July 16, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Simpsons Did It!: “Left Behind”

In which Ned Flanders finds a new purpose for himself.

At this point, The Simpsons  has passed the episode milestone set by Gunsmoke (unless you count that show’s radio broadcasts), and it’s really hard to find much of anything that says they’re still doing good work.

That said, they did reuse some old archival audio of Marcia Wallace as Mrs. Krabappel in a manner I didn’t find particularly ghoulish and maybe even a little sweet.

OK, so, Marge is (once again) feeling the spark has left her marriage and insists Homer do something epic for Date Night, and he does, and they’re getting ready to go to town in the bedroom.  Homer says he wants only Marge, then envisions a Wonder Woman knock-off, then a can of beer, then Marge as the Wonder Woman knock-off with a beer, and then he adds a pizza for good measure.  But they get interrupted by…actually, not one of their kids.  It’s Ned Flanders.  He’s in trouble.

What kind of trouble?  The Leftorium went out of business in a nice nod to how online is killing brick-and-mortar retailers.  Homer is convinced to give Ned a phone number for the Power Plant’s HR guy, and that’s all he does.  As it is, Ned is hired to be the new HR guy when the old guy quits as Ned waits patiently for an interview.  Why?  He’s tired of doing Mr. Burns’ bidding.  Ned doesn’t mind too much.  Sure, Homer minds being woken up at work, and the rest of the guys don’t like Ned turning the cafeteria into a giant prayer circle during lunch.  Homer actually suggests God might also like to enjoy his lunch in piece which prompts a quit cut to God eating a large sandwich, and the Almighty says that finally someone gets Him.

If it looks like I am praising this episode, don’t think that.  It wasn’t a good episode.  It has nice moments that don’t really add up to anything.

At any rate, Ned gets fired from the Plant for suggesting Burns give money to charity instead of taking it.  Then he loses a few more jobs like teaching dance on a cruise ship and being a photographer for Rolling Stone.  He can’t even successfully sell Bibles on the side of the road, especially as the guy selling Qur’ans is really cleaning up.

What’s a guy with a teaching degree from Bob Jones University supposed to do?

Then Marge realizes Ned should be what Jesus was.  Ned guesses everything from “carpenter” to “superstar” before Marge reminds him Jesus was a teacher, so Ned goes to work in Springfield Elementary as a substitute.

By the by, one of Ned’s boys acknowledges even he isn’t sure if he’s Rod or Tod.  It’s the younger one who for some reason is bugging Lisa all episode.  Lisa has some Homer-ish reactions to that kid.  I guess the Flanders children don’t go to school anymore.

But Ned is subbing for the fourth grade class, and under Nelson’s leadership, complete with a well-aimed spitball from a somewhat reluctant Bart, they break Ned.  As Homer had prayed Flanders would lose the Power Plant job, Homer goes to Moe’s and finds Bart there getting gumballs.  Maggie is also there as Bart’s designated driver.  Since both Bart and Homer feel guilty about what happened, they go to Flanders and apologize, convincing him to try again at the school (cue that Mrs. Krabappel audio), and Ned agrees with Bart setting up the classroom to make it look like a vengeful God is assisting Ned in keeping the students in-line.  That includes rigging the classroom skeleton to put a hand on Nelson’s shoulder, all the creepier because the classroom didn’t have one before.

So, yeah, it looks like Ned Flanders is Bart’s new teacher.

The episode had a lot happen, but it didn’t seem to focus it very well.

Two left in season twenty-nine.  Will I make it?