Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Best of The Simpsons: Duffless

Homer gives up drinking booze for a month? Bart wins the science fair? Yes, both of those unbelievable things actually happened! (And all in the same episode to boot!) Surely an episode in which both Homer and Bart do things that are completely out of character, but totally believable, deserves to be on my list of the Top Five Simpsons episodes.

Duffless begins with a scene from the Springfield Science Fair. Bart has invented a “Go-Go Ray” that forces the school staff to spontaneously begin dancing against their will. (This scene features the classic Mrs. Krabappel line: ‘Can’t stop doing the Monkey!’) Principal Skinner decides that he’s seen enough and gives Bart the first prize. We soon discover, however, that Bart is asleep, the contest was a dream, and that Lisa has manipulated Bart’s dream by chanting the same line Principal Skinner used- “First Prize!” Meanwhile, Homer stupidly and accidentally reveals that he plans to skip work and spend the day at the Duff Brewery. Leaving the brewery, Homer is pulled over and arrested for being DOA- wait, I mean DWI. (Chief Wiggum always gets those two terms mixed up.) Lisa, on the other hand, entrusts Bart with the safety of her gigantic tomato which also happens to be her entry in the science fair. Bart destroys it by hurling it at Principal Skinner and Lisa vows revenge. Lisa then buys a hamster and pits him against her brother to see which of them is smarter. (Of course, the hamster wins hands down.) Homer promises Marge that he will not drink any alcoholic beverages for a month and is reduced to using Lisa’s old bicycle for transportation since his license was taken away. In the end, Homer follows through on his promise and finally puts Marge before Duff. Bart gets back at Lisa by winning the science fair with the exhibit “Can Hamsters Fly Planes?”, a project that Lisa proclaims has no scientific merit whatsoever. (Which gets her booed by the crowd.)

So what makes Duffless such a great episode? It is structured like all classic Simpsons episodes; two seemingly unrelated stories perfectly entertwined in just half an hour. It also features so many quotable lines:

“Uh, Mrs. Simpson, I have some bad news. Your husband was found DOA.” -Chief Wiggum, confusing DWI with DOA.
“This little guy writes mysteries under the name of J.D. McGregor.” -Raphael, AKA The Sarcastic Voiced Guy talking about a hamster.

“It’s funny ’cause I don’t know him.” -Homer, watching a Red Asphalt type movie.

“My name is Otto and I love to get blotto.” -Otto the bus driver (who else?)

I could go on and on; other classic bits involve Homer singing about the fake ID he used to buy beer when he was a teenager and a hilarious Duff Beer commercial in which feminists protest at an advertising agency, get sprayed with Duff Beer, then turn into bikini clad babes. For all of these reasons and more, Duffless deserves its place on this list.