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November 28, 2014

The Simpsons: The Devil Wears Nada

by Jason Hughes, posted Nov 16th 2009 3:10AM
The Simpsons: The Devil Wears Nada(S21E05) I've been waiting all season for this episode. As a long-lapsed fan of The Simpsons, it was beginning to look like someone had sucked the heart right out of Springfield's first family. Maybe they have, for the most part, but everything that made The Simpsons such a great show 20 years ago was there tonight.

Maybe it was that we finally got to see Mr. Burns again; he was always my favorite. Yes, he only had a bit part, and in fact the part of maniacal boss was played by Carl instead of Burns, but his presence set up the stories of the entire episode. I'll go so far as to say everything about that episode worked, from Marge's sexy calendar to Ned Flander's role in the final moments.

Even the brief encounters with Bart at school fed the main story, and were handled perfectly. This is what The Simpsons is capable of, and despite a few moments that were a bit more crass than I recall the Simpsons of yore being, it was classic Simpsons all over again.

Speaking of crass, I was a little surprised when "ass" came up on the dice. I know it's a more accepted word today than it was when this show first started, but it still surprises me when the envelope is taken that far on certain shows. I'm certainly not offended by it, just surprised that The Simpsons has that kind of a censorship edge these days.

I guess I shouldn't be, though, because when the series premiered it was constantly under fire for pushing the envelope of what you could do in animation and on prime time. I guess now that the collective envelope is already further over the line than it was, The Simpsons can always push it a bit further.

But what I loved seeing was the heart I felt was missing all season. The love between Homer and Marge dominated this episode, coming in equal strength from both sides. The decency of Ned Flanders remained consistent, under considerable duress, and wet dress, and Bart's boyish loyalty to his mother remained untarnished.

There were moments of true humor throughout, Milhouse and the rising eyebrow was well-handled, as was the Superintendent checking his "calendar" to see when Bart should get detention. In fact, it was the frat boy humor surrounding the titillating calendar that brought the most laughs. I didn't mind the lack of gut-wrenching laughter, though, because I got such a sweet story.

It was just kind of accepted that Carl getting promoted would lead to the power going to his head, so that aspect wasn't played up at all. It just happened. The focus stayed on Marge and Homer. The pin-up calendar, and local reaction, made Marge feel sexy, only Homer was now too exhausted to do anything about it. He'd been promoted to Carl's executive assistant despite his resistance, though he was genuinely excited about going to France.

There were some good moments for humor there as well, with Homer's sexy dance, French rock and roll, and even a cameo by the Moulin Rouge, but once again, coming home it was about the relationship. Of course, Ned and Marge wouldn't cross that line into adultery. I was even satisfied to see Homer realize that Ned would never do that, despite what he thought of him.

I feel almost weird being so completely satisfied with an episode of any television series, but "The Devil Wears Nada" just feels like it was perfectly balanced, written and executed. It was the story of the love between a man and a wife, and that remained consistently in focus in virtually every moment. Maybe I'm just in a really good mood, but great job to everyone involved on that one!

[Check out clips and full episodes of The Simpsons over at SlashControl.]

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PB

Enough with this stupid show did anybody see one of the funniest American Dad's this season. Drop the Simpsons and pick up American Dad!

November 17 2009 at 1:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to PB's comment
PB

American Dad should have it's own review and not be lumped in with the other two shows.

November 17 2009 at 1:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
James

Did we watch the same episode? Every character played against character and it was boring and drawn out. Burns going 'back' to Church, Bart just being violent for Nelson razzing him, Carl being a 'boss douche', Homer being obsessed with work... None of it worked for me. I know they've toyed with adultery in the past and humans being humans, but it just felt like it was trying to rekindle The Simpsons of old but just ended up beating a dead horse.

November 16 2009 at 10:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to James's comment
Ian

I guess we all watched a different episode than you did, James. I enjoyed it a lot, and felt everybodywas pretty in-character.

November 16 2009 at 12:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tingrin87

i'll agree with james that it wasn't a great episode - the carl plot didn't have a real ending, and there were some parts that i thought "wow, the writers are trying to be "edgy" a la family guy, and not really cutting it" - the one part that sticks in mind is the motorboat suicide

November 16 2009 at 3:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John

Is Mr. Burns dead? Or are you just glad to see him again?

November 16 2009 at 8:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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