Review -- The Simpsons: "No Loan Again, Naturally"
Ariel Ponywether has been a fan of The Simpsons since the first time Bart was ten.View all articles by Ariel Ponywether
Dumbing It Down: Though Homer’s annual Mardi Gras party goes off without a hitch, it’s revealed that Homer finances the parties on a line of credit received through mortgaging their house. Homer and Marge soon discover that, due to Homer’s sheer foolishness, their adjustable mortgage rate payments will balloon out of control.
Unable to pay off the large payments, the Simpsons are forced to watch in shock as their home goes into foreclosure. As it’s auctioned off to the highest bidder, Mr. Burns takes an interest in the dwelling and Ned Flanders, feeling sorry for the family, outbids the evil boss and takes possession of the dwelling. He then declares to the grateful family that he’ll rent the structure to them.
Things run smoothly, and Ned initially bends to Marge’s multiple requests for odd repairs around the house. The dilapidated condition of the Simpson’s home and the large number of Marge’s requests, however, eventually drive Ned to anger - when they arrive at an unreasonable time of day, he simply refuses to come over.
At Moe’s behest, Homer decides to expose Ned as a slumlord on the local news. Ned responds by telling the family that they need to be out of the house by the end of the month.
The family tries multiple schemes, including moving Grandpa into their house, to retain their home, but ultimately Ned has their possessions put out on the lawn and puts the structure up for sale.
While the Simpsons struggle with life in a homeless shelter, Ned finds perfect renters. Just moments away from leasing the house, Ned realizes that, while the Simpsons are incredibly flawed, he is very fond of them, and calls off the deal at the last minute.
Red Dress Press: The one thing “No Loan Again, Naturally” has going for it, that it gets unquestionably right, is its emotional context. It’s truly touching moments – such as Homer retrieving the gift basket he’d left in an upstairs bedroom for the new tenants, entreating them to love the Simpson’s home as much as he does – are played with classic era level sincerity.
Particularly well-characterized is Ned, who is typically charitable self, with a major soft-spot for the Simpsons clan. It was nice to see some sort of consequence levied against Homer for his exuberant recklessness, and the situation was treated with the gravity it deserved. Homer was irresponsible but not a complete jerk, reaching levels of sympathy the character hasn’t drawn from the audience since “Mona Leaves-A”.
Not to say that the situation itself wasn’t treated with the right amount of humor – the utter dilapidation of the Simpson’s home and Ned’s frustration with it, and Homer’s lame attempt at faking a haunting in the Simpson home. The sight of the Simpson clan, lying stiff and nervous on their cots at the homeless shelter, provided a surprisingly powerful jolt. Only one joke truly hit a jarring note, that being Homer’s failed suicide attempt.
The show rarely hits such honestly played notes of sincerity these days, so if you like the early, emotionally honest days of OFF, this is the ep to see. If you can live with the mental scarring caused by the notion of Agnes Skinner having drunken sex with Otto, then by all means seek this one out.
Did It Fail At Masonry: I’m comfortable in declaring “No Loan Again, Naturally” the best episode of the season thus far.
What The Screwballs Think: “No Loan Again, Naturally” pulled in a 5.99, making it the second-highest rated program on Fox’s Sunday night animation block but the second-lowest rated episode in the show’s history.
Springfield Shopper: The next new episode of The Simpsons, “Gone Maggie Gone”, will air March fifteenth. Check back here on the sixteenth for a full recap!
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