Yeah, this episode seemed a wee bit…unfocused.
Basically, the episode has two plots that don’t really intersect, like, at all. It all begins when the Simpsons go to a SeaWorld type of park, a place that advertises the fact it’s been featured in multiple award winning documentaries. Lisa, of course, is horrified and that’s before the penguin funeral procession comes through.
The biggest shock is the killer whale Shame-U, and Lisa gets horrified enough to do something about it when she finally stops crying.
Of course, while Marge comforts her older daughter, Homer wanders off and meets a boat salesman who convinces Homer to buy a lemon of a boat. And of course Homer agrees.
Now, you’d think this boat thing would connect to whatever Lisa is doing, but not really. That’s because Lisa’s plotline becomes more of a Bart plotline, and from there trouble follows. See, Lisa sees how bad off Shame-U is and decides to set him free. To do something like that, she needs an expert and that would be Bart. She also manages to get help from Groundskeeper Willie, and somehow that did not end up with a Free Willy joke more obvious than Willie simply being there. So, good on the episode’s restraint? I think?
Point is, rescuing the killer whale goes off without a hitch, and Bart discovers altruism can feel pretty good. As such, he decides to do some more on his own. Is it some sort of charity work? Nah. He convinces Milhouse to help him rescue a gorilla from the zoo because it knows sign language.
Well, it knows a few words. One of them is “Seinfeld”.
It obviously goes badly, something Lisa understands because you let a whale out into the ocean and all is good, but letting a gorilla out of the zoo means a rampage through town.
But what about that boat? Oh yeah, Homer’s boat ends up costing him money. The only good news is Marge isn’t upset when she finds out because after all this time, Homer wore her down. Also, the boat was fun. But since Homer can’t afford the boat, that means selling shares to other people to help pay for it, starting with Lenny and Carl. But then there are a whole lot of other people that causes the boat to sink right off the dock because there wasn’t that much room left.
That’s an odd way to end that plot.
Actually, that plot ends when Homer avoids getting assaulted by angry shareholders when he points out that they can all revel in the fact that for five minutes, they all owned a boat.
Yes, that works.
Oh, and Lisa uses sign language and a love of Seinfeld to subdue the ape and then take him to guest star Jane Goodall’s research station.
Lisa is only moderately smitten with Goodall, and Goodall is mostly fine with that. To be fair, Lisa has good reason to be a little disillusioned with an older woman primatologist considering what happened the last time she met one.
So, what do apes and boats have in common? Nothing as near as I can make out. So goeth Season Thirty and One.