This The Simpsons assessment incorporates spoilers.
The Simpsons Season 31 Episode 16
The Simpsons season 31, episode 16, “Higher Off Ned,” tosses off its greatest premise early. The episode begins with a prank, by Abe Simpson, no much less, a person who has a statue in France commemorating his speedy give up. It ends with a lesson about two prodigal sons.
The set-up to the story may be very revealing about Bart’s relationship with Grandpa. The elder Simpson tells higher tales when he will get actual meds. The youthful Simpson really believes he would obtain his father’s father’s most prized possession. However most vital of all, that Abe’s snores sign tacit approval to no matter Bart’s scheming.
On this case, Bart capitalizes on Abe’s nap to borrow the dud hand grenade, which brings the episode into pretty dainty nation. A full technology has handed since grade-school youngsters have had faculty capturing coaching ingrained in them, and Bart may be very near Trench Coat Mafia territory. He drops the grenade throughout an meeting on how Springfield Elementary is essentially the most sedentary faculty within the state. This isn’t a great factor, despite the fact that Ralph cheers it much more as a nasty factor. The one youngsters protected are those too overweight to suit into the varsity auditorium. Those inside have been sitting too lengthy to get to the exits. It’s a recipe for a deeper catastrophe.
It’s well-known canon that Principal Skinner was a POW in the course of the Vietnam Warfare, and his first response to the disaster is smart. He pees his pants, which is the occasion to start out the panic. Ned saves the day, throwing himself on the grenade, however the fallout is oddly scattered. Kirk Van Houten, Millhouse’s dad, is subbing as the brand new faculty mascot, a vulture who doubles because the mascot for a semi-amateur hockey staff. The man who often wears it obtained shingles and this provides The Simpsons an opportunity to additional scar Millhouse, who sought shelter within the again finish of the outfit and saved going till you don’t need to know the way far. It additionally reveals that Nelson’s mother and Superintendent Chalmers had a factor going, one thing the varsity administrator is keen to pay good cash to maintain quiet.
The incident ends just like the aftermath of a college capturing. There are hearth vans and grieving dad and mom reuniting with their kids, crying within the corridor. It’s a skewered tackle the scenario, however not twisted sufficient to mine true subversively comedian or satirical worth. Somewhat than being hauled off to some juvenile detention middle, the varsity directors resolve to expel Bart. However Ned, as soon as once more steps in, swearing he can change the boy with the three Ps: persistence, prayer and chronic prayer. This hasn’t been tried in public colleges since 1962, when the Supreme Courtroom of New York dominated it an unfair mixture of church and state.
Non secular commentary returns later within the episode when the Christians throw a satisfaction parade. Christians can lastly present their religion proudly. One float boasts an “harmless priest,” implying he stands out as the just one within the city. Within the crowd, we are able to see two indicators: “Jews for Jesus” and “Atheists for nobody,” reminding the viewers who frequently tries to steal Christmas. Distributors promote crowns of thorns comprised of balloons for the children. Lisa leafs by way of a difficulty of the “Christian Not Science Monitor.” Mayor Quimby officiates as a result of “proper wing ding dong‘s will preserve him in workplace endlessly” for it.
Early within the episode we see, even underneath risk of loss of life from a pulled hand grenade, Bart won’t give in to prayer. However quickly he’s singing “Wonderful Grace” with an angelic voice solely a bone-eared mental music connoisseur like Sideshow Mel can trash. One other reveling second comes when Ned reacts to certainly one of Bart’s pranks by threatening to attract actual blood from the boy. This harks again to the time when Ned was recognized with emotional suppression, rendering all his most horrific and violent impulses right into a litany of oodly-doodlies. Ned’s first lesson comes from Jonah, I feel. Somewhat than give Bart some fish, Ned teaches him to fish for himself. Bart experiences a flush of feelings he likens to a downed power-line at a waterpark, however nonetheless spits in his hand earlier than he offers a left-handed handshake to his school-board-appointed mentor.
At first, Homer sees the Flanders appointment as a win-win scenario. Bart doesn’t get expelled and he doesn’t should do something. Ned begins to get an excessive amount of credit score. In addition to the preliminary barring of his fatherly affect, nobody acknowledges the significance of how a lot Homer messed the boy up within the first place. Homer isn’t as dim as it might appear. He bemoans and moans about having to surrender calling his subsequent door neighbor “silly Flanders” as a result of he thinks Ned is laughing underneath his bushy mustache. However, carry the maths and he’s proper. Ned is laughing.
