I’m at a loss for word on how completely unremarkable and flaccid tonight’s episode of The Simpsons was. I mean, I understand the common thought around recent years is that none of the newer episodes measure up to the classics we all grew up with. I’m ok with that. I’ve moved on. I’m willing to accept it. Nothing stays the same. Nothing is ever as good as it once was. That’s just the natural law.
But even the darkest hours of recent episodes don’t feel as horribly empty and pointless as “Let’s Go Fly a Coot” did. The episode meandered from topic to topic, providing few laughs. I kind of expected it too because it focused on Abe Simpson and his World War II history, a topic I’ve never really found funny.
It began, oddly enough, with Milhouse’s elaborate birthday party, funded with the proceeds from the sale of his father’s house. Now, follow me on this one… Offended at the outrageously escalating costs associated with children’s birthday parties, Homer embarks on a plan to reduce overall birthday party standards using various Homer Simpsonian tricks like poorly impersonating Krusty the Clown. Homer runs afoul of the corporate entity “Big Birthday,” who insists that the only thing America does well anymore is throw elaborate birthday parties – “the very fabric of our existence,” they claim. To atone for his sins, Homer must throw Rod Flanders an enforced “magical” birthday party, which happens to take place at Springfield’s flight museum. There, Abe Simpson reconnects with Air Force buddies from World War II who are horrified at Homer’s treatment of the senile Abe. Whew. Pant. Pant. Pant.
Also attending the party is Milhouse’s Dutch cousin, Annika, who teaches Bart the art of smoking vapor cigarettes. She instantly uses her European wiles to enslave him, forcing him to run errands for her in exchanges for snuggles.
It was all just a horrible mess. Particularly, the endless Abe-centered flashback that weirdly tied in Jack Kerouac and the publication of On the Road. I don’t know what drove the writers to craft such a shapeless, pointless story, but there you have it.
If you missed it, then consider yourself a fortune person.
As always, here are some of the more memorable gags in the episode:
- Milhouse’s birthday party gift bags include a full sized candy bar, a hummingbird in a plastic bag, and a CD of the Springfield’s Gay Men’s Chorus singing “Happy Birthday” to Milhouse.
- Rod’s birthday wish was to “grow up and marry Daddy,” Ned Flanders.
- There are two video games in the Kwik-E Mart: Grand Theft Walrus IV and Marbury V. Madison.
- Homer takes Abe and a friend to see The Exhaustibles 3: Arthritis Will Unite Us. There, they see a trailer for a movie set “in a dystopian future.” Homer claims there aren’t enough dystopian films and spends the next two hours and twenty minutes listing a seemingly inexhaustible list of cinematic dystopian future films.