“Homer, did you hear that? She called me handsome. Me! It’s like I’ve gone to heaven… uh, wait a minute. I died on the operating table, didn’t I?” “Yeah, but just for a minute. It’s a funny story; I’ll tell you sometime.” – Moe and Homer, proposing a much better storyline than, well, much of Season 11 so far.
Airdate: February 27th, 2000
Written By: Larry Doyle
Plot: A trip to the Duff Days festival has Moe win a bar-tending contest by a tongue. Literally, the “toss the drunk” contest has Barney stretch his tongue to give Moe the victory. He is therefore entitled to have his picture on the Duff calendar. Unfortunately, his relative unattractive facial structure results in his face being obscured by many stickers. Shocked by this censorship, Moe tries to get a facelift in order to at least be more physically attractive.
The past four episodes of The Simpsons that I’ve covered have actually astonished me, in a rather morbid and warped way. I mean, it has to say something, anything, when the best episode out of the prior four had barely any plot and no real ending whatsoever outside of mocking one show that wound up rising from the dead with a vengeance to become a quasi-rival to Our Favorite Family.
Otherwise, what we’ve been subjected to include the confirmation of Mr. Burns’ gutting as an effective antagonist, pirates invading a party yacht, the complete blowout of the show’s ties to reality thanks to underground jockeys and the attack of the Sesame Street characters, a death that is a million times worse than Kirk dying under a poorly-constructed bridge, some of the most disgusting behavior I’ve seen from a protagonist in many years, and an inability to write a coherent plot.
I’m not sure if this marks the show’s lowpoint – Al Jean’s era would see to challenge hat on several occasions – but I do think that these four episodes marked the point of no return. That even if the show did recover, that it was permanently tainted. At the very least, I would argue that these four episodes marked Mike Scully’s card in fandom forever – even with episodes that are worse produced later, Scully’s name is often tied with “Spock’s Brain” as a byword for terminal decline.
Interestingly, “Pygmoelian” does demonstrate quite the improvement over the prior four episodes. Paradoxically, it does so while also altering the path of one of the show’s most famous secondary characters, Moe Szyslak. Continue reading