Merry Christmas Eve, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Life Day everyone!
Feel free to insert Festivus (yesterday) or Kwanzaa (December 26th) or Solstice (Dec 21) or whatever you celebrate. If you’re not a big fan of holidays or religiosity, Happy Saturday. Wookiee popping by with the gift of another episode recap for y’all. While it’s a little late, I figured covering the latest Simpsons Christmas episode closer to Christmas was appropriate. 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 could while jotting down notes. Without further ado… here’s my thoughts on Season 28, Episode 10: “The Nightmare After Krustmas.”
To start this off for accidental clickers who just prefer the synopsis, here’s what my DVR had for the episode that aired December 11th:
“Krusty and his daughter spend Christmas with the Simpsons; Reverend Lovejoy tries to attract converts after church attendance drops; a spooky Christmas toy haunts Maggie.”
Now on with the random recap observations of yours truly… fair warning, this is SPOILER heavy.
You know, frankly I was surprised they didn’t spell ‘nighmare’ with a K. I would have. We get Lisa, Barney, and Burns floating over the opening words as the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, and then straight to the couch gag where Homer arrives by skidoo (the Star Wars nerd in me wants to say snowspeeder), Dickens-era Bart snowboards over him, and the family all dolled up out of a Victorian-era novel about charity and the spirit of the season have the Christmas hounds released on them. Tiny Tim Bart makes me giggle as the hounds jack his crutch.
Through the advent calendar (first used by German Lutherans) which features Santa on Smithers’ lap, gingerbread Homer, potato-bearded Santa Grampa, the Simpsons nativity, the Grumple, funzos, a Bah Humbug CBG, and more, we speed through the tab for December 23rd (assisted by expository music) to the First Church of Springfield (No Yogurt Parking We Tow) where things aren’t looking good for Reverend Lovejoy. Lots of empty pews. Homer is asleep as Bart drops tiny pew pencils into his piehole and Nelson is bored and yo-yo-ing his bible. So that’s what the little red fabric is for. Marge hopes the reverend isn’t losing his touch. Usually the fourth Sunday of Advent is packed. Drederick Tatum remarks that “comparing the three wisemen to the Beastie Boys seemed more desperate than hip.”
Tim is upset (he even misses a shot that even Milhouse could make when he tries to toss his robe in the hamper). Helen shows up to tell the Rev that a very special fan club has shown up to talk to him. Turns out its just a divine intervention via semi-circle including Ned Flanders, Agnes Skinner, Sideshow Mel, and the Parson (yay!). The parson even brought his boss (no not God), the Patriarch. Both men have a boss above them both (again… not God)… the Metropolitan whose picture graces the wall and is later revealed to be a hidey hole for wine. The group needs Reverend Lovejoy to get his conversion mojo back. We’ll just let it slide that they’re unconcerned about Tim’s confession to mixing Pinot Noir and Vicodin. They need him to pa-pa-pa-pack the pews. “The church is emptier than a syrup bottle after a pancake breakfast.” Tim tries to pawn off the attendance issues on flu and the new Jeeps arriving at the dealership with neat features but you know there’s a problem when Ned’s mind wanders to painting his house (aka non-religious areas) during preaching. Lovejoy is in a slump… negative six conversions for the year. That won’t stop this Presbylutheran though. Lovejoy is ready to get out there and do some converting in his nice Christian community.
Bring on the Pagan Winter Carnival which inspired a whole holiday event in TSTO. We see the antler rental, pagan banners, Satyr Willie, Phone-Henge, Dunk the Monk, the Ba’al Pit, devil snowman, and the different ice sculptures like the goat god and goad head statues (I’d have preferred a few of the other options from Jack Frost’s Ice Garden). I did like Ralph getting his tongue stuck to the goat head like our game. I only wish Wiggum cold get a task to get his tongue stuck on his gun.
There’s also Graven Images While You Wait, Damned For Eternity Temporary Tattoos, and the Strandbeest (a wind-powered kinetic sculpture). In the background of the beest are several of the tents you can craft. The sculpture is un-environmentally conscious Dutch art explained by a cameo from Theo Jansen who actually made a real Strandbeest. Marge is worried about the festival. “It’s like something you’d see in a college town.” Bart digs the pagan agenda. Marge is right to be concerned since the Strandbeest starts walking and aided by wind that picks up slightly (much different than “the polite breezes of Europe”), starts a-stomping people including Krusty and his daughter who were ice-skating (and I must point out, not celebrating paganism although the frozen lake was near more tents).
