Review -- The Simpsons: "Mypods and Boomsticks"
Ariel Ponywether has been a fan of The Simpsons since the first time Bart was ten.View all articles by Ariel Ponywether
Homer learns (another) lesson about tolerance and Lisa goes into hock to “Steve Mobs” in this week’s episode of The Simpsons, “Mypods and Boomsticks.”
Kredit Kookies: Chalkboard Gag: “Prosperity is Just Around The Corner”. Couch Gag: Bart’s in the living room, scribbling “I Will Not Bring the Chalkboard Home” on a portable chalk board. The rest of the family stares in confusion at this turn of events.
At the Springfield Mall, Christmas is getting the bum rush – rouge mall Santas are hauled away by the police, fully-decorated trees are being stuffed into woodchippers, and carolers pay tribute to the end of the season as they prepare to celebrate Martin Luther King Junior day.
The Simpsons are here to return one Christmas present each without hurting the giver’s feelings. Marge, Homer, and Lisa are each returning a fifteen-month calendar given to them by Bart. He’s mildly outraged, but, to use his words, “those are some ugly kittens.”
Lisa is distracted by a brand-new Mapple store, filled with bright and shiny technogadgets that confuse Homer instantly (“The green light means it’s on?”). It seems Lisa yearns for a “Mypod” but can’t afford one – she’s willing, however, to buy a fourteen dollar pair of fake earbuds to make it seem that she owns one. Not even able to afford this, she laments aloud that she’ll never be able to own her own Mypod – enter Krusty, who gives her the Mypod he won in a gift basket.
As Lisa exults at her newfound luck, Steve Mobs – the head of Mapple – appears on the store’s big screen to make a special announcement. A bored Bart takes this opportunity to jack into the store’s audio output, replacing Mob’s voice with his own. “Guess what! They cost four bucks to make! And I pee on each one!” After the Comic Book Guy destroys the big screen in a parody of the famous 1984 Apple ad, the outraged mob closes in on Bart, using their ear buds in a failed attempt at capturing him.
Escaping the rabble, Bart wanders to safety by following the scent of roasting lamb. He ends up in the back yard of a boy named Bashir, who offers him dinner. Bart charms his way into this house by flattering the boys’ mother, and apparently enjoys the family’s hospitality.
The following morning, Bashir and Bart walk to school together, and Bart gives the new kid the lowdown on Springfield Elementary. He finds out that Bashir practices a religion that’s NOT Presbylutheranism, and instantly tells Bashir NOT to tell the bullies this – they, of course, spring from the bushes, ready to pound the new kid into the ground for being different.
Bart tries to talk the bullies down, but they become enraged when they discover Bashir is a practicing Muslim (“You’re the reason I can’t bring shampoo on an airplane!”). Ultimately, Bart rescues Bashir by reminding the bullies that they each practice a different religion – Kearny and his mom, in fact, are in a cult Moe started. Dolph and Jimbo wail on Kearny for protecting his still-promiscuous mother, Bart and Bashir escape, and Moe – having eavesdropped on the entire conversation – immediately suspects Bashir’s family of terrorism. Why the cult? And why’s he so interested? He’s faking insanity to get out of jury duty! Well, he IS the One True Moe…
At Springfield Elementary, Sherri and Terri express their irritation over Lisa’s ignoring them – she takes the opportunity to show them her Mypod, onto which she’s downloaded Miles Davis’ song, Moon Dreams. She then shows them its video capabilities by showing them the Mapple Store exclusive Itchy and Scratchy short “Diepod Slaylist”. Summing that up: Itchy uses a set of earbuds to liquefy Scratchy’s brain, and replaces the missing organ with Albert Einstein’s. A brilliant Scratchy uses his mental powers to help develop a bomb. After witnessing its mid-ocean detonation from the safety of a boat, dead and dying marine life rain down on Scratchy. Filled with remorse, he builds a time machine and tries to stop himself from creating the bomb, but Itchy’s gone back ahead of him, slaughtered Scratchy and replaced his body with a megaton bomb. Scratchy implodes, and Itchy uses the time machine to go back to the infamous disco Studio 54 and boogie the night away.
Bart arrives home from school and says goodbye to Bashir, whom Homer assumes is Milhouse transformed. Bart patiently explains that the boy’s a new friend of his, and Homer is impressed by Bashir’s flattery. At the bar, Homer extols the virtues of Bart’s new friend, while Lenny, Carl and Moe insist that Bashir and his family have to be up to something. Moe uses an episode of 24 to convince Homer that his suspicions are correct.
Instantly convinced of the family’s guilt, Homer forms a plan. Inviting Bashir and his family to dinner, he plumbs their answers for proper patriotic feeling. The Bin Ladens are, of course, intelligent enough to realize that Homer’s bating them, and when he brings out a cake in the shape of an American flag.
At home, Homer blurts out his worries to Marge, who grunts that he’s behaving foolishly and urges him to go to sleep. He manages to, only to conjure an Aladdin-based nightmare in which a Robin Williams-like genie destroys Springfield’s “decadent western society.” Only Cat Stevens music may be sold!
