Last week, I mentioned that one of my favorite episodes from season one, “Bart the General,” was written by the prolific John Swartzwelder.
Hey, my other favorite episode from this season, “The Call of the Simpsons”…was also written by John Swartzwelder.
Homer Simpson does a lot of things for a lot of reasons, but trying to live up to Ned Flanders may be one of the more futile. Despite the fact Flanders only makes $27 more a week than Homer, he lives the good life. His new RV sure is proof of that, and Homer wants a bigger and better one despite the fact his credit isn’t what you’d call good.
There’s a lot going on in this episode. While many episodes often showcase one member of the family as the central character, this one gives adequate screen time to most of the family. Marge and Lisa may not have as much to do, but the humor there seems to be that the two inexperienced female Simpsons fare much better while lost in the woods while “experienced woodman” Homer is running around more or less naked, hungry, and cold, and Bart is dragged along for the ride.
Maggie, meanwhile, gets adopted by some bears.
And hey, this episode has the first of many guest roles from Albert Brooks. Cowboy Bob may only appear briefly, but he has a comedic energy that makes him a rather memorable character, like many of the characters Brooks would end up voicing over the course of the series.
I’m inclined to think, after a more image-conscious Homer from episodes past, this one features a more recognizable Homer. His enthusiasm for a crazy idea, his willingness to toss money he doesn’t really have at an activity he should probably avoid, his overconfidence in his own abilities, his obliviousness to said incompetence, the clumsiness…that all seems like the “real” Homer.
Marge has her own problems in that everything she says feeds a new, inaccurate tabloid headline.
Homer may not be conclusively human, but at least he can claim to be a brilliant beast for Marge.
Until next time, see ya later, Grizzly dudes.