Tuesday, 28 December 2010

A TALE OF TWO SPRINGFIELDS


SEASON 12 EPISODE 2 (EPISODE 250)

THIS IS IT:
The episode where Springfield gets split in two separated like Berlin by a big wall.  It begins with Bart feeding Santa’s Little Helper (“here you go boy, soups on”) but as he passes the bowl into the doghouse a badger snatches first the food, then the bowl out of his hand.  Initially Bart is confused by what is happening until he looks in the doghouse spotting and telling the snarling badger “sorry man, you can’t crash here”.  Briefly he attempts to get the badger out the doghouse using a stick before giving up and telling Santa’s Little Helper “well boy, looks like you’ve got yourself a roommate”.  Inside the house he asks Lisa for advice on luring the badger out who looks on www.whatbadgerseat.com listing various things they eat including stoats which Bart promptly looks in the kitchen cupboards for.  Lisa tells him “stoats are weasels Bart, they don’t come in cans” as he reveals a can asking “then what’s this?”  Unfortunately for Bart it is just a can of corn.  Researching further Lisa discovers that badgers have been “in a pinch” known to eat woodpeckers as Bart calls to Todd next door to see if he can borrow his woodpecker.  Todd says yes but he “needs him back by 6PM, it’s his birthday” as he reveals a pet woodpecker wearing a birthday hat.  As Bart attempts to prise the badger from the shaking doghouse the woodpecker spots the danger and promptly pecks at Bart’s head before flying off accidentally crashing into a bug zapper.  Still wrestling with the badger Bart and Lisa stare at the kennel as Homer joins them asking what they’re doing.  He disputes that it’s a badger stating “badger my ass, it’s probably Milhouse” before sticking his head in and getting savaged.  He concludes “it’s a badger all right, or possibly a griffin” before asking Bart if he has any dynamite in his room (“tonnes”) and telling him to get it.  Not wishing to kill the badger Lisa suggests calling Animal Control to which Homer sarcastically responds “great idea” adding “then we should call the doctor about this” revealing his stomach where a huge hole has been ripped to reveal his internal organs.  Surprisingly not alarmed by the injury Lisa is more shocked at “how did the badger do that without ripping your shirt?” to which Homer responds “what am I, a tailor?”  Taking Lisa’s advice Homer calls Animal Control but finds he is using the wrong area code even though it’s a local call and should not require an area code.  With this Marge points out that the phone company ran out of numbers and split the town into two area codes with half the town keeping the old 636 code while their side gets to use the new 939 code.  Naturally this enrages Homer “939 what the hell is that?  Oh my life is ruined”.  Marge responds “you only have to remember three extra numbers” as Homer protests “if only it were that easy Marge”.  At this point the badger appears at the kitchen window prompting Homer to order “go away, we’ve got bigger problems now” prompting it to pull a sad face and slope off.  Now charged Homer picks up the phone and declares “I’m not gonna stand for this.  I’m gonna call the newspapers, the TV stations, the gas stations, everybody”.  Unfortunately he forgets the area code and misdials his call as the unable to connect tone plays through the line causing him to roll up in a ball on the floor psychotically shaking.  Later over at the power plant Homer is sat with Lenny and Carl complaining about the area code having to write “939” on his left hand stating “like I don’t have enough to remember already” revealing his right hand as reading “Lenny = white, Carl = black”.  He asks Carl what he thinks of the new number who offers the pros and cons of the 6 being closer to the 3 on the dial for convenience but the 9 being less closer to Satan “which is a plus in this religious world of ours”.  What really annoys Homer is that the phone company did not give one word of warning to which Carl states there was television and radio campaign as Lenny adds that they also dropped leaflets from a space shuttle and the two weeks they had at area code camp.  Not listening Homer concludes “not a single word of warning”.  Meanwhile at KBBL Bill and Marty are informing that traffic is all backed due to a mattress on the freeway (“a mattress?  Uh oh, Joan Collins must be in town”).  Listening it Homer at home laughing along commenting “Joan Collins, that girl sleeps with everybody”.  Continuing their show they announce that it is time to give away free concert tickets to The Who gig next week at Springfield’s “historic” Yahoo Search Engine Arena.  Excited Homer exclaims “The Who?  I love bands”.  At random they dial 555-0113 which Homer states “that’s me!”  Unfortunately Bart informs him that was their old number before the area code as on the radio Mr Burns is heard being called and winning the tickets.  Angered Homer grabs the radio and throws it to the floor stating “it’s not fair. I’ve been a fan of The Who since the very beginning back when they were the Hillbilly Bugger Boys”.  