We haven’t had a good flashback episode in a while.
Some might argue we have had flashback episodes, but no good ones. Is this one good?
It has its moments. The main plot has Homer recounting a story of a vacation trip the Simpsons took with Ned Flanders and his family two years earlier before Maggie was born. That means Maude Flanders was still alive and Lisa ate bacon because she wasn’t a vegetarian yet.
See, Maggie won’t go to sleep, so Homer has to tell her a story, and he’s morally offended by how the Big Bad Wolf gets treated for just following its instincts in Maggie’s favorite story Little Red Riding Hood, so instead he tells a story from the past and it’s a doozy. Or not. After getting roped into cleaning up Skid Row with a church group, Ned Flanders gets awarded a family trip to the Grand Canyon. The trip, though, is for two families, and he wants to take the Lovejoys, but Helen makes some drastic signals to the Reverend, so he makes up some Biblical-sounding reason for Ned to take the Simpsons instead.
Homer’s safety word is “octopus”. Marge hates that since she doesn’t trust anything with a hidden beak.
But after Homer takes a really long trip to an outhouse after a many-hours-long trip, the Simpsons see the Flanders family literally march in singing Christian music. Homer starts saying “OCTOPUS!” almost immediately.
But the trip starts with a mule rental (for riding, not for Homer’s breakfast) and then the worst happens when the guide, who was carrying all the food, falls off a cliff, leaving the men to go foraging for food while their families tried to stay warm. How warm? I don’t know. Marge sure wasn’t happy the way Maude criticized her parenting of Bart.
As it is, Homer and Ned find a camp full of rich media types and since Ned’s plan failed, they go to Homer’s to steal some food for their families. Except, they never really tried Ned’s plan, but the two did manage to get a lot of really expensive food and then out of the Canyon without too much trouble. Will Ned and Homer stay friends? That may depend on whether or not their wives make them stay friends.
But we get an answer in the end of the episode when Ned overhears Homer telling Maggie the story and points out it was a good trip. And then Homer acknowledges that he owes the Flanderses a trip somewhere. Where do they go? Many exotic locations float by on various postcards. Where did the SImpsons take Ned, Rod, and Tod?
The Springfield Postcard Museum.
Ned always wanted to go there.
They do not sell postcards in the gift shop.
Then again, the episode did open with this: