Kredit Kookies: Flyby: Frink on a Jetpack Billboard: An advertisement for the Springfield Wax Museum, which displays the half-melted heads of three figures and declares “we’ve fixed our air conditioning!” Chalkboard: “Daylight Savings” is not a failed bank.Couch Gag: The seat is spring-loaded, which sends the entire Simpsons family flying toward the screen.All but Maggie promptly slide down the glass, except for Maggie, whose pacifier sticks against it briefly.

In this week’s episode, Cheech and Chong appear in Springfield, and Homer – the duo’s biggest fan – can’t wait to see them live.When he interrupts the show by chanting ’Dave ‘s not here!’, Tommy Chong decides that the act’s gotten too commercial, and quits.Homer jumps to the stage to complete the routine, and Cheech hires him on the spot.Homer hits the road, only to find out that Mr. Merrin isn’t the fun-loving guy he envisioned.Meanwhile, Chong settles on the extremely dry comedy stylings of Principal Skinner as a replacement for his partner.

The (extremely brief, three scene long) subplot involves Marge trying to help the Crazy Cat Lady with her hoarding problem.She gets the older woman cleaned up, only to fall prey to the condition herself.

The episode is an extremely uneven one.

Much of it revolves around Cheech and Chong’s antics, which, perhaps because the writers and producers are of the same generation of kids who grew up on their albums and movies.It feels sort of like an odd combination of Homerpalooza by way of Behind the Laughter, and the mish-mosh of themes pull through mostly thanks to the way Homer and Skinner play off of Cheech and Chong.Homer as a stoner was a believable if not entirely canon-correct (we never see him smoke a joint in the .

The episode trips up in two ways: one is the extremely unfunny Crazy Cat Lady plot, which doesn’t have the deft hand needed to make the issue of hoarding (and the Hoarders TV show) funny. The writers clearly didn’t seem to know what to do with Marge and cobbled this idea together in two seconds. The unpleasant cynicism of the entire exercise makes this section of the episode a pointless chore, and nakedly exposes how thoroughly the show has lost its heart recently.

The other is the sudden use of Bart as a Pucklike figure to wrap up the plot.I understand that they were going for a Midsummer Night’s Dream motif, but this would have been more effective if Bart-as-Puck had appeared throughout the narrative; instead, it adds a sudden jolt of fancifulness at the wrong time – the emotional crux of the conclusion.

The later makes no difference at all in the final grade, but the former impacts it.But, thankfully for the balance of the episode, the main plot makes it watchable.


NEXT EPISODE:The power of balance in Homer and Bart’s relationship shifts in “Love is a Many Strangled Thing”.