Responding to this Bart suggests “you should phone that radio station and let him have it” knowing that Homer will misdial.  Then when he does Bart cracks up laughing as Homer chokes him with the phone cord.  In defence Bart grabs the phone receiver and hits him until he stops as they both pass out on the floor.  That night at Springfield Town Hall a representative from the telephone company addresses the town saying she knows how some are upset “especially those of you covered with dynamite” (as in protest Homer is).  She continues in a corporate tone “first let me reassure you your fears are groundless and your complaints moronic” before showing everyone a film that explains everything “in words you can understand”.  Using a character called Phony McRing-Ring, who is mascot and president of the telephone company, the film explains the convenience of having two area codes.  Within seconds Homer is raising his hand to ask a question as Lisa points out that it is a movie.  Using mind tricks McRing-Ring states that scientists have proved that even monkeys can memorise ten numbers asking the viewer “are you stupider than a monkey?” prompting Chief Wiggum to ask the screen “how big of a monkey?”  Brainwashed Lenny comments “well I’m convinced.  A professional looking film like that, its gotta be right” as Dr Hibbert adds “I agree, two area codes is more convenient” followed by the rousing sound of a room in agreement.  With this Homer stands up “wait a minute, we haven’t heard from me yet, the nut with the dynamite”.  Correctly he states “the phone company is bamboozling you”.  As the tide of the room changes he walks to the stage saying “I accuse the phone company of making that film on purpose” as the phone representative responds “well of course we did” and the entire room gasps.  Now onstage Homer says “I’m not one to make trouble but it seems to me everyone that go to keep the old or “classic” 636 area code lives on the rich side of town!”  An accusation that is disputed by Mr Burns and various other affluent types.  Continuing Homer states “and as usual we Joe 12 Packs get the royal screwjob”.  Hopping up in agreement is Moe who adds “Homer’s right, we’re getting the old Joan Collins special” as the room completely sides with Homer.  Now with momentum he states the rich snobs are pushing them around any more.  Affronted Kent Brockman snaps “what are you pathetic slobs going to do about it?” to which Homer’s response is to grab a dynamite detonator and plunges it.  Fortunately it doesn’t go off as Homer moans “nice wiring Bart” who replies “worked on the test corpse”.  With this he reverts to Plan B as he suggests that fellow 939ers break off and form their own city.  And with that he leads a march of his side out the room yelling “now who’s stupid?”  Act 2 begins with Homer painting “new” onto an “Entering Springfield” sign commenting “there, we’re officially a city.  Now we just sit back and wait for an NFL franchise”.  With this a suited man with a briefcase approaches stating “I could help but overhear.  I represent the Arizona Cardinals” to which Homer responds “keep walking”.  Moe stands by him “good decision there Homer, you showed a lot of poise” as Carl adds “yeah, maybe you wanna be mayor of New Springfield”.  Thinking over the proposal he imagines himself as a gunslinger in the old west with his own television series.  Off the back of this fantasy he responds “I reluctantly accept this highly paid glamorous job”.  Meanwhile on the other side of Springfield Mayor Quimby is unveiling/presenting a professional Olde Springfield plaque.  In his address he says “the time for bitterness has passed, let us extend to our brothers in New Springfield the olive branch…” at which point he is struck by a flying beer can thrown by Homer shouting “New Springfield rocks!”  Principal Skinner responds “go ahead and laugh, we have a better town bird” as Homer asks what it is.  It’s a Bluebird.  Back at the Simpson house Marge is offering Homer more wheat cakes and he spills syrup on his mayor sash.  Fortunately he has clean automatic spares on a customised belt.  Ever the voice of reason Lisa states that it is stupid to divide the city over “something as silly as an area code.  It would be like you and mum splitting up every time you have a fight”.  Brushing off this comment Homer responds “you know your mother and I only stay together for the sake of my political career” which makes Marge growl “that’s not true” as a paparazzi photographer pops up at the window and takes a posed snap (“big grins!”).  The photo turns out well as Homer expresses “that’ll play well in the sticks”.  With this he gets, finishes his coffee, wipes his mouth on his sash before rolling up a clean/fresh one only discover it was his last and the new sash states “time to reorder” as he observes “fifty already?”  From here we cut to Bart and Milhouse outside playing frisbee which accidentally crosses the town border and flies into Olde Springfield when Milhouse says “go long”.  It falls at the feet of Jimbo, Kearny and Dolph.  Naturally they refuse to return the “novelty flying disk” when Bart demands they give it back.  