Homer, naturally, believes his dream’s telling him the truth, and goes to the Bin Laden home to stake out their doings.
That afternoon, Lisa receives her first Mapple store bill – for over a thousand dollars. And she’s only downloaded a million songs!!
At the Bin Ladens, Homer tries to make nice with Bashir’s mother, Mina. Required to be kind to her guest, she accepts his apology. “Praise be to Oliver!” he cries, and when she corrects his speech, shrugs and offers to look it up in the Corona. Making up an excuse involving grinding up almond paste, Homer sneaks into the kitchen and manages to log onto the Bin Laden’s family computer. Among the files stored inside of it he discover the floor plan of the Springfield Mall, detonation sites clearly indicated.
Homer rushes down to the mall, where he leads an evacuation (of everyone except Patty and Selma). Outside, Bart, Bashir and Bashir’s father are preparing to blow up…the OLD Springfield Mall, which is being demolished as part of a remodeling project. Just as they’re about to push the plunger, Homer runs up and tosses the charger…onto a nearby bridge, which explodes and cuts off Duff Island from the mainland. A distraught Homer naturally throws himself into the ocean to retrieve the lost brew, and ultimately apologizes to Bashir and his father.
Later, Homer invites the Bin Ladens to a barbeque, where all is forgiven. Homer notices that Lisa’s gone, and Bart informs him that she told him she’s off on a trip.
Cut to Lisa, who’s travelling to the underwater (?!) Mapple headquarters in a craft that resembles a USB stick. Steve Mobs isn’t willing to overlook her bill, but she can work it off – as a costumed myPod character, passing out fliers for the Mapple Store. “Think Differently!”
Red Dress Press: I’m proud to admit I laughed aloud several times during “Mypods and Boomsticks.” Particularly enjoyable were Bashir’s dry-witted mother, the notion of Moe starting up trouble to fake insanity and get out of jury duty, and Dan Castellaneta’s tribute to his role in Disney’s Aladdin franchise.
Homer’s concern about the Bin Laden parents played out beautifully. He puts himself unselfishly into dangers several times, and largely was reminiscent of the old, innocent Homer of yore.
Bart’s role as the moral center of the episode is an interesting one – it shows a tolerant, intelligent side that rarely gets played out canonically. That he knows what Homer’s going to do and at least tries to stop the chaos conflicts nicely with the impish and occasionally demonic Bart we’ve been subjected to recently.
The unfortunately-named Bin Laden clan are collectively interesting, though, of course, they could be built into more complex individuals. They’re off to a decent start, and I hope they don’t disappear into the continuity void that’s taken characters like Colin of The Simpsons Movie.
The Mypod subplot, contrastingly, felt entirely pointless. It was an unveiled, obvious poke at the Apple corporation, and perhaps would have been funnier with a tad more subtlety thrown in. Wise Lisa becoming a victim to the lure of music and the artistic medium fits well with her character (Cory hotline, anyone?).
Perhaps the biggest flaw the episode possesses is the crashing obviousness of the Mapple parody and choosing to give Bashir’s family the surname of Bin Laden. Once so good at subtle parody, the show’s fallen into a pattern of the easy joke.
Did It Fail at Masonry?: A fairly decent episode, worth tracking down and watching. Not an essential, but still pretty good.
What the Screwballs Think: The episode drew a 8.0, a fourth-place finish for Fox.
Springfield Shopper: The next new episode of the Simpsons, “The Burns and the Bees” , is scheduled to air on December seventh. Check back here on the eighth for a full recap!
Spread The Word
- Movie Review - Ghost Rider: The Spirit Of Vengeance (2012)
- Movie Review (counter) - The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader (2010)
- Video Game Review - Ghostbusters: The Video Game
- Calling all Browncoats!
- Review -- The Simpsons: "Coming to Homerica"
- Review -- The Simpsons: "Four Great Women and a Manicure"
- Review -- The Simpsons: "Waverly Hills 9-0-2-1-D'Oh!"
- Review -- The Simpsons: "Father Knows Worst"
- Review -- The Simpsons: "the Good, the Sad, And the Drugly"
- Review -- The Simpsons: "Eeny Teeny Mya, Moe"
- Review -- The Simpsons: "Wedding For Disaster"
- Review -- The Simpsons: "In the Name of the Grandfather"
- Review -- The Simpsons: "Gone Maggie Gone"
- Review -- The Simpsons: "No Loan Again, Naturally"
- Review -- The Simpsons: "How the Test Was Won"
- Review -- The Simpsons: "Take My Life, Please"
- Review -- The Simpsons: "Lisa The Drama Queen"
- Review -- The Simpsons: "The Burns and the Bees"
- Review -- The Simpsons: "Homer and Lisa Exchange Cross Words"
- Review -- The Simpsons: "Dangerous Curves"
- Review -- The Simpsons: "Treehouse of Horror XIX"
- Review -- The Simpsons: "Double, Double, Boy in Trouble"
- Review -- The Simpsons "Lost Verizon"
- Review -- The Simpsons "Sex, Pies and Idiot Scrapes"