I think it's almost become a running gag in my reviews to mention how long The Simpsons has been on the air, and whether this fact excuses a particular week's episode, or makes the episode stronger. Last week's "The Great Simpsina"was a good example of the latter. This week's "The Real Housewives of Fat Tony" is a wincing example of the former. There wasn't even the usual army of guest voices. This was just a weak episode.
Nobody likes waiting in line at the DMV, least of all Fat Tony. But Selma's unique brand of customer service appeals to Fat Tony, who, after threatening to kill her, takes her to a plastic surgeon. The result is a new and improved Selma Bouvier, one who captures Fat Tony's heart. Marge isn't so sure that marrying the mob is a great idea, but Selma's long-standing contempt of Homer doesn't put her in a sisterly mood. Meanwhile, Lisa discovers that Bart has the ability to smell buried truffles. There's a lot of money in the venture, but everybody's got their secrets, and there's a good reason why truffle-hunting pigs don't eat their bounty.
"Selma gets married" episodes of The Simpsons are nothing new, and even I guessed that the happiness wouldn't last beyond the 30-minute mark. Still, it's not too much to have hoped for more, is it? Fat Tony's two-timing on Selma, a listless Jersey Shore satire, bada bing, bada boom, story over. When the dust settles, we learn that Fat Tony is a no-good bum and Selma's single again. Didn't see that one coming.
The only interesting point of note is that Selma still had her post-liposuction figure at the end of the episode. I was expecting a full reset button, but it'll be nice if she keeps the new look, if only for Homer to do more hilarious before-and-after comparisons with Patty. I'm not optimistic, though.
Bart and Lisa do even worse in their story. The idea of him being able to sniff out buried truffles and her calling the shots goes nowhere, and it's only an appearance by Spider-Pig (or was it the real Spider-Pig? I didn't see the lightning scar) gives the whole angle any laughs. The scene of the pig going nuts in Luigi's restaurant gives the episode a much needed kick to get it moving - because by that point, you feel like time itself had slowed to a merciless crawl.
"The Real Housewives of Fat Tony" wasn't totally without its merits. It was nice to see Marge and Selma go at each other, only with both of them playing "Stand By Your Man" this time (as opposed to just Marge). Naturally, there was only one winner, but if the best writer Dick Blasucci could do was bigamy, then I'll just have to make do somehow.
Louie gets the honors for the best scene in the episode, with his terrified confusion at Fat Tony's order: does he "take care" of the doctor, or does he "take care" of the doctor? Because if he doesn't "take care" of the doctor, Fat Tony might "take care" of him. Unfortunately, it doesn't "take care" of the episode, but if we can be certain of one thing in The Simpsons, there's always next week.
3.0/5.0: The only reason "The Real Housewives of Fat Tony" doesn't struggle is because it doesn't even try.