This week’s The Simpsons starts on a bit of a random tangent as only The Simpsons can do – the Simpson family becomes terrorized by a bald eagle. The eagle had been attracted to the bird feeder in their back yard or, more specifically, to the birds feeding in the bird feeder in their back yard.
Marge tries to cover up “the circle of life” when Lisa sees the eagle scoop up a talonfull of food, but the hard evidence does not lie – the eagle drops a tiny bird skeleton at her feet.
After using a game of Mousetrap to ensnare the bird (don’t ask) in Bart’s room, they decide to nurse it back to health, naming it “Squawkey” in the process.
“Squawkey, until I met you,” Bart says as they set the eagle free, “I never thought I could love something bald.”
The eagle is then incinerated by a rocket. Naturally.
Thus starts the story proper of the episode. Elon Musk (voiced by the actual Elon Musk), proclaimed “perhaps the greatest living inventor” by Lisa, steps forth from the rocket in a quest to rejuvenate his inventing prowess. This being The Simpsons, Musk finds his inspiration in Homer, taking Homer’s “Homerisms” and channeling them into ideas.
When Homer introduces Musk to the suggestion box at the nuclear power plant, he attracts the attention of Mr. Burns, finally bringing good ol’ Burnsie back into a major plot line. Burns offers to hire Musk, and Musk agrees to work… for free, clearly something Mr. Burns cannot fathom.
Musk’s inventions bring significant changes to Springfield, including free, self-driving cars for everyone and a “Hyperloop,” a public transportation system that resembles an upgrade to the old Monorail. With all of this energy conservation, Burns’s power plant is set to operate in a significant financial loss, triggering “The Great ePression.”
Burns and his team of “seasoned” hit men (“Just because a man can’t see or hold his hands steady doesn’t make him any less of a marksman”) attempt a hit on Musk’s life, but their efforts fail miserably. They all die from the recoil.
Homer makes the ultimate decision to “break up” with Musk because Springfield wasn’t ready for his innovations. Musk boards his rocket and leaves town to Marge’s cheerful “Our town will never forgive you!”
Overall, the episode was kind of a middling, average effort. It offered up pockets of good jokes here and there, but it felt generally flat and meandering. I had personally never heard of Elon Musk and, when I Googled the episode to discover what actor so flatly read the part, was quite surprised to discover he was an actual real-live person. I’ve got to get out more, apparently…
A few other amusing notes…
- Kent Brockman: “Attention fans of the The Little Rascals! The last of them died today in Palm Springs.”
- Homer’s self-driving car detours from its path to the power plant and parks in front of Moe’s Tavern. “Force of habit,” it says.
- The Springfield Depression Museum features a sign reading “Now more depressed than ever.”
- Musk gives Bart a “real working light saber.” Bart subsequently slices down a tree in the backyard.
- As Musk returns to space, he’s seen playing The Simpsons: Tapped Out.