Season 24 kicks off with probably more guest stars than the show has ever had on a single episode, and those include Don Pardo, Al Roker, and Ken Burns, but I can’t think of a good way to work those in without just blurting out their names right here.
There’s also a contest at the end to pitch a couch gag. I’m sure that came to something.
It’s the day of the Springfield Grand Prix…and the Tour de Springfield bike race. On the same roads. Going in opposite directions. And they didn’t finish up road work or close off the streets. The people of Springfield don’t really plan these things out.
But at a celebratory dance after the races, neither of which had a winner since no one actually crossed the finish line, Bart takes the opportunity to mock Lisa for giving Milhouse a date to the thing. Lisa didn’t exactly do it out of love for Milhouse, but she did have someone, and the best Bart can do is a pity dance with Mrs. Krabappel. The whole thing ends up weighing heavily on Bart’s mind. He’s had more than a few girlfriends. Heck, he’s had more than I’ve had. But none of those relationships seems to last more than a week. Bart, as a result, takes it upon himself to go back and check in with all his exes to see if any of them actually like him. That leads to a quick succession of guest appearances–mostly one line each–as every girl Bart sees isn’t exactly glad to see him, such as Jenny/Anne Hathaway, Darcy/Natalie Portman, Gina/Sarah Michelle Gellar, and the still contradictory Nikki/Sarah Silverman. But hold on, that’s hardly all of Bart’s love interests? He’s got a picture of Jessica Lovejoy. Is Meryl Streep too good to come back to the show (short answer: yes)? What about Sara Gilbert’s Laura Powers? Bart didn’t really date her…or Gina if you want to get technical. How about Greta Wolfcastle? Reese Witherspoon may have been a bit more busy than Gilbert but probably not as busy as Streep. Then again, that girl dumped Bart for Milhouse, so there’s not much else to say there.
As it is, Bart has one hope left: Cletus’ daughter Mary. Zooey Deschanel might have even had her own Fox sitcom by that point. Bart can try asking her.
But Mary ran away from home. Cletus hasn’t seen her in ages. One of her brothers gives Bart an address, though. Where is Mary? New York City. Will Marge and Homer take that trip? You’d think Homer would say no immediately after his last time there, but no. He remembers a scene from The Sweet Smell of Success instead. The one problem is money. You know, this time. It isn’t always considering where this family has been. But then Homer realizes they can do a house swap with some New Yorkers, but Homer won’t swap his house for some strangers to wreck. He’ll swap Ned Flanders’ house.
So, the Simpsons arrive in New York. The women go off to try and find some affordable culture, while Bart and Homer go looking for Mary, who’s neighbors apparently include one H. Golightly and T. Bickle. Uh-oh.
But hey, good news. Zooey Deschanel is back! Oh, and Mary does still like Bart! She’s a writer/featured performer on Saturday Night Live apparently. The two kids stay one step ahead of Homer by going up some stairs and get some alone-time that doesn’t last because Cletus has also found his daughter and wants to take her home.
Meanwhile, Marge can’t afford a Broadway show, a museum, or even public transportation. But there’s always Shakespeare in the Park! That’s free! Unfortunately, that production of Romeo and Juliet doesn’t happen because the Baldwin brothers are feuding with the Sheen/Estevez family and there will be no show. As such, Lisa takes charge, takes over the stage, and does the play with some volunteers. They only get hit with firehoses and pepper spray by the NYPD afterwards for their troubles.
But what will Bart do? Sure, he could have Mary back in Springfield, but she doesn’t want to go. So, he gets her away from the adults and then onto a train out of New York. And since Mary likes him, and he wants it stay that way, he won’t tell Cletus where she went. Cletus actually accepts that, and everyone takes the train home.
And the reviews for Lisa’s play were brutal!