Warning; this review contains spoilers.
After this week The Simpsons has only ten episodes to go before they call it a day for another year. Some may say they should have called it a day a long time ago and some others may even say that I am one of those naysayers and I would have to say I would agree with all their sayings. So what do you say when they manage to produce a good episode for once? It’s hard to decide whether it was worth it, sh*tting on their own legacy for firstly money (let’s face it) and secondly to aim for the high quality they once had. Probably not but ignoring this ongoing issue let’s get to this week’s episode.
Much Apu About Something
After Bart plays a prank that sets off a chain reaction to destroy the Kwik-E-Mart, Apu’s nephew takes over the newly rebuilt “Quick And Fresh” while Apu recovers from the accident. Meanwhile after going too far, Bart promises Homer that he will no longer pull any pranks. On the surface it is very easy to see the same Simpsons formula that has become stale over the years but with the help of some very clever jokes this episode manages to make the formula feel fresh again.
A longtime Simpons fan or middling skilled Googler may infer that this episode is the spiritual successor to “Much Apu About Nothing”, well no. It is a follow-up in so much as the fact that Apu faces a dilemma that Homer vows to help him with. As far as the story goes, there aren’t that many similarities or connecting threads but that is not a negative because apart from the lazily rehashed title, this episode is an absolute corker.
The first five minutes absolutely flew by with witty idea after hilarious joke, pop cultural referance and ridiculous background gag. Once we get to the main story things drop off a little but there are enough jokes and self-referential digs to keep the quality above mediocrity. I don’t plan on bringing up my issue with the Apu character again, if you have read my reviews you will be well aware but 90s racist Indian voice aside I quite like Apu. In a show full of such extremes in intelligence or lack there of, the average 100 IQers can be quite refreshing. As for the stereotype sides of things well that what The Simpsons is, a stereotype machine and when the writers can make fun of this fact as they did in this episode it’s really just harmless fun.
Apu’s nephew, Jamshed has somehow avoided Springfield’s Peter Pan curse and has grown into the perfectly annoying hipster. Utkarsh Ambudkar does a wonderful job of irritating the pants off the audience while still remaining believably competent. There aren’t many other notable characters but its nice to see that the writers still know how to write a story that has to lean so heavily on Homer or Bart. Bart’s story is quick and to the point while Homer only steps up in the story when he is really needed. This not only works as a nice break from the character but adds to the hilarity of the plot, notably the scene when Jamshed outs Apu as a gambling addict to Homer.
The Bart storyline is one of the more unique plotlines I’ve seen in a while, unique but familiar. By focusing on Bart’s love of pranks, the writers have managed to find a new angle on heavily trodden ground. It’s also nice to see a secondary story that ties into and is integral to the main story. If they were to drag this story out more, there would be a chance that it could become stale quite quickly but luckily this story isn’t too long and ends before that has a chance to happen.
If you haven’t picked up on it yet, this was an incredibly funny week of The Simpsons. The joke count in the first few minutes got out of hand and I may even go so far as to say that this was the funniest of the season. For some reason The Big Bang Theory can seem even funnier when it is referenced outside of its own show and the line, “Oh Wolowitz, always Wolowitz” tickled me for reasons I can’t explain. Not to forget Bart’s flawless logic when Lisa tries to use her unconditional love to stop him from returning to pranks.
For all the goodish episodes we have seen this year, Much Apu About Something made me realise that The Simpsons can still be great. Like so many episodes this year, it has risen my hopes for the rest of the season. I have no idea how they run the show but surely a month break until the next episode has got to be a good thing for the quality as well. This episode made me forget my wishes to see Futurama return for just a split second and for that reason I’m awarding the twelfth episode of season twenty-seven a 4.5 out of 5 stars.