Review: The Simpsons: Fatzcarraldo

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By Karen Schmidt (@Fan__I__Am)
 
The Simpsons has become such an intricately animated show that as I sit here trying to write up a recap of the most recent episode, I know that I’m not doing it any justice, there’s simply too much to talk about! I’ve evolved into one of those viewers who tries to read every sign in the background, watch any character on screen and make note of ALL the little tricks and treats the animators include.
 
The Title Graphic features two pole-vaulters crossing paths and kissing when they meet in the middle, and Happy Valentine’s Day appearing at the bottom of the screen.
 
When the opening sequence changed seasons ago, I became a huge fan of the billboards that fly by at super speed. This episode’s billboard was of Apu holding a heart-shaped box of chocolates and a mug declaring “I (heart) VD” and the accompanying slogan of “Your 2 days to Valentines headquarters”. (My favorite billboard is still the photo of Milhouse with the words “Lost child no reward”.
 
Bart’s detention lines read out “If we’re so good at predicting how come my dad bet on Atlanta.” From last week’s Superbowl – Awesome!
 
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And the couch gag finds the Simpsons rushing to the couch only to discover Maggie is missing. Marge moves the sailboat painting behind the couch to the side and opens the hidden safe. Inside is Maggie and bars of gold. Marge takes Maggie out and hugs her, the gold bars ignored.
 
The episode opens with ‘Dominoes’ pizza boxes set up like regular dominoes all over the nuclear plant. We watch their journey as they fall – at one point creating a picture of Burn’s face with a talk bubble stating “Stop this Tomfoolery” and beside it is Homer’s head and a talk bubble saying “Uh oh the Boss!” and at the bottom of the picture the boxes spell out www.goofingoff.org (sadly, this site does not exist – I checked).
 
The dominoes go all through Burn’s office, through the trap door, continuing on through the plant. When they reach the end of a high walkway, the final box is glowing green as are the 6 pieces of pizza inside which drop right into the waiting mouths of Homer and his co-workers. The men don’t have much time to enjoy the reward as Burns and Smithers show up.
 
Burns informs Homer that he has won the ‘count the buttons in the button jar challenge’; the prize is everyone receiving the day off. He ushers them out of the plant then turns to Smithers, and urgently says “Smithers! The bodies!” We cut to Smithers driving a forklift with clothed skeletons and dumping them in a large cardboard box labeled “Christmas decorations” and then placing the box on a shelving unit with many other similar boxes.
 
Without continuing to give such a detailed outline of the episode, the rest of it plays out like this: Homer heads home to enjoy his day off (dropping rhymes on the way) but is met with his family and Patty and Selma sitting in the living room. Marge informs him that he is to join them for the 38th annual DMV awards and that Patty and Selma are producing the Surleys this year. Homer, of course, is less than enthusiastic.
 
The ceremony drags on and on and finally when Homer can no longer handle it, he leaves his family there and heads to Krusty burger, wanting to stuff his face with bad-for-him food. Unfortunately, Krusty Burger’s corporate parent in Japan has “instituted the following fun and non-negotiable changes” which means to sell healthier meals. Even trading out ketchup and mustard for beet aioli and yellow sauce. Leaving Krusty Burger, Homer yells to a family in a car that has just pulled up “People beware! The crap you love to eat has been replaced by food!”
 
Homer gets back in his car, driving around looking for his unhealthy food fix. Driving by Kentucky Steamed Chickpeas, Tofu Bell, and Arby’s. Desperate, he begins to pray, asking for guidance and low and behold, just over the hill a large neon sign advertising ‘Chili dogs next exit’
 
Homer arrives at ‘Deuce’s Caboose Chill dogs’ and after asking Deuce “what’s the healthiest thing in this place?” Deuce points at a how-to Heimlich maneuver poster and sets 3 chilidogs down in front of Homer. Homer declares “Chewy, we’re home … Chewy is what I call my mouth”.
 
