Lifetime of Simpsons

S31 E03 – The Fat Blue Line

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We have one more week of catch-up here on Lifetime of Simpsons, after I kind of flaked on the beginning of this season, and so far it’s been a really mixed bag. One decent episode, and one really rough one. Which, makes the rest of the season kind of on shaky ground. And, that feeling doesn’t get much more stable after watching this incredibly weird episode from it’s weird Bohemian Rhapsody opening, to it’s bizarre fixation with Chief Wiggum.

The episode begins with the Simpsons driving to a local Italian festival, which is apparently not a Christopher Columbus thing, as is made explicitly clear to us. It’s actually celebrating Saint Castellaneta, a medieval saint who was cut into pieces for his faith. Which, takes the form of a whole bunch of Italian food and incredibly dangerous and insensitive 100-year old rides that they just cart out every year.

It seems like everyone in town is here, as usual, and having a blast. Especially Homer, who is just running around eating a dangerous amount of pasta while singing. But, there’s one person who isn’t have a good time. Fat Tony, who is sitting in a restaurant brooding with some mysterious old uncle of his, much to the chagrin of his men, who want to go have a good time.

And, as Fat Tony is brooding, we see that the festival has reached its peak, with Mayor Quimby introducing their master of ceremonies, Jason Momoa, who is apparently here as Aquaman? I’m not quite sure, but he recounts the story of Saint Castellaneta, before discussing Spumoni ice cream. And, once that’s over, a statue of Jesus is brought out and carried around so that people can pin dollar bills to it for some reason.

Everyone seems very into this, but as they all begin to take out their wallets are participate, they realize something horrible. Everyone in the crowd has had their wallets stolen, apparently by a powerful pickpocket. It becomes a massive problem in the city, and it’s quickly made apparent that Chief Wiggum isn’t going to be up to snuff to solve it.

So, Mayor Quimby calls in a special investigator named Lenora Carter, who immediately establishes dominance over Wiggum, taking jurisdiction and humiliating him. She yells at Wiggum, and ends up ordering Eddie and Lou to start working for her, while Wiggum apparently just has to sit around and be sad by himself.

 

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Carter’s big idea is to place a tracker in a wallet, give it to a random citizen, and have the pickpocket steal it, leading them back to their headquarters. Because they apparently think that the pickpocket will continue working, instead of just hitting the festival. The only problem is, they need someone with a massive ass, for some reason. Which is when Homer comes waddling in, having gotten his ass stuck in a park bench.

Homer agrees to help the police, and they end up hiding the tracker in his wallet, then sending Homer out in the town where he begins strutting around, trying to seduce the pickpocket. And, after quite a bit of failure, the pickpocket finally strikes, and Homer’s wallet is stolen. So, with that taken care of, Carter, Eddie, and Lou track down the stolen wallet, bringing them to a shady warehouse, where Wiggum has also been following them.

Carter and the cops burst into the warehouse, telling Wiggum he isn’t allowed to help them, and they find that it’s a completely empty warehouse with a massive pile of empty wallets. And, right on time, Fat Tony ends up wandering into the warehouse with that weird uncle from earlier. And, putting it together, Carter arrests Fat Tony, deciding that he’s obviously the mastermind of the crime, even though he immediately starts denying his part in the crime, even going to far as to fainting.

And, weirdly, this seems to be what’s going to take Fat Tony down, much like Al Capone and the tax evasion. It’s all anyone in town wants to talk about, except for Marge, who starts to focus on what a mess Chief Wiggum has become. She finds him crying in his car at the school, and tries to give him a pep talk, telling him she shouldn’t be afraid to fail, and that he should have unjustified confidence. Which spurs him on to do some research on his own.

 

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We then hope over to the prison where Fat Tony is being kept, quickly getting in a joke where Sideshow Bob tries to escape and is hit by a truck of rakes, making it so that every episode this season has inexplicably referenced better jokes from earlier seasons. But, when that’s done, we see that Fat Tony really does seem to be innocent, and wants to find the true culprit to free himself. Which, doesn’t work, because Fat Tony ends up getting 20 years in prison for masterminding this pickpocket scam.

Meanwhile, Wiggum has become convinced that Fat Tony is innocent. He found an inexplicable video of a very young Fat Tony saying that the only crime he’d never commit is pickpocketing, because someone pickpocketed the donated heart that would have saved his father’s life. So, Wiggum goes to talk to Fat Tony, and tells him that he wants to help him, but he needs to give him information to help.

But, Fat Tony refuses to tell Wiggum what he was doing at the time of the theft, saying that it would be too terrible to admit. He then immediately admits what he did, showing Wiggum a timestamped video showing that he was in his office playing the piano and singing show tunes. So, Fat Tony is innocent, and now Wiggum wants to catch the real culprits, having Fat Tony get released and go undercover with a wire.

Fat Tony agrees, and he ends up heading to Luigi’s while wearing a wire at the same time that some sort of mafia meet-up is happening. Also, the Simpsons are having dinner there for some reason. Fat Tony wanders into the room, much to the shock of everyone inside, who had just been making fun of how easy it was to frame him.

Fat Tony starts bigfooting all the other mobsters, and ends up getting Franky the Squealer to tell him exactly what happens. Apparently Johnny Tightlips planned this entire frame-up, because he’s hated Fat Tony for a while, but I guess it was Fat Tony moping around the parade earlier that pushed things over the edge. So, with the evidence gained, Fat Tony signals the police to come in, causing massive standoff, which Homer just walks into. And, Homer ends up getting shot in the ass. But, he’s fine. And apparently so is Fat Tony, who now doesn’t have to be in jail, while Wiggum has gained a bit of respect, even though Carter leaves town without apologizing for treating him like shit.

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So, yeah, this is a weird episode. It’s one of the kinds of episodes where I kind of question why the Simpsons were even in it. Because they don’t really have much to do here, and every time they show up it’s kind of shoehorned in. This really is an episode all about Wiggum and Fat Tony, which is certainly not a pairing I thought we’d ever get an entire episode about. And, I don’t know if we really needed it? The episode just felt a little slight, having no real driving force. It was just kind of a dull episode, and one that didn’t really feel very well-constructed. It felt weird that we established some strange new mobster in Fat Tony’s uncle, have a mysterious villain who is screwing him over, and then have it be Johnny Tightlips out of nowhere instead of the uncle, who ends up just feeling like a red herring. It’s just a weird episode, and one that ends up feeling more confounding than bad.

 

“The Fat Blue Line” was written by Bill Odenkirk and directed by Michael Polcino, 2019.

 

 

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