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September 21, 2014

The Simpsons: My Fair Laddy

by Ryan j Budke, posted Feb 27th 2006 9:33AM
simpsons; rolling stone; beatlesI can't remember exactly when, but it's been a while since the last new episode of The Simpsons, and I don't know about you, but I've been missing it terribly. Last night's episode was about the often-overlooked Grounds-keeper Willie; he's used for punch-lines a lot like Moe is, showing just how pitiful his life is, but normally only shows up every couple of episodes. In fact, I can't remember if Willie's ever had an entire episode where he was the main-plot before. After 17 years, it's about time, they've got all kinds of characters just laying around waiting for rich interesting stories to be told about them: Bumble Bee Man, Ms. Botz, Grounds-keeper Willie... wait... On with the show!

I really enjoyed the show, but it seemed to have a lot more "adult" jokes than normal. The one about there being more "wood" in the shop class, Willie writing down "Boink Slut" in his date book, stuff like that. Then I remembered seeing Bob Odenkirk's name in the credits as a supervising producer. Yes, our favorite Mr. Show castoff this side of David Cross, Jack Black, Sarah Silverman or many many others, had his hand in the pot for last night's episode and that connected a lot of the dots.

The sideplot where Homer's iconic blue pants were destroyed and he had to get new ones was kind of funny, but as with a lot of there side-plots this year, seemed to be dropped near the end. I watched it a second time this morning, and it really doesn't have an end to it. I thought I had just been forgetting it. I did like them poking fun of the fact that there's a lot of stupid people doing this dumb "body for advertising" stuff lately, but all in all, Homer's story fell a little flat for me.

The actual story revolved around Lisa turning Willie into a fine upstanding gentleman for her science fair project. The story is a play off of Pretty Woman, which is a play off of My Fair Lady, which is actually a play off of Pygmalion and Galatea (look out folks, he's educated). It was funny, but compared to those stories, it was missing something. When Willie has his new life, he doesn't gain anything that he would miss if he went back to his old means of living. In all the other references, someone would normally lose someone they loved if they went back to their old style of life. Here, the only person that Willie loves is himself, (yes, that's a joke) and because of that I think it lacks a little of the emotional punch, that the others have. Yes, it's just The Simpsons, but that doesn't mean I can't demand quality! As Principal Skinner pointed out, at the end, it had a nice way of ending up exactly as it had started. Let me know what you think.

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CB

Does anyone remember the line Lisa used to work on Willie's pronunciation... the variation on "the rain in Spain...?" It's driving me nuts right now, trying to remember. (Let's also recall Stewie Griffin's classic variation.)

March 07 2006 at 5:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eric

BOMBARDMENT! BOMBARDMENT! BOMBARDMENT!

February 27 2006 at 2:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
B

Revolving episodes around fringe characters is a simpsons tradition that stretches back to the golden era (seasons 3-7). Anyways, the last Willie-centric episode I can remember was when Mr Burns went to Scotland to capture the Loch Ness Monster. I guess that was more of a Burns episode, but Willie was in most of it.

February 27 2006 at 11:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Destin

Yeah, it was all My Fair Lady, no Pretty Woman that I noticed. And The Simpsons has done plenty of episodes focusing on smaller characters--they couldn't do 16 years on just the family. Though, this episode didn't do much for me, as I'm only passably familiar with the source material so the songs didn't impress much.

Also, the producer you noticed is Bill Odenkirk, Bob's brother--who was a writer and sometimes cast member on Mr. Show, but not the same person as Bob. Though at the NY Comic-Con on Saturday, I got to see ten minutes of "Freak Show," an upcoming (late 2006/early 2007) Comedy Central animated show written by David Cross and Jon Benjamin and starring Cross, Benjamin, Bob Odenkirk, and Will Arnett. Now THAT'S a cast list!

February 27 2006 at 11:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chip

I don't get the Pretty Woman thing. It directly referenced My Fair Lady.

February 27 2006 at 10:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
maddr

don't get me wrong, i love the simpsons, but when the episodes start revolving around fringe charecters (and a great fringe charecter willie is), i just can't help but be reminded of when m*a*s*h did the same thing with klinger and Fr. Mulcahee...i hope this doesn't signal the end

February 27 2006 at 10:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Richard Keller

I believe that the only focus on Willie was on a 'Treehouse of Horror' episode some years back where they parody 'Nightmare on Elm Street'.

What I'd like to see is a show focusing on my main man Cletus. Now, THAT would be an exciting episode!

February 27 2006 at 9:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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