When you’ve watched every single episode of the Simpsons like I have, you start to notice some incredibly weird things about the show. Sometimes it’s little things like the idea that they never age and have had so many Christmases and birthdays, but that’s just part of the sliding time-scale and lack of definitive canon. But, other times it’s things like the sheer, staggering amount of times that one member of the Simpsons or another have been sent to court. It’s a weird thing, especially since I have to assume a majority of people never find themselves in court, let alone multiple times. Anyway, here’s another time! Let’s see how Homer weasels out of it this time!
The episode begins with Homer and the kids eating lunch at the Gilded Truffle, famously the most expensive restaurant in Springfield. But, we immediately learn that they’re able to afford such extravagance because the Truffel apparently misprinted a coupon making everything 100% off, letting Homer and the kids gorge themselves on fancy food for free, all while acting like complete assholes to the waitstaff. Classy start!
When they’re done though Homer tries to do some damage control, telling the kids that generally it’s not a good idea to hustle people, and that they should try to be better people. And, right as he finishes saying that, he gets an opportunity to not live up to those words. Because the valet has given Homer the keys to the wrong car, an extremely well-maintained vintage car from the 1950’s.
So, obviously they take the car and go for a joy ride! They race all around town, getting into all sorts of shenanigans, like temporary flying thanks to the convertible roof, playing with manual windows and ashtrays, and generally enjoying the lack of seatbelts. Eventually though they grow bored with the car and bring it back to the valet, assuming things will just go great from there.
They do not! It turns out that the car belongs to Comic Book Guy, and he is furious. He threatens Homer with grand theft auto, and Homer offers to just take care of any damages, hoping that that will smooth things over. And, shockingly, it almost does. Until Comic Book Guy realizes that another casualty of the joyride was his highly graded copy of Radioactive Man #1, which has been destroyed somehow. And, with that loss, he decides to press charges against Homer, resulting in Homer being arrested to Chief Wiggum.
Homer then throws himself upon the mercy of the court, trying to make up a bullshit excuse that he was just trying to be a good dad, giving his kids a once in a lifetime experience, which should obviously clear him of any malfeasance. Unfortunately it turns out that Judge Snyder is kind of a deadbeat dad, so that emotional ploy doesn’t work, and he finds Homer guilty, giving him two weeks until the sentencing hearing.
Which, gives the Simpsons two weeks to try and get Homer out of trouble. Marge isn’t too optimistic, and encourage Homer to watch some show about soft men going to prison to get some shiv ideas, but tells him that at the very least they should try to make peace with Comic Book Guy. Marge goes to the Android’s Dungeon to talk to him, and Comic Book Guy reveals that that car and that comic had vast emotional weight for him, since it reminds him of his late father, and what more, this whole thing is about the constant disrespect his life features. So, he stands resolute, and refuses to drop the case.
Luckily, Lisa has an idea. She’s read about sentencing mitigation through video appeals, basically people making video testimonials about how great they are in the hopes that the court will lower their sentence. She demonstrates this with an absurd video that Mr. Burns apparently hired Guillermo del Toro to direct, which is primarily about del Toro’s love of monsters. But, it gets Homer thinking, and they decide to make one of these videos themselves.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t go that well. Marge and Homer have a hard time getting quality testimonials about Homer, eventually just getting Moe talking about how often he brings his kids to the bar, Smithers talking about how often Homer gets fired, and Skinner just saying that Homer has two children enrolled in school. But, Lisa takes this as a challenge, and ends up editing things together to ignore his horrible behavior, primarily by taking things radically out of context.
But, surprisingly, it actually has an effect on Judge Snyder. That is until Comic Book Guy arrives to give his own counter-speech. He talks about how sad his profession is, and that when his father’s car was stolen from him it shredded his dignity, and he plainly asks Judge Snyder to be a real life hero, something he never experiences. And, Snyder agrees, telling Homer to re-appear before court soon to hear his sentence.
Lisa has one last idea though. She finds that another comic book store in a nearby town has a copy of that Radioactive Man comic, in even better condition than the one that was destroyed, and suggests they buy it for Comic Book Guy as a sign of good faith. So, Homer buys the insanely expensive comic and goes to give it to Comic Book Guy, hoping that the higher grade will smooth things over.
Comic Book Guy however wants to keep the grudge alive, and refuses to accept their apology. That is until he notices a Welcome Back Kotter keychain on Homer’s keys, and asks what its story is. Homer explains that Abe got it for him as a kid, and it makes him happy and nostalgic. So, Comic Book Guy destroys it in front of Homer, telling him that that shattering of precious nostalgia was what Homer did to his car. And, now that Homer has felt the same anguish that he did, the grudge is over! He drops the suit, Homer doesn’t have to go to jail, but he does have to go to Comic Con with Comic Book Guy, which is apparently just as bad as prison.
I don’t know, I just kind of feel value neutral on this episode. There’s nothing about it that’s actively bad, but there’s also nothing about it that’s remotely interesting. It’s just crap we’ve seen before, again and again. Homer constantly gets into legal trouble for being a dick. Comic Book Guy is always lamenting the fact that no one treats him seriously and with respect. Homer always gets away with whatever his crime was at the last second, often through some ridiculous way that makes basically no sense, just because the episode has to end. And, that’s all we got here. The only thing that was remotely interesting was the idea that the show tried to make at the end of the episode about the powerful weight that stupid pieces of pop culture can have in our lives, not because they’re actually worth money, but because they’re of sentimental value. But, that comes in the last two minutes, and isn’t given any room to become anything more than just a random musing at the end. But hey, seeing Guillermo del Toro in animation was pretty neat, I guess.
Take Away: Don’t steal other people’s belongings. And, if you do, don’t treat them like shit if you intend to give them back.
“101 Mitigations” was written by Brian Kelley and Dan Vebber and directed by Mark Kirkland, 2019.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons