Can Homer make Bart a gaming champion?
Bart has become addicted to an online video game called ‘Conflict of Enemies’. Instead of helping his son get over the obsession, Homer discovers that he would much rather coach him – mostly because the tournaments offer cash prizes. In attempting to help his son become a champion in the video game circuit, Homer hires an expert and puts Bart and his friends through a grilling training campaign.
Meanwhile, Lisa is feeling ignored as her father spends more time with Bart. As Bart’s team makes it to the world championship in South Korea, Lisa is desperate to join as her dream is to visit a temple in Seoul. As Lisa helps Homer find Zen, he discovers that competition is meaningless and sabotages the entire tournament.
Well if this wasn’t an episode that any father could resonate with in today’s world. I challenge you to show me a father that doesn’t struggle with the amount of video games there child plays. Even a dad that loves to play video games themselves still grew up in an age that these games were not so addictive and learned limitation. Plus, these kids are extremely good. Like, for anybody over the age of thirty it is downright frustrating how easily a 10-year-old can demolish you at Fortnite. So, watching Homer deal with these frustrations in a new way, by encouraging Bart’s talent, he unintentionally shows us a new parenting method. Instead of condemning the video game time, turn it into an opportunity to spend time with your child.
Homer’s intentions are definitely not as noble as to bond with Bart. There are more than a couple moments in this episode that prove that Homer is being driven by nothing more than personal greed. Once in the way that he convinces Marge to allow the training program to happen. But even more during a dream sequence where Homer meets other fathers of talented children. Lead by Tiger Woods father, the Club of Dads Who Live Through Their Talented Children go as far as to break out in a musical number “Live Through Your Kid”.
The hands down best part of this episode is when Homer brings in an expert to help train Bart’s gaming team. The Detonator as he is called goes so in depth as to describe how to effectively use a computer mouse, and even gives tips on how to pee faster by going above the belt. But, as the expert is reaching the cumbersome age of 19, he loses his edge, like instantly. He is forced to give up on his dedication to video games and go get a job at his father’s tile company. The whole scene is unnecessary to the plot but added a lot of humour and commentary regarding the gaming scene today.
A quick little personal note, as I love to mention when these shows make mention of Canada, as you can guess, I am from the great white north. In the semi-finals of the gaming tournament, Bart’s team is facing off against the Canadian national team. Besides jokes regarding our pronunciation of ‘out’ and our love of maple syrup, I couldn’t help but take insult by one joke. The gaming team went by the name of the ‘Calgary Lames’, which is not only a hit on my hometown but also my favourite sports franchise. It’s all in good humour, but… ouch.
Without even mentioning the hilarious conclusion, this episode was easily one of my favourites of the season thus far. It was a balanced mix of relevant humour, plot, and theme. The addition of Lisa’s storyline could have deterred from the plot but ended up becoming a clever twist to the conclusion. This was one of the most intelligently written episodes of Simpsons that we have seen in a long while. If there were more stories such as these, there would be a much more massive surge of old fans returning to watch the beloved series again.