May 29, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Simpsons Did It!: “‘Scuse Me While I Miss The Sky”

In which Lisa campaigns against light pollution.

How was it that it took this long to get one of the Pythons to do a guest shot?

Yes, there’s a member of the Monty Python troop doing a guest shot this week.  No, not John Cleese.  Think a bit down the Python scale.  No, not Terry Jones either.  Sure, Michael Palin would be awesome, but no.  Would we even know Terry Gilliam’s voice if we heard it?  And Graham Chapman’s still dead.

That leaves Eric Idle as Declan Desmond, snooty British documentary maker out to profile Springfield Elementary.  Will he provide a glowing review?  Well, you can believe its possible if you’ve never seen one of his films before.  It looks like Homer did get Mad Cow from the Krustyburger in his last one.

Well, Desmond’s take-no-prisoners style of filmmaking makes victims out of both the Simpson children at the school.  Bart is dethroned by Nelson as the coolest kid in school when he gets clocked by a chunk of dirt.  It gets worse when Nelson steals the hood ornament off a car as a prize.  Bart’s so low even Milhouse is afraid to talk to him.

As for Lisa, after Principal Skinner tries to make her look like a typical student, Desmond ruins her by pointing out she hasn’t really specialized in any one area yet, so she’ll never be that special.  Dude, she’s eight.  She has time.

Well, she doesn’t believe that and takes to the Springfield Natural History Museum to find a specialty.  Dinosaurs looks interesting until she sees the guy cleaning the fossil’s teeth.  Minerals is interesting for all of five seconds.  But astronomy…that’s something!  Some cajoling of her father nabs her a new telescope, and she can enjoy the night sky.

Well, she would were it not for all the bright lights that come out of Springfield at night.  Professor Frink explains that light pollution makes it impossible to see stars at night, even from the observatory he’s using.  He’d help Lisa out, but if he left, some other astronomers would grab the observatory from him.  That seems odd.

But Lisa manages to get plenty of signatures for her petition to tone down the night sky.  Mayor Quimby has a dial for it and everything.  With the lights toned down, everyone can see the stars and what it says to everyone is unique to each person.  That’s sweet or something.  Anyway, it looks like Lisa won.  And just in time to see the Deadly Meteor Storm, named for its discoverer…ironically killed by a meteor.

On Bart’s end, he’s desperate to swipe a unique hood ornament, but in the newly darkened town, kids are stealing them off pretty much every car.  If only there was some vehicle with a unique hood ornament.  Hey, Bart spotted one!  It’s Fat Tony’s (Joe Mantegna, duh).

Bart might have gotten it too, but angry citizens concerned about the crime spree in the dark convince Quimby to dial the lights up to maximum.  It’s like noon in the middle of the night, which reminds Carl of his Icelandic childhood.

Wait, what?

A sleepless week later, and half the Simpsons are out of it, but Lisa realizes she and Bart have the same desire to turn down the lights and team up.  It’s Lisa’s brains and Bart’s…well…OK, he actually flips the switch when it counts, so let’s say moral largesse.  Homer plays a part too when Lisa uses her dazed dad to open the Power Plant’s backdoor in order to overload the power grid and cause a blackout.

And then the only thing keeping the townsfolk from killing Lisa is the beautiful sight of meteors flashing through the night sky.

And Desmond made his documentary.  It wasn’t flattering.

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