Krusty takes a beating and ends up at Springfield General Hospital (The Perfect Christmas Gift? Your organs!). The Simpsons are there to well wish our favorite Klown and we learn that Krusty needs elephant tranquilizers for his pain (of course they’re provided by Dr. Nick) rather than regular morphine. Krusty’s injury couldn’t have come at a worse time considering he gets one week of custody once a year. At least they have a semi-private room (okay, private since Krusty’s roommate Harold dies to give them privacy… not funny). The Simpsons leave (I don’t blame them, I almost did too) and leave Krusty a get well balloon with his visage on it (sort of funny). Krusty tries to bond with his daughter but she’s not into show business which really offers them bupkis to talk about. She gets good grades and plays the french horn (I thought it was violin). Krusty tries to explain how it’d be funnier with pants falling down and using some Yiddish aka “the language of our fakakta people” but Sophie shocks her dad by stating her mom raised her Christian. “How could you ignore the sacred traditions of our Jewish people?” This said while a nurse wheels in Krusty’s bacon, lobster, and treif sandwich. It’s not even what he wanted since it was supposed to have “a side of camel, extra cloven.” Okay, Krusty is funny especially considering the translation of treif is non-kosher. Sophie just cares about spending time with her dad. Bring on Marge to invite them to spend Christmas with the Simpsons.
Flash to the Simpson home where Marge has gotten Maggie a present. A Gnome in Your Home. Basically making fun of the Elf on the Shelf and just as creepy or at least Maggie thinks so. It looks cute and cuddly but who can trust something that doesn’t blink (hence why cats bother me lol). I love Homer coming in and advising Maggie to be good so the gnome doesn’t nibble her widdle fingers. Ah… parenting.
Christmas time in the Simpson house. Grampa playing “O Tanenbaum” while they decorate the tree and Homer eats the candy canes.
Krusty and Sophie arrive (I wonder if Krusty actually charged for his company?) and apparently he’s filming the whole thing as A Very Krusty Christmas Special (Warning: Contains Treasonous Statements).
Sophie doesn’t want to be on camera so Krusty just mo-caps Mr. Teeny in as her with hilarious results. Krusty even ruins gingerbread house building by shilling for Minolta 3D printers and The Night Before Christmas with a 1-900 advert. It’s too much for his daughter. She just wanted to get to know him by spending the holidays together but he ruined it. Poor Krusty is kicked out by Sophie. It seems he may have realized his error but nope. The doorbell is just as awkward as the soundless 20 seconds of the show as Krusty gets room tone for his special.
Krusty comes back after commercial to rip down duct tape with his bare hands and to let Sophie know he cancelled his show but she just wants to be left alone. Meanwhile, Reverend Lovejoy is out to convert. Possible options include Mr. Largo, Apu, Comic Book Guy, Willie, and Cookie Kwan. If the word of God isn’t enough, maybe his rubber jar openers that advertise getting a grip on salvation might work. Unfortunately, Mr. Largo lost faith after conducting Christmas pageants for thirty years and Apu is more into his own faith’s nonsense which is better and includes gods who could be Pixar heroes. Tim is bummed and talking to himself in the Men’s Terlet of Moe’s Tavern. Maybe he can just teach SAT prep since that book has answers in the back. Krusty is also lamenting his life there (the appropriate poison for “a man whose daughter hates his guts” is Duff NUMB… “no flavor, just alcohol”). Krusty needs something to make him feel better in his heart “like firing a writer. Especially one who’s just bought a house.” Lovejoy sees an opportunity and goes to guide Krusty to Jesus. “The most powerful man in this universe or any other.” Krusty makes me laugh when he guesses J.J. Abrams. Fortunately for the Rev, right at that moment a Snake who is being tased by Wiggum resembles an outline of the Christ through Moe’s window and Krusty converts.
Homer is kissing a scared Maggie good night. Homer moves her crib closer to the creepy gnome so it can see her. The nightlight makes it even scarier. “The gnome can’t nibble your fingers if it can’t see them.” Bring on Lisa to play scary violin pulls from a horror movie and then to Maggie having a nightmare about the gnome.The gnome is alive, has gotten a tummy ache from eating too many baby fingers, and not even the combined forces of Santa, Jack Frost, the Abominable Snowman, and Wayne Gretzky (woohoo!) can stop him. Creepy deer-kicking gnome, you leave baby Maggie alone! Maggie finds herself in a candy cave which turns into the gnome itself and wakes up just in time before she and her precious widdle fingers can be devoured. It’s Christmas and all is well but that gnome is still creepy. Marge says she’s gonna leave him up year round. Uh oh.
At the First Church of Springfield, the congregation is arriving and recycling their nativity scenes (that’s another image to make me cringe). Lovejoy introduces the folks to Krusty who is now a Christian. Nice touch that Homer is now wearing Krusty’s Minolta sweater. Krusty is doing it all for the love of his daughter. He remembers the day she came into his life as the results of a DNA test. Well, for Krusty that’s love.
