Well folks, we’ve made it through yet another week. It hasn’t been a very great week, but we’ve conquered it. Unfortunately, that streak is not going to be broken by today’s episode. Because it’s pretty rough. There are some good moments and ideas, but overall, it’s just a plot we’ve seen way too many times. Let’s have a Homer’s weight episode!
The episode begins with a pretty solid gag where we get to see a Springfield Town Hall meeting, but form 30 years ago. We see all sorts of younger citizens, and they’re all very excited to see their mayor, Hans Moleman. Moleman is there to say that they’re going to now have a new town theme song, written by Hans Moleman. He hands out the sheet music, gets Mr. Largo to play the music, and everyone begin singing the theme.
And they love it. In fact, singing this new anthem becomes linked with Springfield, and they’ve apparently been singing it for years, it’s just the first time we’ve ever heard of it. The episode jumps ahead to the present day, where the townsfolk we’re used to continue to sing the song. Until Moe comes in to ruin it. He just got back from a trick to Tuscaloosa with some horrible news. They have the exact same town anthem.
The people of Springfield are pretty shocked by this, but decide it must be some weird coincidence. Until Moe reveals he’s been doing a whole lot of research, and has found that almost every city in America have the exact same town anthem. Because town anthems are a thing? Whatever. The people of Springfield are furious about this, because this anthem means so much to them, so they hunt down Hans Moleman and make him tell the truth. Turns out he bought the anthem from a travelling salesman who apparently sold them to towns all over the world.
Springfield then banishes Moleman from the town as punishment, and have to deal with their new paradigm. But, in true Simpsons fashion, Lisa proudly announces that she’d be willing to write a new song. And, because no one has any better ideas, they allow her to do it. Hell, they even let Lisa do it rather than Pharrell. She then has to get to work, and after realizing that Bart has an innate ability to find rhymes, the two team up and begin working on their song.
Some time passes and Bart and Lisa manage to write what they think is a good enough song. They then somehow sell out an auditorium to premiere their new song, with the whole town attending. Bart and Lisa then sing their song, with accompaniment from some other kids, and it’s kind of weird. It’s mainly about how Springfield isn’t great, but not terrible. They end on the slogan “Why Springfield? Why not?!” Which is not exactly a ringing endorsement.
But, people love it. Everyone starts applauding, and they even give a standing ovation. Which is bad news for Homer. Because it turns out this auditorium had pretty small seats, and he’s become stuck in his seat. But he doesn’t want to be the only one not standing up, so he does his very best, and finally pries himself out. Kind of. He actually just rips out several chairs from the ground, still sticking to his ass. And everyone instantly sees him, and begins laughing.
Homer becomes a laughingstock of the town, and he even gets a picture of his ridiculous situation in the paper. Which serves as a wake-up call for Homer. He realizes that he really needs to lose some weight, and actually takes the initiative to find a support group of over-eaters. He heads to the meeting, and finds it full of various fat folks, like Comic Book Guy and Judge Snyder. Homer decides that this will be a big step for him, and he chooses to take it seriously.
There’s just one problem. This isn’t a group to stop over-eating. It’s to praise it. Yeah, this is a group of fat folks from Springfield who love being fat, and want to get even bigger. And, because Homer is a fickle man, he instantly gives up on his plan to lose weight and becomes more interested in this pro-fat agenda, which is especially spread by the group’s leader, a guy named Albert.
So, Homer heads home, and proudly tells Marge all about his new group, and his goal to become ever-fatter. Which is not what Marge was anticipating. She’s kind of horrified in fact, and tries to convince Homer that this is an awful idea, and that he should flee from these people as soon as possible. But Homer’s made up his mind, and he really takes to this new lifestyle. He even makes his buddies all agree to never call him a series of ridiculous and pretty hilarious fat jokes.
But it doesn’t really matter, because Homer seems to stop hanging out with them, and starts hanging out with his fat buddies all the time now. He even goes out with them to protest fashion stores for their unattainable weight goals. And that turns out to be a bad call, because the police end up arriving to stop the protest, and the fat folks are all arrested. They’re brought to the police station and all stuffed into a single cell, trapped together.
Marge arrives at the station pretty quickly though, ready to bail Homer out. But she also tries to make Homer promise that he’ll give up on the group, and become healthy. And he refuses. Homer decides to refuse the bail, and even goes back into the cell with the other fat folks, promising that he’ll never stop this lifestyle. And, obviously, Marge is not pleased. She’s very sad that Homer is doing this to himself, but she can’t seem to stop him.
Homer and the other fat folks continue to protest around Springfield, until Marge can’t take it anymore. She arrives at one of the protests and tries to convince Homer that Albert isn’t someone to follow by antagonizing him to get up off his scooter. But Albert decides to fight Marge, and gets out of his scooter, promptly having a heart-attack and dying. And, at Albert’s funeral Homer realizes that this is a terrible way to live his life, and promises Marge to keep fiddling with his weight until he figures it out. And he does, when he’s an old man.
This episode is fine. Most of the episodes this week have been borderline bad to terrible, so I guess fine is an improvement. There’s really just not a lot to this episode. Having Homer decide to embrace his weight and join this group of fat protesters is a little fun, it’s just kind of forgettable. We don’t really get to know this Albert guy at all, and they never really dive that deep into Homer’s decision, and the problem that Marge has with it. It’s just got a lot of wheel-spinning instead of focusing on any depth. Which is a shame, because I feel like episodes where Homer grapples with his weight can usually be interesting. Although depressing at the same time, since I’ve been a fat guy my whole life, and episodes like these tend to hit a little close to home. Even though this one didn’t have a whole lot of bite in its commentary.
Take Away: Being comfortable with your physical appearance is good, but it becomes problematic when you’re physically unwell.
“Walking Big & Tall” was written by Michael Price and directed by Chris Clements, 2015.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons