This week’s episodes have been less than stellar. Especially yesterday’s lackluster vacation/flashback episode. So, hopefully whatever we have in store for today will be better. And it’s, let me check my notes….another vacation episode. Oh.
The story begins exactly where you’d expect it to. At the dawn of humanity. We see several neanderthal versions of Springfield citizens, and a rat Moe. It’s specifically the dawn of motherhood, and we see an ancient Marge dealing with dueling Bart and Lisa and a Maggie who is just carving mammoths into their cave walls. All while the caveman Homer is just lounging around, being unhelpful. The Homer and Marge then begins squabbling about their responsibilities.
Flash forward to the present where we see that nothing has changed. Bart and Lisa are still fighting, Maggie is drawing on the walls, and Homer is doing nothing. Marge starts to yell at Homer, and tells him that it’s unfair that he thinks all he has to do is bring food home, and do nothing to raise the kids. She has to do everything around the house, and she needs Homer to step up. So, he promises that the’ll do a better job, and it all starts with him cleaning out the garage.
So, Homer and the kids head into the garage, and start searching through it. And, in true Homer fashion, he ends up finding something amazing. There’s some weird little three-wheeled antique car that they’ve somehow never noticed, and assume is from a previous owner of the house. That doesn’t make sense, but whatever, we have to roll with it. Homer is immediately fascinated with the little car, and since he’s Homer, it starts up right away, letting him go on a little joy-ride around town.
Homer then gets to drive all around the town in the little car, having a great time and singing songs. He and the kids have a wonderful day together, and never end up cleaning the garage. Lisa talks about how lucky he is, and they return home that night, happy about their adventure. But you know who isn’t happy? Marge. Homer gets home and she is extremely angry with him. She says that it’s unfair that he’s able to attempt a chore and get an adventure while she’s stuck with a sad life. He gets all the fun and she does all the dirty work of being an adult, and she’s fed up with it.
Homer doesn’t really have anything to say to this, but realizes that he needs to do something special for Marge. And, right as he’s thinking that, the doorbell rings. He goes to answer it, and finds that Jay Leno is out there. He was just passing by and saw Homer’s weird little car, and since it’s a collectible he wants to buy it from him, in cash, right then. Homer accepts the money, and tells Marge that theyre going to go on a big vacation, all for her.
Unfortunately, as soon as Homer tells Marge about the plan to take her somewhere, Jay Leno shows back up. Apparently since Homer didn’t actually own the car he couldn’t sell it, so Leno can’t get it registered, so he’s returning it, and taking the money back. But, now Marge thinks they’re going on a special trip, so Homer needs to do something quick.
Homer knows that Marge was wanting to go to Paris as her surprise, so he races into town and ends up miraculously finding a travel agent. But, the travel agent tells him that there’s no way that he’ll be able to afford taking a whole family to Paris on Homer’s budget. Well, actually, there is one way. He could be a courier for some sketchy businessmen who need someone to discreetly bring some contraband int Paris. And, because Homer’s an idiot, he agrees to it.
So, the family are going to Paris! They all get ready for the trip, and Homer receives a mysterious black suitcase, which he’s told he isn’t allowed to open. But, when they get onto the plane and begin traveling across the Atlantic, Homer’s curiosity gets the better of him. When Marge slips off to use the restroom he pops the suitcase open, and is shocked to find a blue snake. Lisa manages to see the snake, and is very confused about why Homer is smuggling it into Paris. She also sees that it’s an endangered species, so she promises to keep it a secret as long as Homer promises to keep it safe.
The Simpsons then arrive in Paris, and almost immediately the people scheduled to pick up the snake arrive. And it’s Cesar and Ugolin! Although Bart doesn’t ever see them, so this doesn’t particularly matter. What does matter is that they want the snake, and now Homer doesn’t want to give it to them. Especially when he finds that they’re planning on turning the snake into a belt. So, Homer ditches them, and flees into Paris with the family, escaping Cesar and Ugolin.
The family then prepares to sight-see and have a normal vacation, starting by checking out the Notre Dame. However, as they’re there Marge starts to worry that something is going to happen that will ruin the trip, and specifically is suspicious of the suitcase. But Homer insists that it’s nothing to worry about, while he and Lisa plan how to free the snake. She says that the grounds outside the Louvre have a bunch of vermin, so if they release the snake there it’ll have plenty of food to survive off of.
Homer and Lisa slip off from the rest of the family, letting Marge, Bart, and Maggie go eat extra-cruel food without Lisa, and go to the gardens. Unfortunately, when they get there the snake isn’t really interested in freedom, and wants to stay in the case. Which is a shame, because that’s when Cesar and Ugolin show back up, and the chase begins once again. They all run around the garden for a while, but eventually Homer and Lisa give them the slip again.
They keep running through the streets of Paris though, looking for somewhere to hide out. Which is when they come across some street full of famous Parisian jazz clubs, and Lisa obviously decides that’s where they need to hide. So, they spend the whole day there, and when the coast is clear they return to the rest of the family, letting Homer and Marge have a romantic stroll around a river, while Homer still carries that briefcase.
Homer then finally tells Marge about the snake, but she doesn’t really care, since they still got a good vacation. That is until they get back to the hotel and find some Parisian police officer, with Cesar and Ugolin there. They claim that Homer stole the snake for them, and the police end up searching the room. But, they never find the snake, and have to let them go free, while seemingly arresting Cesar and Ugolin for filing a fake police report. Oh, and then we see that the snake was in Marge’s hair, because it loved them? I don’t know, that’s all we get to see.
Yeah, this episode didn’t really do much to save this week. As far as vacation episodes go, I guess it wasn’t one of the worst one’s I’ve seen, it was just really bland. It spent way too much time with the setup and the little car, making all the Paris stuff feel incredibly truncated. Plus, it’s very weird that they decided to bring Cesar and Ugolin back, but not have them interact with Bart in any way so that their appearance doesn’t matter in the slightest. Just a weird call. The episode was still full of all the typical vacation problems, with a very loose plot held together by endless gags involving local landmarks, and there just really wasn’t anything particularly memorable about it. Oh, well. C’es le vie.
Take Away: Don’t make shady deals to smuggle things into foreign countries just to get free vacations.
“To Courier with Love” was written by Bill Odenkirk and directed by Timothy Bailey, 2016.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons
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