Ugh… it’s a rare day I wish I didn’t have to write about a Simpsons episode but today is one of those days. One of the features we like to have on this site is recaps of new Simpsons episodes for all our friends who can’t watch them immediately or like our takes on them. Despite a warning that this isn’t my favorite episode by a long shot and that the plot is strange and contrived, I still wanted to pop in with another episode recap for y’all. Most of my reviews tend to be stream of consciousness style and this one is no different. Here’s my recap and thoughts on Season 27, Episode 1: “Every Man’s Dream”.
First off this title is meant to be confusing. The official synopsis for the episode is as follows per TV Guide. Season 27 begins with Homer being diagnosed as a narcoleptic, which sends him on a bender, after which he returns home drunk. This prompts a visit to a marriage counselor and results in a trial separation from Marge, during which Homer finds himself a 20-something companion. You’re made to think that every man’s dream is to be with a twenty-something but it’s actually just a clever title to say “we warned you how it all was going to end.” This will make sense as you read your way through my notes. Without further words from me, let’s get started.
– The Simpsons zipline in to Springfield in the opening sequence followed by a neat Beatles tribute for the couch gag (Meet the Simpsons, Hard D’ohs Night, Rubber Pants, The Yellow Album, Labby Road)
– Homer is asleep at his work console… nothing new there but it is a little different that the claxon alarm, fire resulting from his console overloading and subsequent suppression measures don’t succeed in waking him up.
– Homer’s is off to a familiar place… the Hospital (Home of the $29,999.99 Appendectomy) where once again he’ll be fine even if his airways are full of fire retardant. Marge is considered that Homer has been sleeping a lot. He even slept through their vacations to a theme park, scuba diving and the running of the bulls. Hibbert diagnoses our favorite Dad after taking a spinal tap. The gag of Hibbert removing a ton of spinal fluid and only using a drop makes me laugh way too much but that might be my experience as a medic laughing. Homer has low levels of hypocretin meaning he has narcolepsy. Bart pulls the plug… on the TVs in the room… and Hibbert advises Homer to avoid stressful triggers but gets all gangsta when Homer asks if paying his medical bill is one of them. “Don’t play with me man. I will mess you up.” This made me laugh but not as much as the fact that Bart has a sphygmomanometer (B/P cuff) around his neck at this point.
– So Homer gets a bona fide medical prescription to avoid anything he finds taxing. No surprise he uses it to avoid everything even though he promised Marge he wouldn’t. Homer would rather spend half his life napping, like cute little Maggie. Ugh… never mind, Maggie apparently no longer sleeps like a sweet little angel.
– Marge tells Homer he has no idea what it’s like being married to him. In true Homer fashion he daydreams about marrying himself, another female version of himself barging in with a child, a Homer dog and a stained glass window of himself as an angel. All of the aforementioned items talk of course.
– Homer is off to Oedipus Rx (A Mom and Pop Son Pharmacy) to pick up his narcosleepy pills. Unfortunately there is a line of oldies in front of him and boy do they every take a long time to pick up their pills.
Four old people = a long wait so Homer tries to sleep it away and goes to Moe’s instead. Homer at least “tried and failed miserably”, right? Nope… Marge is frustrated and the two are off to work it out in counseling. The couple may have “been through every counselor from Avery to Zabinski” but that still leaves Zilowitz.
– Dr. Zilowitz, Family Therapy, Keeping couples happy till they get to the parking lot. This horrible sign probably should have been an omen of everything that comes after this point IMHO. Homer is off-track, talking about Chi Chi Rodriguez and gold, while poor Marjorie would just “kill for ‘okay’”. Seriously, she says she “treasures the moments where it’s just so-so” while Homer snores right next to her. Dr. Zilowitz’s professional opinion is that Homer and Marge’s marriage is something that smells, much to Marge’s chagrin, and advises that they “spend a little time apart, followed by more time apart, followed by a divorce.”
– Ok… I’m emotional. The kids are upset as Homer is moving out. This is not ok. Homer didn’t take his illness seriously enough. Then Bart is ok with it and going to blame all his problems on his parent’s splitting up and going to cry on Flander tear dickeyed shoulder? Something is rotten in Denmark…err, Springfield.
