After a fairly enjoyable half-hour last week, this week's installment of The Simpsons tries too hard to use nostalgia for entertainment.
"Whiskey Business" makes references to several classic episodes of the past, but still fails to endear itself to the audience. That's probably because there's just waaay too much happening.
Moe's depression isn't a new thread to the series, but this week we see him attempt and fail at suicide. His sad sack schtick has always been a part of the show, but now nothing seems to be making him feel better about his life. So his loyal customers and Marge decide to whisk him away to ... Capital City?!?
The choice seemed unusual as did the fact that something as simple as a new suit could cheer up Moe, but it gave the episode a chance to trot out the Tony Bennett "Capital City" song, so that's good, right? From there, Moe's exploits followed a formula similar to most of his other schemes; just as his about to make it rich, things turn sour usually because of his horrible appearance or monstrous habits (or a jealous Homer a la "Flaming Moe's").
Another nostalgic moment came when Lisa visited a jazz club and saw Bleeding Gums Murphy singing Lisa's blues song. But, isn't he dead? Turns out Lisa's vision of her old jazz mentor was just that, a holographic vision. Lisa's quest to end the cheapening of the legacy of dead celebrities is rather haphazardly explored in the remainder of the episode, so the whole thing just seemed like an excuse to trot out references to beloved episodes and characters.
In addition to the Moe and Lisa plots, the show also tried to shoehorn another story involving Grampa and Bart bonding when Grampa gets injured on Bart's makeshift waterslide. There were some cute moments between the two, but the episode had far too many threads going to make any of them really satisfactory.