March 20, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Simpsons Did It!: “To Surveil With Love”

In which the city of Springfield installs surveillance cameras everywhere.

There’s something wrong about an episode where everything goes wrong because of Homer’s gym bag.

Mostly because the idea of Homer even owning a gym bag seems really freakin’ weird, though there is a good explanation for it.

Before we get to that explanation, what the hell is this?

That baffles me.

So, why does Homer have a gym bag?  Well, one night while he and his usual drinking buddies are drinking at Moe’s, Duffman shows up and starts tossing around free Duff stuff.  Heh.  Duff stuff rhymes…

As such, a be-Duffed Homer goes to work with a Duff gym bag.  See?  It does make sense for Homer to have one.  But then he gets to saying the lunchroom has the best macaroni and cheese he’s ever had, but Lenny and Carl think there’s better stuff at the Springfield train station.  Off Homer goes as quickly as humanly possible, and the stuff is better there, but another man tells Homer there’s better in Odgenville, so Homer runs off.

He also leaves his gym bag behind.  You know, his unattended gym bag.  That brings in the cops who decide to detonate the thing before looking inside or anything first.

Now, you’d think this wouldn’t be the end of the world, the city, or at least the train station, but it is.  See, the Power Plant ran out of room to store explosive plutonium, enough to make 17 Incredible Hulks and one Spider-Man (see, Jimmy, there’s a hyphen), so Burns told Smithers to just toss is somewhere.  He tossed it into Homer’s gym bag.  So, when the Springfield P.D. blew the bag, the giant mushroom cloud that used to be the train station suggests terrorism.

While all this is going on, Lisa goings the school Debate team, but her reasonable points are ignored because she’s a blonde and her brunette opponent just says blondes are dumb.  It takes a while for people to listen to Lisa again, even at town meetings where the topic of what to do about terrorism comes up.

The answer is provided by one Nigel Bakerbutcher (guest star Eddie Izzard), who suggests mass surveillance like they do in London.  Everyone but Lisa is for it, and Lisa’s a blonde so no one is currently listening to her.

There’s a new problem when Chief Wiggum finds watching every camera in town slow and boring, so he asks for some town busybodies to come take over. That seems to work, though more and more people quit until it’s down to Ned Flanders and Marge.  And Marge isn’t too keen on it either though Maggie seems to like watching the gay bar where the customers look a lot like the characters from Sesame Street.  But Ned has problems, starting with teenagers making out in the park.  He can’t do anything.  Or can he?  Nigel shows up and points out there’s a speaker option on the cameras, and Ned finds breaking up things he disapproves of like teenagers making out in the park or the customers at Moe’s betting on the weather forecast rather easy.

Meanwhile, Lisa dyes her hair brown to prove a point.  After winning a debate with stupid points, she points out she’s really a blonde and stereotypes aren’t right.  She’s smart.  Comic Book Guy is not jolly for a fat man.  And if Grampa could drive, he might have proved something about old people driving.

So anyway, now, there’s no immorality in Springfield.  Or is there?  It turns out Bart discovers with some creative mooning that there’s a blindspot in the Simpson backyard.  Telling Homer means the two can charge admission for people who want to do things Ned Flanders would disapprove of.  Hey, good news!  Homer can afford that operation Marge wants him to have!  Hey, bad news!  Marge doesn’t approve of the blindspot!  Hey, worse news!  Her worrying in front of a camera tells Ned there’s a blindspot.

Ned’s suspicions are confirmed when he asks Tod (or maybe Rod, whichever one is older) to hold a mirror up so the camera can see Homer’s backyard.  He goes over there and Homer basically points out that by not allowing the town to have a little fun, it led to way worse stuff in a concentrated area.  And besides, Ned was playing God, which is oddly the worst sin Ned knows of.

The two neighbors then unite to bring down all the cameras with rocks, shotguns, and flaming crossbows.

That ruins things for Nigel.  It turns out Springfield was the basis for Britain’s favorite reality show, The American Oafs.

The Queen was a huge fan.  Ralph Wiggum reminded her of her son.

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