Friday Filler- Finally…The Simpsons Comes HOME!

Thank Grog It’s Firday…

Just so we are clear, I’m not talking about the Simpsons coming to Disney Plus…which may be one of the worst launches of a “Major Streaming Service Ever.”

Besides the fact that their servers barfed…and loads and loads of subscribers couldn’t get any programming…apparently, what they can get, is altered…a lot.

This includes the SIMPSONS!!  The much vaunted, much ballyhooed new home for the back episodes of ALL of The Simpsons, has Simpsons  Fans Fuming!
The Disney Plus is formatting the show, cuts out a ton of the picture. And because of this, a ton of the jokes/gags/content are just not visible.  CHECK THIS STORY OUT…

But…This is NOT what I’m here to talk about today…as the most recent episode of the Simpsons actually took place in the REAL BIRTHPLACE of the Simpsons. And it was hilarious!

Let’s just get this out of the way. The episode, “Marge the LumberJill” (S31E6) had a ridiculous premise.  Really, really, really silly.   But then, it got great!

In basic overview…The family goes to a school play that was written by Lisa. It portrays Marge as dull, boring and predictable. Which drives Marge to try to find something that is “her own,” which turns out to be professional lumber-jacking…or, as the name implies, Lumber-Jilling, which is apparently the female version of a lumber-jack. Go figure. 

Marge does so well, under the tutelage of  Paula, a gay lumberjill teacher/coach/partner (voiced by the non-binary actress, Asia Kate Dillon of “Orange is the New Black” fame), that she decides to train for a huge regional competition in Portland, Oregon, and leaves Homer and the family for a month…which drives Homer to thinking that he is losing his wife to “the other side.”  Confused and offended yet? It’s OK. The premise was just a way to get everyone to the Birthplace of the Simpson… Matt Groening’s hometown of Portland, Oregon.

Look…I get it. This was  the writer’s chance to do a couple of things. First, they get to be totally “woke” and sling about 30 gay/lesbian stereotype jokes, while resolving it all with Paula being married to an Olympic rhythmic gymnast.  But, as you would expect from this group, with their pedigree as Ivy League nerds…it was a pretty ham-handed attempt.

But…it had it’s bright spots.

Here’s a shot of Paula and Marge “lumberJilling”
At one point…Paula and Marge clear-cut an entire hillside, and then make “chip angels” in the mayhem they have created. Ugh…on several levels. Not a fan of clear-cutting.

Marge’s competitive mantra is “I’m NOT boring!!”  No. No you are not. Now put down the axe?

The concept of Marge in a Timber competition isn’t that far-fetched. However…not in Portland. The World Timber Carnival was held for more than fifty years in Albany, Oregon…about 75 miles south of Portland. It used to be a HUGE thing back in the day, when timber was the primary income for much of Oregon. It was so big, it was often broadcast on the program,  “ABC Wide World of Sports.”

Lisa, trying to be supportive makes a comment that she is happy for her Mom, but isn’t happy that they cut down so many trees in the process. Bart replies, “I heard that trees are the cause of global warming… I read it in my science book!”
(Exxon Mobil Unteaches you Science- forward by Mitch McConnell).

But, once Homer and the kids waited out the 30 days of being “Marge-less,” they decide to go to Portland to fetch her.  And this is where all of the Portland insider jokes start.

Don’t adjust your screens…these really are suppose to be this dull, and rain-soaked.  Portland has a reputation for continuous rain…but it is mostly a myth, as for the last decade, Oregon is turning into Northern California weather-wise…and California is on fire. But, I digress..

The accuracy of the pictures (with the gags thrown in) are a testament to how unique Portland is…and frankly…how much Matt still loves his hometown.  It is a beautiful city.

All of these shots are based on actual places…mostly. 

This gag cracked me up. I had to go back and freeze frame it, as it flies by in a montage of Portland shots.  Woody…loves his artisanal craft cannabis.

Lisa says, “Let’s just enjoy Portland…I mean, indigenous artwork, Craft breweries, independent movie theaters, and that’s just in one coffee shop!”

When they spy Comic Book Guy, he explains his presence…
Comic Book Guy: I Come to Portland to re-charge… In Portland I’m quirky rather than objectionable…
Bart: Do you sell comic books here?
CBG: No… Marijuana and artisanal salami laced with marijuana.

So yes. Cannabis is legal in Oregon.

As the family heads into Portland to find Marge, the scenery is beautiful…and accurate. This is the Burnside Bridge, crossing the Willamette River, with the icon Portland sign in the foreground.

And as they drive, they pass countless familiar sounding street names…which as I have written about before, were the less-than-inspirational source of many of the characters in the Simpsons.  Yes…they ALL exist.

As does the actual Groening home in the West hills of Portland. 

When they get to Paula’s, they find the two lumberjills together, with their pet pugs, “Nike” and “Swoosh,” an homage to Nike, which is headquartered in Beaverton, a suburb of Portland.

Marge describes her clothes, “These are locally-sourced dungarees and Pendleton flannel! It’s what Jill Sobule wore when she played the Crystal ballroom.

For those of you who aren’t into “meta humor,” Jill Sobule did the song, “I kissed a girl,” and the Crystal Ballroom is one of Portland’s favorite concert venues.

