Despite a rather lackluster episode last week, The Simpsons continues to surprise me warm and amusing installments.
"Gone Abie Gone" spends some time focused on one of the series' most beloved, but occasionally maligned, characters: Grandpa. In the past, we've seen Abe as a shy romantic, a gruff father and even a tough sergeant. This time around, we get an even more detailed history.
No matter how far-fetched this little addition to Abe's history might have seemed, I enjoyed how it highlighted Abe's commitment to his son. Oftentimes, Abe seems like a uncaring or distant father, which accounts for Homer's disinterest. However, episodes like this make it clear that Grandpa really did care for Homer.
The fact that Homer forgets to visit Grandpa is nothing new, but finding out that Grandpa is missing was certainly surprising. Tracking him down involved exposing Homer to a side of his father that he never really knew (or somehow forgot?). Clearly, Homer was there when Abe married Rita, but a well-timed trip to an airport bar kept him from remembering. Obviously, this was a ridiculous method of explaining away Homer's inability to remember Rita.
For all its awkwardness, the story of Abe's other life brought Homer closer to his father. And this episode showed a much more active Grandpa. No longer content with waiting around in the retirement community, Abe has a new job and a new home. What kind of crazy adventures will he get into living on his own?
The second storyline revolved around Lisa's addiction to online poker. Lisa's intelligence can sometimes cause her to be a bit arrogant, and her increased knowledge about poker assured her of her ability to grow her college fund. The montage of Lisa's changing college attire as her winnings slowly built up was one of the more amusing bits of the night. But inevitably, she loses it all.
The gambling plot may have had some funny jokes, but the most entertaining part was Bart's revelation that he was playing as Sideshow Bob. Coupled with his admission that he actually really likes Lisa and wanted to help her, Bart's actions created a sweetly moving moment between the siblings. Lisa's cute line about including his confession in her autobiography was incredibly cute!
Episodes like tonight make the show an enjoyable experience. Especially when they're chocked full of hilarious The Simpsons quotes. What was your favorite line?