As Bart steps into Olde Springfield they point that his pants are in their part of Springfield so they pants him before he adds that his homework is also in their part which they also grab and promptly do.  It turns out that the Kwik-E-Mart is in Olde Springfield where New Springfield residents are liable to a 50% out-of-towners tax as Marge buys “root bear, bananas and Henderson’s toilet paper”.  Back at the Simpson house Marge is complaining about not feeling comfortable in Olde Springfield (“they were looking at me….with their eyes”).  On TV Kent Brockman is stating “as expected New Springfield bold experiment in slob rule is a disaster” followed by a shopping list of examples of why the low brow side of town is failing.  That night at Springfield Power Plant Homer and Bart enter and turn off the electricity to Olde Springfield (“Old Snobfield”).  One of the first places to lose power is Springfield General Hospital where Krusty is having heart surgery.  As the surgeon continues his nurse states “you can’t do heart surgery in the dark” as he responds “sounds like a wager to me” and ever the gambler Krusty pipes up “I’ll take a piece of that”.  Elsewhere Professor Frink is just turning on his invention which will transport Sir Isaac Newton into the modern day.  Alas the power failure means only the bottom half of Newton comes through which sees him repeatedly kicking Frink in the arse.  Back at the Simpson house on TV Brockman is reporting in retaliation Olde Springfield Patriots have intercepted a Duff Beer truck bound for New Springfield dumping the beer in the river.  In revenge Homer, Lenny and Carl cut off the Olde Springfield water supply at the damn only to reveal gold in the riverbed which only serves to make them slightly river (according to Mr Burns).  With that on the latest news report a blinged up Kent Brockman states “with the money made from the gold Olde Springfield was able to buy the Evian water factory and fly it over from France”.  As Homer lets off a groan Brockman “thanks Mayor Simpson.  Because of you we’re all taking golden showers” prompting the studio crew to laugh at him behind the scenes.  Attempting to be the voice of reason Marge says they can’t keep fighting with Olde Springfield “we see them everyday” at which point Homer responds “you’re right, we’ve got to block them from our sight with a giant wall”.  Marge asks “like the one in Berlin?” which Homer says is a good idea as he attempts to call “the guys they used” as once more he fails to correctly dial the call.  3 days later we are offered a bird’s eye view of Olde Springfield and New Springfield which now has a wall built by Low Ball Construction.  At a town meeting by the wall Homer thanks said company which is owned by Fat Tony as he states that it has been made by 90% recycled material.  Its plainly a piece of crap but being that it used recycled material Homer gives Lisa the thumbs up as she states “I’m so conflicted”.  Continuing his address Homer thanks the New Springfield residents for remaining loyal “despite a total lack of hospitals and schools.  And a sewage nightmare that threatens to consume us all”.  Karl raises the question “how do we get our food?  All the roads are blocked”.  Ever the politician Homer replies “don’t worry, we have plenty of supplies to get through tomorrow”.  Before he has even finished his speech New Springfield residents are climbing over the wall including the badger.  With everyone gone Homer states “I can’t believe all those rats left town.  I guess it’s just us and the tumbleweed” which also promptly climbs up the wall and leaves New Springfield.  The third act begins with Homer and family walking the empty streets as Bart comments “well dad, you’re mayor of a ghost town”.  Homer remains angry as his former townspeople commenting “they could take one lousy famine” as he punches through the window of a deli and grabs a chain of sausages.  Lisa points out that his hand is bleeding so he promptly punches through the window of a pharmacy and grabs some gauze.  He then states that “those rats” will come back when he notes that The Who are playing in Springfield tonight.  Scuppering plans Lisa points out that the arena is in Olde Springfield but Bart says maybe they can get the band to play New Springfield instead as Homer states maybe with some “liquid persuasion”.  With that we cut to him stepping to Just Chloroform where he punches through this window before kissing the bottle and knocking himself out.  The Who is staying on floor 12 of the Hotel Pillowmint which is where Homer and Bart head to with the chloroform.  Upon arriving on their floor they are confronted by their bodyguard as Bart nudges Homer telling him to use the chloroform as Homer goes “I’ll give you this bottle of chloroform if you take us to The Who” at which point the bodyguard picks them both up and throws them through a door which looks like an exit but is actually the room The Who is staying in.  Obviously a rubbish guard Roger Daltrey comments “I thought we fired that guard” as sarcastically he comments “oh yeah right.  I got fired by The Who.  Whatever you say pal”.  