Crazy Noises: Little Big Mom

Little Big Mom1

“That suit’s a little revealing, isn’t it?” – Homer Simpson
“Well, it allows for maximum mobility.  Feels like I’m wearing nothing at all.” – Ned Flanders

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “vacuum”).

Today’s episode is 1110, “Little Big Mom”.  Yesterday’s was 1109, “Grift of the Magi”. 

Charlie Sweatpants: I want to like this episode, I really do, but it’s got too many problems for me to want to watch it much.

Dave: Why do you want to like it, out of curiosity?

Charlie Sweatpants: I’m willing to set aside the weirdness of Lisa being the mom who takes care of Bart and Homer. I’m even willing to set aside Homer and Bart being best friends.

  As a role-reversal setup, that’s not terrible.

However, they take everything way too damn far. Did they have to actually go to Hawaii? Did the fucking ghost of Lucy have to appear before Lisa?

  Did the "practice" chore hat thing have to take that long?

  Couldn’t they have done something other than beat the shit out of Homer in a lot of these scenes?

When I say I want to like this one, what I mean is that there’s the germ of a good episode somewhere beneath all the crotch hits and Homer and Bart screaming about leprosy.

Mad Jon: It’s a Lisa Learns a Lesson episode, which tend to shift focus and allow for different types of stories. That has often worked in the past, but as most of my notes are just a list of Jerky things done by Homer and Bart, it is easy to see that shifting the focus didn’t get rid of any of those zombie problems.

Charlie Sweatpants: The Funzo one is just nuts, this one could’ve easily been something decent.

  For example, Otto is teaching the snowboard class which is all about lingo rather than snowboarding.

It’s kinda funny, and I like "duke on!", but there was no reason for that to be Otto. Would it have killed them to create a snowboard instructor character?

Mad Jon: An actual instructor would have been nice.

  Although I guess Otto isn’t that much of a stretch.

Charlie Sweatpants: No, he’s not, but there are so many things that could’ve been better in this episode. Like the scene where Homer and Bart go over to the Flanders house. Seeing the Flanders get guilted into something is enjoyable, having it take that long, including (off voice) Maude setting the vacuum cleaner on fire and Flanders getting his moustache ripped off, not so much.

Mad Jon: Imagination Christmas was good.

  But I more or less agree with you.

Charlie Sweatpants: Getting there was too much of a pain.

Mad Jon: That being said I have never looked at this episode in that manner, like there is something good at the roots, but it got dug up with dynamite.

Charlie Sweatpants: How about the Itchy & Scratchy at the beginning?

  No need for Scratchy to have a voice there. It’s filler.

He could’ve just invented the cloning and killing machines like a regular episode. (And I love it when he hits Scratchy in the face with the mace.)

Mad Jon: I do enjoy the cloning/killing machine idea. But you are right, took way to long to get to the funny.

Charlie Sweatpants: I really do try to avoid playing Monday Morning Screenwriter, but fuck, this episode really could’ve been a standout in Season 11 if it had just pulled itself back into some vaguely recognizable boundaries, and I find that frustrating to watch.

Mad Jon: Well put.

Charlie Sweatpants: For all that, though, I actually think this is one of the more quotable episodes in Season 11.

Mad Jon: Agreed on that as well.

Charlie Sweatpants: There’s Moe’s call to Lisa, Lisa’s cross country skiing admission, Homer and Bart watching the Lucy show, this one isn’t a comedy desert unlike so many others this season.

Dave: It’s all a nauseous blur to me.

Mad Jon: Flanders and Homer at the top of the mountain.

  I use the "feels like I’m wearing nothing at all" line all the time.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, "stupid sexy Flanders" is great, and then immediately pissed on by Homer getting hit in the groin with snow mounds over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

Mad Jon: and over and over and over.

Charlie Sweatpants: Exactly.

  Still, by Season 11 standards, I think of this one as above average even if it is still mostly unwatchable.

"You’ve got . . . leprosy".

Mad Jon: I would agree with that rating. Of course it is disqualified in general by the fact that the ending is overlain by Homer’s screams.

  That’s a deal breaker for me.

Charlie Sweatpants: It is a wretched way to end an episode.

Especially one where Homer has already spent so much time getting the shit kicked out of him.

Any other particular high or low points here?

Mad Jon: Meh. There are a lot of mostly low points. Just not worth the effort to type. Especially in complete sentences.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’m fond of the Jesus joke where Homer says, "I think we’re on the outs with him", and I’m going to mention Moe’s phone call again, because the way he says "don’t hang up on me" gets me every time.

Mad Jon: Some good quotes and lines, but not enough to pull it out.

  I also like Moe’s call.

Dave: Yep.

  Better than the more overt suicide neediness he often displays.

Mad Jon: Just a standard desperate loneliness here, eh?

Charlie Sweatpants: Right.

  I don’t mind him being bitter and suicidal if it’s because one of his customers didn’t come in for an eye opener. I do mind him being heartsick and lovelorn over no one loving him.

It is a fine line between stupid and clever, and that’s it, right there.

Anything else here, or can I head for the electric needle room?

Mad Jon: I got nothing. Enjoy your view.

Dave: Let’s all go.

Charlie Sweatpants: Okay, but I get to go first.

4 Responses to “Crazy Noises: Little Big Mom”

  1. 1 D.N.
    18 July 2012 at 7:16 pm

    This episode led to one of the most trenchant comments I’d ever read on the old “Jump the Shark” website. On the page for The Simpsons, someone – and this was about ten years ago – wrote about how ridiculous the plots had gotten. If memory serves, the person wrote something like, “In the old days, a typical plot would be, Lisa needs braces, and so Homer leads a strike. Now, it’s Marge gets injured skiiing, which leads to the ghost of Lucy telling Lisa to lie about Homer and Bart having leprosy, and so Flanders sends them to Hawaii.”

  2. 2 The Entire Score of the H.M.S. Pinafore
    19 July 2012 at 10:29 am

    Onething that stands out to me about this episode is that, back when Season 11 came out and I’d started watching it less, The Simpsons was up for a BAFTA (I forget if it won or not). The clip they showed was Homer getting hit in the crotch as he slid down the hill. Even ten years ago I thought ‘couldn’t they have gone with stupid sexy Flanders? It was the same episode!’ I don’t know who actually picks the clips to show before the winner is announced, but someone, somewhere, really should have known better.

  3. 4 Sumguy
    19 July 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Yeah, you can tell what people actually find funny in that episode by looking at what they quoted. Nobody remembers Homer getting rendered sterile for the ninth time that season, but everybody remembers “Stupid sexy Flanders!”

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