Monday, February 19, 2007

The Simpsons: "Springfield Up" Review

After last week's disappointing episode, I was hoping for a Simpsons' episode that would reassure me that the quality of the show would remain high. "Springfield Up" certainly made me happy in that regard and may be one of the my favorite episodes of recent times.

Te first half of the episode was presented as documentary narrated and starring Eric Idle, of Monty Python fame, as the documentarian. Eric's character has become a reoccuring role on the show and while he is very hit or miss, tonight he was definitely hit. The documentary is done in the style of the "-Up" films, which follows a set of kids as they grow up, each film checking in after some interval of time. Applying this structure to a Simpsons episode provided a rare peak into Springfield's past. We don't often get to see the backstories of characters, other than how they interact with Homer or Marge. But it was delight to see a young Professor Frink in his cardboard rocketship, wanting to be a rocket scientist. It was also funny seeing Frink try to go back in time to warn his younger self that science is no way to meet girls.

There were other fun bits, like Lenny being too boring to film and how Police Chief Wiggum arose in his position. Of course, after the little character bits, we get to the core of the story: Homer and Marge throughout the years. Homer has always been a little dense, especially when it comes to cameras and squeek toys. Marge has also seemed bright eyed and happy, no matter if it was following her dream of photography or married to a man like Homer. When we catch up to these two, Homer has seemingly made it rich and is living in a mansion. At first, I thought this would be the jump-the-shark moment fo the episode, but the punchline (they were squatting in Mr. Burns' winter home) was enough to make me happy. Homer blames Eric Idle for Homer not living his dream of being rich, and Idle actually feels sorry for Homer and shows him, through all the film he has shot, that Homer is actually living a good life.

There were many funny bits in the show that actually added to the story. The progression of Moe through the years was hilarious to see as was his hope that his father was every circus freak his mom slept with. This was one episode that definitely was an instant classic.

And oh yeah, there was a full-length trailer for the Simpsons movie too!

4 1/2 Black and White Scenes out of 5.


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