January 24, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Simpsons Did It!: “Mothers And Other Strangers”

In which the history of Mona Simpson is basically rewritten.

Glenn Close is always a welcome returning guest star to The Simpsons as she gives the role of Mona Simpson, even seen in the many flashbacks that are more likely to happen these days, a lot of warmth as Homer deals with the complicated feelings of loss that he associates with his mother.  However, this episode here more or less rewrites the history of Mona Simpson.  In her first appearance, Homer said he believed his mother was dead and was touched when they reconnected before she had to make another run for it.  Now, continuity doesn’t really matter on The Simpsons, but that original appearance is a very sweet episode.

This episode says something very different.

Also, Rachel Bloom returns for a guest role as Annette the therapist, but that episode isn’t quite as memorable.

Apparently, it’s Mother’s Day in Springfield.  Why is a Mother’s Day episode airing in November?  How the hell should I know?  It just is.  Regardless, there’s a new dog-friendly version of Netflix out there, and Santa’s Little Helper has his own mother over to watch.  Marge is a little testy about her own gifts (too many homemade mugs), but Homer is very upset because talk of mothers always does that to him.  Marge also thinks they can’t really afford more therapy, but Lisa is quick to point out that, as with everything else, there’s an app for that.  This one is called Nutz.

That’s not very helpful.

Anyway, Homer dials in for help and explains how he felt when his mother abandoned the family to go on the run for various crimes committed during protests.  Mona had left Abe a series of Dear John letters on the liquor bottles he couldn’t stop drinking from, but when Homer asks where his mom is, Abe tells the juvenile Homer that she died.

This all checks out so far for the first appearance.  Bonus points for putting young Homer in a shirt labeled “Mama’s Boy”.

But then the therapist Homer is talking to suggests Mona’s departure is all Homer’s fault, and since that ain’t right, the Simpsons pay more to upgrade to a better therapist (that’d be Rachel Bloom’s Annette).  That’s when the rest of the story came out, how Homer went into a deep funk even with his driver’s license, an incident that introduces a skinny Chief Wiggum to donuts, and gets odder when Homer finds a postcard from his mom.  It came from Utah.

So…teenage Homer knew Mona was still alive?

Huh.

Homer does end up telling Abe, and Abe realizes he only lied to Homer to spare his own feelings, so that means according to TV rules, Abe is no longer an alcoholic.  So, the two Simpson men go on a road trip to find Mona, not knowing the FBI let the postcard through in order to find Mona themselves when Homer and Abe track her down.  It’s actually a weird episode, one where Homer and Abe bond over trivial details, Abe has a verbal relationship with a waitress that she finds satisfying by saying he wants to skip a few steps in a potential short-term romance, and the two guys do find Mona working at a gas station in the middle of the desert, but nobody gets to talk to her much because the feds show up and all the Simpsons make a run for it.  Abe gets stuck in a skinny ravine, blocking the agents who do stop to wonder about all the violent criminals they aren’t catching just to follow this one woman, and Mona gets away in a hippie van headed for San Francisco.  I don’t know if she was wearing flowers in her hair, but she might find Tony Bennett’s heart.

Those jokes are lame, but I ain’t apologizin’.

Besides, this is an episode where Abe, in a foxhole during World War II, promised a buddy he’d tell his buddy’s girl what happened when said buddy died by handing over his buddy’s dogtags.  Abe never did that and asked Homer to during the road trip.  Then, in the present, Homer realized he never did it either and asked Bart to.  I am sure Bart will get right on that.

However, Annette makes some comments about Homer’s emotional journey, so Homer says he has closure and opts to delete the app.  That gets Annette fired.

But there was a bit more.  After the road trip, Homer met Marge in detention (sure, that episode is unchallenged), and he never saw Mona until one night after Bart was born, Mona may have snuck in disguised as a male doctor to see her son and grandson.  She even said something nice about missing Abe on her way back out.  Homer can’t say if that actually happened since he was so tired at the time, and while Grampa can, Homer also concludes that there’s no reliable way to verify it, so he instead opted to take Marge out to the fanciest restaurant in town.

There, he ate the restaurant into bankruptcy.

But there’s still a Netflix for dogs…

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