Sunday, 7 November 2010

PYGMOELIAN


SEASON 11 EPISODE 16 (EPISODE 242)

THIS IS IT:
This is where Moe has an accident and gets plastic surgery at which point he wakes handsome and desired as his life changes.  It begins with an outside shot of the Simpson house and the sound of a smoke alarm ringing as panicked Homer runs through the house shouting “fire” waking his family.  With that they all grab important belongings and run out the house and into the car where Homer is waiting shouting “get in, move it, this is not a drill” but driving off declaring “good work everyone, we’re sure to be first in line for Duff Day”.  Unsurprisingly Marge is angry as she asks “you set off the smoke alarm to rush us to a beer festival?”  Homer responds laughing “I know, I’m a character” before placing his cassette of beer music into the car stereo to get in the mood.  Already spooked by the apparent fire drill, in the back Bart and Lisa panic further, attempting to exit the car only to discover that the door handles have been removed.  Upon arrival at the festival they let off a sigh of relief at the cassette being turned off only to be faced by an actual oom-pah band.  Entering the festival they are met by Surly (one of the seven Duffs) declaring “Drink Duff!” following by a muffled “responsibly” to meet modern regulation.  At this point a greeter asks which of the group is the designated driver as Marge looks around at Homer attempting to screw the head off Surly and says that she guesses she is.  On that note she is directed to the Duff Designated Drivers’ Rockin’ Fun Zone which turns out to be a razor wire pen.  Walking around the festival Lisa comes across The Alco-Hall Of Fame featuring Ulysses S. Grant, Babe Ruth and Benjamin Franklin.  Elsewhere Bart finds The Tipsy-Whirl a ride for kids that shows them what its like to get drunk by strapping them in a seat and spinning them around.  After the ride he is dizzy to the extreme as the lady supervising the ride declares “now you’re charming” to which he appropriately responds “you don’t know me”.  From here he staggers to Milhouse who has already taken the ride and they exchange drunken affection.  At this point the Beer-Tender Contest begins introduced by Duffman declaring “are you ready for some Duff love?  Today we’re going to discover which of these bartenders has the right stuff to dispense Duff!” as Yello plays out in the background.  The contestants are Michael Finn from the Green Potato Pub in O’Hare International Airport, Titania from Juggernauts in Hollywood, California and Moe Szyslak from Moe's in Springfield (“the local lug who fills your mug with the drug you chug”).  And before Moe has even finished greeting the crowd Titania is throwing pints over her breasts to much holler and applause.  The first event is Trick Pouring (which Titania wins).  The final round is “Drunk Toss” which counts for 98% of the final score (“making the previous rounds a complete waste”).  Before beginning Duffman reminds that today’s winner is to be immortalised in the Duff Calendar.  At this point in a gesture of support Homer, Carl and Lenny reveal their chests to spell “MOO” in error (“Lenny, you were supposed to be E”, “see what happens when you skip rehearsal”).  The game involves throwing a drunk out a door and the distance is measured in a sandpit.  At this point Titania complains saying to Duffman “you said if I slept with you I wouldn’t have to touch the drunk” to which he responds “Duffman says a lot of things, oh yeah!” as walks off past Moe who is attempting (and failing) to lift Barney before deciding to run at him with a bat with a nail causing Barney to run and dive into the sandpit beating Finn’s effort just short of 12 feet when his tongue rolls out.  In victory Moe states what an honour it is to compete against “the mick and the chick with the rack” before Duffman brings out Duff’s Vice President In Charge Of Calendars And Fake I.D.s Phil Angelinis to take his official calendar portrait.  Unfortunately with Moe not being the most attractive man in the world the photo does not come out well prompting the comment from Duffman of “that’s a mug you don’t want to chug” to the more reasoned corporate response of “knock it off Larry, we can’t put this face on our calendar” while Homer, Carl and Lenny hold Moe aloft in victory.  With that the family returns to the Duff Designated Driver’s Rockin’ Fun Zone to collect Marge where she has since been joined by Seymour, Apu and Kirk.  From here they exit as on the way out they get a pink elephant balloon for Maggie from Sleazy the Duff Beer.  The second act begins at Moe’s as he paces behind the bar in front of Barney, Lenny and Carl nervously waiting for the Duff calendar to be delivered which Homer runs in with as Moe makes room on his wall for it by removing his liquor licence which Lenny points out as having expired in 1973 and only being good in Rhode Island.  And it has been signed/authorised by Moe himself.  