Homer arrives home at dawn to his very worried family and Grampa informs him that he used to eat at Deuce’s Caboose every Wednesday afternoon so his parents could tune up their marriage. Reprising her role as Mona Simpson in a flashback to Homer’s childhood, Glenn Close makes a cameo as we see his parents arrive at a therapy clinic and usher Homer over to Deuce’s. Deuce takes pity on the kid and gives him a chill dog on the house.
 
Present-day Homer remembers, and realizes that this is when he began to eat his emotions: “Fatman Begins” as Bart titles it. Learning that Patty and Selma will be living with them after losing their jobs at the DMV for going over their allotted budget for the awards, Homer heads back to Deuce’s, and is sad to learn that Deuce doesn’t remember him, or calling him his little H-dog. A small montage shows Homer continuing to eat his emotions at Deuce’s and Krusty upset that no one is eating at Krusty burger, while he is also eating at Deuce’s.
 
While all of Homer’s shenanigans were going on, Lisa was reporting for WSES the Springfield Elementary Radio station. Later in the episode, Martin is running the meeting, upset that they are being killed in the ratings by the morning announcements and Jimbo’s podcast.
 
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When Lisa walks into detention to interview Nelson, her question of “Ha Ha! Where did that come from?” Nelson is caught off guard. When she questions Milhouse regarding how Nelson’s “Ha Ha’s” make him feel, he answers “The first time isn’t that bad but the second one is devastating”. Nelson is shocked, his eyes have been opened. Principal Skinner, running detention, informs Lisa that they had to cut the radio station due to lack of funds. Lisa is heartbroken.
 
To cheer her up, Homer takes her with him to Deuce’s and they arrive seeing the caboose chained up with a sign reading “Under New Management” – the new management is Krusty and his clown car full of lawyers and publicists – and Mr. Teeny. Distraught by all of the changes, Homer takes matters into his own hands and attaches the caboose to his own car and he and Lisa take off.
 
When Kent Brockman and channel 6 cover the story, Marge is embarrassed that Homer has been on the news so many times, he has his own theme music. Cut back to an animation of Homer on the TV screen doing the Running Man with the words ‘Simpson Gone Wild’.
 
Comic Book Guy and his fellow junk food enthusiasts are unhappily eating the new Krusty burger menu items when they see Homer’s story on TV. Comic Book Guy stands and yells “I have to save that caboose full of hotdogs – which is what my father called me”. They leave and go to his aid. When Homer runs out of gas, they are there to help keep the caboose on the move, lugging it up the hill(s). Once at the top they see cop cars and several fast food mascots including Krusty, at the bottom of the hill. Frustrated, Homer jumps on the caboose and it sails down the hill, everyone running to get out of its way.
 
At the bottom of the hill, the caboose speeds out of control and crashes through the railing on the bridge, about to plummet into the water below. The chain Homer used to attach the caboose to his car has wrapped itself around the bridge railing and the Caboose hangs vertically over the water with Homer still inside.
 
Deuce shows up, calling Homer his little H-dog, showing Homer that he does remember him. The two share a moment, Deuce unhappy thinking he failed Homer. “You needed a father and all I could give you was steamed tubes filled with chicken asses.” Homer responds “But I love those chicken asses. I love … you.”
 
Deuce saves Homer. Marge and Bart show up and the Simpsons get in the car and leave. When Lou asks Chief Wiggim why he is letting Homer leave after committing a series of serious crimes. Wiggim replies, “Forget it Lou, its Chili town”.
 
Jazzy music plays and the scene pans up to the moon wearing sunglasses, playing a trumpet. Ralph asks, “Why does the moon need sunglasses” and Chief Wiggim replies “Same reason cops wear ‘em. To be cool” and puts on shades of his own.
 
This episode was loosely based on the 1982 film “Fitzcarraldo”.


    2 Comments

  1. volodyaMarch 9th, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    what’s the music playing moon with the sunglasses?! can’t find! shazam didn’t help! maybe u know!) thanks

  2. KarenMarch 21st, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Hi Volodya
    According to IMDB it is the Love theme from Chinatown

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