“Okay, everyone, we need big smiles out there, so line up for dimpling. Now, this may hurt a lot . . . what am I saying, ‘may’?” – Little Vicki
For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes. This year we’re doing Season 11. Why Season 11? Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show. Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging. This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “Revolucion”).
[Note: Dave couldn’t make it this week.]
Charlie Sweatpants: Onto more pleasant matters, it’s Little Vicki.
Mad Jon: Yay!
I most assuredly hate this one much much less.
Charlie Sweatpants: I as well. And I’m even willing to go so far as to say that, on balance, I think this one comes out ahead. Not by much, but I do like watching this one from time to time.
Mad Jon: It has some good parts. I especially like Little Vicki, and the Tango de la Muerte movie.
Charlie Sweatpants: Tango de la Muerte is mostly great, though it could’ve moved a bit swifter. Minor complaint though.
Mad Jon: Probably, but not at the expense of the dance partner selection and the "You are now carrying my child" bit.
Charlie Sweatpants: But how?
Mad Jon: I dunno, the constant interjection of the obvious by Lisa I suppose.
Charlie Sweatpants: Aw, come on, man! You’re supposed to say "It is the mystery of the dance."
Mad Jon: That would have been much better.
I was getting ready to explain that I can’t possibly be expected to defend any of my claims while still coming down from the last discussion.
Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, the Florida episode isn’t something you can just shake off.
Mad Jon: The sign in front of the Tango competition was good too. "Tonight tango, Tomorrow: Revolucion!"
Charlie Sweatpants: There is a lot to like here, especially Vicki. She’s just wonderfully nuts.
Mad Jon: Couldn’t have been written much better. Now as a homework assignment, go back in the last few years and see if I’ve ever said that before.
Charlie Sweatpants: Not gonna be doing that.
Mad Jon: Especially the tapping out codes until my shoes filled with blood, or the bit about communism.
Both very good.
Charlie Sweatpants: Indeed. I like "Now, this may hurt a lot".
So cheerful, so insane.
Mad Jon: Rolling out the welcome mat for the Reds…. There is a lot she does for this one.
I would have KILLED for Tappa Tappa Tappa.
Charlie Sweatpants: I even don’t hate the B-plot here. It’s one of the last times I thought the show did Loony Tunes style comedy well, with Wiggum the primary star.
Mad Jon: Also pretty good.
Not a lot of insanity to get them to the mall, not like they would do nowadays.
A little bit of child endangerment? Sure. A few giant leaps of faith? I can see that. But all in all, a workable setup
Charlie Sweatpants: The mountain lion chase could’ve been dropped, and it didn’t make sense how Bart and Milhouse kept getting surprised by the store closing and them getting found out.
But Wiggum’s got enough good lines here that, again, on the whole I think it comes out ahead.
Mad Jon: Nah, that seems like something even a 10 year old would have planned a bit better. But I can live with it.
Wiggum does have some good ones too.
Charlie Sweatpants: The worst part of the episode is how long the self-tapping shoes scene takes at the end, but, like the mountain lion, there’s enough good stuff going on around it that I don’t mind.
Mad Jon: I think, minus the whole crusty eye Homer thing that goes away, the only continuity issue that really struck me was the scene where they recital is beginning, then Lisa leaves to visit Frink, and then they are back at the recital.
Charlie Sweatpants: It’s a little herky-jerky, to be sure.
But the recital itself is mostly great. "Lean, muscular children of Mars", and Little Vicki generally being lots of fun.
Mad Jon: Would have fit in many seasons ago.
And again, Vicky was just, just great.
Mad Jon: She did once destroy Buddy Ebsen’s credit rating.
Charlie Sweatpants: She did. The episode does have a Season 9 feel to it.
Mad Jon: I can see Season 9.
Charlie Sweatpants: Though I think my favorite is "Little advice: don’t live through your child." Coming from a Shirley Temple stand-in, that’s just wonderfully brutal.
Mad Jon: And surprisingly pre-Tiger Mom epidemic.
Charlie Sweatpants: Also true.
Mad Jon: At least I assume. I wasn’t really tuned into the world in the early aughts.
Charlie Sweatpants: Again, this one has problems. The whole Homer and Marge pressuring her to be more girly thing gets raised and never explored, and this is when Frink is crossing the line from funny to annoying plot device, and there are a lot of things that don’t quite follow from one to the other, but there are some original and memorable Simpsons stuff here. Like Vicki trying to encourage Lisa by telling her she needs to save Grampa’s farm.
And that guy saying, "As your wise, but alcoholic dance instructor. . ."
Mad Jon: Agreed. I am generally happy with what’s happening, especially for the season we’re in. But there are still plenty of zombie issues, one we have yet to cite being that the episode ends with homer being needlessly electrocuted.
Charlie Sweatpants: It does, but I can’t hate this one. It’s one of the last episodes I ever watch regularly.
Mad Jon: Yeah, you’re probably right about that. There isn’t really anything coming down the pipe, in like, forever from here.
Charlie Sweatpants: Not much, no.
Mad Jon: Funny how these chats don’t take nearly as long when I don’t want to kill myself. You’d think after a few years it would be the other way around.
Charlie Sweatpants: Well, the first half was pretty bad. Maybe you just recover faster now?
Mad Jon: That’s reasonable, I guess.