It’s Thanksgiving Day and instead of taking a break from schoolwork, I took a quick break from the wonderful smells emanating from the kitchen and the obligatory marathon on FXX to keep up with my episode recaps. One of the many 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 it’s my privilege to not only watch new episodes, which I would do with or without this awesome site, but then break them down for all of you. I stuck to the stream of consciousness format for this. Basically I watch the episode once for my enjoyment and then a couple more times slowly to catch as much as I can while jotting down notes. Without further ado… here’s my thoughts on Season 28, Episode 8 “Dad Behavior.”
To start this off for accidental clickers who just prefer the synopsis, here’s how my DVR had as a recap for the episode:
“Homer discovers an app that outsources his father-son bonding; Grampa learns he’s about to become a father again.”
Now on with the random recap observations of yours truly… fair warning, this is SPOILER heavy.
Homer as a Thanksgiving balloon, the billboard advertises “Costington’s Open Thanksgiving Celebrate Your Holiday by Ruining Others’, Bart writes “I will watch all 600 episodes without sleeping” on the chalkboard in honor of the FXX marathon, and that’s where the intro gets weird. I debated not ruining all the goodness but said why the heck not. There’s a spoiler disclaimer at the beginning of all the recent recaps. When Bart lands on Barney covered in leaves, instead of just burping he grabs Bart’s skateboard and breaks it in half. Homer chokes on the inanimate carbon rod and Lisa knocks herself unconscious while jazzing her way out of band practice. Maggie is driving and Marge is asleep in the back. They go careening off a cliff, through a chicken-filled barn (the pacifier moment with the chicken is hilarious), and in the darkest moment of the intro, land in a lake and Marge and the chicken bob to the surface facedown. What the heck?!? Is Maggie ok?!? I actually thought that and then felt guilty about Marge. Bart comes home alone with his broken skateboard. Sweetly, he takes pictures of his family to watch the TV on the couch with him and then in typical Bart-ness is stoked to pick what gets watched. So weird but points to the show for doing something different.
Homer is watching TV but it keeps sliding because it’s sitting on a media center (still in the box) on top of all their devices that Homer never put together. There’s lots of stuff in the living room he never put together actually. He claims he’ll do it after he watches his DVD of outstanding college mascot fights (SEC Edition). “Top heavy mascots always lose unless they’re fighting something with no arms.” Homer is shocked to learn there’s people inside but Marge is more concerned with the TV almost sliding off the box and crushing Maggie. It’s time for Homer to put it all together. Marge has put her foot down. Down I say. It’s either that or “take Bart to the mall to get fitted for”… and Homer has his tool belt and drill already. We get a modern “Le Grille” moment as Homer struggles with the Swedish directions for the media center. Anyone know what Voux Avez Termine, Du Ar Klar, or Du Bist Fertig mean? Homer stuck is so great and the allen wrench gag gets top marks. When do you think he swallowed the other one? Homer manages to finagle his phone out and tongue-dials Barney. We won’t even question why he’s Homie’s go-to for being stuck in Shøp furniture. Barney suggests Homer uses the ChoreMonkey app. Barney uses it to get beer and toilet paper and if the chore monkey refuses to aid his alcoholism, there’s always Uburp.
Rafael arrives as a ChoreMonkey rep to save Homer just in time. Maggie had already poked him in the eye with her pacifier and Snowball was ready to start eating him. “I think this is the beginning of an unhealthy dependence.” Seriously folks, get dogs, they don’t consider eating you while you sleep. Anyhoo… Bring on a great Homer song as he uses “nerdy jerks” to do all sorts of chores for him: assembling the stuff, opening beer, feeding him pretzels, fixing Lisa’s bike, taking photos of her riding, boxing in the backyard, getting rid of Patty & Selma, and more. Marge is not happy with all the strangers in the house. She’s even unhappier when Homer calls ChoreMonkey to deal with the argument since he’s no good at them. Bring on Blake the retired FBI hostage negotiator which is way too funny. If you’re wondering, the steps for arguing are listening, empathy, and building rapport just like negotiating a hostage crisis. It ends well… Marge realizes her happy life of domestication, gets her ice maker fixed (Blake can also do that apparently) as a bonus, and Homer gets walked off in a blanket.
Bart wants to throw the ball with one of Homer’s Chore Monkeys and Homer uses the gold version to make sure his helper doesn’t have a criminal record (this makes the previous scenes even funnier btw). Who should show up to toss the pigskin with Bart but Heisman Trophy Winner Matt Leinart. He wasn’t “smart with his money after football.” Okay… I’m a USC fan so this guest star is great but even without that, this may be one of my favorite guest spots in a long, long time. There’s even a deflate gate joke thrown in. Leinart’s broadcasting money went to his Thai-Irish Fusion restaurant called Shamrock Spice (I need this in TSTO). Bart loves his new buddy and learned to throw a perfect spiral. Homer isn’t so sure Matt was a great idea when Bart tells Matt he loves him.
