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'The Simpsons' - 'The Color Yellow' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Feb 22nd 2010 2:40AM
'The Simpsons' - 'The Color Yellow'(S21E13) You'll have to forgive me when I admit that I'm not familiar with all of the instances of the Simpson family history that have been presented over the years, as I've not caught all 453 episodes prior to this one. I also suspect that Lisa's journey across the attic featured costumes and memorabilia from across the past 20 years, which would have been a nice touch for that lackluster anniversary 450th episode that featured Krusty, for some reason. Bonus points to anyone who can recognize every artifact shown.

Speaking of Krusty, he showed up in the flashback installments of this nostalgic look back at the Simpsons in the era of slavery. It was but one of a few awkwardly forced historical cameos in what was otherwise a rather solid episode.

Plus, we learned where donuts originated from, and knowledge is power!

Do you think the Simpsons just became 1/64th black in the hopes that the NAACP would stop criticizing network television for how incredibly white it's gotten the past several years? It's certainly an interesting revelation about the family, while not changing anything really about them. Grandpa's explanation for the deceit over the years was simple enough. His generation was racist.

There were some great comedic moments in tonight's episode, notably Ralph Wiggum's presentation for Black History Month, and the herd of Obamas backstage waiting for their moment to shine. The early sequence with the stump wound up more surreal than funny, when Groundskeeper Willie filled the resultant hole with water and actually caught a fish in it. Nevertheless, those little background bits add layers and humor to otherwise more straightforward scenes.

Lisa's quest to find one honorable person in the Simpsons lineage gave rise to one question that's always bothered me about family trees. If she was having trouble finding an honorable ancestor on her father's side, why not look to Marge's family. It's just as rich and storied as Homer's, I'm sure. We're still so paternally oriented when we think of our ancestry, even though it's only half of the equation that makes each of us. Then again, Marge did admit she was French, so -- ("Oh no you didn't!" - "Oh yes, I did!")

It was a nice switch to have Eliza Simpson truly turn out to be the disappointment most Simpsons are, while her mother Mabel turned out to be the true hero. She also turned out to be the true ancestors to the modern-day Simpsons, with the former slave Virgil that Eliza failed to free; they took the Simpsons name because Virgil didn't have a last name.

That means, though, that Hiram Simpson, who supposedly lived in Springfield, is not related to the current Simpsons. If the descendants are still in town, they're a rogue line of Simpsons, though it's possible their name has changed over the years. Well, would you look at that. How's all this for overthinking a cartoon series? They could just as easily pretend the events of this episode never happened by the time next week rolls around.

[Find more family history with clips and full episodes of 'The Simpsons' over at SlashControl.]

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David Cook is my Idol!

They forgot all about Herb Powell. He was a success, at least until he found out he was born a Simpson ;)

February 22 2010 at 3:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"The Simspons" has always had conveinant continuity. Sure they can bring up an episode that happened five years ago and say it happened, yet when you are dealing with a series in which the characters haven't grown a year older in 20 years, (except when they want to do a birthday episode) the rules of what has and has happened in the timeline its happened can be played with. One can even say that while we are watching events occur in one year of Springfield, we could be jumping all over the calender on any particular episode, so what happened five years ago in one episode, might not be what has occured yet, in next week's episode.

February 22 2010 at 1:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

one old episode came to mind... there's one where Lisa thinks that she'll grow up to be stupid like Homer. She finds out all of the Simpson men are not that intelligent. Then, she finds out that the women have been successful and smart, and at the end there's a list of relatives and their accomplishments. I wonder why they ignored that last night (although maybe it has been discounted since... I, too, have missed many of the episodes over the years).

February 22 2010 at 10:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to alk02g's comment

Yeah I thought as soon as the episode began that they were going to pull that same "Simpsons women" plot, and they didn't. I was really glad and I thought it was a great episode. And they never discount that episode either by the way. I'm an AVID Simpsons fan, I have seen every episode at least twice except for the newest season.

also at the author, Jason, I laugh at you trying to go into a deep timeline with this show. I watched one the other night where Seymour's mom says something about being pregnant in the 50's but we know he fought in Vietnam, which doesn't add up right at all, on top of the fact that the current Seymour isn't the real Seymour.

February 22 2010 at 7:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i noticed the "I didn't do it!" t-shirt. after that, my brain exploded.

February 22 2010 at 10:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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