Episode 10 - Moms I'd Like to Forget
10 January 2011
Synopsis: The fourth and fifth grades at Springfield Elementary fall out in a big way. Bart and the fifth grade ringleader almost come to blows when they notice they have matching scars on their hands. It turns out that when they were young their mothers used to socialise together. Marge decides to rekindle the friendship as does Bart before they both realise it may not have been the best idea.
The Good: I did smile at the "Cool Moms" getting back together and one of them saying "Remember how we used to reminisce!"
The Bad: I'm still trying to work out quite how and why this story was so badly written. Let's start with a basic principal. Who was this story about? Or what was this story about? Was it about Marge or Bart? Or about their relationship? I still don't know.
Marge used to have a bunch of friends, but their kids got into trouble so they stopped spending time together. Now they meet up again and...well that's where I get confused. Are the group meant to be good for Marge? Although they provide her with some relaxation and companionship there seems to be a downside. Their advice on life seems a little disconcerting and Homer and Bart end up spending time with people they don't like as a result. Then the women reveal their prejudice against Bart (seeing him as the bad influence) which turns Marge off them for good. So I suppose the story was about how they weren't really Marge's friends after all?
Umm. Well no because when they reveal their feelings about Bart a bubble appears in Marge's brain labelled "Denial About Family" which helps make her decision to leave. So I guess Bart is a bad influence? We all know he is a little hell raiser and his solution to this situation was to set off a big explosion rather than communicate with his mother. So the story was actually about the sacrifice Marge has had to make in life to look after her son?
Umm. No. Bart doesn't like his old friends, seeing them as a bad influence on him. Their dangerous antics and lack of logic quickly turn him off and he tries to tell Marge that he doesn't want to spend time with them anymore. Yet she says she needs time with her friends. So I guess the story is about Marge being so selfish and blind that she forces her son and husband to spend time with people they dislike when there is no logical reason they should have to? Well no of course not but what other conclusion could you draw from this mess of a story?
Not only were the details confusing but they were hopelessly ill-defined. Marge's friends and their sons aren't even given names which added to the sense of this being a pointless and forgettable story. There was no real detail given to Marge's time with her friends and Bart spends all of one scene enjoying his old friends' company before he grows tired of them. At no point does he address why he is tiring of boys who seem to be hell bent on the kind of destructive antics he usually enjoys. After Marge walks out on the "Cool Moms" they all start having sex! The show is getting unhealthily comfortable with this sort of explicitness but it also underlined how shapeless their characters were.
Aiding the plot making little sense was an endless stream of non-sequitur gags and scenes which attempted to inject unrelated humour into the plot. Groundskeeper Willie and Principal Skinner both had scenes complaining about their pathetic lives which had next to nothing to do with the story. Homer did his tax returns on the toilet for no apparent reason and Moe has tastelessly contracted Bell's palsy for the purpose of a lame joke about Skype. There was a musical number, two Bart fantasies and a ludicrous staff room bust up to serve the whole fourth and fifth grade feud. Not only was that feud a pointless addition to the episode but the staff room fight had no logic in it whatsoever. It simulated a western bar fight including man on woman violence and Skinner and Chalmers participating when it made absolutely no sense that they would do so.
Finally we had the whole scar origin story involving Comic Book Guy. As I've said, the plot wasn't focussed on Bart enough for this story to have much to it and it felt like an attempt to leach off the shows past of fun origin tales.
Best Joke: Homer looking at a book of "Already Solved Crossword Puzzles" and being delighted at the trivia titbits he was picking up.
The Bottom Line: No one competent edited this episode. The lack of attention to detail was staggering.
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