Hey hey friends! Wookiee back with a recap of a new Simpsons episode. Apologies for the week delay but life is crazy with school, etc. Better nate than lever, right? It’s time again for another episode recap for y’all. 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 to catch as much as I can while jotting down notes. Without further ado… here’s my thoughts on Season 28, Episode 17: 22 for 30.
To start this off for accidental clickers who just prefer the synopsis, here’s what my DVR had for the episode that aired February 12th, 2017:
“Working for the school’s paper, Lisa covers Bart’s success when he becomes a star basketball player at Springfield Elementary; things go awry when Bart gets involved with the mafia.”
I honestly really enjoyed this episode but the prospect of recapping it seemed a little daunting based on the style it was presented. I am familiar with ESPN’s 30 for 30 series but must admit I’ve never watched one of the sportsball documentaries so I’m not sure how on the mark this episode was. Since it’s just a ton of clips all merged together to tell a story, I figured the easiest thing to do is just jot notes and hope it ends up cohesive. Here I go… fair warning, this is SPOILER heavy.
– An Air Dingus airliner (really want this for my airport) flies across the opening words and then it’s a flash straight to a cute little couch gag by Bill Plympton… well cute until Homer has a bloody accident. Short intros often mean better episodes since they give more time to the plot… we shall see.
– There’s an opening narrator explaining this story will be about the rise and fall of Bart as a Elementary school basketball star. “The biggest scandal in the history of Springfield sports.” The only fall greater was a tightrope walker who sneezed.
– Anger Watkins of ESBN shows up to yell angrily about the situation. Apparently, he once punched his own birthday cake.
– Bart shows up to admit he shaved points in basketball. Aliases shown in the bottom bar include The Bartman, El Barto, and Lord of the Chalkboard.
– I really dig the opening for the 22 for 30 documentary (22 Producers, 30 Commercials) since it shows iconic images from Simpsons sports episodes. Softball, football, curling, hockey, ballet, and more.
– Marge is up (PTA Alternative) to talk about her son who’s a handful who never thought Bart would work with the mob.
– Skinner (Necktie Renter) “thought he’d work for gamblers with the mob.”
– Grampa (Retired Bag Boy) just wants to tell about landing at Iwo Jima. He’s getting to sports right after he relates how he got the nickname ‘quarterback’ in his unit. He earned a buck seventy five but no friends.
– A blacked-out, voice-modulated anonymous friend of Bart who we know is obviously Milhouse relates it all started with a prank and is scared by his anonymous voice. Laughing as he turns on the light revealing his identity to cuddle Puppy Goo-Goo and then turn off the light to be scared by his toy puppy’s voice.
– Gary Chalmers (Founding Member, Steely Dan) tells us all about Bart pranking Skinner with a Polar Bear Remembrance Day and King Kamehameha’s Birthday. Basically everyone but Skinner wears white during an assembly on bees (everyone gets a ‘c’). Skinner’s floral shirt is very attractive to Moleman’s bees. Willie won’t save Skinner until he hears their side of it lol.
– Back to the narrator and Bart getting the longest detention in history and finding a skill for shooting baskets. Also a glimpse of the Pyramid of Success (skill, pose, competitive greatness, confidence, team spirit, and condition), the Rhombus od Righteousness (swagger, ball hog, no D, and special treatment), and the Dodecahedron of Dominance (franchise, showboat, mamba, trash talk, personal glory, and gang tats).
– Skinner had never heard of “a troubled young man who was good at basketball” before. Honestly, I’m just laughing at Agnes Skinner in the background drinking from a bottle of SAD hard liquor.
– Bart’s a starter on the team, Homer is proud of his little representation of himself, and Bart is seen getting special treatment at school when Lunch Lady Dora interrupts her slopping of mystery mush to give him prime rib. Bart can run at the pool (nice appearance by the unnamed blond swimming pool lifeguard) and even gets special treatment at the Kiwk-E-Mart. Apu gives him a 7200 ounce Squishee.
– Lisa (Hardnosed Journalist, 8 PM Bedtime) isn’t celebrating Bart’s skills though. She’s on assignment to cover her brother’s stardom. It’s worse then when she was square dance partners with her bro at school. Also Bob Johnson was the square dance caller and that was the last time he worked before becoming homeless.
– Daily Second Gradian Headlines: D Student Knows O-ffense. Boy Scores 50 on Court and On Test. Student Make Rare Appearance In Class. Springfield Elementary has never won a championship and the only banner in the gym is the one the Acme Gym Construction Company placed there in 1926.
– Marge was proud and did anything she could to help him practice including serving as a basketball hoop at home but then all the fame went to his head even if Marge would love for science to go there a least once.
– Krusty shows up just to say Bart had more Ds than Dolly Parton. A joke he paid 25 bucks for.
