Review: The Simpsons ‘Luca$’

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Spoilers Below:

Oddly, when this episode ended, I wasn’t especially high on it. Plus the meth was wearing off, so I wasn’t too high on anything by the time 8:30 rolled around, and that tends to put a damper on your night. But hey, I guess it’s all part of the journey, right? Anyone with me?

As I read through my plot notes, my initial feelings appeared to be confirmed: this one was a bit of a dud. But when I scanned the quotes I had recorded, or the little gags I wanted to mention, I realized how many times this episode actually got me to laugh. Thinking about this episode (entitled “Luca$”) immediately recalls its new-student-based plot line because of the name – but that’s misleading, because the story wasn’t actually all that interesting. Let me explain.

In this week’s Simpsons, Lisa met a rotund new student named Luca$ (pronounced Luca-Dollar, and later £uca$, or Pound-Luca-Dollar) who was an aspiring competitive eater. When Marge met the boy, and saw his similarities to her own husband, she urged Homer to spend more time with Lisa and to show her what a true gentleman is like, so Lisa doesn’t end up with someone like…well…Homer. The real Homer of course was insulted by his wife (and left to go sleep on Flanders’ couch, because “ours sucks”) but she eventually realized her misjudgment of the situation.

In the episode’s subplot, Bart covered for Snake when he was on the run (also known as harboring and abetting a wanted fugitive) and in turn was rewarded with an assortment of stolen merchandise as a thank you. But when he told Milhouse, the notorious squealer, about the situation, Snake found himself in deep trouble, and Bart had to help him once again.

In Case You Missed It:

1) The Minecraft (Simcraft) intro sequence was exceptionally executed.

2) While at Moe’s, Homer, Lenny, and Carl read “Drinking Games for Advanced Alcoholics.”

3) Lenny and Carl left Homer stuck in the playground to go to another bar, called “Another Bar.”

4) Among other things, Luca$ was called: “Ralph with a dream,” “Justin Blobber,” “The pork eating the beans,” and Marge’s “Future ton-in-law.”

5) The “weaknesses” in Lisa’s list for Luca$ (and reasons he shouldn’t become a competitive eater) included: Touchy Gag Reflex, Soft Molars, Slow Starter, and Quick Quitter.

6) Snake’s real name is Albert Knickerbocker Aloysius Snake.

7) Homer is quite adept at feigning attentiveness. “I’ve been watching a football game this whole discussion,” he told Marge.

8) Homer began his call to Lisa by saying, ““Hello, Lisa…I know your brother and, uh…”

9) The Springfield Prison’s electric chair was purchased at “Ikillya.”

10) Homer’s cologne was called “Papa Don’t Reek.”

So it only took 25 years to get Snake a starring role in an episode. Seriously, this was by far the most screen time this character has ever received. A close second would probably be the “Treehouse of Horror IX” (S10E4) segment “Hell Toupee.” In fact, I’m pretty sure Snake had more lines in the first five minutes of this episode than in the entirety of any other one. This is surprising, because there have been numerous crime-related plots in Simpsons history, and crooks are few-and-far-between in Springfield. Or, as Milhouse put it, “I never would have suspected the only criminal in town.” Although, to be honest, I think the jury is still out on giving Snake more than just one line, or one word, like “yoink!” or “bye!”

Also, I was a bit surprised at the lack of focus on Luca$ in this episode. You’d think when the show’s title is the new characters name he’d be in almost every scene, when in reality the episode focused more on Homer’s relationship with Lisa, or even Homer’s relationship with Marge.

But that’s the difficulty with certain types of plotlines. You see, introducing a new character or suddenly & temporarily expanding the role of an established character is a lot like putting a Chinese finger trap on your wang; they may seem like good ideas, but in the end it’s just tough to pull off.

However, I must say Zach Galifianakis did a wonderful job as the titular character. In fact, other than in the future sequence (“I made your pork chops like you like ‘em: 20!”) it didn’t even sound like everybody’s favorite bearded spaz. Still, like many of his other roles, Zach was enthusiastic and eccentric, and like almost all his other roles: amusing and hilarious.

Although this episode didn’t have the most solid structure, and had a bit too much going on with all the different subplots, it still had enough jokes & gags to make for an entertaining half hour. This is yet another newer Simpsons episode that might not stick in fans’ minds as being especially funny, but will surprise anyone who happens to re-watch it in syndication.

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Gonzo Green

@Gonzo_Green is a chronic sufferer of Pre-life Crisis Syndrome. He drinks frequently, and wears hats sometimes, with these events occasionally occurring concurrently. Gonzo also likes watching baseball, and putting ketchup on foods that ketchup has no business being on. He enjoys rock’n’roll from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, when rock was rock, and meaningless repetitive phrases were frowned upon. But it is what it is.

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