“You’ve gone from hip to boring. Why don’t you call us when you get to kitsch?” – Gunter
For the third summer in a row, we at the Dead Homer Society are looking to satisfy your off-season longing for substandard commentary on substandard Simpsons. This summer we’ll be looking at Season 10. Why Season 10? Because we’ve already done Seasons 8 and 9 and we can’t put it off any longer. Prior to Season 10, we watched as the show started falling over, this is when it fell over. And while the dust wouldn’t settle completely for another season or so, there is no bigger gap in quality than the one between Season 9 and Season 10. Since we prefer things to remain just as they were in 1995, we’re sticking with this chatroom thing instead of some newer means of communication that we all know just isn’t as good. This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “snorkels”).
Today’s episode is 1019, “Mom and Pop Art”. Tomorrow will be 1020, “The Old Man and the C Student”.
Charlie Sweatpants: Shall we begin?
Mad Jon: Sounds good.
Mom & Pop Art?
Charlie Sweatpants: Yes.
Which strikes me as one of the more peculiar episodes in Season 10.
Mad Jon: How do you mean?
Charlie Sweatpants: It’s dumb pretty much all the way through, has premises and twists that even by the standards of Season 10 are lazy and poorly conceived, and yet it also has more really excellent lines than almost any other episode in the entire season.
Mad Jon: Well put.
The insanity is quite thick, but I don’t really dislike it at all.
Charlie Sweatpants: I should hate this episode a lot more than I do. I mean, it’s brimming with Jerkass Homer, the entire town floods for no reason, and Homer gets a new job.
Yet, whenever I’m skimming the list of Season 10 episodes, this one always seems like one of the better ones despite all of that.
Mad Jon: I really don’t mind it, but there are many terrible problems.
I specifically hate the Homer the artist vs. Marge the artist wannabe crap.
Charlie Sweatpants: Right? It’s cheap, just cramming Homer into a situation where they can make him be wacky. Castellaneta screams so much I hope he had lozenges in his contract.
And yet . . . I know what I hate, and I don’t hate this.
Mad Jon: Quite apt.
I have "Homer crying…" several times in my notes.
Charlie Sweatpants: Burns’ line about "White Christmas", Moe offering to buy the bird, the video at Not Home Depot, the Eurotrash, and, of course, "Everything’s coming up Milhouse!"
Mad Jon: I especially hate when he cries and demands people should fear his wrath.
Charlie Sweatpants: Homer is in total ass mode here, and not in a good way.
Mad Jon: Milhouse and the Eurotrash are worth the watch alone.
Charlie Sweatpants: I can’t stand him when he’s this stupid and enthusiastically self centered.
And the rest of the cast just aids and abets him, like they know their job is to set him up and get out of the way.
Mad Jon: He took a hell of a couple beatings as well.
Charlie Sweatpants: He did.
I could definitely do without the dream sequence, which they staged in the fucking museum for some reason.
Mad Jon: And put a shotgun in Maggie’s crib. That was about the time I was fully onto the Homer the Jerk phase.
Charlie Sweatpants: There’s a lot of that here. When he tells Isabella Rossellini about the average out of court settlement you know he’s no longer a regular guy but an elastic cartoon figment. Ditto his screaming, "Not the Reichstag!", which always bothers me because a) yelling is usually what they do when they know shit ain’t funny and b) it’s such a weak contrast to his questioning of Lisa in "Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk" where he doesn’t even know Germany is a country in Europe and thinks we send them money.
Mad Jon: Being that this episode is more than a decade old, I am not surprised by this, but did it seem relatively homophobic by today’s standards?
Charlie Sweatpants: The Bart joke didn’t, "I’m flunking math and the other day I was a little attracted to Milhouse" just makes me laugh. But that sketching Lenny and Carl in the shower scene, yeah.
Homer was sketching them . . . why?
Mad Jon: I was going to exclude the Milhouse comment due to its hilarity, but still, he freaks out pretty hard.
Charlie Sweatpants: He does, but I chalk that up to general Homer freakout in this episode.
Mad Jon: Fair enough.
Charlie Sweatpants: The sketching Lenny and Carl thing, on the other hand, doesn’t really have a joke. It’s just Homer acting like a calm, slightly predatory closet case, and that’s a) not anything he’d do and b) not that funny regardless.
Bart trying to get a rise out of him is a very Bart thing, the shower scene not so much.
Mad Jon: True true.
That reminds me of how Homer decides to flood the town, but first he snorkels the animals.
Which, I think is a pretty good representation of the entire plot. We are going to do ‘A’ but first something else!
Charlie Sweatpants: Well, this was another one of those out of left field endings that really marked the end of the show giving half a shit about plot or story.
Jasper Johns "so long suckers" (a classic line the show liked using) gets me, but other than that the ending is just too bizarre to work.
Mad Jon: The ending is basically a non-ending. With one swift move, everything is back to good and nobody gets hurt.
And it takes less then a few minutes to do.
Charlie Sweatpants: Case in point, the "Heaven’s easier to get into than Arizona State" line. I’ve been to Tempe, I get the joke, but it’s the kind of thing that’s so cheap you expect it to be followed by canned laughter.
Mad Jon: Very Teeveeish.
Charlie Sweatpants: You’re right, though, it’s not an ending. It’s doesn’t resolve anything, it doesn’t have any consequences, it just happens and then it’s over.
Mad Jon: And then Homer and Marge go from a one-sided argument to kissing on the roof with freshwater dolphins and lions existing peacefully.
Charlie Sweatpants: Like I said, this was around the time they just stopped caring.
I haven’t listened to the commentary for this one, but on so many of the commentaries from this era they get to whatever shambling excuse they have for the third act and are just like "whatever". This feels exactly like those.
Mad Jon: I’d buy that.
All told though, the plethora of one-liners and whatnot actually cover for enough of the crap to keep this high on my Season 10 list.
Charlie Sweatpants: I, too, remain strangely fond of this episode. I like Picasso’s cranky letter to the editor, I like the snorkel on the bear at the feet of the Jebediah Springfield statue, I like the haplessly incomplete paint job on the garage door at the beginning.
Mad Jon: The Picasso letter to the editor is very very funny,
Charlie Sweatpants: It’s enough to make me overlook things like Homer shaving his shoulders and singing a song when his instant five o’clock shadow in Season 1 was so much better.
Mad Jon: Instant and silent.
Charlie Sweatpants: It’s even enough that I can overlook the drawn out Ray J. Johnson joke, if for no other reason than they actually had him on in Season 13, so I know that things still have a ways to fall from here.
Mad Jon: Quite a ways.
But that’s a later problem.
Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, though the next one is pretty bad. Ready to move on to springs and weak jokes at old people?
Mad Jon: Yeah, I guess so.
Charlie Sweatpants: Alright, time to angry up the blood.