However there is just one character on The Simpsons who’s allowed the final haw haw. After singing a tragic track, Homer runs into Nelson at a rubbish dump underneath the signal “50,000 seagulls can’t be flawed. The college bully is crying. No person cares about Nelson. His dad left. His mother is a drunk. His home is a trailer and all of the wheels are flat. The final stable meals he had was an ice dice and his TV is a milk crate with a squirrel in it. He’s the proper instrument for revenge.
Nelson pegs Homer early, mentioning that Bart’s dad actually has nothing to show. However one factor Homer does know is learn how to manipulate folks. Why ought to Nelson will get haircuts by hiding within the bushes when the gardener comes by when he can even get free cookies with out really giving blood. Homer edumacates Nelson on utilizing spearmint gum as a deodorant and telling him there actually is a health care provider for enamel. He even exhibits him a straightforward option to break into the music trade. However the deciding think about mentoring Nelson is that Homer is the one man who ever instructed the boy he’s not sleeping along with his mom. This scene is extra poignant due to the irony. The pair change into shut sufficient Homer dubs them Homeson.
Marge is at her most blatantly enabling self on this episode. Lisa factors out what Homer is doing and Marge says it’s time to vary Maggie, who she calls her little excuse. She is just not getting in the midst of this. Lisa appoints herself the voice of morality and offers her father cash to go see a licensed therapist. Moe breaks the ethical compass by getting Homer off the subject of licenses on issues like remedy or liquor gross sales.
Duffman will get to do Shakespeare in a single spotlight bit. “To pee or to not pee, there isn’t a query,” the beer spokesman intones. Nelson’s mom additionally will get fleshed out on this episode. She’s obtained three cork boards stuffed with males who’ve dissatisfied her son and Groundskeeper Willis is hammering his image on a fourth. It seems she does look after Nelson, and she or he calls for Homer not lie. Nelson takes it in addition to could be anticipated. He goes out to torture his pretend mentor’s child, the one he actually loves. The phase which tracks his path is completed in a brand new method for the Simpsons. Referencing a diner’s tabletop maze Homer and Nelson bonded to, the scene is completed in animated crayon drawings.
Nelson’s precise revenge is ready up just like the JFK assassination. He will get by way of the Christian Delight Parade crowd by sporting a crucifix, which can clearly be used as a slingshot. However Bart is nowhere close to the Goliath Homer is and the one shock when he will get crushed within the palms of the praying-hand finale is how disappointing it’s.
Ned has had Bart in his clutches a number of occasions in the course of the run of the collection and there may be at all times a way of peril the boy would possibly lose his method and like the Flanderses. When Ned hung up an indication saying “gone baptizin’” within the season 7 episode “Residence Candy Homediddly-Dum-Doodily,” Homer took a spritz of Holy Water for the staff in an effort to win again the love of his youngsters. Right here Bart trades all of it in for a fast shot of oxygen on the ambulance trip along with his dad. “Higher Off Ned” is good however appears like a doughnut the place the creamy center has been sucked out. It doesn’t fairly miss the sting as a lot because it dulls it. The alternatives are right here for sharper comedy, however the episode cuts throughout the floor.
The story for “Higher Off Ned” was written by Al Jean, the teleplay was written by Joel H. Cohen & Jeff Westbrook, and the episode was directed by Rob Oliver. The episode was devoted in loving reminiscence to Max Von Sydow
Chalkboard: Bart is at a health care provider’s appointment. (Written by Lisa).
The Simpsons stars Dan Castellaneta as Homer and Abe Simpson, Krusty the Clown and Groundskeeper Willie, Julie Kavner as Marge Simpson, Nancy Cartwright as Bart Simpson, Yeardley Smith as Lisa Simpson. Hank Azaria performs Comedian E-book Man, Kirk Van Houten, Chief Wiggum, Professor John I.Q. Nerdelbaum Frink Jr., and Moe. Harry Shearer is Seymour Skinner, Kent Brockman, C. Montgomery Burns and Waylon Smithers. Pamela Hayden voices a number of components.
The Simpsons episode “Higher Off Ned” aired Sunday, March 15, on Fox.
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