Well, our weird little string of Mr. Burns episodes has ended, and it’s time to go back to the status quo here on Lifetime of Simpsons. And, in a fitting move, the episode that we’re talking about today is an incredibly weird vacation episode! Do you have very strong opinions toward the city of Boston? If not, good luck, because this episode is kind of a slog!
The episode begins with the Simpsons sitting around their dinner table, waiting for Marge to serve them some little pot pies. Homer is very anxious for some reason, and is irritated that Marge serves him last. But, he’s not just being gluttonous, apparently, it’s because there’s a big football game that night, and he’s eager to flee from the house and get to Moe’s so that he can watch it. So, he wolfs down his dinner, tosses the kids into bed, and runs off to get drunk and watch a boring sport.
And it sure doesn’t seem to be enjoyable! Because tonight the Springfield Atoms are playing against the Boston football team. I guess they couldn’t say Patriots in this episode, so they say Boston Americans. Which is a harbinger for plenty of barely different parody names for all sorts of Patriots stuff.
The game is apparently a very close one, and Homer and the guys are really furious about that, since they keep insisting that the Americans are renowned cheaters. There’s some random Boston fans in the bar as well, who just mock them the whole time as well. But, in the end the Boston team wins, primarily because their mascot scores the final goal, which was shockingly in the rulebook. And this defeat apparently pushes Homer over the edge.
Homer begins ranting and raving about Boston for days after this loss, and his anger gradually evolves from specifically at their football team to an all-encompassing hatred for the town itself. So, of course, because Homer is caring so much about this stupid thing, Bart decides to mess with him. He decides to hop on the bandwagon and become a Boston fan, even getting a hat for the Americans. And it’s very successful. Homer becomes furious.
The next day though Homer decides to do something very weird. He forces Bart to sit in the car while Homer drives around the town, trying to convince Bart that he should love his hometown instead of liking Boston. Even though Bart’s fascination with Boston through this entire episode appears to be primarily based around spite. But, whatever, because Bart doesn’t decide to agree with Homer’s thesis, and continues to say that he likes Boston more than Springfield.
Homer cannot stand for this behavior though, so he decides to do something pretty extreme. He calls a family meeting to discuss this very important issue, and announces that he’s bought them all tickets for a vacation to Boston. He says that it shall be a hate-cation, a trip specifically built around going to Boston’s worst places to show Bart that it’s not a place to respect or like. Which is a perfectly rational thing for a family to do.
So, the Simpsons head out to Boston, and Homer immediately starts trying to get them into the worst places the city has to offer. They wander around, looking for some terrible locations and people in the hopes that it’ll shake Bart’s affection for it. They end up in a public square, and Homer decides to start antagonizing people into being have horrible to them. Which doesn’t really work. He ends up injuring himself, and a bunch of medical professionals show up to help him.
At this point Marge and Lisa tap out from this insane trip though, and they head out to actually experience Boston without this weird tinge of spite. And, they’re actually really loving the city. They find it to be a very progressive, but not insane, city. Plus, they run into MIT, and Lisa realizes that she’s found her Mecca of intellectualism and nerdery that she’s been looking for her entire life.
Meanwhile, Homer is continuing to take Bart around the city, looking for something that will convince him that Boston is a horrible city. And, in his quest to accomplish that, he decides to take Bart candle-pin bowling to show him how stupid it is. However, as they’re bowling, something miraculous happens. Homer realizes that in this form of bowling he gets three balls per frame. And, just like that, he loves Boston.
Homer and Bart then spend the whole day going to a series of candle-pin bowling alleys and they end up having an amazing time. And, since Marge and Lisa also had a great day, Homer and Marge decide to have a conversation. That night in the hotel the two start talking and decide that Boston is kind of perfect. It’s got a good economy, the state has good healthcare, and there’s plenty for the family to do. So, in a completely bizarre decision, the Simpsons decide they’re going to move to Boston.
And it moves very quickly! The Simpsons suddenly have an apartment in Boston, and they get ready for their new life. Homer gets a job at the Necco Wafer factory, I guess Marge is just doing the same thing she usually does, and the kids start going to their new school. Everyone seems happy with this choice, especially Bart. Because Bart has now become obsessed with turning into a Southie gangster, and becomes determined to follow that life-path.
However, that turns out to be very difficult. Because when Bart acts out in school, hoping to get sent to detention to meet the bad kids, and he ends up learning that all bad kids at the school are forced into a cappella, not crime. So, he decides to go straight to Southie in the attempt to meet real gangsters. And that doesn’t work either. Turns out that Boston has been completely gentrified, and it’s all about culture and art now. And, just like that, Bart decides he hates Boston, and needs the family to go back to Springfield.
Unfortunately, the rest of the family are now fully on board with Boston, so Bart’s going to need to do something extreme. He manages to convince the family to go to a parade with him, without telling them it’s for the Boston Americans. And, when Homer realizes what’s happening, he gets nervous. He’s unable to bring himself to put on the hat, and things quickly get tense. The other Bostonians begins pressuring Homer, and he finally snaps, all of his Boston-hatred flowing back. He gets into a massive brawl, and just like that, the Simpsons are forced back to Springfield, and everything goes to normal.
I hate to feel like a broken record, but after doing twenty-seven seasons of this damn show I think that that’s inevitable. I just don’t like a majority of the vacation episodes. And this one is particularly rough. Usually the Simpsons travel to some foreign land, and we’re “treated” to countless gags where they mock all of the landmarks. But it seems very weird to do it with American cities, especially one like Boston. I don’t really have strong feelings toward Boston, and I don’t really know anyone who does. So, to base an entire episode off the Simpsons going to Boston to hate it, only to like it, just seems weird. It’s all based around the fact that most people don’t like the Boston football team? That’s bizarre. I mean, I get that a lot of other people like football, but I can’t imagine someone hating a city because of a damn sports team? It’s just a weird premise, and not much is done with it. Like most vacation episodes. Oh well, at least the Simpsons didn’t move to Boston permanently like we were all worried they would.
“The Town” was written by Dave King and directed by Rob Oliver, 2016.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons