Lifetime of Simpsons

S29 E20 – Throw Grampa from the Dane

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Season 29 of the Simpsons has been pretty rough, folks. There have been a couple moments of joy, but overall it’s felt like the show is in a bit of a tailspin, rapidly approaching an ignominious conclusion. So, what better way to right the ship than have another vacation episode! And, specifically, the type of vacation episode that seems prevalant in this era of the show that almost seems to be paid for by the nation they’re visiting, becoming little more than a highlight reel for things to do in Denmark! Fun!

The episode begins with Homer waking up one morning and heading downstairs, only to find himself knee-deep in water. He obviously assumes that he’s actually just dreaming, and that his house hasn’t completely flooded, but Bart comes floating by on a surfboard and confirms that this is actually happening. Plus, Marge ends up arriving too, and we have double confirmation.

They’re horrified that the house is flooded, but pretty quickly realize how it happened. Apparently the day before Marge complained to Homer that the sailboat painting wasn’t hung in the right spot, so he started hammering in a new nail, only to pierce a water pipe, which then ran all night and flooded the whole house. So, it’s both of their fault, so no one is overly mad.

Plus, they apparently have decent insurance, so it’s not going to be a big deal. Homer and Marge then immediately drive over to their insurance broker, who is Gil of course, and confirm that they’re taken care of. They get a pretty huge check, and even find out that they’re getting money for temporary housing until the house is fixed.

So, people begin drying out the Simpson’s house, and they start looking around at local Air B&B’s for somewhere to live until it’s done. Marge briefly considers renting out the Van Houten’s house, but Lisa rightfully says that that’s too creepy, and they shoot that down.

But, while the family are sitting around looking for a place to stay, Abe shows up with a proposition. He’s heard that the family just got a big check, and he’s hoping to mooch off of it. Homer initially refuses, until Abe says that it’s for a medical procedure that he’s too embarrassed to tell them about. And, because he’s so uncomfortable about it, Homer decides to play along.

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Homer and the rest of the family then take Abe to see Dr. Nick, but when it comes time for Abe to explain why he’s there he asks the family to leave. So, they all go across the street to a Krusty Burger to kill time, and start complaining about healthcare costs. Which immediately leads Lisa to start extolling the virtues of socialism and socialized healthcare, which obviously sets Homer off, since he’s an idiot.

And, as they start talking about how great the healthcare industry in Denmark is, Grandpa shows up with bad news. Apparently Dr. Nick wouldn’t preform the mystery procedure, and he’s screwed. Until Lisa suggests that they take Grandpa to Denmark and have them fix him. And, since they have the insurance money, they decide to go as a family to Denmark and have themselves a little vacation!
So, the family pack up and fly to Copenhagen and rent an efficient little apartment in the city, along with the owner who appears to still be there the whole time? It’s kind of odd, but I guess it gives them a nice tour guide as they begin exploring Denmark. Which means it’s time for some quick references! The family are weirded out by the public displays of affection, they look at the Little Mermaid statue and make Disney cracks, they laugh at a sign that says Fart Kontrol, and Lisa meets the prince of Denmark and briefly falls in love.

But, they are here for a reason, and we quickly establish the fact that the Danish healthcare system will take care of Grandpa, but only if he’s injured in the country. So, Homer and Abe start going around trying to hurt Abe so that they can take him to a hospital and get his procedure taken care of. Which doesn’t go well, since it’s such a safe country.

However, despite the fact that their larger mission has been unsuccessful, the family by and large find that they love Denmark. During a trip to the Tivoli amusement park the family start discussing it, and decide that they could all easily live in Denmark. Except Homer. He doesn’t seem to care for the country, and just wants to scam it. And, as luck would have it, he hears about a dangerous castle, Kronborg Castle, where old people routinely fall and hurt themselves, and the family decide to go there.

But, when they get there the rest of the family continue to pressure Homer into moving them to Denmark, and he slowly starts to realize that everything they love about Denmark is the antithesis of himself. He then has to give the matter some thought, which takes the form of Homer reciting some Hamlet lines, but making them all about food like some sort of Shakespearean Weird Al.

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So, to focus on something else, Homer decides that it’s time to push Abe down a set of stairs and complete their mission. But, when the moment comes, Abe is too nervous to go through with it, and decides to tell Homer the truth. Apparently this whole thing is because Abe wants to get a tattoo that says Mona removed from his chest, and he’s been too embarrassed to admit it. Man, they really have been milking the sadness of Mona lately, kind of out of nowhere.

Homer and Abe then head out to a bar and have a moment where they talk about Mona and their feelings. Which was a mistake, because it attracts the attention of a middle-aged Danish woman who approached Homer. Apparently Danish men are terrible at expressing emotion, so Homer’s crying about his dead mother was the biggest turn-on imaginable. She starts flirting with Homer, and begins dancing with him, despite his numerous complaints.

And, of course, Marge just happens by the bar at this moment, and sees Homer dancing with the woman. She instantly becomes furious with him, and storm off to the apartment they’ve been renting, with Homer chasing after her. He starts apologizing, and Marge says that it’s fine, but then drops a weird bombshell.

She says she’s not going back to Springfield, and neither are the kids. They’re going to stay in Denmark and make a new life there, and they don’t expect Homer to stay with them. Which seems absurdly extreme. And, for some reason, Homer just accepts this, and he and Abe head out to the airport, ready to leave the family behind.

They make it all the way to the airport, and are going through security when Homer realizes how insane this whole thing is. Abe also tells Homer that he’s making a huge mistake, and that he should take Marge back. So, they race back to the apartment, and luckily find that Marge and the kids have already gotten sick of Denmark in like, thirty minutes, and are ready to head home with Homer. Oh, and Grandpa gets his tattoo changed into a weird lemonade pun. I don’t know.

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So, this episode is pretty damn rough. I’ve been on the record as not being a huge fan of the vacation episodes in general, but I’ve really started to hate these episodes that come off as advertisements for whatever city or country the family are visiting. In the past the vacation episodes would just be lazy stereotypes, with the family racing around to as many landmarks as possible, stuffing in as many local cameos as possible. But lately things have changed, and vacation episodes have become about how amazing wherever the family is visiting is, except one family member hates it, while the others want to move there. This is the exact same plot as that Boston episode! But, it’s also the exact same plot as when the family went to Cuba to get Grandpa some free medical care. They just seemed to take two lackluster episodes premises, spin a globe, and mush them together in Denmark. And it really doesn’t work. The Simpsons are running out of places to go, and interesting stories to tell in those places. The plot of the episode doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and they really just throw in that last minute plot point of Marge leaving Homer out of nowhere. Just kind of an all-around failure, folks. Hopefully we end the season on a slightly less bleak note.

 

“Throw Grampa from the Dane” was written by Rob LaZebnik and directed by Michael Polcino, 2018.

 

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