Lifetime of Simpsons

S26 E15 – Kamp Krustier

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Howdy everyone, and welcome back to another week of Lifetime of Simpsons. We have a weird week ahead of us folks. It seems like we’re reached a point of this show where the writers have decided to simultaneously mine nostalgia, and bitterly decry millennial culture. Fun combo! And today we’re going for the first side. Because we’ve got an episode that’s essentially a sequel to the classic “Kamp Krusty.”

The episode begins by informing us that today’s episode takes place during Season Four. We see a trail of clothes leading throughout the Simpson’s house, out into the yard, and to the treehouse. Santa’s Little Helper wanders out to examine the trail, while encountering Homer and Marge having sex. They’re thrilled that they’ve gotten the kids out of their hair for the summer, and have manage to have sex in every room of the house.

Unfortunately their summer of debauchery is over now, because it’s time for them to go pick up their children. They head to a parking lot with all of the other parents who are eagerly awaiting their children. Krusty finally drive up in a bus full of kids, presumably straight from Tijuana, and unloads them. And they’re all terrified. As we’ve seen, Kamp Krusty was a horrible experience, and the kids are all still dealing with the terror that they’ve dealt with.

Marge is very worried about Bart and Lisa’s fragile mental state after their summer vacation, and she decides that they need to see a grief counselor to deal with what they endured. And, since a busload of children who have just went though some trauma just arrived in Springfield, a nice little support group is formed for the survivors of Kamp Krusty. The therapist basically says that the kids have PTSD from Kamp Krusty, and Bart realizes that he has a good scam to run.


Bart convinces the therapist that he’s in really rough shape, so when Marge comes to pick them up he tells Marge that she needs to take care of Bart and let him recuperate from his trauma. Bart then starts doing research on PTSD, even reading a pamphlet on it, so that he can know all of the symptoms, letting him accurately fake it. And, as you could guess, Marge falls for it, hook like and sinker. She’s convinced that Bart has PTSD, and let him do basically anything he wants to.

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Marge lets Bart do everything, and that quickly starts to wear down on Homer. Because one of Bart’s main desires is to sleep in Homer and Marge’s bed with them. This makes it Homer quite irritated, especially because it means that he can’t have sex with Marge. And, to vent that frustration, he starts to do something absurd. He goes to work early when he can’t sleep. He ends up being the first person at the Plant, and he notices something shocking.

The Plant is a pretty good place that early in the morning. There’s plenty of parking spaces, the donuts are fresh, and he even has enough time to read the manual that explains what his job is supposed to be. Homer then uses all of this spare time to actually fire up his brain for the first time in years, since it’s now uncluttered by sex thoughts, he starts to become quite bright. In fact, he ends up becoming a model employee, and even starts to impress Burns and Smithers with his bright ideas.

But, as Homer’s life is starting to go well, Bart runs into a bit of a problem. He actually starts to have nightmares and experience PTSD from Kamp Krusty. He keeps having a recurring nightmare where he and Lisa are in a canoe going down some rapids, and they crash. He goes and talks to Lisa, admitting to his con and telling her about the dream. And, shockingly, Lisa ends up remembering that canoe trip too, and they realize that it must be a repressed memory, something that actually happened to them.

Meanwhile, Homer is still flying high, loving his new life as a perfect employee, father, and husband. Unfortunately, he also has realized that the key to keeping this new life up is to not have sex. And, now that Bart and Lisa are actually dealing with their PTSD, Marge had decided that it’s time to catch up on all their missing sex. Homer tells her that he plans on remaining abstinent, and continue this new life. And, Marge isn’t a fan.

Homer and Marge then have to go to a very weird couple’s counseling where there’s two therapists. It seems odd to me, but their advice is that they need to fix the kids in order to fix their marriage. They recommend taking Bart and Lisa back to Kamp Krusty to face their fears so that they can get back to their old lives. Seems like a weird strategy, but they decide to go through with it, and the family head out to the old Kamp Krusty grounds.

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But, surprisingly, in such a short amount of time the Kamp has completely changed. It’s now an upscale resort for adults to relax and have casual sex with one another called Klub Krusty. Homer and Marge then immediately lose interest in helping the kids, and head off to investigate the Klub and all of its tawdry delights, leaving the kids to their own devices. And, almost immediately, Marge convinces Homer to have sex, destroying his new found intelligence and returning him to his old state.

Bart and Lisa begins wandering around Klub Krusty, trying to spark any more memories of their time at Kamp Krusty to see what’s going on with their canoe memories. They end up actually finding some of the old Kamp Krusty building out behind the Klub, and encounter a shed that sparks some memories. They open the shed up, and find that it’s full of all the old canoe supplies. And, seeing the canoes makes them remember that they tried to escape Kamp Krusty during the roughest times, and ended up crashing.

However, they also remember something a little worrisome. There was another kid in that boat, a boy named Charlie. And it seems like he didn’t make it through the crash. They’re horrified, and just as they’re making this realization Krusty ends up finding them poking around and confronts them. They tell Krusty about the potential death at the Kamp, and he rushes them to his security officer. But, as they talk to the officer, he gets confused. Turns out this Charlie person wasn’t a kid. He was a little person who was sent to spy on Krusty, and now he works at the Klub as a masseuse. Which is a little anti-climactic, but whatever. But, now that they’ve realized they didn’t witness a death their PTSD fades away, and everything goes back to normal.

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This is an incredibly strange episode. It’s not often that we see episodes that are sequels, let alone sequels to episodes that aired in a previous century. “Kamp Krusty” is obviously one of the most beloved episodes of the Simpsons, so to take that and launch into a new idea could possibly have worked. But, it seems like a very strange idea to take an episode from the early nineties, and then have such a contemporary episode presumably follow it immediately. I think the idea of Bart and Lisa dealing with PTSD after their horrible experience at Kamp Krusty is a pretty good idea. What I don’t think works is the revelation of what that PTSD comes form. The presumably dead kid, which is introduced and then explained away in basically one scene just isn’t well fleshed out enough to work. It just seems like everything was rushed near the end of the episode, and could have been far more based around the kids exploring Kamp Krusty to get to the bottom of their issue instead of wasting so much time with Bart being a jerk. But, oh well, things are going to get much worse as the week goes on, so I’ll take what I can get.

Take Away: PTSD is a very real issue, and not something to fake in order to get what you want.

 

“Kamp Krustier” was written by David M Sterns and directed by Rob Oliver, 2017.

 

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