This was ostensibly an episode about Genetically Modified Organisms and their place (or lack thereof) within today’s society. But let’s be real for a second: this was really just another Sideshow Bob episode. Not to say that all Sideshow Bob episodes are created equal; far from it. They have the potential to be one of the greatest episodes in the show’s history (see “Cape Feare”) or can end up as one of the more forgettable episodes (see whatever that one was with Bob and his wife in Italy or whatever) but either way we get the privilege of listening to the enormously talented Kelsey Grammar work his craft, and that’s something that automatically adds points to even the worst episode.
Fortunately this one wasn’t too bad of an episode as Bob managed to successfully keep it afloat from start to finish.
After becoming interested in GMOs, Lisa traveled to the headquarters of Monsarno, an obvious spoof of Monsanto, and met with their Chief Scientist, who turned out to be Bob Terwilliger himself. Bob had somehow risen through the ranks in the company after initially volunteering “to make sure the tests aren’t too painful for the test monkeys.” Lisa then befriended Bart’s former (and most-likely still current) enemy, seeing the difference of personality from his former self.
However, these personality changes also included Bob altering his own DNA, adding a whole bunch of (possibly) advantageous traits from historical figures and the animal kingdom in order to become some sort of supervillain.
In the end, Lisa made Bob realize the error of his ways, and he attempted to kill himself by leaping to his death. Lucky for fans, Bob previously gave himself gills, and he presumably escaped unharmed (other than being hit in the face with a random underwater rake.)
In the show’s alternate plotline, Marge arrived late to church during a volunteer sign-up period, and ended up having to volunteer (if it is even possible to have to volunteer…you know, unless it is court-ordered) to teach Abstinence Education to a bunch of horny teens.
In Case You Missed It:
1) The chalkboard behind Ms. Hoover during Science Video Day read: “Teacher May Appear to be Sleeping.”
2) Willie’s Titanic reference – in which he sacrificed his life in order to save his mop from a sea or stampeding kids – was hilariously random. Though it was early, brief, and meant nothing to the rest of the episode, it might have been the biggest laugh in the whole 22-minutes – for me and the ol’ ball & chain, at least.
3) One of the extremely old Jello dishes spelled out: “M*A*S*H Final Episode.” If anyone reading this actually watched that episode, and they want to feel really old, I’ll mention that it was over 31 years ago.
4) I love that Jasper’s last name is Beardly. I wish it were my own.
5) Ned referred to a signature as a “John Hand-bleep”
6) Most people (including Homer) apparently only attend PTA meetings for the free cookies.
7) A comment under the GMO propaganda film said, “You gave my son nightmares.” It was submitted by email@example.com. So many levels of funny.
8) An ad under the video comment said, “Want to earn 50k from home? Do it the Ponzi-way!”
9) Why did Sideshow Bob’s face briefly fall off? Did I miss something?
10) Of course an episode with so much church involved couldn’t go without the obligatory child molestation zing: “We haven’t had finger puppets in this church since Reverend Brogan was fired.”
11) “Shut your eyes; they’re too bright” is a bit too close to “Marge, could you close your eyes? I’m trying to sleep.” (S7E19: “A Fish Called Selma”)
12) One of the episode’s best exchanges took place between Marge and one of the abstinence teens:
Marge: “I’ll teach you other fun ways to avoid getting pregnant.”
Girl: “I think I’m already pregnant”
Marge: “That’s one of ‘em!”
As previously stated, it’s hard to mess up a Sideshow Bob episode. This one wasn’t anything to write home about (especially if you do so with your own blood, Sideshow Bob-style) but it didn’t completely miss the mark either. Combining Bob with an episode that touched on political issues like GMOs and the teaching of abstinence could have been a bit too much, but they made it work. There was even a commentary on restrictive taboos in Middle Eastern countries and multiple jabs at organized religion (Marge: “Are you saying I’m wasting my time?” / Homer: “No, I’m saying that you’re wasting everyone’s time. But it’s a church thing, so that’s a given.)
And on top of all that goodness, it ended with a beautiful reference to Mrs. Krabappel/Marcia Wallace, in which Ned reminisced about the two dancing, and stated that he misses her laugh as he gazed at her photo. Nelson, after his usual “haw haw,” said that he misses her too. Extra points for that. Miss you, Marcia.