But the Best Joke of the night??? And maybe one of the funniest in years…
Homer is having a beer at the “Knotty Pines Alehouse…”

There, he has this classic exchange…
Hipster Dude: What are you doing here…you OK?
Homer: Oh I’m sitting in a bar…and my wife’s in love with a female lumberjack…
Hipster Dude: Classic Portland where are you from?
Homer: Springfield.
Hipster Dude: Which one? Oregon?
Homer: I don’t know!

This is Matt Groening at his best. Honoring his past…the real sources of the Simpsons, while having fun with the mystery of Springfield. Which of course…is no mystery at all.

Paula and Marge are in Portland…training for the regional lumber competition…after winning in SPRINGFIELD…which is just a couple of hours down I-5.  The family drove. They didn’t fly. They live in Springfield, Oregon.

What a great bit of fun…in an otherwise oddly written story. For me…they could have just as well done an “Our Trip to Portland” travel short…and left the rest out.

I was just there last weekend for my niece’s wedding. All of my daughters were there, as Hannah, my niece, is like the “sixth Miller girl.”  We stayed in downtown Portland…and it is truly a beautiful city.

Thanks for the finally coming clean, Matt. Portland loves you too…

AND…for those of you who care about flooring, and my wife’s choice in island stools (Fred)…here ya go.
Next up…molding, trim, wall covering, back splash new lighting…

Click picture to enlarge…

24 responses to “Friday Filler- Finally…The Simpsons Comes HOME!

  1. There was a ton of Easter Eggs in that episode, especially the PDX segment, Especially the nod to Beverly Cleary and Henry Huggins as well as Beezus & Ramona. My mom knew Beverly in the 1940s and 50s so we got all those stories read to us, so a ton of PDX history in those books as well.

  2. Deb reigns as the stool queen!

  3. Those of us that live in the Portland area (me) loved this episode. It was kind of like The Simpsons meet Portlandia.

  4. Thanks for the article I was more interested in the little blurb about the cropping of the show on Disney plus, I was scared to read the post because I was thinking at first it was going to be about some more P.C. bull**** and Disney was cutting out the dirty jokes or taking out the language, making it more family friendly (opposite of what the Simpsons are). But after reading it it still sucks.. just not as bad. I wish they’d just leave it alone one of my favorite things about the show is the visual jokes. I actually annoy my viewers because I pause to read all the signs.. lol. But I love it and I don’t like the idea of cutting them out. Thanks for that info I appreciate it. Sorry for the rant..

  5. They drove to Florida. NYC, many places.

  6. Rusty Shackleford

    Loved the Portland stuff, also cause they referenced another show I loved: Portlandia. The other stuff…not so much.

    I’m not subscribing to Disney+, but they will get it together. They have to, the competition is too great.

    • Yes…the storyline was kind of a convoluted mess. But, loved seeing Portland in cartoon form! Portlandia is so hilarious…and only part parody. Portland really can be that weird.

  7. Very interesting nice job 🤶🎅⛄☃️ when’s the snow due ❄️🌨️🏔️

  8. Log driving crosses borders. Every Canadian (80’s) kid remembers this Cartoon.

    I tried to imitate the guys on the logs (on land) when I was 10 years old. Knocked out 3 teeth one pierced my lip. Lol about it now..

  9. Me thinks the problems are a bit exaggerated. Episodes have played fine for me and when the servers’ barfed as you say, I hit start again and it worked fine. I’m one guy but my kids have been on it throughout each day since launch and all the people we know with it have not had issues but this bloggers keep pointing to this story as proof that millions are without. I call BS.
    You were getting better Pat at not being that guy for awhile, sad to see he’s coming back so often the last couple months.

    • Uhm…. hello…in regards to Disney+ I merely referenced another story. I don’t have the service, and won’t as I already subscribe to more TV channels than I can watch in a lifetime.

      As for as the rest… sorry..will never be a bliss ninny.

  10. Maybe give Disney some slack, they got 10 million subscribers in like a day. The industry experts thought that would take months. Clearly the severs were going Side Show Bob crazy.

    • I am pretty amazed by the abject loyalty of Disney Plus fans. Come on. It’s just another streaming service of old content. It’s not the second coming…and it sure as heck isn’t Netflix.

      • Im not a fan, don’t have the service nor do I want it. I’m just telling you to cut them some Slack, they clearly didn’t expect the numbers in the first day. It’s new and will have kinks to work out.

        • Did you even read the blog in it’s entirety or just several sentences. This post had virtually nothing to do with Disney+. Besides, if you read the linked article you will get a sense of what Patric’s brief statement was really about, poor execution of the Simpsons episodes on their new service. Remember this is a blog, about a game, based on a TV cartoon.

          Did you ever consider how many of the 10 million subscribers joined up just for the Simpsons episodes? I would bet 5-10% of the new subscribers would say the Simpsons were one of the main reasons they shelled out their hard earned money. Which could be about 500,000 to 1 million anxious Simpsons fans. Mainly because Disney made the Corporate decision to take the free episodes away on the Fox platform, to monetize their asset, and then they did it poorly. Shame on Disney for being greedy and rushing the episodes onto the new service so they can make more $$.

  11. I will have to watch this episode… I just signed up for D+… I will give it a try.. just for the simpsons…

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