Impressed to be in the presence of The Who Homer sets about trashing the hotel room as they look on horrified and Pete Townshend comments “but we promised the desk clerk we’d be good” with Daltrey adding “we don’t want to lose our pool privileges”.  As Homer introduces himself as the mayor of New Springfield his notoriety has reached the band.  He implores them not to play Olde Springfield (“or as it is sometimes known: Sun City”).  Daltrey replies “but we have a handshake agreement with a concert promoter and that’s a sacred bond” as the three of them say in tandem “sacred bond”.  Still trying to persuade Homer pleads “come on, what happened to the angry defiant Who of “My Generation”, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Momma’s Got A Squeeze Box”.  Homer continues “but those Olde Springfield squares are just gonna make you cut your hair, turn down your music and wear frilly shirts like Keith Partridge”.  This seals it as Daltrey calls a “Who huddle” to discuss the situation.  Finally Homer has managed to change their mind.  Meanwhile across town at the renamed Olde Springfield Arena (formerly the Yahoo Search Engine Arena) a full house awaits the band.  In the audience is Krusty The Clown with Sideshow Mel who states that he opened for The Who at Woodstock where he came out in a Beatle wig playing a ukulele (“Hendrix said he almost plotzed, he exact words”).  In front of them is Burns and Smithers as Montgomery asks “why did you iron a crease in these dungarees?  I look like a square”.  Worryingly Smithers points out “that crease is in your legs sir”.  Elsewhere dressed like Austin Powers, Smithers is sat with Krabappel as he comments “not like The Who to be tardy, I’m worried”.  At this point Krabappel asks “what’s that?” as Captain McAlister opens a door and hears the band playing “The Seeker” in New Springfield.  Wearing a Union Jack t-shirt Moe comments “Homer stole our rock performance.  That fat, dumb and bald guy sure plays some real hardball”.  And with that Sideshow Mel shouts “who’s ready to riot?” as the crowd storms out the venue.  Back in New Springfield Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie are sat on folding chairs rocking out as Daltrey asks “how ya doin; out there New Springfield?” as Marge responds “to be honest it’s a little chilly” as he accidentally swings the microphone into her head with him adding “get out of the way Marge” and Townshend adding “we were expecting a bigger crowd Homer” as he promises that they will be here soon at which point they will see who has the better town.  With this he climbs up on top of the wall and hands them a list of tunes he wants them to play but Daltrey points out that a lot of them are Grand Funk Railroad songs while John Entwistle states they don’t know “Pac-Man Fever” as Homer states “oh come one, it plays itself” promptly grabs Townshend’s guitar and begins playing the song badly.  Having a ball he shouts down “look Lisa, daddy’s in The Who” before finding a mop head and putting it on his head.  Suddenly a bottle smashes against the back of his head as he looks down at Mayor Quimby saying “give us back our concert Simpson”.  Feeling vindicated Homer says “so New Springfield is looking pretty good now isn’t it with our ample parking and daily Who concert” to which Daltrey enquires “daily?”  Frustrated Moe shouts “enough chit chat.  Lets see how you like flaming garbage” as a Rent-A-Pult catapult as they fire a ball of flaming garbage into New Springfield which only lands on the Springfield Tire Yard.  Homer promptly mocks their failure only suddenly to be struck by another flaming ball.  As he runs around screaming “why me?” trying to put his burning clothes out Entwistle throws water over him and puts it out.  With this he calls for an end to the madness.  As Townshend explains its due to them having different area codes Daltrey states “well I’ll be chuggered, that’s the sticky wicket?” before suggesting the solution of everyone buying telephones with auto ring or “as you yanks call it” speed dial.  The townspeople agree that it is a good idea as Daltrey adds “Radio Shack has some great ones” as Townshend disagrees “says you”.  At this point Homer (and the rest of the town) request “Magic Bus” which Daltrey agrees to play provided that they tear down the wall.  Not responding to this Homer then requests “Pinball Wizard” as Pete Townshend declares “oh hell I’ll do it myself” turning his amp up to “Whuh-Oh!” before strumming the opening riff from “Won’t Get Fooled Again” which vibrates the wall causing Homer to fall off it and a huge block crumbles allowing the people of Olde Springfield to enter New Springfield and rock out.  With this Homer turns to Marge and says “looks like your insane experiment is over” as she disputes it was her idea and he uses the chloroform on her as he holds her up and dances with her.  And as “Won’t Get Fooled Again” plays the camera pans out showing Springfield in all its glory finally reaching the edge of town where a badger watches on.  At this moment it is joined by several other badgers as it turns and says in badger language “Come on!  Let’s get ‘em while they’re dancing”.  Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

