"Don't call me Mom!" "Sorry, Mrs. Simpson."
I wanted to like this episode. Boy, I really did. The premise was golden: Homer gets sucked into the world of doomsday preppers. It's timely, it has a lot of comedic potential, and it's oddball enough to be interesting in and of itself.
The episode had some great moments, don't get me wrong. As someone who spends a lot of time keeping tabs on the various paranoid conspiracy theorists of the world, I took a particular delight in the video that convinced Homer Simpson that the world was going to end. I'm not sure how many viewers will be able to appreciate the way that it hit all the right notes, while still being hilariously parodic ("17 YEAR CICADA CYCLE").
I can think of a lot of ways in which this episode would have worked better. But isn't that always the way? Monday morning quarterbacking. I hate it when people do it to me, and I'm sure the Simpsons crew hates it when random bloggers (like myself) do it to them.
But still, I have to wonder: didn't anyone somewhere along the way propose that the preppers should be familiar characters from Springfield? Why go to all the trouble to create a prepper compound outside Springfield, only to populate it with the guest star's character (Tom Waits is a great choice for this episode by the way), Herman the one-armed man who's a tertiary character at best, and a bunch of (correct me if I'm wrong) characters we've never seen before, and will likely never see again. (Note: I can't remember if Cletus was in the prepper group or not, and my quick bit of Googling turns up nothing. I remember he was in the first act, calling sugar packets "mouse pillows," but I don't remember if he was there later or not.)
If I was going to rewrite this episode (in my feverish, sweaty nerdish dreams) I would have put the following characters in the prepper group:
- Hans Moleman
- Bumblebee Man
- Ned Flanders
- Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel
I think you will have to agree, looking over that list, that Damn I'm good.
Ned would be prepared the way the Mormons are, but without the (in his words) blasphemy. Bumblebee Man would keep trying to cheer everyone up, and becoming increasingly annoying in the process. Hans Moleman would turn out to have been building an incredibly elaborate underground bunker all these years. And Cletus, with his decades of squirrel-skinning and moonshine-brewing experience, would be their undisputed leader.
How great would that be???
Anyway, this episode? I don't know. I guess it could have been worse.