Back at the Simpson house, it’s present unwrapping time and Homer has a mug with the Grumple on it. They got Maggie a Mrs. Gnome in Your Home. “Spycraft toys makes other invasive dolls (too). Narc in the Park, Bear Who’s Always There, and Snoop While You Poop.” Poor Maggie. no wonder she likes Marge’s gift… a paper cutter. That night Homer is trying out his juicer by adding N&Ns, Kat-Kits, and Ah! Fudge chocolate into it. He also added fruit aka the loops cereal kind. Marge has one last Santa Baby present for her hubby. SUper cute and they’re all set for snuggle time until they find the dismembered bodies of the two gnomes in their bed. No surprise that Maggie is now happy and able to sleep well. Now can we for a second talk about Homer getting Marge a paper cutter?
Anyhoo… off to Krusty’s show which is now boring and Christian. Even Itchy & Scratchy get religious. They pray, don’t slay, spout bible verse, put on clothes, and Poochie is back lol. Sophie is impressed that her dad wrecked his whole show to prove his love. No cream pies in the face… just pies for the poor at Christmas. Comedians for the show include Andrew Nice Clay, Larry the Fable Guy, and Joe Piscopalian. Bart wishes Krusty had converted to a funny religion. Milhouse recommends Zoroastrianism and talks about their god Mazda and some teachings. Seems Milly knows a lot and might even be one. Krusty’s show ends with Sophie playing french horn and no one’s pants dropping. Well, a side clown drops his all alone. What a way to spend a Christmas.
At the church, Lovejoy is reading his British Model Trains Catalogue but the Parson shows up to ruin his contentment by pointing out that Krusty isn’t officially a Christian until he’s ba-ba-ba-baptized and his “soul and bank router number (are) on autopay.” Lovejoy tries to explain that they’re just waiting for the river to thaw since that’s what Krusty wanted; “the old-fashioned way with Miss Teenage Nevada.” The Parson convinces Tim to get moving by threatening him with a job at the Ogdenville Prison where the last guy got a cool tattoo he didn’t ask for.
Bring on the congregation at the frozen river. Krusty hilariously slips and slides to the baptismal hole (he’s much funnier to people as a Christian apparently) but breaks through the ice and is whisked away by the current even if he “hasn’t been current in years.” Bring on a near death experience which “is a hackney parody of Frozen.” Not really though, more a nice moment for Krusty to get advice from his dear departed dad. Rabbi Krustofsky makes a cute Olaf too. Moral of the episode… “there’s no one religion that makes you a good father.” Think of your kiddos first unless you are applying oxygen masks in an airline emergency. Maybe taking advice from “a hallucination caused by cell death in your suffocating brain” isn’t the best ideas or maybe he was “a rabbi who’s seen the face of God” since he did see Krusty texting during his funeral. Whatever you believe, Krusty is saved by Lovejoy after Krusty is snagged on Jasper’s fishing line. “I shall be a fisher of men.” Funny bible joke finally. Krusty exclaims happily when he’s resuscitated and asks the Reverend not to tell his ex-wife that he’s alive. Bring on the outro expository Christmas music: Lovejoy gets to be a hero, Sideshow Mel’s wife leaves him, Krusty is fixed up by an orthodox ambulance, there’s butts in the pews of the church while Homer snooze-eats Christmas cookies, and Maggie is chopping up even more gnomes with some sort of snow machine. Merry Christmas from the Simpsons.
The last little bit is Christian God and Jewish God (hint: they’re actually the same being, the Muslim one too) discussing whether Krusty is Team Hanukkah or a Christian now. Mazda shows up too but he’s smaller, drunk, and sounds like Homer with wings. There’s also one more song with Krusty and Sophie in a sled. “Just hear those sleigh bells jingling, ring ting tingling along, Let’s sing a jolly holiday non-denominational song.” We also get another sighting of the Strandbeest and Theo Jansen (he’s probably right that his web site traffic increased… I certainly checked it out). The End.
So there you go friends. The newest Christmas Simpsons Episode that inspired a much too long episode tie-in that was masqueraded as the 2016 Holiday Event. It really wasn’t a bad episode all things considered. Interesting that the writers decided to show so much love to Krusty and Reverend Lovejoy. I was happy to see the Parson show up again. My favorite bits were the C plot with Maggie and the gnome. I probably could have watched a whole episode about all that. All in all, on my blah/meh/oooh/aaaah/wowza/woo hoo scale, I give this an aaaah. Sort of like a B plus to a B minus. The pagan stuff was much funnier when it was abbreviated in the episode. Not so much in my town. I also like that Krusty’s religion was shown some more attention. Basically the episode did a much better job lampooning religion than the game is doing. As for the items from the episode, I guess it all comes down to this… our towns are either like college towns or they aren’t. We’re Marges or we’re Bart and Willies.
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? How would you grade this episode? Sound off in the comments and I hope everyone is having a good Act Two of the event and even more importantly, a wonderful holiday season with people you love. Keep on being classy, Happy Life Day, and I’ll be back with more recaps when the show returns January 8th.
TTFN… Wookiee out!