettable.

Take Away: Society is pretty precariously structured, and we all just have to hope that we won’t turn into monsters when it collapses.

 

“Homer Goes to Prep School” was written by Brian Kelley and directed by Mark Kirkland, 2013.

 

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