So far we’ve had a pretty decent week here at Lifetime of Simpsons. Which means it’s time for the family to go on a vacation to another country and derail that momentum. So, get ready for some ham and pickle sandwiches, because we’re going to Cuba!
The episode begins with the family sitting around and watching a show called the Vulture’s Nest. It’s a parody of Shark Tank, and it’s hosted by Mr. Burns, Lindsey Naegle, the Rich Texan, and HK Duff, where they hear pitches for investments, and screw over the pitchers. And, this time it’s up to Kirk and Milhouse Van Houten, who are trying to sell some attachments to turn dorky kids’ retainers into grills. But, they start squabbling about who came up with the idea, and they get pitched down a trap door so Burns can steal their idea.
Meanwhile, Homer is getting bored with the show, and notices something upsetting in the house. There’s a big pee stain on the carpet. He starts scolding Santa’s Little Helper, and it becomes a whole thing, until something happens to really ground everything to a halt. Grandpa comes in and says that it wasn’t the dog who peed on the carpet. It was him. Apparently, Grandpa is having some sort of bladder issues, and has been having accidents.
No one is sure what to do about this, so they decide to try and go find someone who does. First, they head to the Retirement Castle, but the nurses working there say that they have no ideas on how to help him. So, they then decide they need to go to the VA Hospital, since Grandpa is a veteran of several wars by now. Unfortunately, when they get there they find that the hospital is terrible, and they won’t even be able to see Grandpa for quite some time.
Everyone’s pretty depressed by this outcome, and it seems like they’re run out of ideas. Which is when some other older solider walks up to Grandpa, and decides to do him a favor. He tells Abe that he doesn’t trust any American medicine, and that he’s found a medical utopia. Cuba. Apparently, he was injured during the Bay of Pigs incident, and found the Cuban medical community to be wonderful, and more importantly, cheap.
So, almost immediately, the Simpsons decide that they’re going to be taking a family vacation to Cuba to figure out what’s wrong with Grandpa’s bladder! They take a cruise ship there, and are able to get through the custom’s department by claiming that Lisa is a journalist. And, with that taken care of, they’re free to wander around the streets of Havana, looking for some fun before finding a doctor for Abe.
Abe is still feeling pretty worried about this whole thing, not convinced that there’s anything that can be done to save him. And this was a good guess, because when they finally do take him to a doctor he quickly gives up too, and it seems like they’re just going to have to accept the fact that Abe isn’t going to be alive much longer. The family then walk back out into Havana, and Grandpa is so depressed that nothing will ever bring him out of it.
That is until he notices the cars on the island. He runs into one of the beautifully maintained 50’s cars, and begins ogling it. The owner of the car notices, and comes to chat with Grandpa. The two hit it off, and Abe is even able to take a ride with the guy, reliving his youth. And, surprisingly, Abe starts to feel better. The owner of the car tells the family that there’s research the older people feel younger and healthier when exposed to things they’re nostalgic too, and they just kind of roll with that.
Grandpa starts loving Cuba, since it’s kind of perpetually stuck in the 1950’s, and it’s doing wonders for his health. He starts getting happier, and doing fun things, like hanging out in the bar of the hotel and flirting with the older bartender. And, as Grandpa is flirting with the lady, something else crazy happens. Another veteran that Abe knew during the war, who goes by Wheels, recognizes him, and the two begin talking.
Turns out Wheels has been living in Cuba for years, and he wants to show Grandpa something crazy. Abe agrees, and the two end up driving out into the middle of nowhere where we learn that Wheels came to Cuba by hijacking a plane in the 70’s. And he still has the plane hidden in the jungle. He’s been working on it for decades, and is about to turn it into a nightclub. There’s a whole lot of insane parts of this plan, but Wheels says that he’s just about to open. He just needs a partner. And he wants Abe to be that partner.
Abe has really been loving Cuba, and the youth that it’s given him, so he decides to agree. He then heads back to the hotel to tell the rest of his family that he won’t be returning to America with them. They’re obviously not a fan of this idea, but Grandpa doesn’t really give a fuck anymore, and decides to stay despite their complaints. The plane-club then opens, and Grandpa starts spending all of his time there with his new girlfriend, the bartender from the hotel.
Life seems to be going good for Abe, until Homer and the rest of the family show up again, still trying to get him to come home. The bartender then runs off with Abe, and they end up in the cockpit of the plane. When things get weirder. Turns out that the bartender is actually a deep-undercover CIA agent, and Wheels and all his buddies are evading taxes in America. This plane still works for some reason, so she used Abe to get close enough to them to hijack the plane full of the criminals, and fly them back to America. So, Abe’s new life is a lie, they land in Miami, and they all return to normal.
As far as vacation episodes go, this one isn’t that bad. I think the whole first act of the episode where Grandpa’s body is falling apart and the current American healthcare system is unable to help him was a huge bummer, but it certainly got more fun as things went on. The idea of the Simpsons heading to a more socialist country for medical help has actually already been done with Canada once before, but I think having them go to Cuba to save Grandpa was a solid idea. And then having him find that the culture of Cuba is almost perfectly designed for his lifestyle is great. Hell, I even really like the idea of Grandpa getting involved in an insanely complicated night-club scheme. The ending sure was ridiculous though, desperately trying to sweep everything under the rug so that things could go back to normal. But, other than that, it was fine. It wasn’t particularly funny, and it didn’t get too bogged down in weird Cuba references and insults. And sometimes that’s all you can ask for.
“Havana Wild Weekend” was written by Dan Castellaneta, Deb Lacusta, and Peter Tilden, and directed by Bob Anderson, 2016.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons