The relationship between Homer and Lisa has always been an interesting one. The two are polar opposites. Lisa is a genius and that can be both intimidating and off-putting at times. Homer is generally aloof but does try to be a good father. So when he tries to display that to Lisa it’s quite a challenge ( as opposed to Bart who requires little parental effort).
So it’s interesting that in Daddicus, the bond between the two is strenghtened not by Homer’s overt efforts to impress Lisa. Instead, his natural unsolicited response to the current state of children’s clothes, via an in-store rant, is all that’s needed to show Lisa that he truly cares.
The episode follows this exchange through the lens of To Kill a Mockingbird, complete with actual footage. To be honest, I’m not sure if they needed to add that in but it was kind of neat. Lisa reads the book for class (even though Ms. Hoover only told her students to read the Wiki page) and after the above exchange at the mall, sees Homer in a new light. The two start spending more time together and this has an adverse effect on Bart. He becomes depressed and starts acting out. Marge, seeing this, tells Homer that he needs to stop spending all his time with Lisa and start spending equal time with all his children. Lisa agrees, seeing the logic, and moves on which in turn makes Homer kind of sad. But after some time with Maggie, who communicates to him via hand gestures, he’s content knowing his role as father to three children.
There’s a funny runner in the episode about Springfield’s beleaguered lone school counselor (a great role for guest J.K. Simmons) forced to dispense rapid-fire advice in 45-second increments that underscores the episode’s theme nicely. As gruff and harried as he is, the counselor yet appears to know exactly how simple—yet unhelpful—the underpinnings of his charges’ problems are. He diagnoses everything from Ralph’s bed-wetting, to Bart’s resentment, to even Marge’s worries about Lisa’s attachment to Homer.
Nelson too has a mind-blowing recurring gag as the Javier Bardem character in Joel and Ethan Coen’s 2007 thriller No Country for Old Men. He essentially has way too much fun using that character’s captive bolt pistol. Duff Man also has a wonderful sequence at Moe’s Tavern when everyone is too depressed to be backdrops in a commercial. He decides to take his crew and cast and make a documentary because “Netflix will buy anything.”
The main story is quite sweet but as sometimes happens it doesn’t get developed fully. Also, the conflict isn’t exactly a conflict, as Marge puts it. Her manipulations are all over the place, pushing Homer and Lisa together, then apart, all for tenuously sketched reasons that seem to have more to do with moving the story along than providing an actual conclusion.
In any event its still a decent episode in a season that has thus far proven itself very admirable.
Make sure to catch The Simpsons every Sunday on Fox and keep it locked on TGON for all your news, reviews and analysis.