Review -- The Simpsons "Eternal Moonshine of the Simpsons Mind"
Ariel Ponywether has been a fan of The Simpsons since the first time Bart was ten.View all articles by Ariel Ponywether
Kredit Kookies: The blackboard gag for this episode reads ‘the capital of Montana is not "Hannah"’; the couch gag takes us into the far reaches of the universe, DNA, skin cells, and finally Homer’s head. Homer appropriately remarks ‘weird’ before we smash to the credits.
We open on a snowy Springfield as ‘Winter Wonderland’ plays in the background. In the Simpsons’ front yard, a prone Homer is buried in a bank of snow, and he’s just coming out of a drunken stupor. He rushes inside to discover the place curiously abandoned, the only occupant Santa’s Little Helper, who growls and bites him. Frightened and unable to remember the previous night, Homer decides to go back to Moe’s and retrace his steps.
Moe tells Homer that the night before he’d requested a drink so powerful that it would wipe his recent memory clean; Moe responded by supplying Homer with a ‘Forget-Me-Shot". Chief Wiggum, overhearing their exchange, tells Homer that he’d responded to a domestic disturbance at his house the day before – a report called in by Ned Flanders. Homer instantly has a flashback of Wiggum asking Marge how she got a shiner and Marge lying – badly – that she walked into a door.
Still confused, Homer heads back home, and the sight of Marge’s picture gives him another flashback – this one to Marge on the floor, begging Homer to stop and rubbing her eye. Scared, he runs to the Springfield Retirement Castle to seek the advice of his father.
Grandpa Simpson relays to Homer news about Professor Frink, who’s developing a machine that helps people sort out their memories – he’s been testing it on Abe’s fellow residents. An overjoyed Homer asks his father if he can pay him back in any way – and Abe asks him to punch the orderly who’s always sipping out of his juice. Though Homer accidentally beats up an orderly who’s saved Abe’s life, he’s now on the right track and heads off to Professor Frink’s lab.
Frink hooks Homer up to his new device, which allows the subject to careen literally through their memories, sealed in a protective bubble. Homer is soon soaring along, his memories cleverly portrayed as a wall of clips from previous episodes. He finally selects what seems like the right memory, and relives tobogganing through freshly-made snowmen with Bart and Lisa. Lisa seems to know he’s only re-living a memory – mostly because he’s meshed it with a favorite cell phone ad of his. As people in cell-phone costumes frolic to the tune of "Beautiful Morning" by the Rascals, Homer departs in search of the correct memory, in which he finds Marge and Duffman, seemingly in an embrace! Marge tells Homer she didn’t want him to find out about this.
Returning to reality, Homer sadly realizes he must’ve assumed Marge was cheating on him – and that in his resulting rage he must’ve done something horrible to her. In quite a nice callback to Homer's Odyssey, he decides to commit suicide by throwing himself from a bridge. Quickly, he begins to reconsider as Patty and Selma come upon him. His least-favorite gruesome twosome sure isn’t going to let his opportunity go to waste – they communally shove him over the edge and into thin air.
Falling, Homer flashes back through his life - in the best moment of the episode, this is accomplished through a parody of the youtube video "Noah takes a photo of himself every day for 6 years." Just before he reaches what seems like certain doom, he has a total recall of the previous night’s incident: Marge and Duffman were, of course, not embarking on an affair. Marge had been trying to pull together a surprise party for Homer in celebration of his completing court-ordered community service, and she’d hired Duffman to make an appearance at the party. Homer is overjoyed at Marge’s plan, and Duffman pulls out a bottle of Duff Champagne - "the beer of champagnes!" - to speed along the celebration. Homer discovers why Marge was pleading for him to stop – she was saving the alcohol for the party. But Homer’s excited attempt at opening the bottle resulted in the cork flying free from its prison, resulting in Marge’s black eye and busybody Flanders’ calling the cops.
Homer is rescued from death by a passing cruise ship – the boat Marge had rented for the party – and he lands safely in the moon bounce. Marge and the kids are delighted to see him, and once he reaches the deck the rest of the puzzle pieces slip into place. Marge had lied about her eye to Chief Wiggum because she didn’t want him to bring Sarah, his wife, to the party - Marge suddenly dislikes her. The sight of Lenny and Carl causes Homer to recall that he had consumed the "Forget Me Shot" to forget about the party – and, in fact, he predicted his likely course of actions on losing the last twenty-four hours of his memory to a tee. Why did Santa’s Little Helper growl at Homer? He, also, just plain doesn’t like him. The ship chugs off into the starlight night, and we take our leave of the Simpsons for this week.
Ironically, it might be this very episode that marks the moment where the show entered a danger zone; it’s the last episode (so far) of Season Nineteen to get a 10.0 Share in the Nielsen ratings. "E Plurbius Wiggum" got an 8.0, and every episode since has scored no higher than a 7.5. It’s rather odd, because it’s one of the most complex and interesting episodes of the season thus far, bearing a twisty plot and in-character behavior from the main cast. Homer’s dilemma built realistically from its inception, and the episode didn’t get bogged down in odd side plots. My big canonical quibble is Marge’s sudden dislike of Sara Wiggum – it’s not impossible to believe she doesn’t enjoy her company anymore, but at last glance they were at least pleasant acquaintances. Considering Marge’s established dislike of Clancy, I’m surprised they didn’t use that as an excuse.
The next all-new episode of the Simpsons will be "Papa Don’t Leech", set to air on the 13th of April. Remember, whenever a new episode airs sure to check back on the site the following Monday evening for a full recap!
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