June 3, 2023

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Simpsons Did It!: “Two Bad Neighbors”

In which the Simpsons settle a feud.

While the first George Bush was president, he and his wife Barbara took some shots at The Simpsons.  Politically speaking, it was easy to see why.  The show in the early years was something of an outlier, a popular show celebrating a disobedient hell raiser named Bart Simpson, a proud underachiever.  Speak out against the family that has a father routinely strangling his son and you can score some points with the family values crowd that the GOP always wants to come out and vote for them.  For their part, the writers and producers of The Simpsons likewise lobbed a couple shots back, most notably when Bart responded to a speech Bush gave about wanting America’s families to be “more like the Waltons and less like the Simpsons.”  Bart replied with a line about the Simpsons also waiting for the depression to end.

Anyway, in this episode, the Simpsons have a chance to finally have the last word.  Why politicians and their ilk feel the need to go after comedians is beyond me.  All you do is give those people new material to work with…

Actually, “Two Bad Neighbors” works less as political satire (it isn’t one at all) and more like a different concept that the writers would go to once in a while, in this case what happens when a real world normal person moves to Springfield and encounters the Simpson clan.  It’ll get far uglier next time this happens, but for now we have a former president moving into a large house across the street from the Simpsons.

Yes, the Bushes move to Springfield due to it being the least politically engaged town in America.  They can be regular people there.  And George connects immediately with Ned Flanders.  But the Flanders family came with a warning about one little boy who isn’t really good.  A little boy the president should watch out for…

Cue Bart ominously skateboarding by…

Wow, too many ellipses…

After that, Bart pulls a regular Dennis the Menace, visiting the Bushes where Barbara is sweet and indulgent to Bart while George just gets annoyed.  Bart’s constant fiddling with things and generally disrespectful behavior gets George’s memoirs destroyed.  And then George does something he shouldn’t have…he spanked Bart lightly and sent the boy on his way.

That’s where Homer comes in.

To be fair, Homer already has issues with George.  None of them were political.  Homer isn’t that way at all.  Homer had been King of the Neighborhood at the swap meet, getting other town residents to buy other residents’ useless crap.  Marge’s table alone had some leftover Lisa Lionheart dolls, Grampa’s sex tonic, and the giant Olmec head.  There was a studded jacket Homer had misspelled the words “Disco Stu” onto, but Disco Stu wasn’t interested because Disco Stu doesn’t advertise.  Homer’s friends going to hobnob with a former president didn’t help.  Even Santa’s Little Helper was running off from Homer and towards the Bush family pooch.  Now, even though Grampa can claim to have been spanked by Grover Cleveland on two nonconsecutive occasions, prompting more questions about how old Grampa is, Homer and Marge are both unhappy with George spanking their boy.

Which leads to the prank war.

And you know something?  George is outclassed.  Barbara doesn’t want to get involved.  She and Marge get along fine.  Which is a little weird, because what I’ve read about the real Bushes suggests Barbara might be the one to really hold onto a grudge.  But Homer and Bart know how to prank, getting tips from the Bible and everything.

Plus, there was the wig.


And then comes the fistfight.  Homer and Bart head through the sewers to hit George where he lives–you know, his house–and George spots them and goes down there to stop them.  That’s where Homer learns about the memoirs.  And it turns out Homer doesn’t care.  The two men fight to a draw, even with CIA tricks and Bart releasing the locusts the Simpson men were carrying.

A combination of Mikhail Gorbachev bringing a housewarming gift and Barbara insisting George apologize gives Homer the ultimate win, though we’ll never know if George also apologized for the tax hike as Homer demanded.

The Bushes leave, and a new former president moves in.  Homer like this guy.  He and Gerald Ford are basically the same guy anyway.

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