Simpsons Did It!: “Mother Simpson”

Homer Simpson may not treat his father Abe very well, but what about his mother?  Up until this episode, the character has only been mentioned once or twice in a flashback.  What happened to her?  She’s not present for any of the flashback episodes.  What a mystery!

Oh, wait, there she is.

As hard as Homer will fight to avoid calisthenics, he’ll fight even harder to avoid mandatory volunteer work on his day off.  Hence when Mr. Burns has his workers cleaning the side of a road, Homer will toss a $600 dummy of himself off a waterfall where it will hit rocks and have its pants stolen by beavers before being sucked into a dam’s turbines.

Obviously, he didn’t tell Marge, but the rest of the town finds out and while flowers and condolences are offered by everyone but Patty and Selma (they brought a tombstone instead), having the electricity cut off is a bridge too far for Marge, and she demands Homer fix the whole mess immediately.

Fixing the mistake of Homer being dead is actually quick and painless, but he doesn’t believe it since his dead mother is listed as alive.  He even points out a large stone angel in the local cemetery as his mother’s grave.  Then he actually goes up there and finds out it’s Walt Whitman’s grave.  Leaves of Grass my ass!

That actually turns out to be rather beneficial for Homer, as at the tombstone his ghoulish sisters-in-law bought for him, he runs into his mother.  Homer hasn’t seen Mona Simpson since his father told him Mona died while young Homer was at the movies.  And no amount of pelicans dropping fish down Homer’s pants will throw off the love of Mona, especially given the warmth in her voice courtesy of guest star Glenn Close.

Bringing his mom home actually answers a few unanswered questions.  Mona bonds immediately with Lisa.  It seems her intelligence came from Mona.  Well, it clearly didn’t come from the male Simpsons, but the Bouviers aren’t exactly geniuses either, so that makes sense.  Mona also has some Homer-ish habits, and at episode’s end, we do see she’s where Homer got his “d’oh!’ from.  But she does act a little suspiciously, hiding from cops and all.  Bart finds a bunch of fake drivers licenses in her purse, and Marge just wants to know where she went.  Threaten to call Grampa, and she’ll talk.

It seems that seeing Joe Namath’s sideburns back in the 60s actually radicalized a younger Mona.  She joined up with some hippies and set off an antibiotic bomb in a germ warfare lab run by Mr. Burns.  Mona alone was seen fleeing the scene of the crime when she stopped to help up a man knocked over by the stampeding hippies, and said man was Mr. Burns.  Now a wanted criminal, she had to abandon her family and leave Abe to raise Homer alone.  We all know how that turned out.

She might have gotten away with this reunion too, had not Mr. Burns spotted her in the post office when Homer went to pick up some long undelivered care packages.  Burns calls in the Springfield PD and the FBI and the guys from Dragnet.  Officer Bill Gannon still sounds like Harry Morgan.  Joe Friday, meanwhile, has softened his tone on hippies since he son went nuts in Vietnam.  That’s a dark joke right there.

A tip to Homer gets Mona out the door before the cops can arrest her, and Grampa actually covers her escape.  Or he’s just senile.  It was a little of column a and a little of column b.  The tip came from a grateful Chief Wiggum, since that antibiotic bomb cured his asthma and allowed him to go to the police academy, and Homer might have learned that if he were a little more patient.

So, just as quickly as Homer was reunited with Mona, she has to leave again.  The episode ends with Homer just staring off into the night sky.  I think I’ll end this there too.


Defender of the faith, contributing writer, debonair man-about-town.

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