Was this really the first episode of The Simpsons that revolved around Homer strangling Bart? The bit has been featured since season one, yet I can't recall the form of extreme corporal punishment occupying an entire installment before, can you, Fanatics?
That said, the idea of Homer becoming a better parent as the central theme has been beaten to death by The Simpsons. However, this week's "Love Is A Many Strangled Thing" still proved to be a hilarious episode, even if its storyline wasn't the most original in the show's history.
Much like this whole season, we were treated to some impressive guest voices in the form of the random pairing of Paul Rudd (as Dr. Zander) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (as himself). Their connection? They played pickup basketball together. Duh.
Rudd did a great job as the second big name star to play a therapist this season. While it may have been a strange placement and totally unnecessary to cast the lovable comedian, that seems to be The Simpsons' go-to for therapists in Dr. Marvin Monroe's absence. Maybe it helped to have a comic given the number of great lines they gave Dr. Zander.
Elsewhere, Abdul-Jabbar did a fine job for his bit as a tall guy (7'2"!) that could make Homer feel like a child.
The surprisingly generic parenting premise managed to take us all over the place during the show's four acts, from a great modern football stadium parody to a homeless camp of luxury professions, complete with a movie-themed trio of dreams for Homer. "Stop! No Star Wars parodies!"
Turns out even with a rehashed premise, The Simpsons can still provide a consistently funny episode in its 22nd season. That's kind of rare these days, as it's primarily the visual gags that have me laughing. This go around there were plenty of Simpsons quotes to keep the guffaws coming.
Speaking of quotes, we'll leave you with some of our favorites as we go back to hiding in our hallowed out tree:
Dr. Zander: After two more weeks of sessions...
Homer: I lied about having health insurance.
Dr. Zander: You're cured. | permalink
Carl: I can't do it. A balloon saved one of my arteries. It wouldn't seem right to shoot one of his cousins. | permalink
Homer: I hope you kids are enjoying this [stadium] because you and your children will be paying for this long after the team leaves the city. | permalink
Homer: Well, it was your idea to give him self-esteem to begin with! | permalink
Homer: That's ridiculous. How could two people from the same family need therapy? | permalink
Eric Hochberger is the programmer of TV Fanatic, so please forgive his mediocre writing. His programming is far better. Follow him on Twitter and/or email him. Just don't request threaded comments. They're coming.