September 28, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Simpsons Did It!: “Gone Abie Gone”

In which Homer and Marge discover Grampa's past.

Homer Simpson’s songwriting ability is something that has come up off and on for quite a number of years.

It turns out that gift may be hereditary.

But first, Homer wants some onion rings.  That requires a trip to the Gulp’N Blow, where the Squeeky-Voiced Teen is frazzled behind the counter.  Homer wants his onion rings, an attractive female co-worker wants money from the register to get drunk before a party, some homeless guy is giving himself a bath in the restroom, and an excited kids karate class all show up at once.  The Teen panics, flips the onion rings out the window, hot oil and all, and scalds Homer.

Do you miss Lionel Hutz?  I do.  The Simpsons found a new lawyer with a Spanish accent named Robert Dinero.  He’ll take the case and win Homer $5,000 from Krusty, who pays up after pointing out the whole thing didn’t happen at a Krustyburger.  What will Homer do with that money?  Give it to Lisa for a college fund.  Sure, he could put it in a bank, but the guys at Moe’s convince him banks aren’t safe anymore, but if you want to put it in a safe place, deposit the money in an online poker site and never touch it.  That’s what Homer does.

Since I’ve started, here’s how that ends:  Lisa is initially horrified but when she catches Bart gambling with her cash, she takes over to win it back.  But she wins a little extra, and Lisa is really good at gambling, reading multiple books and watching a poker tips DVD featuring guest star Jennifer Tilly.  That’s rather random.  Eventually, Lisa wracks up a huge pot but appears to lose it to Sideshow Bob.  But it turns out Bob is really Bart looking out for Lisa, but because the two were underage, all Lisa gets is the original $5,000.  And breaking even is the best any Simpson can hope for.

But other things happened.  After Homer put the money in the poker site, Marge pointed out that they missed a visit to Grampa, listed on the calendar on the day of the blue moon.  Off to the Retirement Castle Homer and Marge go only to find Grampa isn’t there anymore.  Where could he have gone?  No one knows.  Searching his room turns up an old coaster for a place called Spiro’s, so that’s where Homer and Marge go.  It appears to be a biker bar.  Hey, is that the Hell’s Satans?   Fortunately, Spiro remembers Grampa.

It seems that back in the day, that wonderful, mythical day, Spiro’s was a classier joint that looked like a jazz club.  Young Abe Simpson worked there as a bus boy, but wrote songs on the side.  Spiro paid Abe to bus tables, not write songs.  He didn’t like that.  Guest star Marvin Hamlisch was paid to write songs, not bus tables.  That also happened.  But Abe got to playing on the stage and a singer that worked there by the name of Rita LaFleur (guest star Anika Noni Rose) took a liking to both the song and Abe.  Spiro fired Abe, and Rita went with him.

Fortunately, there is one Rita LaFleur listed in Springfield, so Homer and Marge find her.  It seems that Rita only a week and a half earlier got over Abe, as the two went on the road together and even got married in city hall across the street from the loveliest church you could imagine.  The marriage lasted a day because the pair got an offer to tour Paris but Rita went alone.  Why?

Well, six-year old Homer was a bit…accident prone.  Yes, Rita was Abe’s second wife, and Homer didn’t remember her too much due to sticking his tongue in an electrical socket at the hospital after being dragged down the street when he got caught in the tin cans tied to the back of Abe’s bumper after the wedding.  Rita eventually came back to Springfield, and if it weren’t got her heroin addiction, she might have looked Abe up sooner.  But she hasn’t seen him.  All she has to remember Abe is his preferred cologne, which was not what Homer thought of as old man stink.  There’s only one place in Springfield that sells the stuff, as it appears to be made of 90% squirrel sweat, and Abe’s working there.

What happened?  He was tired of being forgotten and neglected, so he moved out of the Retirement Castle and didn’t tell Homer where he went to get back at his family.  Sure, Homer and Marge are sorry, but Homer has a good excuse.  See, there’s so much on TV that it’s hard to find time for Grampa.  Sunday nights alone have, like, eight good shows (none of them on Fox).

That actually works.

Grampa moves back to the Home, and there he finds Rita playing their old song.  The two do a duet and it’s very sweet.

Until they both fall asleep at the piano.

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