So, there’s a guest star here reprising a movie role. That would be Alan Cumming reprising his role as Loki from Son of the Mask. Really, Simpsons? Tom Hiddleston just did a short for you guys as Loki, and you didn’t get him again? Or you decided to bring in the multi-talented Alan Cumming for the same character he played in what is probably his worst movie?
It’s like you guys aren’t even trying over there. Or you’re trying in the wrong direction.
Regardless, you’d think with a title like that the story would begin with Bart, possibly going to jail. Or at least juvie, but he did that once before in an episode that included Chief Wiggum arresting a bear. None of that here. This is an episode where Homer is watching an all-punting show on TV narrated by guest star and football announcer Scott Hanson. Heck, this one isn’t even really about Bart. It starts off being about Grampa, and then sort of turns into a Marge episode.
That’s two Marge episodes in a row to start this season. That’s a wee bit unusual.
But this is about Grampa at first. He’s at home, having enjoyed getting his Social Security check, and then a phone call comes in from what almost sounds like Bart, saying he’s in jail and needs bail money pronto without being overly specific about much of anything, including naming family members. Grampa immediately forwards a large sum of money to a foreign country to get Bart out of a nonspecific jail, failing to notice all the other old folks nearby doing the same thing for their own grandchildren.
Grampa then goes off to hug Bart at soccer practice, and Bart unsurprisingly was never in jail. Someone scammed Grampa. The other Simpsons are initially understanding because, heck, why wouldn’t they believe Bart was in jail? Then Grampa lets it out that he sent $10,000 he was setting aside as an inheritance.
Yeah, Homer isn’t happy. There’s some Homer/Grampa tension, all the Simpsons turn out to have been scammed at one point in time or another, and Homer realizes he was among them when he got involved in a pyramid scheme selling knives. But through it all, Marge believes most people are good and kind, that scammers are a small minority, and then the other shoe drops when Grampa gets a second call claiming his granddaughter was just arrested, but Lisa was standing right in front of him, and she can use her smartphone to track the scammer if Grampa can just keep him on the phone.
Ask Grampa to talk endlessly? Piece of cake.
Anyway, the Simpsons find the address is nearby and drive over there to confront the scammer and maybe get Grampa’s money back. It’s in a corporate park, and Homer uses his knife scam to get the security guard to leave by making the guy think selling knives in that pyramid scheme is a better career path, only the Simpsons find there isn’t one scammer but a room full of them, including Moe, and they’re just making calls to earn a buck, or in this case free gift cards. The money isn’t here, and when Chief Wiggum shows up, he says there’s no point arresting anyone because the bosses aren’t there and a new location will just pop up somewhere else.
So, with a dispirited Marge, enter Cummings’s Loki cheerfully because he loves making humans miserable in all his forms…including Gravity Falls‘s Bill Cypher? Voiced by Alex Hirsch for one line? OK, Simpsons, that makes up for a lot. Also the trickster gods who cause trouble apparently include Mickey Mouse and Jesus. Not sure how I feel about that…
Can Marge be made to believe there are still good people out there? Sure. She finds a woman outside needing twenty dollars for gas, promising to mail it back when she gets home. Obvious scam, but Marge opts to help her anyway. And she does get that money back, so there are good people out there and Marge feels better.
She doesn’t know it was Grampa that mailed the money, but it made Marge happy and Grampa got to scam someone for a good reason, so I think that’s a good thing.
Funny, I could have sworn Grampa originally wrote the book on scamming people…
Sweet Home “Episode Five”
The X-Files “Home”
Better Call Saul “Bagman”