Wait a minute, another sequel/remake to a classic episode?
How out of ideas are they by the 29th season?
I think I just answered my own question.
Homer manages to get four courtside seats for a basketball game from Mr. Burns because every name on the list ahead of Homer apparently declined. Sure, he could take his family, and after the all-fish version of the opening credits, maybe he should, but instead he goes to Moe’s and invites Lenny, Carl, and Barney. Unfortunately for Moe, there isn’t another ticket. He has to stay behind and feel lonely and miserable. Again. Still. One of those.
As it is, the guys come back and feel bad for Moe, but then Homer spots the Pin Pals portrait that Moe apparently has had hanging in his tavern for all this time. Apu couldn’t play any more since he had those eight kids, and Moe himself has bad carpal tunnel from using the beer tap, but Homer feels they should get the team back together. That means using Barney, Lenny, and Carl as the new members and naming Moe the coach. Moe is good at yelling at people with natural talents, so he’s in.
And then there’s the montage where they beat all the other teams in Springfield in a tournament. That includes the Holy Rollers, where Ned Flanders gets a high five from Jesus for getting a strike. As Homer and the guys win, they’ve advanced to the state finals in Capital City, where they will play that city’s champs, a group of nasty hedge fund managers calling themselves the Fund Bunch. Bart takes a liking to them. Lisa doesn’t, but instead teams up with the information nerds the Fund Bunch keep pelting with cheeseburgers to bring them down. They succeed, and Bart is told to hit Lisa with a cheeseburger, but he can’t do it, and the siblings would keep the cheeseburger as a symbol of how much they mean to each other, but then Homer walks by and eats it. Quelle surprise.
But as for the Pin Pals, they win the best of three series’ first game, to which the Fund Bunch challenge Moe to a wager. If the Pin Pals lose, Moe has to give up his bar and his name. If the Pin Pals win, they get something only really rich guys get to enjoy.
Do they win?
Eventually. The Fund Bunch were hustling Moe and were better than they appeared, and they cheat. Heck, Moe gets Barney sober, but it doesn’t work when the financial guys bring really expensive Kentucky bourbon with them to tempt Barney. The last game comes down to an instance where Homer has to throw three strikes in a row, and after getting two easily, Moe suddenly realizes he’d rather not go back to his life and tries to stop Homer. He’s unsuccessful, and the Pin Pals win.
Fortunately, the guys still like Moe.
And the prize was a trip on one of those zero gravity planes in a replication of Moe’s. Barney says that’s how he feels all the time.
Homer, meanwhile, doesn’t float.