Remember on South Park when Butters, as Professor Chaos was tormented by his inability to escape General Disarray's continued chant, "Simpsons did it!" Well the tables have turned with The Simpsons falling behind the Comedy Central animated show in "How I Wet Your Mother."
The Simpsons lacks the ability to respond to current cultural phenomena in a timely fashion, so it's not surprising that we've already been treated to a number of Inception parodies since the movie opened. South Park tackled the movie nearly a year and a half ago with "Insheeption."
So who did it better?
I have to say that while the South Park episode had some pretty hilarious scenes, I enjoyed the way The Simpsons attempted to recreate the atmosphere of the film. The snowy setting of Homer's original dream, the landscape of Homer's subconscious mind, and the gravity-defying slow battle between Professor Frink and Chief Wiggum all helped create a more precise satire of the film.
I don't usually like Homer-centric episodes. There's only so much idiocy you can watch before it becomes annoying. Yet, I found the exploration of the character's subconscious mind pretty funny, especially getting a look at Homer's deepest desires and innermost thoughts. Everything in his fantasy land was exactly what you would expect - lots of beer and food. His rollercoaster ride even treated us to the many different faces of Homer.
Plus, we got to look into four different dream levels. Lisa's dream, predictably enough, involved a Shakespearean stage; however, we did not get to stay there long before Bart pulled the plug (or rather plugged them in again). For some reason, Marge's subconscious transplanted them into an earlier version of themselves at a Family Psychiatrist. The animation transformed into the classic drawings of the first season and the character's voices took on their initial intonations. While Dr. Marvin Monroe wasn't there to make everyone shock themselves silly, it was a neat little throwback to earlier Simpsons' episodes.
However, I have to say that this Inception parody was definitely not as clever as South Park's. Homer's problems revolve around his guilt over his mother's abandonment and an unsuccessful fishing trip when he was a boy. It make sense that Homer's issues would be related to his mother, but haven't there been enough episodes revolving around his mommy issues? With such a rich concept, dreams and the subconscious, you would (and should) expect a little more creativity.
But that doesn't mean there weren't some amusing lines, especially regarding the oft-confused definition of karma.
And, that was a funny ending with the spinning top!