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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Retro Review: E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)

AKA: Homer uses plutonium jump start his failing farm and ends up growing Tomacco, a tomato/tobacco hybrid.

The Setup: Inspired by the chivalry on display in a Zorro film, Homer begins challenging everyone to a duel when he feels his honor has been affronted; after a Southern duelist agrees to his challenge with pistols at dawn, the family flees to Homer's barren boyhood farm house (yes, the same one we last saw burning to the ground...).

Favorite Lines:
Marge: Well, I'm not crazy about the plutonium or nicotine, but it is very nice to see Bart eating his vegetables.


Zorro: No, no. It's a "Z." I am Zorro. "Z" for Zorro! I have come to return King Arthur to the throne.
Bart: It's a history lesson come to life!
Lisa: No, it isn't. It's totally inaccurate.
Bart: Quiet! Here come the Ninjas.

Between that and this list of the movie's credits, I'm fairly certain the Simpson family watched the greatest movie ever created (at least until Homer and Ron Howard's movie about a robot driving instructor who travels back in time (for some reason) and whose best friend is a talking pie gets made, at least):

Cast
Zorro ................................. John Byner
Robot Zorro ......................... Shawn Wayans
Mrs. Zorro ........................... Rita Rudner
Scarlet Pimpernel ...... Curtis "Booger" Armstrong
King Arthur ......................... Cheech Marin
Man in the Iron Mask ................ Gina Gershon
Wise Nun .............................. Posh Spice
Stupid Nun .......................... Meryl Streep
Time Traveler #1 ......... Stone Cold Steve Austin
Orangutan at Dance ..................... "Puddles"
Gay-Seeming Prince ................. Spalding Gray
Man Beating Mule .................... Eric Roberts
Mule Beating Man ........................... "Gus"
Hiccuping Narrator ......................... Pele
President Van Buren ................. Robert Evans
Corky ............................ Anthony Hopkins
Voice of Magic Taco ............. James Earl Jones

The Producers would like to thank:
Film Board of Canada
The Philadelphia Flyers
The Makers of Whip Balm
Mr. Robert Guccione
The Teamsters Pension Fund
AAABest Bail Bonds
Mr. and Mrs. Curtis "Booger" Armstrong

Robot Zorro? President Van Buren? James Earl Jones voicing a magic taco? Awesome!

Teebore's Take: I always think of this as the Tomacco episode, but the Tomacco doesn't really show up until the last third. This episode actually features a standard three act structure, surprising for this era: Homer dueling (act one), trying to raise a crop on the farm (act two) and dealing with the Tomacco (act three). The funniest bit (aside from the awesome Zorro film suggested by the credits that appear fleetingly for only a second or two) is probably the repeated sight gag of Homer always managing to get pinned under his overturned tractor. As such, this episode finishes the first disc of the season in a manner befitting the episodes before it: nothing terrible but nothing entirely memorable or hilarious either.

Zaniness:

The Simpsons suddenly starting a new life on a farm? Plutonium-forged vegetable hybrids? A cadre of demented, addicted farm animals attacked the house? Yep, this definitely the zaniest episode of the season thus far, despite the traditional structure.

Jerk-ass Homer Quotient:

Homer's glove-slapping duel-challenging in the first act is prime jerk-ass material, and while the Homer of the second act is more the lovable oaf of the past, by the time he's trying to get everyone addicted to Tomacco he's back in jerk-ass form.

3 comments:

  1. If I had an imaginary list of "Things that would happen to you if your life was a sitcom" then
    "You would nearly become very rich but somehow blow it at the last minute." would be at the top of it.
    This is one of approximately 10 Simpsons episodes that do it. And it still annoys me.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah, it's a pretty standard sitcom trope the Simpsons, what with its "wipe the slate clean at the end of the episode" approach to continuity, seems to fall back on a lot. In fact, your estimation of only 10 episodes featuring it might be low-balling it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Then there's the odd ones where Marge becomes a rich, women's excercise chain mogul and stays that way through the end of the episode...yet they never speak of it again.

    ReplyDelete

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