– Willie is the coach and leading practice. Bart is just chillazing on the bleachers wearing a ‘God’s Gift’ shirt and jamming to tunes. Willie quits and goes back to what he really loves. Drowning gophers. Watching him try to do this is Caddyshack funnier than it should be.
– Skinner announces that “parent volunteer and Bart owner” Homer Simpson will now be the team coach. Homer’s basketball philosophy is “shower at home so no one makes fun of your weenie.” He learned it from Red Auerbach. Is it wrong to laugh at Homer running into the basketball net and being upset at it being in the gym during the press conference?
– Anger Watkins is back to complain about a new coach who will kiss one of Bart’s cheeks like its Kobe and the other Kareem. “There is no ‘I’ in Team. There’s no ‘U’ in effort. There’s no ‘X’ in dog. What do Oscar the Grouch’s feet look like? Nobody knows!” Yes… he makes little sense… he’s just angry.
– Sarcastic Raphael shows up from We Give Up TV Store Name (formerly 1080 Pete’s, Plasma Palace, and Cathode Ray’s TVs) with a plasma TV for Bart. Mare tells him to put it with the others and is worried Bart is getting spoiled. She’s probably right considering Bart has built a fort from all the TVs he’s been sent.
– Head to showboating Bart who disrespects his new coach. Also… how am I supposed to feel about naked Bart spinning a b-ball on his dingus. It all leads to “Homer having something he’d never had before. Enough.” Bart needs to pass the ball and refuses so Homer benches him.
– Homer yells at Bart to be a team player who’s no more important to anyone except Milhouse. Bart’s unhappiness is noticed by Fat Tony in the crowd.
– Krusty is back with the bad joke only now it’s “more records than Dolly Parton.” It is funny that the names on his name jokes file include Charo, Boy George, Dolly Parton, Boutros Boutros-Gali, Kim Jong-Un, Kim Jong-Il, and Dan Quayle.
– Wiggum is on to talk about Bart being ripe for criminal exploitation due to bad cops in the town. If you want to find one, listen for the sound of a milk shake being sucked. And we do… it’s Wiggum and he’s wearing police tape as a belt since he can’t find one that fits him. I just love Clancy’s photo cube with a pic of Ralph and a donut in it.
– Marion “Fat Tony” D’Amico (Honest Businessman) and the Blue Haired Lawyer are up. All he did was take a distraught kid for cannoli. I love him speaking criminally with BHL guiding his talk. “What’s with all the Psst, Psst, Psst. Have you sprung a leak?” There’s video footage of them dealing together. Also, cannoli is like “eating the bone marrow of an angel” according to Luigi. “Basketball is just like life. It’s filled with a court, shooting, and guards.”
– Basically it’s all Tony getting Bart to start shaving points and us seeing him do it over and over. Also Homer eating towels out of nervousness, Marge not knowing how Homer gained wait, and Homer admitting to putting jelly on them.
– Lisa explains what point shaving is.
– Grampa’s back with more nonsense.
– Montage to newspapers about suspicion of the crime and Tony beating a murder rap. Bart also beat the rap of the Kick Me sign scandal at school.
– Lisa is seen interviewing Bart about being a mob patsy. Louie shows up to give him appointable point spreads and insults poor Lisa.
– It’s the Final Four of the city championship. Funny shot of Krusty emptying his pockets for security. Lots of stuff in there including a string of handkerchiefs, an accordion, a lamp, a tag saying they were inspected by 1 ¾, and then a clown wearing a 1 ¾ jersey. There’s 11 seconds left in the tied game with South Springfield. Homer needs Bart to shoot and instead he just insults his dad/coach more. “You’re not bald. You’re hair left out of embarrassment.” Of course Homer goes right to the choking right in the middle of the game leading to Bart making the winning basket. A funny fight ensues between the two.
– Too bad “the boy who can spin a ball with his doodle” finds out his actions he thought were just getting back at his dad were all about the mafia making money of the point spreads from his games. Enter Maggie to smack her brother.
– Bart was scared, Milhouse scared. Hilarious cut to Milhouse. Bart was told to lose the championship or else. Tony shows up with BHL to incriminate himself by saying or else a bunch. Legs and Louie are seen in the background with a stolen ATM. So many gems.
– Johnny Tightlips (Born Giovanni Silencio) is seen refusing to talk about what his boss said to Bart in the amazing fashion he’s known for. He does exclaim when his Lincoln Continental (license plate zero to say so maybe 02SAY) is towed with his Granny still inside. Too funny.
– Bart doesn’t want to let down his town by losing. The town has found out about the point shaving and is angry. The First Bank of Springfield sign says “Screw you, Bart!” Next Two Miles of Highway Disgraced By: Bart Simpson. Even the classic church billboard has something to say about it. “Jesus Saves, Bart Shaves.”
– Bart is ready to break down and cry on screen but Homer interrupts to cry himself and displays an interesting knowledge of how to edit show business. Here’s some of his direction: tightening, rack focus, cut to wide shots, split screens, cut in nice and slow, cut to other scenes, Dutch angle, photo negative, and freezing.
– It’s the championship game and Ralph is an exclamation mark.
– Skinner explains how the tension at the game could be cut with a knife and then explains how knives aren’t allowed in school even as a metaphor. It’s a rule so serious we see him cut off the word from his “Love Cuts Like a Knife” book. Should I point out he uses an X-Acto knife to do this which he then throws away?
– The finals and Bart’s “sloppy play is like a distant memory. Like Nelson’s father.” I guess I didn’t point out but the last several games have been commentated on by Drederick Tatum and Anger Watkins. Sad commentating on Nelson’s dad showing up for the ticket his son got him only to sell it. NBA… Nelson’s Been Abandoned. Nelson rejects an opponent’s shot like he’s been rejected and then scores one. Nothing but net like what his mom wears at the strip club. Awful.
– Moe Szyslak (Local Troll) pops in to explain that the third quarter is where things got weird and he “has a low bar for weird” and a sign at the bar to prove it.
– Bart takes a hard foul from Milhouse and the two fight on the court. Turns out Milhouse was gotten to by the mob also. His poor bobble head was hit by the mob as enticement.
– Bart apologizes to his dad. “The good thing about being a kid is you get to make mistakes so you don’t make them as an adult.” Homer may still make mistakes but the best one was Bart. Awwww. Homer tells Bart to go win the game and he does. He also cuts the net after ruining the skills net budget for ten years according to Skinner.
– Homer and Bart thought they were goners after defying Tony. They thought he was going for a gun at the game but he was just going for his phone to ask for a gun. Homer says their lives flashed before their eyes (“I had a lot of crazy jobs.”) Thank goodness the cavalry arrived on her stupid high horse aka Lisa with dirt on Tony to save the day. Lisa offers to say it in Italian, Sicilian or like Porky Pig but Tony doesn’t speak the first two and is annoyed by the latter. Apparently Tony had played youth basketball as a third string shooting guard for a girls team, The Little Debbies. In exchange for the secret being kept quiet, Tony lets the whole affair slide. Lisa scooped it all by searching on BadaBing. Lisa thinks her heroism deserves a chyron (no it doesn’t is what she gets lol).
– Gotta love Louie giving away other secrets like Fat Tony wearing man Spanx, having the high school nickname Robert DeZero, crying during Toy Story 2 (“that’s not even the sad one”), and having a secret shrink.
– Lisa explains how it all turned out well but Marge shows up to worry that the secret is out not. “It’s in a documentary. No one watches those, unless it’s a documentary where a rich guy kills people and no one knows about it.”
– And we get Burns popping in to make the joke funny.”As far as you know. (walks off screen away from camera) I’m guilty, guilty, guilty.” Smithers: “Sir, you know you’re on mic.” Burns: “Who is this Mike you’re speaking of? We’ll kill him too!”
– “All sports stories have an upside unless you’re a Detroit Lions fan.” Springfield gets a new banner as the Tainted City Champions.
– Anger Watkins rants one last time about “a travesty wrapped in outrage, marinated in a sauce of everything’s gone to hell.” I just like that he has a bottle of sciencewater on the desk.
– Homer, Marge, and Lisa end on the couch. Bart ran into one tall kid and realized he wasn’t good and Lisa found a talent for journalism. “Whatever that gets us.” The End.
– End montage. Homer never coached again but never lost his talent for telling children what to do like whistling and having Maggie bring him a beer. Stephen Curry shows up to show he never appeared in the documentary. Milhouse got over his fears (“No I didn’t!) and Krusty was sued by Dolly Parton for defamation of character. I know I shouldn’t laugh but her shadow just tickles me. Fat Tony returns to confront his old nemesis but basketball against females turns out the same. As he grabs his gun I’m a little worried for the lady ballers. Lastly, Nelson’s dad came back because he’s been narrating the documentary the whole time. Nelson gets sleeves for his vest and the Muntzes are a family again just long enough to take a picture. The real end.
Honestly, words don’t do this whole episode justice and it was difficult to figure out how to write it all up. I really dug how they did a whole episode using a new formula. The jump cuts between scenes was fresh and I found myself laughing throughout it. The Simpsons is often just right when it’s telling quick joke after joke. Thankfully, there was also a singular cohesive story running throughout it. I like Lisa saving the day and seeing tension between Bart, Homer and others. Also nice for an episode using the mafia in town. On my blah/meh/oooh/aaaah/ wowza/woo hoo scale… I give this a high aaaah to a low wowza. I liked it.
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 happy classy tapping. I’ll be back with more recaps as new episodes air.
TTFN… Wookiee out!