This particular episode deals with Homer thinking a new Muslim family that moved into the neighborhood might be terrorists. That sounds almost like a plot line from American Dad, but here we are.
First off, though, this season has been downright goofy in terms of a timeline. It opened on St. Patrick’s Day, went to the Fourth of July, hit Halloween, and now we start with the run up to Martin Luther King Day as the Simpsons visit the Springfield Mall. They are ostensibly there to return unwanted Christmas gifts (no one wanted the bulk-bought 15 month kitten calendar from Bart), and lo and behold, there’s a new Mapple store in the mall. They sell things like MyPods and MyPads and other things the Simpsons can’t possibly afford. Lisa can’t even afford a pair of fake earpods to make it look like she has a MyPod.
Fortunately, an outraged Krusty shows up and tosses his unwanted MyPod Lisa’s way.
Unfortunately, Bart overrides the audio from Mapple founder Steve Mobs and calls the customers and employees suckers, forcing him to flee lest he be whipped with earbuds.
After successfully fleeing the mob, Bart smells something good and finds a new kid cooking lamb in a backyard barbecue. His name is Bashir. Bart charms Bashir’s mother (guest star Shohreh Aghdashloo) and gets invited to dinner. Bashir’s family moved to Springfield from Jordan, and it turns out they’re Muslims. This is not a problem for Bart. Bart’s not a bad kid. He even protects Bashir from the local bullies by pointing out Jimbo is a Christian, Dolph is Jewish, and Kearney belongs to a cult that worships Moe for some reason, causing the bullies to fight each other.
Yes, everyone is taken by the charming, polite Bashir. Even Homer, at first, until Moe, Lenny, Carl and a random 24-ish TV show convince Homer all Muslims are up to no good.
Say, Aghdashloo was on 24 for a while. Do you suppose she was grateful to be playing a character that wasn’t related to actual terrorists? I’m not sure who she played on 24 off-hand, but I’m smart enough to know that was probably the role.
With his new paranoia, Homer invites Bashir’s whole family over for dinner and embarrasses himself badly with his jingoistic insinuations (and maybe the poisoned American flag cake). Bart calls Homer out, but Bashir’s mother says you should always respect your father. Homer likes that. So does Grampa. Homer tells Grampa to shut up. Wait a minute…
After the new neighbors leave, Marge sends Homer over to apologize, and that’s when he sees Bashir’s father loading up a lot of dynamite into boxes.
Is the man a terrorist?
Well, no. When Homer goes back to listen in for more dirt later, he overhears the man saying he’s going to blow up something and be happier when its done, so Homer assumes he’s a suicide bomber. He misses the part about it being a planned detonation because the man’s a structural engineer and he’ll be getting a nicer office afterwards. Some cleverness-by-Homer standards gets him to see the explosions will be hitting the Springfield Mall, so he drives down and tells everyone inside to make a run for it except for Patty and Selma at the DMV. Then he spots Bart outside with Bashir and his father about the drop the plunger for the old, long unused Springfield Mal, not the new one Homer evacuated. Sure, Homer gets to the old mall and grabs all the dynamite and drops it in the river before the mall can be demolished. But the explosion takes out a new bridge that led to the Duff Brewery and two trucks hit the river.
Sure, Homer will dive in to save some lives, if cases of beer count as lives and leaving Hans Moleman to potentially drown in the cab counts as also saving lives.
Say what you will about Homer, though. He’s generally perceived as harmless, and the Simpsons and Bashir’s family make up over a “Pardon My Intolerance” party.
Apparently, there’s been enough of those that that banner has paid for itself.
Oh, and Lisa managed to run up a $1,200 MyBill for downloading 1,218 songs off, I am guessing, MyTunes. A trip to see Steve Mobs on the bottom of the sea to work out a payment plan seems to work since she got a job.
She’s passing out fliers while dressed like a giant MyPod on a streetcorner.
I hope the jazz music was worth it.