Episode 21 - 500 Keys
16 May 2011
Synopsis: Homer locks Maggie in the car and the family have to search through a draw of old keys to get her out. Afterwards Marge decides that they should return all the keys to their rightful owners. Bart tries to do mischief but ends up helping people. Marge unleashes a rude toy train and tracks it across town. Homer steals the Duff Blimp and flies it around town. Lisa unlocks a secret room at school and uncovers a terrible secret.
The Good: The mystery element to the plot helped keep this interesting and at least Homer and Marge's silly stories connected to it. On a random note I did like Lisa using her cell phone to see in the dark corridor. I also enjoyed the key cutter greeting Lisa and saying "Ah yes the Simpsons... A notch and a bump, two notches and a bump."
It's something people do all the time now and yet I haven't seen it on many TV shows.
The Bad: Otherwise this wasn't very good. It felt like a set of random ideas that someone then found a way to connect to one another.
The whole fake classroom conspiracy was typically uninteresting. Not that I'm suggesting that there should have been dead children or anything like that but it just wasn't that entertaining. Homer's Blimp journey was uselessly broad and impossible. And Marge's farting toy train was very random. Again it felt broad and played such a flimsy part in the story that I'm not sure it was worth the effort. The situation where Homer and Lisa might have drowned happened so quickly that it ruined the sense that the Pooter Toot Express had actually saved the day.
I don't know why we needed the D plot of Bart's pranks backfiring on him. It didn't play a part in Lisa's conspiracy story and asked awkward questions about why Homer would have collected so many important keys.
Best Joke: Lisa and Bart ask Nelson if he knows anything about the mysterious bus crash because he has been at the school a long time. Nelson agrees: "Yeah I've been held back more times than I can count. Which I guess is why I keep getting held back."
The Bottom Line: This was at least a bit different and didn't hide from its own slapstick silliness. But still, if you are going to put together a ridiculous story then how about adding some ridiculous jokes?
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