April 21, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Simpsons Did It!: “Cue Detective”

In which someone steals Homer's smoker on the eve of a big TV show showdown with a celebrity chef.

Given the title, you might think there’d be a True Detective parody here.  Not really.  The song that played over season one’s opening credits is used at the end of the episode showcasing a meat smoker’s future in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.  That’s as close as it gets, and no, there’s no YouTube video of it.  I checked.

It’s a typical day at Springfield Elementary, which means we’re seeing something happen of questionable educational value.  In this case, it’s Principal Skinner running a two and a half hour musical, Dr. Dolittle.  The old version, not the one with Eddie Murphy.  And it’s live action, too, though none of the children freak out about the odd appearance of real human actors.  They didn’t like what they saw anyway, and escape attempts are foiled by a hose-welding Groundskeeper Willie.

But then the movie ends and Nelson notes there’s a bad smell in the room.  It’s Bart.  And then someone notes Lisa also stinks, causing the schoolchildren to chant out they are the “Stink-sons”.  And while Principal Skinner is right to lament that children can be so cruel, Homer’s adult co-workers at the Nuclear Plant are saying the same thing about him.  What happened?

Well, the washing machine is broken, and the Simpsons will need to wear “attic clothes” until Homer can get a new one with the money Marge was saving to finally buy instead of renting a spice rack.  Hey, she stores money in Bender!  Well, that’s neat.  Can anything go wrong as Homer, decked out in 80s rocker finery, goes to buy a new washing machine?

By the by, nice touch having the Simpsons wearing different clothes than they normally do for most of the episode, even if it means Marge is wearing her wedding dress a lot.

Wait, got sidetracked.  Just like Homer does when he exits his car outside the appliance store and smells cooked meat.


Yes, Homer goes to see the source of the meat smell, and it’s an old Pit Master (guest star Edward James Olmos) with his family’s smoker, something that was built from a meteorite that leaves a distinctive honeycomb pattern on the delicious meat it serves.  Homer has “Land of Chocolate” level meat fantasies after trying some, and since the Pit Master is looking to sell the smoker to live out his dream of moving far away from his grandchildren, Homer is left with the choice of doing what he should do or to do what everyone knows he will do anyway.

Yes, Homer buys the smoker.  And though Marge is initially mad, she changes her mind when she eats some of the meat Homer prepared on it and has the exact same meat fantasy Homer had.  She finally understands gluttony.  And the delicious aroma coming from the smoker attracts everyone in Springfield to come by, bringing food to share and generally be neighborly, but then something else happens:  big time Chew Network celebrity chef Scotty Boom from New York City drives up and challenges Homer to a cook-off for a new show he has where he challenges and humiliates local cooks across the country with his superior cooking skills.  Homer ponders it before agreeing in the sense that he knows it could go badly for him and volunteers anyway.

And then the next day, Homer wakes up to see the smoker stolen from the back yard, and Chief Wiggum sure as hell isn’t going to find it.  Homer lies down on the floor, defeated and urges everyone around him to quit life too.

Well, that won’t work for Bart and Lisa, so they go looking and find an empty peanut butter jar in Santa’s Little Helper’s doghouse.  It’s a somewhat fancy brand that Lisa recognizes as coming from a healthy eating type place, and though the clerk there (guest star Ben Schwartz) does speak her language, he won’t share customer information.  Bart, however, can use the ear hoops in the man’s lobes like a jungle gym and get the kids access to the surveillance tapes.  Who bought the peanut butter?



Well, the kids follow Nelson, who seems to have gotten some cash from somewhere for an online game, to a junkyard where he hands the smoker off to a shadowy person with a distinctive ringtone.  Bart and Lisa try to smuggle the smoker out, but it’s hot, they burn their hands, and the thing rolls into the back of the shadowy figure’s truck, allowing him to make a clean getaway.

As such, Bart and Lisa join Homer on the floor.  Lisa especially doesn’t mind because Buddhism is all about giving up.  And then Maggie also lies down because why not?

This leaves Marge as the only Simpson not giving up, and if Homer won’t cook anything, that means she will with the help of her rented spice rack.  That sounds like a possible good idea, but at the competition, Marge ends up using all her spices and makes the meat inedible.  So she lies down on the ground too.  But there’s some hope as guest star and show host Alton Brown notes Scotty Boom’s meat has a distinctive honeycomb pattern on it.  That gets most of the Simpsons back on their feet, seeing Scotty might have cheated and as a result lost the title “celebrity chef” to be just a regular chef.

So, why did Scotty cheat?  He claims he didn’t.  Then Bart and Lisa hear that ringtone again and there’s the shadowy figure.  He takes off, Bart chases him, even using that clerk’s ear hoops again, and finally it’s down to Homer.  Can he muster the will to lift his leg a little and trip the guy?  Yeah, he can do that.

It turns out the guy is Tyler Boom (guest star Bobby Moynihan), Scotty’s teenage son, who wanted his father to not be on the road all the time, but because they were both from New York City, he couldn’t actually say that, so instead he got Nelson to steal the smoker to frame his father with.  Homer can now get his smoker back, return to a standing position, and get on with life.

Then in the closing credits, during the True Detective song, we see Marge trade the smoker for a washing machine with Nelson.  No more Stink-sons.

That’s probably a good thing.