Maybe he should play catch with his son, or maybe not since his first huck of the ball goes over the fence and squashes Flanders zinnias (“pffft… annuals”… Matt knows Flowers too and makes me chuckle). Flanders chucks the ball back and Homer apparently has swallowed four allen wrenches… stop, the laughing makes me hurt. OJ’s jersey for Bart… ouch… so much laughter. Suffice to say Homer is none too happy with the Leinart/Bart relationship. “Another thing I overdo bites me in the butt.”
Homer calls ChoreMonkey so he can have a boy to play catch with. This helper is sassy. He’s “thrown various balls with six different middle-aged men.” Wow that sounds wrong. We also learn the monkeys rate the customers but I side with Homer in this situation. The kid WAS ruining it by talking. Kids these days. I feel for Homer when he gets called a jerk and then is nostalgic for when Bart used to call him that.
Kirk and Milhouse are attempting to get on America’s Funniest Home Videos with a staged accident video for the $10,000 dollar prize. Milly isn’t sure it’ll work but should have brought that up in the production meeting according to Kirk. His dad doesn’t want one of his Children’s Xanax (oh that joke lands interestingly) and Milhouse if rightfully worried about potentially hurting or killing his dad. There’s already been a lot of death in this episode. Kirk is certain he’ll be okay but just in case requests that Milhouse play “Nobody Does It Better” (by Carly Simon) on his recorder at the funeral. Milhouse leaves the gag, Kirk is run over by LuAnne, Nelson deletes the hilarity, and the bricks fall. Classic Kirk and he gets love again in an episode.
Homer heads to the Retirement Castle and Abe not only answers the door, but excitedly pulls Homer into his room. The sign on the wall with a grave that says “It Gets Better” made me have to pause for laughter. It may not be pudding day (the day Homer normally shows up I’m assuming) but Homer needs advice about Bart not wanting to spend time with him. “I would visit more if I hadn’t put you in such a depressing place.” Grampa doesn’t have time for his son realizing the realities of all his father/son relationships. He’s got a real problem and it’s a doozy. His girlfriend is preggo and not like the spaghetti sauce. Homer leaves him alone for six months and insanity is the result. Grampa met his lady friend on a senior dating site now that the Castle has the internet. “Grey Date, Friends with Social Security Benefits, everyone’s making whoopy and hanky panky. A few are even having sex.” It must be working if even Moleman found a lady. Grampa’s girl shows up to find him skipping town. Not on her, he likes her but the baby is the cause of the skipping. “Before you judge me, look where my DNA leads.” Homer stuck in window blinds saying “I’m fine.” Classic. Grampa agrees to man up with a few provisions. “Men of my generation don’t change a diaper, attend a birth, or talk to the child before he’s drafted.” His lady agrees happily.
At the Simpson home, Matt and Bart are playing Monopoly in Bart’s room. The dice roll and Leinart’s knee pops sound the same. They get along great. Milly shows up, gets an autograph where the name is misspelled so it’s worth more, and Bart wins after Matt trades Boardwalk and Park Place for Ventnor. Sure he may have taken a history of board games class in college, but that’s fishy. Bart has beaten his new friend at every game including Heisman Trophy Trivial Pursuit. While Matt escorts Milhouse outside so he doesn’t bother Bart (I wish he’d agreed to throw Milly out in a perfect spiral), Bart finds Leinart’s ChoreMonkey job sheet (#19402 which brings up all sorts of questions about how many jobs Homer has requested) which includes everything he’s enjoyed with Matt. Uh oh.
Milkdud, errr, Milhouse meets Homer on the front stoop. Homer’s gotta change his car oil and can’t use ChoreMonkey since they cut him off when he didn’t pay. Milhouse agrees to help out. He’s just excited that Homer has old shirts unlike his own dad. Bart is putting together a model airplane and on to Leinart just doing a job. “How would you like it if the other team had just let you win all the time?” “That would have been really great.” Matt has to leave for another job… bouncing people into Moe’s like footballs. Nice. And a great Ralphism as he’s tossed in. “Yay! I’m a touchdown!” Bart discovers Milhouse and Homer having fun at the car and is jealous at the fun he’s never had and engine block pizza they’re having. Oh how the tide of jealousy has taken a turn.
Homer and Bart are playing a golf video game that includes a zombie golfer invasion mode but Homer isn’t in to it. He’s just daydreaming of Milhouse in an old shirt with a Tony Stark oil mustache. Zombie Bing Crosby! Buh buh buh brains… lol. Homer wins and is unenthused. “It’s just hard when you think you’re gonna be slicing the same boy in half all your life.” He’s off to work (on a Friday?). He’s not though… he’s going fishing without Bart. The two engage in funny banter more fit for a romantic relationship. “Oh spare me your melodramata!” Homer’s going fishing with Milhouse. Poor Bart.
