Simpsons Did It!: “Flanders’ Ladder”

So, here’s a day I thought I’d never come to…

What day is it? It’s the day I more or less run out of episodes of The Simpsons to write about.

Yeah, there are more coming in the fall, but all the same, here we are.

What did this last episode have to say?  Not a whole lot.  Bart falls into a coma while trying to steal Ned Flanders’ internet router (at Homer’s behest) after the boy is struck by lightning.  He’d pranked Lisa badly, so when she heard Dr. Hibbert say that whispering words of encouragement could wake Bart faster, she turned it around and whispered scary stuff to him, such that Bart thought he could see the ghosts of the dead and to help them get peace, he had to help them fulfill their final wishes.  That included Jackie Mason’s Rabbi Krustofski, a lot of ants Nelson had tried with a magnifying glass, a hobo cut in half by a train, Shary Boppins, and a host of others, but mostly Maude Flanders looking for revenge on Homer.  You should know why.

But then Lisa feels bad, changes her tune, Bart wakes up, and he’s actually impressed and wants Lisa to teach him how to do it.  Then he says he knows how everyone will die and tells Lisa despite her protests:

  • Smithers commits suicide when Mr. Burns marries a woman.
  • Homer is shot to death by the police who think a large sandwich he is carrying out of the bank is a gun.
  • Chief Wiggum chokes to death on that same sandwich
  • Marge passes peacefully next to her husband Ned Flanders.  And the wall of Flanders’ house shows he had a lot of wives.
  • Bart pranks Skinner with some fireworks which causes Skinner to die of a sudden heart attack, but then Skinner’s wheelchair runs over Bart and kills him, too.  In a nice touch, Bart is wearing his Supreme Court robes.
  • Lisa dies in her old age at the exact moment she realizes meditation is a waste of time
  • Ralph is poisoned by a grandson who will replace Ralph as the evil king
  • And Maggie becomes a constellation and never dies.

What else isn’t dying any time soon from the looks of things?  The Simpsons.

So, here’s the thing:  what did I learn from this?  I’m a completionist.  I will continue this in the fall as new episodes premier and hope Fox wises up and decides thirty seasons is enough.  They should.  The original voice cast is probably in their 60s on the low age end by this point.  And while the series is a far cry from its earliest glory days, I don’t know that I would say that it’s necessarily bad.  Sure, it could be better.  It has been.  But there were only a few episodes I outright hated.  Some seemed less consequential than others, but The Simpsons at its core is still a show about a family that may bicker but still loves each other.  The show seems to be largely repeating itself by this point, with episodes that do full callbacks to other, earlier episodes, and just because the series seems to be self-aware enough to say as much doesn’t mean it’s OK.  A gem episode here and there isn’t worth it.  Like I said, it’s still not what I would call a terrible show, and it’s light years still ahead of Family Guy, but they’ve done enough.

Sometimes you have to know when to quit.

I feel like that last line could just as easily apply to me.

Oh well.

I’ll probably have something new at this time slot on Monday and have narrowed the field down to two shows.  Which ones?  Eh, check back here next week when I figure it out.

tomk74

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

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