Conceding it is old Moe states “yeah yeah I been meaning to get that updated for this date and real” before return attention to the calendar with “lets see the poster boy for the new Moellennium” as unfortunately his photo has been covered by a large “Drink Duff” logo sticker covering his face.  He then removes the sticker to reveal “Duff Enuff”, “Viva La Duff”, “Kiss Me I’m Duff”, “Ich Bin Ein Duff” and “I’mo Duff You Up!” stickers beneath.  Then finally he gets to his face which is now covered in sticker glue making his picture look even worse than it already is (which is pretty bad).  Horrified Moe asks “am I really that ugly?” and Carl attempts to help by saying “its all relative.  Is Lenny really that dumb?  Is Barney that drunk?  Is Homer that lazy, bald and fat?”  With that Moe breaks down “oh my god, its worse than I thought” as Homer, Barney and Lenny also all burst out crying at the bar as Carl looks to the camera and says “see, this is why I don’t talk much”.  After the break Moe continues reviewing the calendar stating “I can’t believe they put those stickers over my face” before resigning himself to “I must be the ugliest man alive” as Homer the guys continue trying to cheer him up asking if he has ever seen the people that go to White Castle (“Pig Town USA”).  Unswayed Moe continues “come on look at me, I’m a gargoyle what with the cauliflower ear and the lizard lips” to which Carl adds “little rat eyes”, Homer adds “caveman brow” and Lenny adds “don’t forget that fish snout”.  Wounded Moe puts his hands up and says “I get it, I ain’t pleasant to look at” as Lenny further chips in “or listen to” and Carl adds “or be with” as Homer leaps to his defence stating “come on Moe don’t feel bad, there’s too much emphasis on looks these days, that’s why they won’t let Bill Maher on TV before midnight”.  Trying to be helpful Lenny “if you’re tired of being an eyesore why not get some plastic surgery”.  Taking the idea on board, Moe offers “maybe they could dynamite Mount Crapmore here and carve me a new kisser”.  Dubious Carl comments “I dunno, plastic surgery might make you look good on the outside but you might still feel bad on the inside” but undaunted by the idea of feeling bad on the inside Moe shakes Carl’s hand for his idea stating “Carl Carlson, you just saved my life” as for some reason randomly Homer is behind the bar taking money from the till.  We return to the Simpsons house where Maggie is still playing with her pink elephant balloon.  With this Bart and Lisa step in commenting on how nice it must be to be amused by something so simple before grabbing it from Maggie and fighting for it at which point it gets loose and floats away towards the front door which Bart closes just in time only for it to get sucked into the fireplace and up the chimney and off into the distance prompting tears from Maggie as Bart and Lisa get their bikes and give pursuit.  Returning to Moe we enter the office of the Cosmetic Surgery Group (“We’ll Cut You Good”) where he is in his underwear and being inspected by a tanned surgeon in disco like ensemble complete with big collars, purple shirt and medallion.  During his examination he makes discouraging sounds including that of a bomb dropping causing Moe to comment “its hopeless ain’t it”.  The foreign doctor responds “no no no, I love a challenge.  First I must install buttocks” as Moe refuses stating “no luxury items, just the face”.  With that the surgeon begins survey his face before he snaps “can the medical mumbo jumbo, can you fix me or not?” to which the surgeon responds “we’ll see.  Most faces need a little remodelling but this is a total teardown”.  Returning to their pursuit of the balloon we spot Bart swinging a butterfly net at said balloon while sitting on Lisa’s shoulders as she rides her bike.  Back to the operating theatre Moe is being knocked out with gas ahead of his procedure.  The nurse on hand comments “oh boy, what a mug” to which the surgeon responds “you should see his genitals.  Would you like to see them?” as Moe states that he is still awake and can hear them.  It turns out that instead of anaesthetic, they have been pumping new car smell into his mouth.  With this the turn changes the setting and Moe passes out singing “silver bells”.  Meanwhile Bart and Lisa’s pursuit of the elephant balloon takes them to an office building where outside they leave Lisa’s bike only for Snake and his son to promptly hop aboard and ride off (“oh, that’s my little dude!”).  Inside the building a board meeting is taking place with the chair saying “we need a symbol, something that says we’re gay and Republican” just as the balloon floats in through the window offering the perfect image except to the comment “a little on the nose don’t you think?”  With this Lisa and Bart run in the room to collect their balloon as the chair hands it to them along with a bumper sticker that reads “A Gay President In 2084”.  Lisa questions the date as the response is “we’re realistic”.  Back at Springfield General Hospital the surgery is complete as the surgeon removes the bandages from Moe’s head as Homer tells him to hurry up as he needs to pee.  