Marge and Grampa are at what I assume is Springfield Lake talking about his baby. “Coordinating our sleep schedules will be a nightmare.” Grampa assumes any father/kiddo relationship he’ll have will be doomed based on his own with Homer. His only good relationship was with a hat the wind blew away and his own relationship with his dad includes reminiscing of about the days of Popeye animation with him spitting up on his father which resulted in him being murderlized and thrown into the sun before it was considered child abuse. Grampa might be wrong about Simpson father relationships though when he sees Homer spending quality time with Bart (actually Milhouse). I’ll leave you to see how awfully funny this gag is. Marge tries to correct Grampa but he won’t let his epiphany be ruined. Even the black and white black-eyed sun thinks Grampa might be able to be a good dad.
Bart comes across Kirk steaming stamps off of envelopes in his garage. No Kirk doesn’t participate in philately, he colors them in to use for money. The forever stamps could be worth a fortune some day. I laugh that Bart thinks Kirk is making envelope soup initially. Bart helps out and Kirk is happy to be hanging out with Bart Simpson even if Wendell isn’t impressed.
Homer comes home excited and singing after his time with Milhouse. He just likes being with a kid who respects him and doesn’t call him Homer. He does like it when Marge says it though, especially in seductive tones. Marge suggests Homer talk to Bart since he’s behind the door (not at all awkward considering the dulcet tones Marge used) but Homer doesn’t like the way Bart talks to him or his buttocks. Funny dialogue here friends. Homer suggests Marge and Lisa talk to Bart but they aren’t speaking either. Marge threw away Lisa’s Utne Readers.
Grampa is at his lady friend’s house and ready to accept his fatherly responsibility even if he’ll be gone for most of his child’s life. Bring on a daydream and ghost Grampa claiming you can feel cremation. He knocks on the door but he’s not the father. She had an ultrasound and the baby looks like Jasper, beard and everything. Jasper shows up in a bathrobe and may have thought “she was just using me for a beard” (that joke wins the episode friends) but it’s okay. Just when you think it’s going to get awkward and dramatic, Grampa runs off excited. He can’t raise his left arm or a kid but “not having kids keeps you young.” The wind brings back the hat he loved and all is well.
Itchy & Scratchy Land and Homer has taken Milhouse instead of his boy. They are going on the Injury 500. Kirk and Bart show up too (I’m surprised Kirk could afford it. I bet Bart paid). The odd couples take off and race each other in slow motion. Kirk can’t take the pressure and breaks causing Bart to fly head first into a stop sign. Homer ends up being a concerned father after all and rushes to his son’s aid. “I’ll get rid of this stupid stop sign before it hurts somebody else.” Hilarity. Bart says he’s sorry too and actually calls Homer dad “There’s a first time for everything. Also a last.” Kirk and Milhouse make up although I’d debate them ever having issues. Kirk admits riding with Bart was the highlight of his life but loves his son and Milhouse says Kirk is his “favorite guy that Mom’s brought home.” The men ride off with their sons in the Itchy & Scratchy-mobiles much to the chagrin of Squeaky Voiced Teen who is going to have the cost taken out of his check. They go right past Wiggum who is a butthead to Lou who IS “certified to understand the relationship between a father and son” since he has a boy in Baltimore. Could have done without this Wiggum jerk moment.
And a couple quick scenes to end it. I die laughing (lots of death lol) at Blake the negotiator trying AND failing to get Maggie to stop using a pacifier. He should have known better.
The final scene in honor of Major League Baseball Legend Vin Scully was such a nice tribute. Just nice to see Grampa, Homer, and Bart bonding while watching America’s pastime. I’m not a Dodgers fan but I certainly know the legend that is Vinny. Thanks for the memories and excellent game commentary good sir. Enjoy your retirement.
Woohoo! The Best. Show. Ever. is six for eight this season with thoroughly enjoyable episodes. This one hit all the right notes between story, heart, and humor. The cameo was done so nicely and added to the narrative rather than just being a gimmick. Bonus points for being somebody I think is cool. The relationship stuff between all the characters was done just right. There was quite a bit going on but its interconnectivity was great. This is one of my favorites for the season. Very nice. But enough with my words… what did you think of the episode? Anything you loved or hated that I didn’t mention? Are you enjoying Season 28 as much as me? Sound off in the comments and I hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving (or Thursday if that’s not your thing). I’m thankful for my family, you, and The Simpsons. We are family… I got all my Addicts with me lol. Keep on being classy and I’ll be back with more recaps in the future.
TTFN… Wookiee out!