The Simpsons returned after a week hiatus with a lacklustre episode. I hate that I had to write that considering last season was a step in the right direction for the show. This season so far has been okay, no major let downs, until now.

Gorillas on the Mast tells two stories. The first deals with Lisa freeing a whale from a water park with Bart’s help which in turn gives him the urge to free more animals. Bart free Lolo, the gorilla from the zoo which he succeeds in doing but the ape goes crazy once out and becomes a hazard to Springfield. He gets Lisa to help him capture Lolo which she does and they send the ape to an animal conservatory.

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The second story deals with Homer buying a boat, which through a flashback we learn that was something grandpa couldn’t afford. He gets sweet talked into getting one by a savvy/seedy salesman. Homer can’t afford the maintenance costs so he corral’s Lenny and Karl to own it with him. Still feeling the pinch Homer basically gets the rest of Springfield to own a part of the boat. It eventually sinks and everyone is left with nothing.

Personally, I didn’t care too much for the A story and given the way the story was presented, neither did any of the internal characters. Lisa frees a whale from a theme park and no one bats an eye. The next scene she’s in her room. Bart lets loose an angry gorilla which wreaks havoc on Springfield and yet nothing happens to him either; he just confuses the meaning of altruism to mean destruction. That’s obviously a Bart thing to do but left the entire A plot void of meaning. Dr. Jane Goodall had a cameo but that too was just not very good.

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At least on the B side Homer felt the economic pressure of owning a boat which caused him to sell off ownership of it to basically everyone. The B side also had the better gags. The seedy salesman was actually kinda funny, gouging Homer even in his thoughts. Duffman trying to impress his son in law who wants nothing to do with him seemed appropriate. Finally, the espresso machine on the boat preserving the image of Lenny on the froth was funny which they came back to at the very end when a third person narrator told the audience to catch a new show featuring the froth because Fox has nothing else.

Marge was left with nothing to do and she wasn’t even mad when Homer revealed that he bought the boat. This was uncharacteristic of her but she even said (and I’m paraphrasing) that she’s gotten used to Homer’s antics. Homer gets away scott-free even from the mob of people who lost their ownership. Even the flashback, which served as the background to Homer’s boat fantasy, barely gets an fleshing out. We get one scene with present day Grandpa thinking he’s going to get whacked Sopranos style but nothing more.

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So in the end not a lot happened. The A story was a wasted opportunity. Instead of making it about Bart it should’ve been about Lisa. I’ve been advocating for her to be more activist since last season and since then we’ve seen glimpses of it. This episode though barely gives her any room to grow as the attention switches to Bart. The B story would’ve been better as an A story but unfortunately it got relegated which meant it got less time to shine.

All in all, a mostly forgettable episode, except for that salesman, bring him back.

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