Shockingly a beautiful woman’s face is revealed.  And on that surprise Homer says “OK, now do Moe”.  As he unwraps Moe’s face the surgeon “well now we see if you go on my wall of fame or my blooper reel”.  When his face is revealed both Homer and the surgeon step back and gasp as naturally Moe snaps “what?  I’m a monster, right?  I knew it.  I guess I’ll just crawl back to live in the sewer periodically emerging to sue you”.  However when presented with a mirror it turns out that Moe is now handsome.  In disbelief Moe points and says “is that me?” as a tear trickles from his left eye which actually turns out to be leakage the surgeon immediately quarter sizes causing pain.  Next we see Moe leaving the hospital as four nurses gather round him saying “don’t be a stranger handsome”.  Outside Moe comments to Homer saying “did you hear that?” adding “its like I gone to heaven” before asking “I died on the operating table, didn’t I?”  Laughing Homer responds “yeah, but just for a minute.  It’s a funny story, I’ll tell ya sometime” and shocked and excited Moe realises “so this is all real?”  On that realisation Homer put his arm around Moe and they begin walking as he says “you dear, dear man.  You’re one of us beautiful people now and your new life begins today”.  Now coming to terms with the situation Moe states “a new life, a second chance…for revenge”.  And the first act of revenge is to drive to Duffman’s house and place a Duff sticker on his face (“Duffman can’t breathe, oh no”).  Next Moe and Homer go running up to the house of a lady who turned down his invitation to the Springtime Pumpkin Dance at High School as Moe rings the door to show her the face she “could have been kissing now” as Homer hiding in a bush reiterates the sentiment.  At this point the lady apologies saying “oh I was just a stupid kid back then and I feel terrible about hurting you.  Will you accept my apology?” which confuses Moe (“an apology?  Well Jeez, I wasn’t expecting that”).  Fortunately in a moment of clarity (dumb clarity) Homer exacts revenge emerging from the bush and throwing a rock through her window and shouting “run!” prompting Moe to declare “man that felt great”.  With this we cut to the Channel 6 Studios as Homer and Moe drive up stating “last stop Channel 6”.  Homer asks “you gonna get even with the lottery guy that never picks our numbers?” as Moe responds “nah nah nah, this is personal” as the episode does a flashback to his acting days and auditioning for the role of Dr Tad Winslow on the hit soap It Never Ends.  His audition immediately fails as the casting producers/execs discuss how they wanted “gritty and ugly” but they wanted “Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island ugly not Cornelius on Planet Of The Apes ugly, TV ugly not ugly ugly” all of which is being heard by Moe listening through a stage wall using his stethoscope.  Returning to the now Moe states sadly “I’ve been called ugly, pug ugly, fugly, pug fugly but never ugly ugly” before Homer puts his hand on his shoulder declaring “well its time to get some closure.  Extreme closure”.  With this we cut to the studio door of It Never Ends where inside the current Dr Tad Winslow is arguing with an exec stating how he has been the character for 25 years and how it is time he got a payrise to which the lady’s response is “oh shut up you windy old hack”.  At this point Moe pulls him aside asking the lady if she remembers him from 25 years ago “when you said I was too ugly to play Dr Tad Winslow”.  Oblivious she responds “I did?  Well that’s why pencils have erasers” as she puts her arm around Moe and announces “you’re our new Dr Tad Winslow”.  Naturally objecting to the decision the existing Dr Tad Winslow runs in declaring “there can’t be two Dr Tad Winslows, that’s going to…..oh” and with that realisation and resignation he removes his eye patch (revealing a tan line) and hands it to Moe.  With this he says “I’ve been waiting all my life for this moment” while in the background Homer laughs in giddy evil fashion as he douses the set in petrol.  Upon seeing this Moe runs over “Homer change of plans” prompting him to dump the gas can on the floor and walk off stating “whatever”.  The third act begins with the opening credits of It Never Ends and the Simpsons watching the show in their front room.  Lisa states “I don’t know if I’ll be able to accept Moe as Dr Tad Winslow” with Marge adding “well I’m going to keep watching as long as they have shocking story twists and endless pillow talk” as the episode cuts to just that with Moe in a round bed with a character called Cleo (“you brought music to my heart but this relationship can never work.  I’m a doctor and you’re a 5000 year old mummy I brought back to life”, “but I love you Tad and together we can burn all the cities of the earth”.  “Its against hospital regulations damnit and Clive Dancer’s just waiting for me to slip up”).  From here we cut to Moe’s where Homer, Lenny and Carl are walking up to the door (“so Lenny how are things working out with you and that girl next door?”, “ah, its over.  