Ever watch an episode of a show that’s been on for a long time and you see something happen that makes you think, “OK, it’s good guest casting, and it’s different, but WTF just happened?”
Yeah, that’s me right now.
So, our story begins with Homer and Marge going to a drug awareness meeting and leaving Bart, Lisa, and Maggie under the watchful eye of Shauna Chalmers. She’s so watchful she sees her current boyfriend Jimbo sneaking in through a window when the Simpson parents don’t.
OK, to be fair, I did like a lot of the Jimbo/Shauna stuff happening in the first act of the episode. The horror movie they put on that spooks the Simpson girls looks rather creative. The fact Bart isn’t sure why he wants to watch Jimbo and Shauna make out when Lisa wants to go for a walk was a little funny. Or even the way the animators remembered Jimbo is bald under his hat was a nice reference to a past episode. It’s good stuff. Heck, I even think it was a little amusing how Superintendent Chalmers was showing off all these new drugs by forcing Skinner to take them on stage.
But that’s not even the main plot of the episode. From here it goes…somewhere.
Now, literally it goes to a wedding expo that Homer and Marge somehow think they need to sneak into. They swipe some name tags, Marge finds the whole thing romantic, moreso than their actual wedding where she was pregnant and Homer had a fever (yes, he remembers the exact temperature,and yes, Marge finds that romantic), and somehow the Simpsons end up making a keynote address that wins over the crowd but not the event organizers. Is all this going somewhere?
Yes. After Homer and Marge get home and kick out the teenagers partying in their living room, Homer scoops Marge up and slowly carries her up the stairs, but then he has a back spasm at the top and they both fall down to the bottom of the stairs and injure themselves.
The diagnosis? Marge sprained her ankle. Homer got a hernia. Grampa has to drive them home.
So, here’s our main episode, and it goes in two directions. Marge listened to Dr. Hibbert when he told them to go for physical therapy. She does, seeing a therapist who is inexplicably from New Zealand for some reason. I think it was so they could do a lot of jokes where Marge couldn’t understand what he said through his accent.
The accent jokes weren’t really funny.
Now, Homer also listened to Dr. Hibbert, but for the wrong reasons. He heard Hibbert say Homer should listen to his body to determine if he needed surgery. And when Marge came to see him about the physical therapy, a small man popped out of Homer’s stomach, a fellow only Homer could see or hear from the looks of things. He says he’s the hernia. His name (according to the closing credits) is Wallace, and he’s guest-voiced by Wallace Shawn.
That’s a good guest star. And I can see where the writers were going with this one and why it might be funny, but in execution, all Wallace tells Homer to do is be the sort of person he always is, so why is he here?
So, Marge goes to therapy and eventually takes up kite surfing.
She still doesn’t understand half the things her therapist is saying.
And Homer does things he would have done anyway with a guest star giving him reasons for doing what he always does.
Eventually, Lisa and Bart get worried and consult the only functional couple they know (Jimbo and Shauna? Really?), and then the kids essentially get Homer to go out to the beach, see Marge having fun, and get Homer to decide to join her.
Maggie’s contribution to this mission is she can also see Wallace, and that means she can shut him up.
Oh, and Homer doesn’t understand the therapist through his accent either.
But Marge is glad to see them, even after their kites take them straight into a wind farm where the two are injured again. But it seems to work out, especially if Homer can get the local pizza place to deliver chocolate-flavored cheesy bread.
And then in an epilogue, we see the therapist was actually a Russian spy trying to find out stuff from Homer’s job, a bit that makes as much sense as anything else they’ve done so far.
At any rate, it may not have been much of an episode, but after 30 seasons, you can expect they may be hard-pressed not to do something they’ve done before. I mean, the show must be wrapping up by now and…
What do you mean it’s been renewed for two more seasons?
So, same time next week, then?