IS IT ANY GOOD:
Yes, it’s very tight.

WHAT IT TAUGHT ME:
It’s not only me that has trouble dialling telephones.

EXTERNAL REFERENCES:
The Who and their songs are all over this episode with Roger Daltrey getting most lines and Keith Moon briefly appearing in cartoon form.  KBBL has a Gary Coleman recorded “what'chu talkin’ 'bout” clip that it uses for concert ticket competitions.  Joan Collins takes a metaphorical battering.  And Evian water gets a nice reference/mention.  Krusty references Jimi Hendrix and Woodstock while Homer again mentions Grand Funk Railroad in addition to Pac-Man.  The title of the episode is an explicit reference to A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

BEST LINES:
“What am I, a tailor?”  “Go away, we’ve got bigger problems now”.  “I accuse the phone company of making that film on purpose”.  “Hey, the TV is talking about us” – all Homer.  Lenny “there’s nothing like revenge for getting back at people” as Carl responds “I don’t know vengeance is pretty good”.  “What’s that gold coloured substance in the riverbed?” from Skinner after their water supply is cut off.

BEST JOKES:
Homer’s swift dismissal of the badger.  The sneaking in of a golden shower job.  The “sacred bond” music promoter dig.

PERIPHERAL MOMENT:
Todd Flanders has a pet woodpecker.  The telephone number for Springfield Animal Control is (555) X-TERM-N-8 (555-937668).  The Springfield telephone area code is 636 (and also for a while 939).  Springfield has a venue called the Yahoo Search Engine Arena.  The old telephone number for the Simpson house was 555-0113 but now it is the number of Mr Burns.  Henderson’s Toilet Paper is the softest toilet paper in Springfield.  Olde Springfield Patriots are a fringe group featuring Chief Wiggum, Sideshow Mel, Dr Hibbert and Seymour Skinner.  Springfield has a store called Just Chloroform which sells just chloroform.  In the Springfield Heights section of town is Pillowmint Hotel.  The Who gig is being presented by Lemon Pledge.  Krusty The Clown played at the Woodstock Festival.  In the front row of the Olde Springfield Who concert is Bumblebee Man, Professor Frink, Hans Moleman, Comic Store Man, Arnie Pie, Lenny and Carl.

REALITY CROSSOVER:
I have to admit nothing like this has ever happened in my life.

MVP:
Homer all the way.

GUEST APPEARANCES:
The Who although technically it is just Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle with obviously no Keith Moon but more surprisingly no Pete Townshend who is played in this episode by Paul Townshend.  Also Gary Coleman of course.

SONGS:
The Who close the episode playing “Won’t Get Fooled Again” after first being heard performing “The Seeker”.

EPISODE LINKS:
Included in the wall is the mall angel from “Lisa The Skeptic”.

PERCULARITIES/RUBBERBAND REALITY:
Homer would not survive the attack by the badger.

BART ON THE BLACKBOARD:
I will not plat subliminAL messaGOREs.

OTHER:
This is one of the best guest appearances by a music act.

FINAL WORDS:
Shame on you Pete Townshend.

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