– Homer now lives at the Nuclear Plant (and somehow still manages to be late). We get a sad montage that’s only bright moments are as follows: There’s a wall of Owner of the Month plaques that shows the Germans who owned it once among the images of Burns and Homer colliding a line of chairs that knocks Mr. Burns out a window and into the arms of a golden statue of himself outside the building. “Smithers, come up through my rear and grab me.”
– Homer is happy after the montage, convinced that Marge will take him back like every other time. That is until Lenny and Carl let him know Marge changed her relationship status to “It’s Complicated.” Homer tries to prove everything is hunky dory by calling Marge’s phone but just gets the voicemail… for Marge Bouvier?
– Ok… by this point in the episode I’m worried. Initially I’d agree with Homer that the love between him and his wife knows no bounds. Marge is a good woman and has put up with A LOT but everything seems ominous. Even the Itchy & Scratchy episode the barflies watch at Moe’s is about alimony. Moe tries to cheer up Homer by saying he can now get in much better shape but Homer doesn’t want to become a cliché. I agree with Lenny that “most guys never get the chance to lose an amazing woman like Marge.” Watching Barney “clean up” because Marge is single by combing his hair with pickled egg juice and drying the comb on a rat doesn’t make me laugh hard enough. Could my faovirte power couple be over?
– Homer finally goes to pick up his script for amphetamines, anticataplectics and GHB (actually all used to treat sleeping disease) from the pharmacy. Somehow, the semi-cute, young, nerdy pharmacist sees something in Homer despite the fact that he’s just “a lonely guy with a bag full of drugs”, wait… that might be what she sees in him. Let’s go further down the rabbit hole with this story and concentrate on the awful sign we see when Candace pulls down the pharmacy window to hang out with Homer. “Pharmacy closed. For drugs see weird guy in alley.” Need I say more?
– Candace and Homer go to a hipster bar where we also see Otto with Lindsay Naegle, Milo and Strawberry, and Krusty with Mr. Teeny. Craft beers include Garbage Pale Ale, Thrilla in Vanilla, Skinny Tire, Humble Bastard, Rachel McAdams, Novembertoberfest, Harry Potter’s Porter, Snail Ale and Chip Off the Old Bock.
– Candace tries to convince Homer that his separation might be a good thing. They were so young and even she’s dated more girls than Homer. I don’t like her. Homer tries to make an exit (the donut shop will be throwing out the unsold donuts) but stays after she drops drugs in his beer.
– Enter a drug sequence including tattoos coming to life (Candace has ink of a skill-faced girl in a bikini top, jeans and cowboy boots on her arm that goes to gallivant with the Nuclear Plant mascot, space coyote, spiderpig, Lard Lad, Mr. Sparkle and Space Coyote on her upper back. In the tramp stamp arena, Candace has Krusty and Cletus. The weird trip continues with hallucinations of the evil clown bed and the disembodied heads of Satan, the Grumple, Flanders, Sideshow Mel, Patty and Selma (who blow a smoke ring that says Bouvier). Boy do I not like this sequence even with the classic references. It’s made even worse with Homer waking up in Candace’s bed. He’s made the one drunken mistake he’s never made other than Bart. I never thought it would be possible to be furious with Homer but at this point I was. He does seem upset with himself though and claims he’s a man that never gives up. When he fails to get through to Marge on the phone though, I’m not very sympathetic.
– If the episode had kept going with Homer trying to get back Marge, I’d have been happier but the next clip is Homer getting scones with Candace and her friends (the cast from Girls plus Julio). They can’t figure out why she’s with Homer. This clip explains it though.
– Candace and Homer get matching tattoos (ok… it is funny when Homer put his horse butt against Moe’s tattoo of his face) but I’m not digging the new relationship. Where’s Marge? How are the kiddos doing? Ugh. I don’t even care that Homer is unhappy with his girlfriend’s friends always being over and not being able to find the TV. Good… that’s what you get.
