The Simpsons: Rome-old and Juli-eh
(S18E15) Seriously, what is it with Grandpa Simpson falling for Marge's family members? In season five he almost marries her mother, and last night he puts the moves on Selma. Talk about a lot of weird Thanksgivings.
This episode had some good laughs, but overall I wasn't too impressed. The secondary story involving Bart and Lisa building a gigantic castle out of cardboard boxes from ASS --which stood for "American Shipping Services," and is not, as one truck indicates, affiliated with the human ass-- and fighting an apocalyptic battle with the men in brown was more entertaining than the main story, in my opinion.
Well, of course it's my opinion, I'm the one writing this, but let's not dwell on the negatives. Instead, here's some of the stuff from the episode that made me laugh, even if the overall episode felt like something the writers came up with by drawing the characters' names from a hat: "hey, we should do another episode where Selma falls in love with someone. Bring me that top hat."
Speaking of Selma's multiple beaus, the banner in which all her ex-husband's names are crossed out and Abe's is written in was pretty funny.
I also loved how Marge tried to defend the relationship between Abe and Selma by saying it was like how the worst parts of a pig are combined to form a hot dog.
I also loved the final "role play" scene between Homer and Marge in which Homer doesn't quite grasp the whole concept.
The best part of the episode, though? Grandpa telling Selma's daughter a grim tale of his time in the war, but "censoring" it for her young ears and using terms like "machine hugs" and "fun throwers."
One final thought, and it's a bit of a digression: last night's Family Guy, in which Lois slept with former president Clinton, kind of bothered me. I don't like to compare The Simpsons and Family Guy, because I think they're different shows with different approaches, and the Griffin family exist in a more "cartoony" world than the Simpsons. The problem is, when Family Guy tries to tackle, in its own irreverent way, a serious subject like marital infidelity, it feels forced and awkward. I hated Lois by the end of the episode, because there's no real explanation given as to why she cheated on Peter, other than Clinton is just really, really, persuasive.
I'm not "humor-impaired," (to quote Dave Barry), but there are two Simpsons episodes that stick out in my mind in which both Homer and Marge were seriously tempted to stray: Marge falling for her bowling instructor and Homer falling for a co-worker who is both very sexy and also, in many ways, a female version of himself. In both of those episodes, I really felt for both Marge and Homer because they were encountered with serious temptations, but in Lois' case, she just came across as kind of a slut.
Like I said, Family Guy has always been a lighter and sillier series than The Simpsons, and that's fine, but too often the characters on Family Guy are used like paper dolls: peeled from one scenario and placed into another whenever the plot calls for it without any real justification for their actions. That may work for some viewers, but I prefer comedy that's a little more thoughtful in its approach.