Folks, we have a weird one today. Yeah, yesterday we saw Sideshow Bob gain superpowers before fighting off an army of teenagers, but today may be even weirder. Because that Bob stuff came all at the end. Today’s episode is weird throughout. Are you ready for an episode that’s equal parts elderly people drama and a weird Warriors pastiche?
The episode begins with Homer and Marge returning home after what appears to be a date. They’re all dressed up, and are busy making out while stumbling into the house, and into their bedroom, trying their best to ignore everything around them. However, as they come in they find that the phone is ringing, and try to just not think about it. Unfortunately, Lisa doesn’t agree, and she picks the phone up, only to get some bad news.
Apparently the Retirement Castle has lost its licenses, and is going to have to temporarily close because it’s so horrible. Which means that they’re going to have to figure out what to do with Grandpa. But this doesn’t seem to be a very pressing matter, because they just deal with it in the morning, and head over to the Castle to pick Grandpa up, weaving past all the other old folks who are getting picked up by their irritated children.
Homer is very irritated by this whole thing, and is actively brainstorming even more horrible places to put Grandpa than the Retirement Castle. But Marge is trying to stay positive, and goes to help Grandpa get ready. And, in doing so, she ends up talking with the Old Jewish Man and Jasper, who are in a rough position. They apparently don’t have any family, and have no place to go, so they’re just kind of sitting there, not sure what to do.
Marge then offers to let all three old men come live with them until they can figure something out. And, not surprisingly, Homer is not pleased. But he doesn’t seem to get a say, so they bring the old folks back to the house, and Marge sets up a weird hostel in their basement, letting the old men sleep on terrible cots in the drafty basement. What a treat. But they don’t seem to mind, because they’re at least getting to live inside of a house.
But this isn’t an episode all about old folks. No, there’s all a truly goofy Bart plot that we need to set up. And it all starts off at Springfield Elementary, where Bart and the other fourth grade boys are done with their gym class, and heading into the locker room to shower. And as the boys are changing, something odd happens. They find that Nelson is having to wear his mother’s hand-me-down underwear, and all the boys start to ridicule him. But, shockingly, Bart decides to stand up for Nelson, and defends his honor, convincing the other boys to lay off on him. And Nelson is incredibly thankful.
That’s going to come back in a bit though, we’re just setting the stage. For now we need to hop back to the Simpson’s home, where things have gotten weird. They’ve basically turned their home into a retirement home, and Homer is pretty irritated that he’s spending all of his time trying to keep Grandpa, Old Jewish Man, and Jasper alive, constantly shocking their chests to get their hearts restarted, and dealing with so many goddamn pills.
And, it starts to wear down on Homer. He starts to get really bitter, and begins complaining about Grandpa nonstop, even while just sitting around with Lisa. And Lisa is not a fan. She tells Homer that it sucks seeing her dad be so mean to her grandpa, and explains that he’s setting the example for how she and Bart should treat him when he’s older. And, this really gets to Homer, so he decides to do something about his behavior, and promises to be a better son to Grandpa. And I guess Old Jewish Man and Jasper. They’re a package deal.
Let’s hop back to the Bart plot though. Because around this time Bart is trying to sleep one night, when he hears some stones being thrown at his window. It turns out it’s the bullies, and they want to hang out with Bart during the night. He agrees, and they take him to a weird clubhouse they’ve created in a dried up pool. And why have they brought Bart here? Well, because he helped defend Nelson they want to make him a bully like them. And, mostly because he doesn’t want to know what happens if he says no, Bart agrees, and starts hanging out with them, learning how to be a bully as they prepare for some upcoming bully summit.
But don’t worry, that plot’s going to pop off in an insane way in just a bit, but we still need to finish some Homer stuff off. Because Homer has actually decided to start spending time with Grandpa, trying to be a good son. And, much to his surprise, he starts to have a good time! Homer begins spending a lot of time with the old guys, learning to walk in the mall, complain about the heat, and eating early. And he loves it. But, there’s one person who doesn’t love it. Marge. She’s really scared at how old Homer has started acting, and tells him he needs to cut it out. But he just loves being an old man so much!
This Homer plot, up until now, has been the primary story. We’ve seen Homer change, and they’ve introduced the threat that Marge is no longer attracted to Homer. But, guess what? That plot is really no longer relevant for a while. Because things are about to get insane in the Bart plot, which is about to hijack this episode. And why is that? Well, because it’s time for the bullies to go to the bully summit. Which it means it’s time for this episode to become the goddamn Warriors!
Bart and the bullies get on a New York subway and head off to Krustyland, where bullies from all over Springfield are meeting up to have a summit. And, when they get there we get to see all sorts of parodies of the gangs from the Warriors. And they’re all here to hear from a prominent gang leader named Chester, who wants to unite the bully gangs. But, because it’s such a charged environment they decide to make everyone give up all of their weapons and pranking implements. But, because he’s new to the scene, Bart decides to keep his slingshot.
Which was a bad call, because while Chester is giving his speech a weird bully from some other gang finds Bart’s slingshot, steals it from him, and uses it to attack Chester. The evil bully then blames Bart and our bullies for the attack, and everyone starts chasing them. They briefly try hiding in a Ferris Wheel, but they’re caught and realize they’re going to have to fight their way back to Springfield, and safety.
So Bart, Nelson, Jimbo, Dolph, and Kearney get to march all the way back to Springfield, taking subways and public transit as much as possible, but also fighting off a whole litany of ridiculous gangs. We see them fight some beefed up nerds who calls themselves the SAT Preppers, some creepy mascots who call themselves the Baseball Furries, and a whole bus of lunatics that Nelson has to sacrifice himself to. But, eventually they reach a beach outside Springfield, and safety.
Unfortunately, that evil bully who started the whole thing arrives, and gets ready to attack Bart and the bullies. But, luckily, it turns out that Homer, Grandpa, Jasper, and the Old Jewish Man are also on the beach. They tell Homer to avoid confrontation, and continue being an old person, but when Homer sees that Bart is in trouble he finally snaps out of it and races over to save his son. He punches the weird bully, saves Bart and our bullies, and goes back to his normal self, saving the day!
This episode is so goddamn crazy. For the longest time, I was pretty lukewarm on it. The idea of having Grandpa and the old folks come live in the Simpson’s house was a pretty decent one, and I’m kind of shocked that that had never been explored before. And I also think that the idea that Homer starts to act too much like them is a decent idea. It was just a little dull. It looked like it was becoming yet another episode that had an interesting beginning, but just boiled down to Homer and Marge’s marriage being in trouble. But then, the fairly lackluster B-Plot about Bart and the bullies just randomly takes the episode over, and drives it off a cliff into insanity. They basically just boil down the plot of the film the Warriors, and it’s fantastic! I love the Warriors, and this weird homage is spot on. It kind of just wipes out the Homer plot without really giving it any sort of real closure, but I don’t really care. That plot wasn’t going anywhere interesting, and we got to see the Simpsons make a Furry joke. Tremendous.
Take Away: Take gang summits seriously, and don’t act old?
“The Winter of His Content” was written by Kevin Curran and directed by Chuck Sheetz, 2014.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons
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