– Homer goes to meet Candace’s Dad at the Gilded Truffle. Roger has no problem with the age difference between the two but that’s because he’s been dating a much younger woman himself… MARGE!?! Talk about an awkward dinner. Everyone has issues and Roger does seem to have a screwed up daughter with a loser boyfriend. Roger proposes to Marge, Candace’s announces she’s pregnant… NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! I hope you pictured me saying that like Episode III Darth Vader and understand the impications of it.
– Homer wakes up in therapy. It was all a dream and despite the implications, initially Homer doesn’t seem to really take the lesson he should have learned seriously. Marge asks him to be good for a month and somehow Homer actually does it in March. “A beautiful Easter. A sober St. Patrick’s Day… and impeccable behavior watching the NCAA basketball tournament.” Lisa has started eating meat due to good parenting and Maggie’s not only talking… she’s singing… beautifully I might add.
– It’s no surprise all that was a dream, right? We all know Homer. He’s done the sober thing before for Marge but all those items together? Homer’s back in the hipster club with Candace, a rock version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is playing and Candace is bringing him “one of those beers you enjoy unironically.” Apparently Duff won a blue ribbon in 1890. Homer is understandably upset that he lost his chance with Marge… again… and runs home to Evergreen Terrace. To his dismay, Marge and Roger are living together.
– Lisa comes out to tell Homer he’ll never lose her and despite the tender moment is easily pulled away by Roger’s mention of getting a pony. Ugh… they even ruined a daddy-daughter moment. I know Lisa is a 8-year-old girl with a penchant for pony-loving but this might be too much. Just what the H-E-double hockey sticks is going on with my favorite cartoon?
– As Homer scream “nooooooooooo!” for the third time in the episode, we discover this whole thing has been yet another dream… Marge’s dream. She goes to therapy once more with Zilowitz for an explanation. The glib psychobabble she gets is “it means like all married women sometimes you’re sick of your husband, but sometimes you’re afraid of losing him.” Marge need some sort of guidance to sort it all out… someone to put their finger on it so she can tie it into a bow. The concise, simple solution is… a flash to a Simpsons tattoo on Girls character Hannah Horvatz’s back that means “Don’t get drunk in Brooklyn.”
To say I dislike this episode might be one of the biggest understatements I’ve made. I didn’t find any of the heart I come to expect of episodes that center around the relationship between Marge and her Homie. I felt like Bart, Lisa and Maggie were treated as bit character steretypes. The first time I watched this with my oldest daughter, we did laugh at some of the jokes but by the time Homer cheated on Marge, I just sat there with my mouth open and winced in my soul. The dream within a dream within a dream within a tattoo ending may have been the only saving grace for this episode but it certainly was contrived. It almost felt like the writers ran out of ideas or had to figure out a way to get to showing Leena Dunham’s character that made her famous enough to be a guest star on The Simpsons. I don’t know.
Since this blog and cartoon are supposed to be my happy place, I’ll just stop at this is one of my least favorite episodes that I wish hadn’t been an episode tie-in to my faovirte mobile game. I’d have rather seen time spent on all the characters effected by the break-up or even better, Homer trying out the dating and realizing once again how Marge is his soul-mate. If he can not sleep with Mindy Simmons or Lurleen Lumpkin, he can certainly ignore Leena Dunham’s Candace… drugs or no drugs.
But it’s not all about me… what was your opinion of it all? Probably a better idea to chime in if you watched the episode yourself than just read my opinion since I know mine was biased. Feel free to sound off in the comments like usual. As for me, I apologize for being a negative nancy but I just love the Simpsons and get twitchy when I feel a disservice is being done to it. I adore these characters and just felt this episode fell on its face in dealing with them. There were definitely some funny moments and I guess we can say all the items in TSTO are just dream sequence stuff anyways, but in the words of Rabbi Krustofski… meh. Thankfully, I can survive this disappointing blip in a solid run of 554 episodes to date and just hope that the rest of Season 27 is much better. Stay classy friends and keep on tapa-tapa-tapping in the free world.
TTFN… Wookiee out!