The Simpsons are back after a brief hiatus to air the final 3 episodes of this season. But as Larry Burns once said: “whoa put her back in, she’s not done yet”. Which is basically how I feel about this episode. It had some very brief good moments but on the whole it just felt like an unfinished and rushed episode that with a little more care might have been half decent.
The basic gist of the episode revolves around Lisa being erroneously granted political asylum in Canada after getting injured in Niagara Falls. She grows to like it there and is forced to reevaluate her relationship with the US.
A lot of what worked for the episode were the little things. Lisa being rescued by an RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) officer was just the right amount zany. He radios in that Lisa ‘may’ need medical attention which is immediately followed by a horde of ambulance vehicles and choppers arriving in no time. There’s even a rescue beaver wearing a Canadian cape. Then when Lisa is being granted asylum she’s told she’ll be granted a hockey team. That team, to Lisa’s dismay, is unfortunately the Ottawa Senators who finished last in the NHL this season.
Another bit that worked well was the ‘cameo’ by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who apparently can be accessed via Skype anytime. After some goofy handstands and overall good rapport Lisa asks him about SNC-Lavalin. A lawyer (or aide?) immediately shows up to caution the PM while the music abruptly changes and Trudeau crawls out of his office onto the street. This got a chuckle more so because its actually quite topical in the Canadian context, if you’ve been following the news.
But that’s where all the good ends. The rest of the episode feels lazy with a lot of cheap overly stereotypical jokes. In one scene, Lisa says near a group of Canadians holding curling brooms, “I’m sure you treat all people equally.” Someone replies, “Except the Québécois. And the Newfies. Stupid Newfies.” From there, Ralph Wiggum exclaims, “I’m a Newfie!” as he clubs the head off of a stuffed baby seal. There’s a couple things wrong here. The term ‘Newfie’ is considered to be a derogatory term and then adding the word ‘stupid’ is just mean spirited. Then Ralph clubbing the stuffed baby seal was crude and in poor taste.
Earlier in the episode as the family make their way up to the falls they pass through upstate New York and Homer does a song to commemorate the trip. Unfortunately its not a very good one and it paints the residents as Fox News-watching, hot-wings-gobbling, opioids-addicted, drunk fatties. The song was not memorable or funny and frankly a waste of time.
Time was also wasted on the overly long intro which took a quarter of the episode. Coupled with a full theme song and couch gag ate into time the episode could’ve used in developing the story. Lisa’s acceptance of her new home took literally one scene and her decision to go back to the US also took one scene. Also, the fact that it took the ghosts of what she admires of the US to bring her back seemed cheap. We could have a good exploration into Lisa’s stance on the current state of the country. She clearly has strong thoughts, as evidenced by her outbursts at the hospital about a certain commander-in-chief. I was hoping after Lisa’s awakening in Bart vs Itchy & Scratchy that we would start to see more of a militant/activist Lisa but that will probably have to wait for another episode. Though it would have made sense to put that on display in an episode like this one where her allegiance is divided.
A missed opportunity by The Simpsons in an episode with few bright spots and some glaring missteps.
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