It hasn’t been a particularily good week here on Lifetime of Simpsons. Just a motley assortment of lackluster and forgettable episodes that just kind of drifted through the week. So it’s pretty perfect that we’re ending the week on one of the most bafflingly boring and odd episodes I’ve ever seen. I’m staring at my notes, and have no idea how this narrative worked for anyone. Let’s see how it goes!
The episode starts with Homer and Maggie sitting around together, watching a surreal kids show called Baby Poindexter that’s just weird shapes and classical music. Bart and Lisa end up walking in and they’re pretty irritated by the show, since they were subjected to it as kids and feel bad Maggie is having to watch it now too. Luckily that’s about to come to an end, because Marge comes storming in and demands they turn the show off.
Turns out that a study has come out that’s disproven any benefits of Baby Poindexter, and in fact have shown that it actually tends to stunt development. So Maggie has been saved, but now Bart and Lisa are pretty irritated. Especially because they both watched the show, and yet Bart seems to be the only one who was developmentally stunted. But that’s not really going to be a going concern, because at this point Marge nips this idea in the bud and announces that the family are going to go 24 hours without watching TV, as if that would cure them.
So, what are they going to with no TV? Why, go to a children’s book store! Of course! So the family, except Bart for some reason, pile into the car and drive out to some sort of store that exclusively sells kids books. Which means it’s time for some gags! We get to see Lisa and Maggie go listen to some woman telling stories in a corner, before learning she’s a crazy lady who wasn’t supposed to be doing this, and we see Homer thoroughly enjoying some Eye Spy books.
But while all of this books stuff is going on we see that Bart has apparently been dropped off at Milhouse’s to hang out. And, like boys are wont to do, they end up having an epoxy fight. Yeah, Bart just squirts a bunch of epoxy on Milhouse’s head, which quickly causes him to panic. Bart says that he has the situation in hand, and gets to work trying to get it out of Milhouse’s hair. Which fails spectacularly. So much that they have to shave part of Milhouse’s hair.
And, it just so happens, that the way they shaved Milhouse’s head makes him resemble Kirk’s male pattern baldness. The boys find that this is hilarious, and decide to dress Milhouse up in Kirk’s clothing to finish the illusion. And while putting a tie on Milhouse they end up tying it too tight, and notice something else odd. When Milhouse is wearing a tight tie his voice starts to resemble Kirk’s as well. Which makes them start plotting.
Because if they can easily make Milhouse look like Kirk and sound like Kirk, they should be able to scam people into thinking he is Kirk. They then briefly have Milhouse learn all the secrets of being an adult so he can accurately portray his sad father, before pulling their first prank. They have “Kirk” Skype Homer to tell him that Bart will be sleeping over that night, and then proceeds to yell at Homer about his parenting style. And, for some reason, this really upsets Homer. And gets Lisa super suspicious.
Now that they have Bart free for the night though, it’s time to amp up their pranks. And that’s going to take more work on their illusion. So they build some stilts for Milhouse to make him the size of a man, and they hit the town. First up they rent a U-Haul so they can get to the Kwik-E-Mart where they are immediately hassled by the bullies. Luckily “Kirk” is able to save the day by buying them beer, cigarettes, and porno, so that’s cool. They then finish the day off by getting to vote, and asking Moe where babies come from. And, surprisingly, Moe is not helpful.
While all of this is going on though we see that Lisa has been asking Marge to take her to a special show at the Jazz Hole. But Marge doesn’t want to go downtown for the show, and tries to convince Lisa they need to do something safer. So Lisa suggests a puppet-show, which ends up being this insanely depressing and violent Lithuanian puppet show about revolution, so that’s just a total bummer.
But as Lisa is moping around about the fact that she didn’t get to go to the Jazz Hole, Bart approaches her with a proposition. He tells Lisa all about the Kirk scam they have going, and offers to have “Kirk” accompany her to the Jazz Hole as an adult. Lisa’s a little put off at first, but she ends up relenting, and the kids come up with a plan to get downtown. And, this means they’re going to have to go to the bus station and get some tickets!
Unfortunately when they get to the bus station they realize that they have a slight problem. They don’t have enough money to get downtown. Why they don’t just rent another U-Haul is anybody’s guess. What does matter is that they need money. Luckily though they learn that the Baby Poindexter people are giving away settlement money to anyone who was made dumber by watching their product. Sadly, they only give Bart $19.95, which still isn’t enough money. So they decide to just give up on this whole thing, and just head home.
But first they decide they need to get some food. And while wandering around downtown they find a hotel that’s giving a time-share demonstration with a free breakfast, and decide to crash it. While they’re listening to the sad condo lecture though, things are starting to fall apart, because we see that Marge has figured out that the kids are missing, and she and Homer start racing off to find them. Luckily Homer uses his Eye Spy skill to locate the building with the free breakfast and finds them. Which is good, because things have gotten weird in that time-share pitch. Because the salesewoman is actively trying to sleep with “Kirk.” Until Homer and Marge show up, and fix everything. They then drag Bart, Lisa, and Milhouse back home, where Kirk is actually kind of honored that Milhouse wanted to be like him.
What in the world is going on with this episode? I kind of couldn’t believe it while it was happening, and now writing about it I’m still at a loss. The central premise of this episode is so incredibly half-baked, and would have made for a lackluster B-Plot, let alone an entire story! Bart and Milhouse don’t really accomplish anything interesting as “Kirk,” nor do they learn anything about him. It would have been different if Milhouse actually gained some insight into his father’s life, instead of just claiming he did at the end. But really where the episode loses me is that whole ending. Things just rapidly start happening, showing us that they go to this condo thing, that Marge figures it out, that Homer and Marge have to track down the kids, and that Milhouse has to avoid a grown woman sleeping with him all in like five minutes. The rest of this episode was so meandering, but suddenly they had to throw a whole third act down our throats in the last couple of minutes. It’s just a baffling experience folks, and I really hope that next week is better than this one, because this week, and this episode in particular, was rough.
Take Away: Don’t waste your time sitting through those condo sales pitches. It isn’t worth it.
“Hardly Kirk-ing” was written by Tom Gammill and Max Pross and directed by Matthew Nastuk, 2013.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons