Hey hey friends! Who’s got two thumbs and is still caught up with episode recaps for all my favorite tappers? THIS GUY! So it’s time again to take a break from all the campfire stories and s’mores to pop in with another episode recap for y’all. 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 silly reviews of them. I love when there are new episodes of the Best. Show. Ever. on TV and this week’s episode did not disappoint. I love that I get to not only watch the new episodes, but then break them down for all of you. I stuck to the stream of consciousness format and probably will unless a ton of you hate it. Without further ado… here’s my thoughts on Season 27, Episode 3: “Puffless”.
I have to say… I love this episode. A “B story” that revolves around the one and only Maggie (at last the show is giving her some love) and a good A plot with our favorite chain-smoking hags, errrr, sisters of Marge. Before I even begin… this one is a solid A… watch it, watch it again and then smile and laugh about the two times you watched it.
– A short intro kicks this one off with the Grand Pumpkin walking by at the beginning. Homer runs to the couch and we find the family have all been turned into cars. Homer is a bus of sorts, Marge and Lisa are station wagons and Bart is a sports car. They all position themselves on the couch and Monster Truck Maggie runs them all over. Epic. I had a good feeling about this episode already and we weren’t even 30 seconds into it.
– A TV special is playing all about clueless Dr. Nick being surprised a woman was pregnant. Never mind the nocturnal cravings, positive ultrasound, dramatic weight gain, mood swings, small foot kicking and baby coming out lol. “A baby… an astronaut baby.”
– Marge turns the TV off because it’s her mother’s 81st birthday and she wants the family to attend. She wants everyone to dress up even though Lisa points out she’s already in a dress wearing pearls and she’s only 8. Homer doesn’t want to go though. Marge’s family has never liked him. Not even when “he had hair and a future and a bitchin’ Pontiac GTO.” We also learn that radical car was left by Homer at a music festival not unlike Woodstock. He just forgot where he parked it. Marge feels about her family like Homer did that car. “No one loves a person that much.” Too funny but Homer agrees to go provided Marge gets his ear-tugging signals that it’s time to leave.
– Bring on the B Plot! Maggie meets a cuddly squirrel friend and trades her pacifier for an acorn. Before we get more animal hijinks, Marge puts her in a scratchy knitted-by-Grandma sweater… Homer too. The whole family (including Grampa) are off to the bday party. Maggie’s all strapped in in her “precious cargo” car seat (Grampa’s just says cargo lol).
– At Marge’s mom’s house, the celebration begins. Grampa takes the cash he “usually gives to con artists and preachers” to buy her flowers. It’s a sweet gesture but it’s too bad for Gramps that Burnsy shows up to flaunt his wealth. Burns fell in love with her the moment he got dementia. He’s brought her “an old-fashioned music player”, cellist Yo-yo Ma. “There’s always room for cello.” He plays Cello Suite No. 1 by Bach beautifully. The hilarious thing is Burns isn’t trying to win Jacqueline back… he just doesn’t want Grampa to have her. It’s the meanest thing Yo-Yo Ma has ever heard and he “used to practice cello on the subway.”
– The gag with Homer sliding off Grandma’s plastic-covered couch makes me giggle so much. I love the kids trying it out too. Brings back a lot of memories for this fuzzball. Wowza… not even five minutes into this episode and I’ve written a bunch… exhibit one for the case of how much I love this episode.
– Patty & Selma decide to show off slides of them as teenagers. I was initially as relieved as Homer when Selma only had a tiny box but in true contemporary fashion, it holds a thumb drive containing five terabytes of data. “That’s over 50,000 carousels of family fun.” Basically a lot of walking and stopping. The slideshow makes Marge miss her Dad which leads to Lisa inquiring about the cause of it. Cue the dramatic reveal by Grandma Bouvier…
– Marge, Selma and Patty’s dad died of lung cancer. Patty & Selma are aghast that their mom would let them smoke knowing that info, but in her defense, she thought it made them look cool. I have to say this whole slideshow scene was done exceptionally well. The inclusion of Yo-Yo Ma being bored and reading the “Yo-yo diet,” keeping Bart from using his cello as a bow & arrow, and the dramatic cello music during the reveal were great. This is how guest stars should always be incorporated into episodes.
– Other funny bits during this scene… Homer reaching for Grandma’s Happy Endings Assisted Suicide Kit which is snatched back by Grandma, Bart asking Lisa if she thinks he can climb like Spiderman using denture cream, climbing the wall, falling and then Lisa answering no and that Bart should have waited for the answer, and Homer saying that Grandma’s bathroom is not a toy chest followed by “Oooh… Vicodin.”
– Patty & Selma are obviously bothered by the revelation and decide to quit smoking. They pile all their cigarettes into a bowl (quite a lot of Lady Laramies), light it on fire and end up burning down their Mom’s house. Homer can’t believe his sister-in-laws are gonna quit and Marge hopes they don’t put on weight. Insert funny though bubble of fat twins and even fatter Homer. No one “outfats” Homer.
– Marge tucks in Maggie and thus “Maggie’s Extraordinary Animal Adventure” begins. Her squirrel friend pops up at her window, a possum helps her to the roof and she’s joined by an owl and Duffman’s bird Hoppy. Maggie shares food in a Frisbee with her new friends, swings around the weathervane and is saved from a fall by the razor-sharp-teethed opossum.
– In the DMV, Patty is even grumpier than usual due to quitting. Selma on the other hand has never been nicer. She even gives Otto a license that explain his red and dilated eyes. Patty is having it rough and even smells cigarette smoke when it’s not around. Selma suggests Patty might be having a stroke… phantom smells are a symptom. Patty researches it with “a competent medical professional” aka the internet. I love this joke on WebMD. Patty goes to WebDr: Turn Your Ignorance to Fear. Really funny jokes are on the opening screen like “if you’re baby’s crying there’s a major problem”, “10 reasons your family doctor is wrong”, and “join our lump forum”. According to WebDr, the symptoms of a stroke are:
1) Worrying that you may have had a stroke
2) Not feeling great
3) Sudden awareness of your own blinking
4) Smelling unusual or normal odors
5) Inside of brain feels bloody
– Excuse me friends… I need to take a break as I think I’m having a stroke. While you wait, here’s a few moments I loved in the DMV. Moleman requesting a license to operate heavy machinery because to him, everything is heavy. Willy’s question: “What’s the penalty for driving a tractor drunk through a Renaissance Faire?” Comic Book Guy skipping the line when Patty asks if anyone is applying for an ambulance license, grabbing his license and then saying “I lied” before taking off.
– Anywho… the Bouvier twins go to the hospital where it turns out all Patty’s tests are positive. Wait, no, they’re negative. Dr. Hibbert just gets those two mixed up all the time which really makes me reconsider a lot of moments over the last 26 years lol. The real source of the phantom smells is the fact that Selma hasn’t quit smoking. She only was on the wagon for 10 minutes and is even smoking in the hospital. Geesh… she doesn’t even have the common courtesy to smoke in the stairwell with the other doctors.
– Selma’s smoking is a deal breaker for the twins. Patty is moving out and off to live with Homer and Marge. We learn even Jub Jub smokes. Marge initially plans to have Patty sleep on the couch but Homer points out that’s where they do the couch gags. Flash to a shot of the monster truck goodness from the intro and a walking carpet is now laughing his face off. Patty gets to room with Maggie even if poor Magster has no idea why “extra-large mommy” is her new cellmate. Mag’s possum friend pops by the window but Patty shoos it off.
– Seems the new living arrangement isn’t the best. It effects Homer and Marge’s nightly ritual due to Patty’s “very fatty septum” and resultant snoring. Maggie can’t sleep either so she uses her Jack in the Box to escape the room and the locked window. She arrives on the roof just in time to witness Cletus and his seven drunk children (make that six… “Thank God for Designated Dorothy”) take off with her new possum pal. Maggie orders the Owl to follow the yokels. Cletus sticks the possum in his shed and has his smellhound Beauregard guard it. You may be wondering what happened to Geech? Remember… Cousin Merl encased him in concrete.
– Homer wakes up and goes to sneak into the shower with his beautiful wife. Instead he climbs in with Patty and there’s only one thing to do in that situation… use the eye bleach. Bart is headed that way too so Homer bleaches his eyes too. Bart starts off upset but once he realizes what he might of seen, both him and his Dad share a hilarious bonding moment.
– Meanwhile Selma is lonely in the apartment. She tries calling one of her exes (she chooses Disco Stu but also had Fat Tony and Sideshow Bob in her phone). “Disco Stu is over you. (Hangs up phone in shrine dedicated to Selma). Disco Stu needs a Zoloft or two.” Selma decides to talk to the one who’s always been there for her… her cigarette voiced by Jon Lovitz. Way too funny and I fanboyed when I recognized the voice. Selma has a lot of choices to make.
– Homer and Patty share a sweet moment (not before Homer remembers the sight of her naked and bleaches his eyes again lol) where she admits she’s always been mean to him because she was jealous of Marge having a partner. She only has Selma and smoking has torn their dynamic gruesome twosome asunder. Gotta love that Patty “opens the window of niceness” and then promptly shuts it to be mean again. But wait? She goes to the door after the doorbell rings and then returns to kiss Homer? AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING SIMPSONS WRITERS?!?!?!?!?!?!
– Just kidding… it’s a gross daydream of Homer’s easily fixed by pouring bleach directly onto his brain via the ear canal. Oh yeah… the doorbell was Selma showing up to apologize and let her sister know she’s quit for good to reconcile their relationship.
– Lisa and Maggie are playing ball in the background but Mags is no good at it. “It’s okay. You’ll learn to do things after you’re a baby.” Lisa goes inside and now we get the best part of this episode which is saying a lot because I haven’t disliked anything yet. I love when we see Maggie be herself and independent!
– General Maggie commands her forces of birds, chipmunks, a raccoon, beavers, rabbits, rats (and their parasites in battle formation), an owl, Hoppy the parrot and a porcupine to rescue the possum. Maggie draws out battle plans and there’s a quick subtitle during this that most of us probably missed. “Here’s the plan…” “After securing the perimeter, the ground troops will advance and reinforce flanks, as the aerial units soften their defenses. Then we shall advance in a pincer movement to infiltrate the compound and liberate our friend. If you’ve read all this, congratulations, you’re a genius!”
– While I’m no genius, my DVR/FXNow app is and I have to say this whole Maggie storyline is great. Even more genius is Maggie not being able to join the mission because she’s too slow and Spider-Pig showing up to the rescue complete with his theme song! I wondered how the writers were going to incorporate Plopper into an episode back when I heard the news and I love how they did it.
– Cletus is debating whether to cook possum pot pie, General Chang’s possum with cashews or possum foam with pouch reduction while Maggie’s army approaches. A group of baby ducks even joins them. The army has to take out Beauregard who is one good guard dog. (Funny Blackhawk Down joke too as he swats a crow.) Flying squirrels, a tree branch and a porcupine ball all don’t stop Beauregard. Spider-Pig finally saves the day using his web powers aka making spiders fall on the dog.
– But the battle isn’t over. One of Cletus’ brood, a baby with a drunken affinity for maple syrup, joins the fray. The animals scatter and only Maggie is left. She ends up winning by making the toddler drink some moonshine from the still. Maggie and her “animals acting like humans” win the day and save the possum. Cletus witnesses the victory and is pretty shocked. Turns out Beauregard can talk a la Scooby Doo too. Poor Mr. Spuckler. He had such a nice moonshine pairing ready for the possum. It “got 91 points from Robert Trailerparker.” Now the brood just has to eat what’s been collected under their fingernails… pizza and poop. You might have missed it but the Likker Enthusiast magazine Cletus had framed also suggested Ethanol and Isopropyl as baby names.
– Patty and Selma are reunited at the Spinster City Apartments. Selma may have resorted to some things she regretted while her sis was gone like calling Disco Stu again (“Disco Stu is back on Tinder.”) but all’s well that ends well. Both sister’s senses of smell have returned courtesy of not smoking and they realize their apartment smells horrible. “Who knew a small apartment with two women, a baby and an iguana would smell so bad?” The sisters quickly go back to smoking to fix that issue. Patty: “Here’s to smoking and you. Two things that will always be in my heart.”
– Selma: “Is this a happy ending?” Patty: “It’s edgy.” Cue the montage of Selma and Patty smoking through the years as teenagers, old women with stomas and literally in their graves with headstones that include their hair outlines.
– And an epilogue for Maggie’s story. She thanks Spider-Pig for saving the day once again only to find out this is the first time Plopper has ever done so. Spider-Pig is off because he’s needed elsewhere… to roll around in the mud on the side of the Simpson house lol. Hoppy returns to Duffman but now he talks like Cletus. “I’ve heard of wanting a cracker but become one—oh, no!”
The end. Man oh man did I love this episode. As I write this to the sound of Yo-Yo Ma playing the Simpsons theme on cello in the credits (yet one more great way to use a guest appearance!), I’m smiling and my reaction has really been no different each time I’ve watched this (about five and a half times currently). This is one of those episodes that I’ve insisted other people watch. Nice to know the writers can still fire on all cylinders if they want to and that’s saying a lot since this episode had a guaranteed win with a Maggie story and the questionable tactic of revolving the other half with Marge’s sisters. It could have been a stinker for sure.
The biggest debate I’d expect re: this episode would be the idea that P&S went back to smoking in the end but did any of us really expect them to stay quit? I mean… really expect it? Those two are identified by their chain-smoking. It is what it is and I guess it needs to be said that this is a cartoon. This episode does highlight that smoking causes cancer, stomas, death and that’s more than can be said for some other forms of entertainment. You could no more take the stripes off a tiger or the sesame seeds off the Hamburglar than you could the nicotine sticks from Patty & Selma’s cold, dead hands.
What did you think of the episode? Did you like it as much as me? If you didn’t, why? What was your favorite/least favorite moment? Sound off in the comments and here’s to the rest of Season 27 being of this caliber.
TTFN… Wookiee out!