She got a window shade”).  When they open the door they are shocked/surprised to see Moe surrounding by ten ladies including Edna Krabappel, Luann Van Houten, Selma Bouvier, Miss Hoover and Manjula Nahasapeemapetilon (“if you must grope me ladies, please a little softer.  OK, now harder”).  Annoyed by the presence of women in their bar and lack of attention the three of them moan as Moe tells Homer that he is “a little busy” to pour him a beer and that he can do it himself as he states “this isn’t nearly as complicated as Moe made it seem” as the tap comes off in his hand and fires a beer spray into his face, into his mouth which he swallows and soon gets intoxicated with.  Returning to the studio Moe is in his dressing room practising his lines with Homer (“I’ve dedicated my life to diseases of the head hole but the one hole I’ve never been able to fix is the one in my soul”).  Impressed Homer states “that was amazing Moe, I’m actually a little turned on” as Moe declares “hey, I’ve got a gift.  As a child I was bitten by the acting bug.  Then burrowed under my skin and laid eggs in my heart.  Now those eggs are hatching and the feeling is indescribable” to which Homer answers “I know the feeling, our dog had that”.  With this there is a knock on the door as a courier arrives with a delivery for the producers, a package with “top secret storylines” printed on the outside.  Sneakily Moe signs for it and promptly rips it open (“might as well have a little peak”).  Inside is a blue bound book stating “It Never Ends Future Plot Lines” which shows Dr Tad Winslow getting back with the evil character Contessa (“the one with the amulet?”) before getting in a skydiving accident and being rushed to the graveyard (“they’re killing off Dr Tad Winslow!”).  Grabbing the book Homer gives a second opinion reading the brief script excerpt and stating “yup, that does sound kind of bad”.  Turning to the mirror Moe declares “if they’re gonna stomp on my dreams, the least I can do is go out in a blaze of sour grapes”.  Cutting back to the show we find Dr Tad Winslow in a Jacuzzi with Contessa as he expresses his new trust for her and she attempts to persuade him into taking a skydiving lesson then just as he offers “how could I say no?” a door bell sounding suspiciously like Homer rings as Moe gets out the Jacuzzi and answers the door where Homer is dressed as a makeshift angel.  In a ghostly voice he announces “Dr Winslow I am angel from the future” as in the gallery the producer checks the script while the director snaps “what the fudge?” which is bleeped out.  He asks the producer “shall I cut him off?” as she says “no, lets see where this is going”.  With that the revised version of the episode plays out with Homer as the “Angel Of The Future” predicting Dr Tad Winslow’s death in a skydiving accident along with other predictions (future plots).  Back home Bart gripes “what’s dad doing on the show?” with Marge responding “who cares, he’s dishing the dirt” as she writes “sexy results” on her pad.  As Homer continues to reveal plotlines in the gallery the producer is pulling her hair out stating “he just gave away a year’s worth of storylines.  Cut him off….now”.  Having now wrecked the show Moe and Homer laugh and high five as the producer stomps out and grabs Moe asking “what the hell are you doing?”  Jubilantly Moe replies “stickin’ it to ya for killing of my character” pointing at the future plot lines book further cheering and high-fiving Homer.  At this point the producer states “you idiot, Dr Winslow was only going to die in a dream” adding “pink pages always mean a dream”.  Aghast Moe says “I thought dreams was on golden rod” which it turns out is for coma fantasies.  Now with that point out Moe asks “so what time tomorrow?” to which the producer naturally laughs calling for security to escort the pair of them out….now.  Angered Moe shrugs off his security guard declaring “I don’t need your stinkin’ show anyway, with a mug like this I can get on any soap in Springfield before stepping through a door attached to a stage wall which topples on and flattens his head (his face) amazingly avoiding the rest of his body (“my face, I’m not supposed to put any weight on it”).  With this two stagehands lift the wall as Moe emerges to the gasps of the studio crew and the reality that his face has returned to how it used to look.  We return to Moe’s where inside Homer is apologising for Moe’s face as with an air of acceptance he states “nah, its just as well.  That handsome face was nice but it was too much maintenance.  I had to wash it, rub it with neatsfoot oil.  You did me a favour Homer.  And to think I just about to sell the bar to Hooters” prompting a “doh!”  With that Moe states “well I guess that wraps it up.  There’s one thing I just don’t get though: when my face was crushed, why’d it go back to my old face.  I mean, shouldn’t it have turned to some kind of third face that was different?  Don’t make no…..”

