"We never really had de-caf."
This episode's couch gag was gorgeous and awesome, but I must confess it was somewhat lost on me. As the one person in the whole entire universe who isn't watching "Game of Thrones," I had to actually look up the gag online. I could tell it was a thing, I just couldn't tell WHAT thing.
At any rate, I imagine the overlap between "Simpsons viewers" and "Game of Thrones viewers" is fairly substantial. And kudos to the effort they put into that couch gag, which really was surprisingly intricate, even given the history of some of their extended intro sequences.
After last year's Banksy intro, which was surprisingly dark and bitter even for a Simpsons intro railing against consumer capitalism, I came into this episode with certain expectations. If anyone could be trusted to stand up for the 99% and for the cause of guerilla art, it would be Bart Simpson. Right?
Which is why I was startled at the moment when he spray paints the hood of Homer's card, then lovingly points out that he just boosted the car's value ten times over. Think of the worldview that act embodies: a complete welcoming embrace of the commercialism of art. In the episode in my mind, Bart would come to such an act only after a long agonizing inner debate. Finally he would give in, but only reluctantly, to using his art as currency.
Then again, this is the Simpsons, and Bart Simpson is the kid who hawked Butterfingers for over a decade. I may be giving him too much credit. Bart Simpson is a rebel, but only kinda.
Lisa Simpson is the real rebel, and I love her even more for agreeing to keep bart's secret as long as he agrees to include some "fur is murder" in there, too. In fact, I wish they could re-do this episode with Lisa in the role of spraypaint artist. She's already a musician and a social activist, it's only a half step from there to spraypainting Occupy Springfield and stuff.
Anyway, I loved everything to do with Swapper Jack's. From the "Grass-Fed Lettuce," to the meticulously well-realized sword fight with tiny plastic cocktail skewers, to Apu's "Going Out of Business" sign. ("We never really had de-caf.") The thing about the monkey meat was a little weak, but I guess they needed a reason to write it out of the show.
Which is too bad - I think Springfield is big enough for a Swapper Jack's. Springfield's residents can't be buying ALL their groceries at the Kwik-E-Mart. I mean, what about the store in the intro sequence, where Maggie gets scanned?