Lifetime of Simpsons

S27 E02 – Cue Detective

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Welcome back for another week of Lifetime of Simpsons folks. You know, Season 26 was not very good. There were some okay episodes, but by and large is was just kind of a bummer, and I started to get really worried that I was in for a rough end to this series, slogging through the last couple of seasons. But, this week wasn’t bad. Not amazing, but not bad! Hell, we’ll be talking about two different Halloween episodes this week! That’s cool! But that’s later. Today we’re just going to be talking a bunch about grills.

The episode begins with the children of Springfield Elementary crowding into the auditorium for some sort of assembly put on by Principal Skinner. But, when they get there, they find that for some not very well-explained reason, Skinner is just going to be showing the kids the 1967 Dr. Doolittle movie. In its entirety. Which results in the episode just showing several live-action clips from the movie, with the kids watching it baffled. And it’s weird. Especially because these cartoons are watching something live-action.

This Dr. Doolittle thing goes on for a very long time, and we see the kids growing interminably bored. Skinner’s having a good time though, just standing in the back quoting the whole movie like a jerk. But, eventually, this weird detour ends, and the kids just sit around, trying to figure out why they just had to watch Dr. Doolittle. And, while they’re sitting there, people start to notice something odd. Bart and Lisa really stink. In fact, they stink so bad that the kids all begin to loudly mock them.

Bart and Lisa then head home that afternoon, after a day of being called the Stinksons, only to find that Homer has faced a similar day. So, the family meet up in the kitchen, and ask Marge what’s going on, why do they stink so bad? And, sadly, she knows exactly why. She takes them down to the basement and shows that their washing machine is in rough shape, and is full of mold. They’re going to keep stinking until they can get a new washing machine.

Marge then gives Homer a jar full of money, a rainy day fund, and tells him to go buy them a new washing machine. However, her fatal flaw was sending him out unsupervised. So, while Homer does made it to a store to buy a washing machine, he gets sidetracked when he smells some great food. He follows his nose and ends up encountering an old guy on the side of the road who is selling barbeque food.

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Homer chats with the guy, and after trying one of his ribs Homer realizes that this is the tastiest meat he’s ever had in his life. He asks the guy what his secret is, and the man shows him a special smoker that’s been in his family for years, which is possibly made out of a meteorite, and that has a special honey-comb patterned grill, giving the meat a distinctive look. The smoker, which he calls the Hive, makes the best meat in the world, and he’s willing to sell it to Homer so he and his wife and move to Florida.

And, of course, Homer goes through with this. He gives the man all of the washing machine money, and then brings home this old smoker. Which does not make the family happy. They’re pissed that Homer wasted all of their money on a smoker, but he actually turns them around when he starts cooking on it. Because the Hive is the real deal. It makes some amazing meat, and even Marge ends up getting won over by the Hive.

The Simpsons then start using the Hive non-stop, smoking everything. And the smell quickly travels around Springfield, drawing all sorts of hungry people to their house, bringing offerings in exchange for meat. And, before they know it, the Simpson’s house becomes something of a local hangout, and everyone starts spending time there, eating the delicious barbeque. Even the local news reports on them, as they gradually become a big deal.

Which is when our antagonist arrives. A celebrity chef called Scotty Boom shows up in the Simpson’s backyard, and tells them that he has a new show where he competes against mom-and-pop restaurants, and makes their signature dish better than them. And, after hearing about their barbeque, Boom wants to challenge them to a grill-off. Homer of course accepts the challenge, which will take place in a couple days, and immediately gets ready for the challenge.

However, the next morning when Homer heads out with his pork ribs, ready to begin the process, something horrible happens. The Hive is gone. Homer panics and calls the police, but they aren’t very helpful, and Homer immediately falls into a depression, realizing that the Hive is gone, and he’ll lose this competition by default. Bart tries to cheer him up, and suggests that he go get drunk. But, horrifying Bart, Homer says he’s too sad to even drink.

This is a serious red flag for Bart, who goes and talks to Lisa. They end up deciding that they need to find the Hive, and they begin investigating. They head down to the backyard, and begin searching for clues. And, almost immediately, they find one. Because there’s an empty jar of gourmet peanut butter in Santa’s Little Helper’s doghouse, which explains why he didn’t bark at whoever came to steal the Hive that night.

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And, luckily for them, the brand of peanut butter is super rare, and there’s only one place in town that sells it. So, Bart and Lisa head over to the hipster grocery store and begin interrogating the dude who works there, yanking on his gages. He eventually relents and shows them security footage of the peanut butter sale, showing them that it was Nelson who bought it. So, Bart and Lisa have a lead, and they go to talk to Nelson.

They find him in the park, playing some smartphone castle game, and notice that he’s got a whole bunch of expensive upgrades, which makes them think that he’s been paid off by someone. But Nelson won’t tell them anything, and storms off. Which wasn’t a smart move, because Bart and Lisa then just follow him, and get very suspicious when he heads into a junkyard. They watch Nelson, and find him give the Hive to some shadowy person, who loads it only a truck and drives off, ruining their investigation.

Bart and Lisa then return home, defeated, and join Homer in his depressed state. But Marge isn’t going to give up. She says that they should still participate in the grill-off, and just use their own ingenuity. The rest of the family aren’t too sure, but Marge drags them along to the competition. Marge then takes over the grilling, preparing the meat while Alton Brown hosts the event and Scotty Boom becomes very cocky.

And then, after the cooking, their meat is given to Alton to judge. And Marge’s is terrible. She over-spiced the thing like crazy, and it’s garbage. Which means Scotty wins! Well, until Lisa notices something incriminating. His meat has that same honey-comb pattern that the Hive gives. So, they investigate, and find the Hive hidden in Boom’s stuff. So Boom stole the hive! Well, no. For some reason they throw in a weird curveball, and explain that Boom’s son stole the Hive and framed his dad so he would lose the show and be a better father. Which just complicated things, but whatever, the Simpsons have their Hive back. Never to be seen again.

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Overall, I think that this episode was pretty fun. They just kind of glaze over the fact that Homer is an ass for buying this weird smoker instead of the washing machine, but that’s kind of par for the course for the Simpsons, so I can’t hold that against them. Really, what I think the main issue with the episode is, is the fact that it feels kind of disjointed. For a while it sounds like it’s going to be a Homer plot, with him learning to smoke meat and challenge Boom. Then it randomly becomes a really fun little story with Bart and Lisa becoming grill detectives, which I liked quite a bit. But, then the episode just dispenses with all of that, and starts tossing out random and needless twists. Did we really need Scotty Boom to be redeemed and not just make him a shitty dude who stole the Hive? That whole twist in the end just seems needless. But, oh well. It’s a fine episode, and I really did enjoy the whole Bart/Lisa plot, even though it got kind of sidelined by the end.

Take Away: When you meet random old dudes selling used grills, take them up on it, because you’ll probably end up on a TV show!

 

“Cue Detective” was written by Joel H Cohen and directed by Timothy Bailey, 2015.

 

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