April 18, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Simpsons Did It!: “Carl Carlson Rides Again”

In which Carl looks to find his roots after falling in love.

Man, this show had what sounded to me like a throwaway line that Homer’s pal Carl had an Icelandic childhood once, and it has since managed to get two episodes out of that bit.  The first involved a trip to Iceland.  The second is, well, this one.

As always, the whole thing opens with a scam.  Homer learns meal trains for injured people are a thing from Marge, and so he takes that down to Moe’s where he, Lenny, Carl, Barney, and Moe are all faking different injuries to get free meals.  However, Carl is worried he isn’t in good enough shape for bowling and decides he needs to work the extra pounds off.  He’s so successful that he actually has to put on a belt, and the only belt he owns has this weird belt buckle that shows a cowboy biting a horse on the nose or something.  Carl doesn’t know where it came from or what it means.  All he knows it’s the only thing he got from his birth parents after he was adopted by his Icelandic parents.

Well, as premises go…I’ve seen dumber!  Just don’t ask me where.  I’d rather not remember specifics.

Regardless, bowling goes as well as can be expected when Carl is the only one in bowling shape, to the point his team loses to the worst team in the league–Hans Moleman, the old Jewish guy, the Squeaky-Voiced Teen, and that kid in Bart’s class who throws up all the time, and that is a terrible team–but all is well as Carl meets an attractive African American woman at the shoe rental place.  What’s her name?  Naima.  I had to look it up, actually.  My hearing is terrible sometimes.

Now, it seems Naima is the owner of a very popular, longstanding soul food restaurant on the Black side of town.  Small problem:  Carl’s never been to that side of town.  He was raised by white people.  He doesn’t know about his own roots.  He’ll have to look the part first, meaning a trip to the Black barbershop where he isn’t sure what to get.  That said, it turns out Bart is already a regular there and Homer is considering various cuts for bald men.  Carl then tries to get some new clothes, but the only way the clerk will help him is if Carl trades his belt buckle for a new outfit.

Of course, Carl’s general ignorance means his date goes badly, to the point where he has a crisis, one that makes the other men at Moe’s very uncomfortable.  The guys would love to help him, but this involves racial identity, and they aren’t equipped for that.  Heck, the best Marge can do is offer Homer an article for all the things he shouldn’t say, but Homer has already considered a lot of them.  That said, Marge and Homer can help by taking Carl to get his belt buckle back.  Said belt buckle was purchased by the Rich Texan, and he can get Carl onto guest star Henry Louis Gates Jr’s Finding Your Roots, where of course Dr. Gates will drop his celebrity guest to help Carl for the next episode.

Rainier Wolfcastle figures that’s probably for the best.

Oh hey, Dr. Gates did find out something!  Carl’s ancestors were cowboys!  His father was actually a rodeo champ!  The belt buckle is a trophy!

Naturally, that makes Carl think he can be a cowboy and ride a dangerous bull, something Homer, Marge, Dr. Gates, and Naima all think is stupid since even if being a cowboy is in Carl’s blood, blood doesn’t work that way.

Carl then lasts three seconds on a bull, and Dr. Gates has to swat a woman away whose ancestor was a Civil War doctor as she believes that means amputation with a rusty saw is in her blood.

Well, the good news is Carl and Naima are a couple now.  Does that means I’ll see her again in the next episode to feature Carl?  Well, Moe’s got married, and I haven’t seen Maya lately, so I’m gonna guess “maybe”.