While looking for a spare car key, The Simpsons opened a drawer to "500 Keys" and the audience was treated to a rare thing for this animated cartoon: four separate story lines that all tied together in the end.
Lisa was clearly given the main story line, as she discovered a key that unlocks a mystery that could even stump Nancy Drew and her recently deceased friends, the Hardy Boys.
As usual, watching Lisa along her adventure was never hilarious, but Otto's part - along with her family members slowly being tied to the central story line - kept this episode funny enough.
Homer's adventures in the Duff beer factory, which quickly turned to stealing the Duff blimp, won me over. From a cameo by Duff man to Homer being pulled over by Chief Wiggum in a police blimp cruiser, this little B story had me.
Bart and Marge's key adventures were far less fun, as Bart failed to be mischievous and Marge chased after her anniversary present. However, Marge, like her husband, did have a pretty hilarious run in with Wiggum. The floor is out of my jurisdiction.
Other notable bits:
- Homer's previous job keys included "Mr. Plow," "Homer the Smithers" and "NASA Space Shuttle."
- Skinner and Chalmers recounting the ridiculous intro that led to the adventure: "We did plan for the wedding cake."
- The ridiculousness that was Cletus and Brandine's kid still feeding by umbilical cord.
- A cameo in the intro by one of my favorite Simpsons characters ever: Skorpio. "It was this or a Porsche!"
The clever plotline, complete with a horrible, dark cover up by Chalmers and Skinner, kept this episode above average, despite it not being the funniest installment in the show's history. Don't worry, we still gathered our favorite Simpsons quotes from the adventure.
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.