May 2010

"Judge Me Tender"

After heckling Judge Krusty at the "Ugliest Dog in Springfield" contest, Moe Szyzlak finds his true calling - becoming a judge for American Idol. But it's a judge-eat-judge world out there, and his new duties mean Homer must spend more time at home, a prospect which soon turns sour on Marge. It's "Judge Me Tender", the finale of The Simpsons' 21st season, and, it must be said, a pretty lackluster way to end the season after what had been a stellar run of episodes.

Moe makes a name for himself with his acid tongue, being called on to adjudicate a variety of competitions (one disappointed contestant hangs himself from his bonsai tree). The Uncreative Artist Agency wants Moe to work for them ("You're mean, you're funny, and you're not British!"), and after running through a list of reality shows (including "Old People Try To Figure Out Computers", "Somali Pirate Apprentice" and "Are You Fatter Than A Fifth Grader?"), offer him a position as a judge on American Idol (and not, as Moe initially hoped for, Armenian Idol (which does actually exist as part of the worldwide Idol franchise, believe it or not). Soon, Moe finds himself under the wing of Simon Cowell, who advises Moe not to become the "mean judge". On live television, Moe finds out why - the hard way.

"The Bob Next Door"

The recession hits Springfield, but Bart Simpson has other worries. The sublime Kelsey Grammer returns as "The Bob Next Door", episode number 463 of The Simpsons. It's a good old fashioned Simpsons tale of revenge, a prison escape, gruesome face transplants and ruining the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. And spare a thought for waitresses who lament that "All the good men are either gay, or have no face."

"Moe Letter Blues"

As the men of Springfield head to one of America's roundest islands for Mother's Day, Reverend Lovejoy, Apu and Homer get a message from Moe, of Moe's Tavern ("Kids drink free night!"). He is leaving town, and will be taking one of their wives - either Helen, Manjula or Marge - with him. Lovejoy and Apu are mortified at the idea, but Homer has his priorities elsewhere: "Moe's leaving town!?" It's the 21st episode of The Simpsons' 21st season, and the show continues its good run following from last week's "To Surveil With Love."

"To Surveil With Love"

Mr. Burns has a problem: he's run out of space to dispose of his excess nuclear waste. The most logical alternative is to hide the spare plutonium on his employees, and that's where he has Problem #2: he hides the dangerously radioactive material on Homer Simpson. It sets off a chain of events that lead to Springfield going secure in "To Surveil With Love", the 20th episode of the 21st season of The Simpsons. Meanwhile, Lisa finds herself the victim of discrimination when her blonde hair leads to nobody taking her seriously.