Lifetime of Simpsons

S31 E02 – Go Big or Go Homer

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I’m still playing catch-up here on Lifetime of Simpsons, trying to get up to the most recent episodes. And, although I’m not exactly in the most positive state of mind toward the show at the moment, I was kind of pleasantly surprised by the season opener. But, that surprise quickly soured when I went straight into the second episode, which we’re discussing today. Because, other than a few stand-out gags, this was a rough one.

The episode begins, once more, at the Nuclear Plant where Homer and some of the other workers are getting ready to celebrate Lenny’s birthday. They’ve decorated the break-room and Homer has even bought a giant card for everyone to sign. As long as they pitch five bucks into the birthday fund. Everything is going great, and the surprise is about to be sprung, when Mr. Burns comes sauntering into the room, and decides that he’s going to participate too.

Unfortunately, he ends up really pissing Homer off in the process. He signs the card over everyone else’s signatures, he doesn’t pitch it, and he even ruins the surprise for Lenny. Which, ends up throwing Homer into a rage, even though Lenny doesn’t even mind, and actually seems pleased that Burns showed up at all. But, that does nothing to abate Homer’s fury, which ends up fuming for several days, even getting  to the point that he has a nightmare where Burns’ signature comes and kills his family after they all agree that his fury is righteous.

So, after a few sleepless nights, Homer decides to go talk to Burns about it. He storms into the office and demands that Mr. Burns shell out five bucks to make things right. And, much to Homer’s shock, Burns is perfectly pleasant and agrees to the terms, handing Homer a five and even giving him some sort of lucky cricket. Homer’s pretty confused by all of this, and is quickly accosted by Mr. Smithers who tells him that Burns is on some heavy-duty pills, giving him accidental decency. So, as punishment for taking advantage of a sick old man, Homer now has to deal with the worst job in the Plant.

Dealing with the interns. Homer heads to the small office where they’re cramming all of the interns, and we are barraged with a whole bunch of stereotypes of the dreaded Millenials. However, it ends up that the interns are actually all extremely competent, which is even worse, because Homer has no idea how to answer any of their in depth questions, leading to them all mocking him.

That is until some gangly weirdo in the back gets up, and starts to yell at everyone. He apparently sees Homer as a hero, and quickly fights down everyone in the room. His name is Mike Wegeman, and he’s been following Homer’s career for years, because every time there’s an emergency at the Plant Homer’s name ends up in the paper, and Wegman has assumed it’s because he’s helping the problems, not causing them. So, as a result, Wegman wants Homer to become his mentor. Homer accepts.

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He really starts to take this whole mentoring thing incredibly serious, despite how weird and threatening Wegman is, and even wants to start wearing suits to work to appear more professional. The family is shocked to see Homer caring about work this  much, and as they pump Homer for information regarding his new mentee, Bart quickly surmises that Wegman is a complete idiot.

All of this makes Homer a little worried about his new status, but his confidence is immediately boosted once more when he goes to work and Wegman starts bombarding him with praise and love. Homer starts to impart all of his wisdom of nuclear power, which doesn’t take long, and it’s clear that Wegman isn’t absorbing any of it. He’s just stoked to be learning from Homer, after having interned at the Plant for three years. Oh, and he’s also 35.

Eventually Homer decides that Wegman should come over for dinner, so he can show his family that someone respects him, and in the process they end up making a Mr. Plow reference. Because apparently the show is just going to keep throwing out references to better seasons in the hopes that we all remember why we used to like the show. But, Wegman agrees, and ends up showing up that night with his pregnant wife, who he apparently started dating at her previous wedding.

Wegman is a complete lunatic, and ends up making several uncomfortable statements, making the rest of the family quickly hate him. But, Homer doesn’t care, and keeps looking past it all. That is until Bart starts mouthing off, talking about how stupid Homer is, and how Wegman must be an idiot to seek guidance from him. Which causes Wegman to completely lose it, throwing a bunch of insults at Bart that eventually make him start crying. Lisa loves it, laughing her ass off in maybe the funniest joke of the episode, but Bart is horrified, and Marge kicks them out of the house.

 

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Homer keeps defending Wegman though, all because of the respect. But, he does start to wonder why Wegman is so aimless, and ends up striking up a conversation with him about his dreams. Which basically all revolve around making a store that sells single pizza slices, which are fresh-baked that way. Homer decides to support his new friend, and they end up going to Mr. Burns to get money, figuring he’s still all doped-up. But, Burns has gotten back to normal, and ends up just kicking them out, especially after Wegmen blows up and yells at the rich old man.

At this point, Homer decides to finally come clean. He tells Wegman that he actually was the cause of all those nuclear disasters, and that he shouldn’t be anyone’s role model. But, Wegman insists that Homer is a great man, and that he’s going to make him proud. Which is why the next morning Homer wakes up to find Wegman with a foodtruck selling his weird pizza slices. It’s a terrible business model, and makes no sense, but Wegman is happy.

That is until it’s revealed that he got the money for the food truck from Fat Tony and the mob, who want their investment back the very next day. there’s no way that that’s going to happen, so Homer and Wegman end up fleeing from the mob, hiding in a large junk-yard full of failed food trucks. However, they end up getting quickly spotted by the mobsters, who prepare to execute them.

But, right before Homer and Wegman are killed in a junkyard, Fat Tony smells the pizza cooking in the truck, and ends up getting interested. So, Wegman passes out the slices of pizza to the gangsters, and they end up appreciating them enough to not kill Wegman. Instead, they go into business with him, letting him sell pizza while also running sports gambling and illegal weed sales out of the truck simultaneously, making Wegman a success, and Homer a successful mentor.

 

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Honestly, this episode just kind of frustrates me more than anything else. Because, at its heart, this is a pretty decent idea for an episode. Homer never gets any respect, so to get a fawning sycophant who sees no flaws in him is pretty funny. Someone to legitimately look up to him and respect him. But, they chose to make that character one of the most aggressively unlikable characters I’ve ever seen on this show. Wegman sucks, and every scene he’s in is completely devoid of humor, just full of these frantic insults that just end up coming off as embarrassing. I did like the moment of Lisa laughing hysterically after Bart’s shellacking, because it was a very true to life sibling moment, but the actual insults are just dumb, and they just keep happening. Plus, I don’t know why the episode ended with an abrupt turn into mob territory, especially for it to not really matter. It’s just a wonderful example of how one bad element can really spoil an otherwise solid idea, and it’s just kind of a bummer.

 

“Go Big or Go Homer” was written by John Frink and directed by Matthew Faughnan, 2019.

 

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