So, we have a whole episode here where the Simpson family barely appears. Can Skinner and Chalmers’s dynamic support an entire episode?
Eh, not really, but here we are and I’ve seen much, much worse.
It would seem that Superintendent Garibaldi Chalmers (yes, that is his full name…OK, not the “Superintendent” part) has been invited to give a keynote address at an education professionals convention in Cincinnati, and he can bring a plus-one. Will he bring cool Principal Finch (guest star Hannibal Buress), the guy who makes everyone laugh at meetings while running the successful Magnet School for Good Test-Takers, or will he choose Skinner, a man who can’t even high-five without hitting someone in the crotch?
Of course he’s going with the cool-guy Finch. C’mon!
Skinner, however, is down in the dumps enough to take advice from Bart and be his usual simpering self and somehow go anyway. And when Finch comes down with a mild case of food poisoning, Skinner is there to give Chalmers a lift to the airport as both men’s cars are being winterized.
Sadly, Skinner’s efforts to save Chalmers money means the medication Chalmers needs to relax on flights is not in the overhead bin, causing a freak-out over security animals, lacks of shoes, and guest star Jason Bateman somehow taunting Chalmers through the small movie screen on the back of everyone’s seats. Both men are ejected and banned forever from flying Air Cincinnati, the only airline that apparently flies to Cincinnati.
Yeah, that seems a stretch to me too.
By the by, kudos to Jason Bateman. This is his second guest appearance on the show, and once again, he only gets like two lines. He might have had more to say on that episode of Justice League Unlimited he did.
Anyway, without a flight, the two will have to drive the 800 miles to Cincinnati. Skinner successful borrows his mother’s car, and off they go, stopping to pick up three folks on their way to a gig. Chalmers, hoping they are musicians and making conversation, is dismayed to learn they are an improv group.
A Shakespearean improv group.
Skinner, impressed that they can stick to iambic pentameter, pushes them on until Chalmers, while driving, snaps and crashes the car in some small rural town’s jurisdiction.
It’s from here that Skinner really shines. The judge is a cranky old woman with a son (the local sheriff) she browbeats heavily, and if anyone knows how to deal with women like that, it’s Seymour Skinner. Likewise, when the two stop at a cyclist bar and Chalmers causes the two to be chased out of there by angry cyclists, Seymour comes to the rescue with his knowledge of where the local veterans groups are, and the paraplegics have a wheelchair race nearby. Since the vets’ biceps are larger than the cyclists’ quads, the bike riders make a run for it.
So, really, Chalmers is impressed. He still has his speech even as everything else was destroyed, so where do things go wrong?
Two ways: first, Skinner at a bed-and-breakfast overhears a phone conversation between Chalmers and Finch where he learns the two had a deal that Chalmers would fire Skinner and let Finch take Skinner’s job. And two, obviously Skinner poisoned the now-feeling-fine Finch (try saying that give times fast!).
After a scuffle, the two go their separate ways, both grumbling about the other only for Skinner to realize he has Chalmers’s jacket and speech while Chalmers, without the speech, starts by complaining about Skinner (apparently, every Superintendent has their own Skinner) until he realizes he actually likes Skinner, Skinner shows up with the speech, and everything is fine.
So, all that so basically Chalmers can realize he likes Skinner.
Yeah, that seemed a bit much.
As for the Simpsons, a closing scene shows them recounting what they’ve been doing for the last few days. Turns out it wasn’t much. But they do have some excitement planned: Marge got them tickets to see those Shakespeare improv artists!
Well, Marge at least enjoyed it.