The Simpsons ended its 26th season on a high note, providing an episode full of blisteringly quick sight gags, puns and solid jokes. In fact, the humor flew by so fast that I’m convinced it will take a second viewing to catch everything. That’s a rarity with The Simpsons of late. I’m happy to have a taste of the old days, even if for a single episode.
The events of the episode centered around a mathlete’s competition against Waverly Hills Elementary and Springfield Elementary during which Springfield fails to score any points. After some alumni give the school an influx of cash, Principal Skinner replaces all outdated equipment in the school with newer, digital texts and films. When their server farm is plugged into a power strip, all new technology is completely fried, leaving Springfield Elementary completely in the dark, education-wise. Leave it to Lisa to re-invent the school as a Waldorf School, focusing on hands-on education. For example, Bart learns volume at Moe’s Tavern, Lunch Lady Doris teaches math equations with a lesson on how to supplement lunch hamburger meat with styrofoam, and Groundkeeper Willie teaches fractions by ripping worms in half. Eventually, Willie leads the mathletes to a win over Waverly Hills.
The pace of the episode slowed at it progressed, but it was still a chuckle-worthy episode, if not an outright guffaw. Others may disagree, but I enjoyed the broader focus across the swath of characters, allowing for more cameo appearances, rather than the focus on individuals as many recent episodes have. It was a fitting end to a mixed bag season, allowing The Simpsons to go out on a high note.
Here are a handful of the season finale’s highlights:
- Springfield’s mathlete’s team is called the “Action Fractions.”
- Krusty the Clown is introduced in support of a math tournament. He attended because he thought it was a meth tournament.
- Bart’s teacher takes a break and reads a romantic novel called “Tenure is the Night.”
- The digital book burner is called the “Anti-Gutenberg 3000.” It’s temperate is set to 451 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In the new digital age, Groundskeeper Willie is managed by a Roomba.
- The closing banquet banner congratulates the mathletes with a banner reading “No one is > you.”
- The episode finishes with a Simpsons family jug band concert – one of the more odd sequences I’ve seen on the show.