IS IT ANY GOOD:
It’s OK, its subtle but not amazing or laugh out loud funny.

WHAT IT TAUGHT ME:
So many lessons to be learned.  The main issue is the one of appearance and how much it affects and influences your life both positively and negatively.  For a long time Moe has suffered due to his looks and seldom experienced love which has seen him remain nasty and negative all throughout the series.  The game is rigged.  He was not supposed to win the bartender contest, Titania was supposed to after sleeping with Duffman.  The revelation that the terms such “beauty is only skin deep” and “its what’s inside that counts” are nonsense is not a new one, Moe remains as damaged as ever.  Rather teaching, it just confirms what a superficial world we live in.  Moe is the most tragic character in The Simpsons.

EXTERNAL REFERENCES:
The couch gag contains a shot of the screen housing a Matt Groening signature in the bottom left hand side which Marge promptly wipes off as quickly an animated Groening runs and reinstates the signature.  There is reference to Gilligan’s Island and Planet Of The Apes.  Also the unveiling of Moe after plastic surgery is a classic riff on the Batman movie Joker scene.

BEST LINES:
The Moe mission statement of “well, if they’re gonna stomp on my dreams, the least I can do is go out in a blaze of sour grapes”. Carl saying “see, this is why I don’t talk much”.  Homer stating “I know, I’m a character”.

BEST JOKES:
Snake swiftly placing his son on Lisa’s bike and casually rolling it away with the boy shouting “daddy!  I’m stealing!  I’m stealing!”  The manner in which Homer nonchalantly loses interest in torching the studio set.

PERIPHERAL MOMENT:
As the items she grabs before leaving the house Lisa grabs her saxophone, Snowball II and her school trophy for attendance, Bart grabs Santa’s Little Helper and Marge grabs Maggie and the hoover.  Duff Days beer festival comes with the tag “A Lost Weekend For The Whole Family!”  Duff is brewed from hops, barley and sparkling clear mountain goat (according to Titania).  Channel 6 has a hit soap called It Never Ends which has the tagline “like the cleaning of a house….”  The show stars Gabriella Defarge as Gabriella St Farge, Allegra Hamilton as Sister Bernadette and Roxy Monoxide and Moe Szyslak as Dr Tad Winslow.  Other characters include Cleo a 5000 year old mummy brought back to life, Clive Dancer, the evil Contessa and Professor Galloway who has a half sister.  Future plots for the show include Gabriella’s baby shower being invaded by terrorists with sexy results, Sister Bernadette leaving the convent and starting a softball team with sexy results and Professor Galloway’s half sister is plotting to take over international perfume and wine.

REALITY CROSSOVER:
There is actually a lot of tangible touches subtly placed within this episode for me.  Its very sad but over the years I have found myself associating with Moe’s plight on a very real level.  Not being the best looking person in the world, I have suffered similar prejudice due to my appearance as displayed here, not least from females.  His forced smile only making him look more deranged is an aspect to my being I have spent many years trying to stunt.

MVP:
Moe deservedly gets it for offering/delivering many philosophical thoughts and life lessons.

GUEST APPEARANCES:
None.

SONGS:
Duffman continuing/persisting in using “Oh Yeah” by Yello as his theme music.

EPISODE LINKS:
No explicit links.

PERCULARITIES:
Moe points out the biggest peculiarity at the end: why upon being crushed did his face return to its former state?  Also such a crush would probably tend to kill a man.

BART ON THE BLACKBOARD:
Dodgeball stops at the gym door.

OTHER:
It has been said that the character of Moe is based on Rich Hall so possibly there maybe some truth in this scenario, at some point 25 years ago Hall may have gone up for an acting job and been turned down based on his looks.

FINAL WORDS:
Overanalysing this episode has depressed me.

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