May 22, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Simpsons Did It!: “The Scorpion’s Tale”

In which Lisa accidentally invents a drug that makes people mellow with a horrifying side effect.

OK, man, this one was gross, and had the weirdest guest star possible.For some reason, the children of Springfield Elementary are taking a field trip to the desert.  It’s the sort of place where Bart can find 19th century French pornographic playing cards and Milhouse will be scarred for life when he finds a hippie’s skeleton, but the big thing that happens is Lisa accidentally comes across some scorpions and in her haste to get away, lands in a pile of rare flowers that completely pacify the scorpions as long as they stay near the flowers.  Thinking she might have the means for a great science fair grade, Lisa takes the scorpions and the flowers home for study.

But home ain’t quiet no more.  Grampa got kicked out of the Retirement Castle and moved in with the Simpsons.  Why was he thrown out?  He was mean and grumpy.  What is he likes with the other Simpsons?  He’s mean and grumpy.  Oh, if only there was some way to make him happy and agreeable!

Wait, there is.  Homer swipes Lisa’s formula and slips it into Grampa’s coffee.  Sure, Lisa knows something’s wrong and finds it morally reprehensible, but Grampa is sweet and friendly and happy now.  Lisa’s response is to flush the rest down the toilet and not tell anyone what flower she got the stuff from.

Grampa’s pleasantness doesn’t last long, and he’s soon sitting at Moe’s complaining loudly again when the conversation is interrupted by a suit-wearing stranger in the bar.  He’s a German man named Walter Hottenhoffer and he has a pharmaceutical company.  He wasn’t alive for World War II either, but Grampa hears that from a lot of the Germans he speaks to these days.  Hottenhoffer says he may be able to synthesize the drug if there’s any left on Grampa.  And there is.

And who guest stars as Hottenhoffer?  Eccentric German filmmaker Werner Herzog.

Wait…Werner Herzog?!?


OK, moving on.

Hottenhoffer is successful eventually and decides to test the drug further under the name MusBeNys.  Grampa can have a large sample bottle, but Hottenhoffer is quick to emphasize that it’s risky to send something like this out before it’s been fully tested, and so Grampa, Homer, and Bart need to keep the stuff a secret so it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Wait, hold on.  Bart’s hands are the wrong hands.  He’s soon selling the stuff at the Retirement Castle wherever cranky old people are, dealing to the likes of Principal Skinner an Waylon Smithers, each of whom has their own problems with elderly cranks.  And now, all the old folks of Springfield are happy and cheerful and…wait, there’s a side effect?

Yeah, the eyeballs pop out of the head and hang by the optic nerve.

Cue eyeball jokes…


This episode also has WERNER HERZOG!

Well, at first, the old folks don’t mind the loose eyeballs since they’re so happy.  Then Grampa spots Homer and his friends being stupid and opts to get grumpy again because his generation won some wars and beat the Depression and their only real crime was procreating some idiots, so they need to be grumpy to keep those guys on the right track.  That sets the old folks right and no more weird drugs.

But really, Werner Herzog.  Homer thought his character was Willy Wonka.  He wasn’t.  Turned out he was Augustus Gloop, and the nightmare of being stuck in that chocolate tube still haunts him.

That’s something that makes sense for Werner Herzog.