The Simpsons Review: A Farewell to Nick's Arms
Star-crossed lovers, Hemingway references and guest vocals by the Mythbusters AND Michael Cera?!?
It seemed like "The Daughter Also Rises" was going to be an entertaining Valentine's episode of The Simpsons. However, despite some cute and clever gags, the installment fell flat.
Lisa's romance with Nick was adorable; attracted by his adventurous attitude and carefree coolness, Lisa gushes to Marge about his charming "Hemingway-esque" traits. Nick embodies all the charming characteristics of a literary giant like Hemingway; even his name references the book that inspired tonight's episode title, The Sun Also Rises.
Her dates with Nick were designed to make a bookworm like Lisa swoon, especially watching him write at Moe's under an "All prose must be spare and true" sign. However, Lisa learns that both Nick and the author who inspired his character are not as great as they seem to be. Visions of Hemingway's first and second wife hilariously remind Lisa that "tortured writers make horrible husbands." This was definitely true of Hemingway and could quite possibly be the case with Nick.
It was fun watching Lisa get caught up in her crush, but the extremity of her quick devotion seemed a little out of character. When she meets with a little resistance from Marge, she immediately hops onto the "star-crossed lovers" expressway. Luckily, Nick's more Michael Cera-esque characteristics keep her from a kiss under the romantic Mulberry tree.
Cera was a great mix of Hemingway cool and awkward skittishness. The only scene that actually made me laugh were his chidlish complaints about his cold hands and lips. Wrapping up his hands and pulling up his collar to cover his mouth, Nick completely ruined Lisa's perception of him. But he looked so sadly pathetic that it got another giggle out of me.
The secondary plot involving Milhouse, Bart, and the "Mythcrackers" was pretty fun... until it wasn't. The show's clever parody of Mythbusters, with Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman providing their voices for the scene, was the best part of the angle.
As kids will do, Bart and Milhouse mimic what they see on TV and begin "cracking" myths at school. Naturally, it's Milhouse who takes all the risks, like pressing the dreaded combination of E8 on the vending machine or going over the bars on the swing. Unfortunately, this mythcracking thing didn't really go anywhere and it just felt like another way to may the show seem culturally up-to-date. I do love the Mythbusters, though, and I think the show was counting on that popularity to add to their own.
We also got a not so subtle reminder that the show will be celebrating it's 500th episode next week during this evening's couch-gag. I'll be there for sure, adding to our ever-growing collection of The Simpsons quotes.