Lifetime of Simpsons

S25 E11 – Specs and the City

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Well everyone, after a rather lackluster and overall forgettable week here on Lifetime of Simpsons, it’s time to polish things off with a really weird episode about personal privacy and therapy. You know, a light and breezy episode! Oh, and apparently this was released somewhere around the Super Bowl, because in lieu of a couch gag we get this extended sequence where Bart takes Homer’s football beer and puts it on a telephone wire, causing Homer to climb up to get it, and get electrocuted over and over again until he causes a nation-wide blackout. Fun!

Once the electrocution ends the actual episode begins by showing us what was going on in the Nuclear Plant a month ago, during Christmas time. We see Homer decorating his office by hanging plutonium rods on a rapidly dying tree while Lenny and Carl supervise, until Burns and Smithers arrive with the guys’ Christmas present. And they’re pretty wary, because apparently Burns has a history of giving the worst gifts possible to his employees.

But, in a shocking display of generosity, it turns out that this year Burns has decided to give every single employee their own set of Oogle Goggles, some VR glasses that give them access to the internet. And they love them. Homer, Lenny, and Carl immediately toss their Goggles on and begin living life in the future, learning all sorts of things about each other. Which does beg the question of why Burns got everyone such an interesting gift. Why, as he explains to Smithers, it’s because the Oogle Goggles have a functionality where he can spy on anyone wearing them, ensuring that his employees are actually working.

We then skip ahead to February, where we see Bart and Lisa complaining about the fact that they have to give Valentine’s Day cards to every kid in class. Which is something well-examined in “I Love Lisa,” but whatever. But this time it’s Bart who’s having an issue, because he doesn’t think he should have to give a card to Nelson, since he’s an asshole who makes Bart’s life miserable. But Marge tells him he just needs to suck it up and do the right thing.

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And while Bart is learning that sometimes the social contract requires us to do nice things for bad people, we see that Homer is still having a blast with his Goggles. He’s been wearing them ever since he got them, and they’ve become a big part of his life. He watches videos of other people failing in the Goggles, he drives around town using them to learn about Springfield, and he even uses them while eating food so he learns just how terrible everything he eats is.

But the line is crossed when Homer decides to wear his Goggles during sex. He thought that he could use them to some tips, but Marge freaks out and yells at him, for damn good reason. Marge and Homer have a big fight about the Goggles, but he ends up seeing that she’s right, and announces that he’s giving up on the Goggles, and that anyone else in the family could take them. And, surprising everyone, the family member who decides to grab them is Marge.

Before we see how Marge takes to the Goggles, it’s time to check back in on Bart and his Valentine’s Day dilemma. Because as all the other kids are giving in and giving Nelson some cards, Bart decides that he needs to take a stand. He rips up the token card he planned to give Nelson, and makes a big speech about how he isn’t going to be kowtowed by this bully any longer. To which Nelson says that if Bart doesn’t get him a thoughtful Valentine’s Day card by the end of the week, he’ll have no choice but to beat Bart up.

Anyway, Marge has really taken to her Goggles, and is using it for all sorts of things around the house, while Homer is getting pretty depressed, because he’s now the only person in the Plant who doesn’t have a pair. And, after a rather short time of moping around, Homer decides he needs to go ask Mr. Burns for another pair. So he just marches into Burns’ office, and ends up finding it empty. However, he also finds the bank of monitors that are displaying everyone’s Google feeds.

Homer starts peeping at the various feeds, seeing what all his coworkers are doing, before finally finding the pair that Marge has. And, despite how weird this is, Homer keeps watching, finding out what Marge does all day. He learns about secret ice cream locations, he finds out that Marge and Maggie have secret playdates with Grandpa, and he just generally becomes fascinated with this invasion of privacy.

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But then something unexpected happens. As Homer is stalking Marge, he finds out that Marge is regularly going to therapy. And, it seems like her major problems are with Homer. He’s shocked by this revelation, but doesn’t know what to do about it. So, because Homer only has terrible ideas, he decides to leave work and go ask Moe for advice. He’s mad that Marge is in therapy and badmouthing him, but knows that she’ll be mad if she knows he’s been spying on her. So, Moe recommends that Homer “accidentally” stumble upon Marge while pretending to attend the same therapist.

This is obviously a terrible plan, but before we see it unfold let’s go ahead and finish off that Bart plan. Because Bart and Milhouse have been brainstorming for days, trying to figure out the best way to get around this whole Valentine’s Day card situation. And, finally, Bart comes to a realization, and get a perfect card. He brings it to Nelson, and it just reads that he fears Nelson. Bart then explains that the only reason people give each other things on Valentine’s Day is because they fear what their partner will do if they don’t, so he just cuts to the chase and admits he fears Nelson. And, Nelson loves it. Conflict resolved!

Homer has decided to go ahead with this weird plan of his, and has arrived at Marge’s therapist, scheduling it so he has the appointment right after hers. But as he’s sitting there filling out paperwork the doors opens, and Marge comes out, while not noticing Homer behind the opened door. He’s about the reveal himself and expose Marge, but then he hears her talking to the therapist, telling him how appreciative she is for their sessions, and explaining that she’s always so recharged after them.

Homer then starts to think, and realizes that every week after therapy Marge is happier around the house, and he sees that this is an important part of her life, and it would be horrible of him to spoil it. So, he keeps his silence, lets Marge leave the therapists, and heads home to never speak of it again. It’s still shitty that he keeps the whole spying thing secret, but he feels better, so I guess that’s all that matters.

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I think that this was a pretty fine episode, up until the ending. I do love the idea of Homer getting something like Google Glass and then getting way too addicted makes a whole lot of sense. I also really like that he gives them up, and Marge finds that she really appreciates them. Hell, I even think that the idea of Homer spying on Marge and finding out she’s in therapy had potential. But where it loses me is Homer’s horrible decision to humiliate her and demand she doesn’t go to therapy. And, to make matters worse, even though Homer learns his lesson he doesn’t really ever repent for this. He just keeps this a secret, and feels better about himself, while never admitting that he did something terrible. The idea that Homer is so horrified at therapy, and that Marge doesn’t deserve to make herself feel better until he realizes that it benefits him is really crappy, and not something that I really expect from Homer and Marge’s relationship. It was an interesting episode, but it really failed to stick the landing, and just kind of fell on its face.

Take Away: Don’t spy on your significant other!

 

“Specs and the City” was written by Brian Kelley and directed by Lance Kramer, 2014.

 

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