"Penny Wiseguys"

"Penny Wiseguys"

I have to admit, I'm starting to agree with the haters.

This is one of those mid-season episodes that just doesn't move me too much in one direction or the other. Steve Carell's character had a lot of potential as the accountant who is given the reins of a mob crew. But aside from making staff cutbacks, I didn't really feel like this went as far as it should have. Particularly given the extraordinary lengths to which Carell's character Michael Scott went, when confronted with the man that he thought was a mobster in an episode of The Office.

I mean, there's a lot of fun you could have with the idea of "an accountant becomes a mob boss." Maybe he decides that the clothing allowance is too high, so he mandates uniforms for all the mobsters. Maybe he outsources the protection racket to a call center in India. Maybe he crunches the numbers and discovers that they're losing money on interpersonal loans, and he shunts those resources into buying an Arby's franchise instead. 
 
I kind of feel like the writers picked the first thing that came to hand and ran it into the ground, instead of exploring some of the weird directions where you could take this plot.
 
Instead they left all the weirdness for the B plot, in which Lisa is diagnosed as anemic, and starts eating bugs. Never mind that you can get plenty of iron from figs, leafy greens like spinach, and beans. Never mind that! You and your logic! No, Lisa is going to eat bugs, and that's the end of that.
 
This plot reminded me of a failed, perhaps half-baked leftover from a Treehouse of Horror. It had some laughs, and plenty of squirms. And the bit with the corn maze at the end was hilarious. ("Just let me have this!") But overall it just didn't quite do it for me. 
 
I feel like, if Lisa Simpson is going to have a crisis over eating bugs, it's going to be because she recognizes that they are on the wrong side of the "charismatic megafauna" equation. A grasshopper is just as much a living animal as a panda, but because it's less cute, we think it might be okay for a vegetarian to eat it.
 
Lisa, I think, would totally get that. Maybe even start a campaign to improve the public image of grasshoppers and ants. Possibly make her own animated series starring a lovable grasshopper, or license a line of plush toys. 
 
Basically anything other than what happened, which is that she ate bugs and then she had a bad dream and she stopped eating bugs. Sigh.