Would anyone consider Grampa Simpson a fount of wisdom? Like, you know, legitimately?
That should have been everyone’s first hint.
So, anyway, there’s some subplot to this episode involving Mrs. Krabappel assigning an unwilling Bart to watch stuffed toy “Larry the Lamb” for the weekend. Lisa takes Larry out and somehow loses him down a sewer. Since Larry is the only thing keeping Nelson even relatively sane and nonviolent, Bart has to wander into the sewers to get Larry, runs first from sewer rats and then from sewer cats, and fortunately nothing bigger than that before he slides to freedom on Larry. There, that takes care of the more ridiculous subplots.
But for the main plot, let’s start with the entire Simpson clan (Grampa included) going to some SeaWorld knock-off. Grampa wants to tell stories about riding live sharks, but the other members of his family ditch him to see Slimu, the park’s prized performing…octopus. Um, yeah.
Say, Bart did see Slimu while fleeing through the sewers. So, hey, nice callbacks.
But then, just as Grampa is getting ready to tell the shark riding story to thin air, some guy seems interested. He’s Marshall Goldman, a human interest reporter for the Springfield Shopper. He’s actually interested in the story of how Grampa was on a ship that sank, but he figured out how to tame the sharks to spell out messages rather than eat the survivors, and both sharks and sailors still meet up for annual reunions ever since. Grampa had a photo to prove it.
Well, Goldman loves it and writes a whole story about it. And he’s willing to listen to more of them, like how when Grampa was a kid he loaned his copy of Gone with the Wind to struggling actor Clark Gable. At the time, Grampa was a shoeshine boy for a train station, specifically for the Tinseltown Starliner. Gable never did pay Grampa for that shoeshine…
Well, all this attention makes Homer a bit jealous. It makes guest star Mitch Albom a little jealous too, but the other residents of the Springfield Retirement Castle take care of him by tossing him out over a six hour period. Don’t feel bad for the Tuesdays with More author. He finds a new muse outside in the form of Ralph Wiggum.
Seeing Grampa with a surrogate son, Homer opts for a surrogate storyteller. That would be Mr. Burns, who is so pleased with the attention Homer is giving him, he only releases a single hound. Now Homer goes down to the newspaper and misses the receptionist just feeding his story to the shredder before anyone could read it, but Homer does see Goldman’s office and takes a look inside and sees Goldman has a book planned…about the tragic death of Grampa! With a movie deal centering around a starring role for Hank Azaria! Wait, he’s voicing Goldman…
Yes, it seems Goldman is going to murder Grampa on a trip on the Tinseltown Starliner! Homer springs into action and eventually gets onto the car with some help from Lenny and Carl. That horse sure wasn’t keeping pace. Goldman seems a bit crazier than expected, but Homer manages to hold him off long enough for Grampa to pull the emergency brake and knock the crazy reporter out with some falling hat boxes. I hate when that happens.
And then Clark Gable’s ghost shows up to pay Abe in a ghost quarter which Abe will be able to use very soon apparently.
The episode ends with Homer telling his own first ramble. It’s…worthy of Grampa, I’ll say that much.