Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Episode 3: Double, Double, Boy in Trouble

Before this episode aired, I read this exact story in one of the Simpsons comics which I thought did a much better job at the whole "Prince and the Pauper" story (It most certainly did! As it turned out, there was a singer who was coming to Springfield to perform on the Krusty Show and actually resembled Bart under his sunglasses and hat. Both ended up at the Quik-E-Mart, and took some time to talk about their lives. Bart had a history exam coming up, which he didn't want to study for, and the Bart lookalike wanted some time to have a family and be a real kid. Bart comes up with the idea for them to switch places, and they know enough about each other to impersonate each other fairly well. However, it's revealed that they have to switch back sooner than they thought, because the singer's performance is a day earlier than they both realized. How does it end? GO READ IT, IT'S MUCH BETTER THAN THIS EPISODE!). Unfortunately, the writers did not use that idea as a reference to do their own story and this one comes off looking half-assed. Let's review this and see why it's not always a good idea to do a story twice.

The episode starts off with Homer and Bart at the Kwik-E-Mart with Bart is acting up (You know the whole "Bart is a bad boy" moniker? Yeah that's blown WAY out of proportion for the entire first act). Apu entices Homer to buy the last scratch-off ticket, but Homer is distracted when Bart jumps off the top of an aisle and almost hurts himself. Lenny buys the ticket and wins $50K, enraging Homer moreso (If only you didn't have to bring Bart along for your shopping at the Kwik-E-Mart like you did Lisa). After some more rage scenes with Homer (And a little bit of Marge), Homer goes down to Moe's as Lenny announces he's throwing a party for his friends (Including an unfunny bit by Barney, I'll be searching for my gun now). As they get ready for the party, Bart accidentally soaks Marge with cat pee, forcing her to wear a dress she hates instead. After Marge and Homer try to figure out why Bart is misbehaving (Including a scene with Marge getting a drop of alcohol in her mouth that turned Bart evil at pregnancy)(. . . what) Bart then picks a fight with Lisa (I'm, I'm sorry. What. I'm a teetotaler, and I know one drop of alcohol WILL NOT DO THAT!) in the back.
Don't make me add drama to this!
Homer responds by threatening to drive into a tree. Marge settles Bart and Homer down, preventing anything further (Hooray for padding). At the party, Lenny thanks everyone for being friends with him (I usually hold parties to celebrate something meaningful, but whatever) and tells Homer that everyone's going home with a gift bag. Bart overhears them and decides to sabotages the "Vac-U-Bots" (How creative) everyone is going to get. OK Bart has crossed the line from his normal behavior to being a flat-out dick, seriously should we feel the least bit sorry if he were to be hung over a cliff in a few minutes? (OK a little harsh but you get the point). Bart gets busted after the police round up all the killer vacuums and Marge punishes him by taking away his games (Instead of letting him serve more time in juvie where he belongs. Hey, it worked before). While cleaning up in the bathroom, Bart stumbles upon our plot, er I mean his exact doppelganger Simon Woosterfield (Oh great the beginning of the writers attempts to replace the town of Springfield with " Identical Cousins")  This also leads to Bart meeting an older version of himself married to a female version of Milhouse. ( I have nothing, the joke is stupid enough as is)((I have something: and the few slash fans rejoiced.....yes, the Simpsons have slash fans! I HAVE RUINED YOUR MIND FOREVER!).
And yet, this isn't the worst thing the writers have ever came up with
Simon suggests that they trade places because he's bored with his life and Bart agrees. After they exchange some exposition er I mean information about their lives, Bart goes into the limo to live Simon's life. Bart then watches Homer strangle Simon as he just laughs thinking he won in this (Oh Bart, you are an idiot. Nothing in this world come for free). After a rather stupid McMansion set of jokes (It wasn't funny, it was stupid) Bart enjoys what he sees in the mansion. He finds out that his racecar bed is like a real car (Where was this when I was a kid?!) and he passes by our shameless Joe Montana cameo (Poor Joe, reducing yourself to this, but it could be worse). After Bart calls Milhouse (Why is the writing staff so fascinated by the features of phones today? Are they still using phones from the 30's?) Simon has an outburst because of Homer chewing with his mouth open (Nice way to keep your cover, I bet you were trained by 007). Lisa suspects something because of the way he said it (To me when "Bart" called Homer "Father" I would call him out and suspects something's afoot).
You dare to question our writing?! Off to the troll feeding den with you!
As Bart and Milhouse eat in the Grand Hall, we meet our spoiled half-brother and half-sister, Devan and Quenley, who express their spoiled rotten core within five seconds of being on screen (Subtle, and here I thought characters should be fleshed out over time). Bart begins to understand why Simon wanted to trade places after Quenley gives us some forced exposition (Seriously, who talks that way? I defy you to try to have a conversation the way she does, you wouldn't be able to finish) After some bad topical jokes about the U.S. (Please kill me now) Simon calls Bart to say how he hates it and tries to explains why Devan and Quenley hate Simon. Simon, though, has a change of heart after Marge gives him a lot of affection and decides that his new life is okay (Cookies solve all problems). The next day Bart gets trapped in the family Mausoleum by Devan and Quenley (I'd rather not question how Bart can be this retarded). Mr. Burns frees Bart and decides to explain to Bart how he shouldn't trust his relatives at all. He also decides to show us how all his siblings died as well (As far as I'm concerned, the continuity for his childhood resides in Rosebud, nothing else).
Here are all my siblings, never mentioned before nor after this episode
After Bart realizes why Simon wanted to change places to avoid the step-siblings (Sorry but you gave it away when you introduced Devan and Quenley, you fail writers) we see Simon listening to Grampa's stories which raises another red flag in Lisa's mind (OK timeout HOW THE FUCK CAN'T SHE SEE THIS UNTIL NOW? SHE SHOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO SEE IT AFTER THAT DINNER, SHE'S NOT THIS STUPID!) Lisa then confronts Simon and gets him to spill the beans, since Simon doesn't really understand how much Bart hates Lisa. Bart is informed that the family is going on a ski trip to which he remembers Burns warning him about. Simon tells the family about what's going to happen to Bart, resulting in the family going to Aspen to save him (Odd how Bart didn't know about the trip until he was told by Devan and Quenley but Simon just happened to know this all along. Why not warn Bart about this beforehand in the bathroom? Why not let him know so he doesn't look like an idiot when the family's packing?)(Apparently, dickery is contagious) Either way Bart is forced down an tough trail that's too hard for him, and Homer, in his comedic ways er I mean recklessness, saves Bart from death. Simon goes back with his family, Bart goes back with his, and we end with Bart realizing that the grass isn't always greener on the other side (Blow it out your ass writers).
Too bad we can't replace our Bart with this exact look-alike

Final Judgment: This episode isn't terrible, but just poorly executed. Like I said before, I've seen this storyline before done better but to be fair this had some original ideas and concepts, but in the end, it just didn't capitalize on the entire premise provided. The characters were what I expected, but then again, I didn't expect much here. The jokes were hit-and-miss, but mostly miss. In short the idea's been used hundreds of times and this one isn't anything special, but it can be watchable in my opinion.

Final Grade: 5.9/10 Not quite an episode that inspires confidence for the years to come, but it's harmless and maybe worth a watch if you're not a diehard fan

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