This is why most people throw away the crust.
There is a classic Simpsons episode called “Kamp Krusty,” but just in case you are unaware (and the title does not tip you off), a title card intones, “A short while ago, in Season 4…” It turns out that that sleepaway experience left Bart and Lisa pretty traumatized. They appear to be suffering from a version of PTSD that does not manifest until well past the initial trauma. Or maybe “Kamp Krustier” takes place immediately after “Kamp Krusty.” It is hard to figure the passage of time on a cartoon in which nobody ages.
At first, Lisa is genuinely shaken up, while Bart is inclined to play it cool and shake it all off. But when they realize a diagnosis of instability means time off from school, they switch their tunes. Bart is totally living it up, watching Itchy & Scratchy whenever he wants. But then something pokes at his psyche. It turns out he is actually legitimately terrified by his scrambled memories. So he seeks solace in his parents’ bed, which cools off their matrimonial heat (more on that later).
The boy has a vague memory of himself, Lisa, and a mystery fellow escaping camp via canoe, so they head back to the scene of the crime. But it might be a little tough to straighten things out, as Kamp Krusty is now Klub Krusty, “An Adult Retreat.” While that may sound like a formidable conflict, it actually isn’t for long. While the place may have been rebranded, these are the same campgrounds after all.
Bart and Lisa do some snooping, and it does not take a whole lot of effort for them to discover that their friend – Charlie – is actually a spy, and a grown man (he does not like to be referred to by a certain politically correct term, so I’m not sure what to call him). With the mystery resolved, Bart’s trauma is cured, and the ending all feels just a little too pat. Maybe satisfaction will come 24 years later, as “Kamp Krustiest” will apparently be a part of Season 52.
Despite the title, this episode focuses more on Homer and Marge’s bedroom issues. With Bart’s presence preventing hanky-panky, or even just snuggling, Homer does the unthinkable: go to work early! There he discovers previously unknown joys: plentiful parking and donuts, hot coffee, and shocker of all shockers – doing his job effectively. Thus the gears in his brain start up after over 1000 days out of order. I always enjoy an appearance from smart Homer, and this time is no different.
This newfound intellectualism does nothing to help Homer’s sex life, but he is okay with that. Marge, however – not so much. There is an idea at play here (sex distracting from mental accomplishments) that I am not so sure I buy into. Sure, being horny can be distracting, but the support (wink, wink) of a good lover can provide the motivation to get things done. Regardless of what makes sense, it is always heartening to be reminded that Homer and Marge remain into each other after all these years.
The lovebirds attempt to reignite the extinguished flame in a manner that fits Homer’s approval. This includes a detour to the research facility of Bill Masters and Virginia Johnson, with Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan reprising their roles from Masters of Sex (a show that started off promisingly but gradually became more and more irredeemably insane). Eventually, Marge just breaks through and reminds her husband how awesome sex is, so the miniature Homer’s running the show inside his head immediately head south. This is a happy ending, so that’s nice, but it feels way too rushed.
Why must this show continually insist on jamming two perfectly capable storylines together into one episode? In this case, I kind of see how the two go together, at least at first. Bart’s trauma – both real and fake – is what interrupts Homer and Marge’s bedroom time. But then these two threads diverge so hard, and an intention to devote sufficient space to both proves to be incompatible with the demands of half-hour sitcom beats. Either bring it all together or go for broke during the rewrite process and make some major cuts.
Memorable Lines and Random Jazz:
-This Week in Sight Gags: the eye of the pyramid from Bart’s allowance joins Marge and Bart’s peepers in the dark, “Half-Dozen Flags”
-“Your butt is pillows, genius.” That is genius! And it comes before Homer’s brain starts running at full speed. Hmm…
-“Thanks for waiting til morning!” It is delightful when Bart is considerate to his sister, and Lisa’s reaction is just so cute.
-“No means no. I looked it up in the dictionary.”
-“Do you self-gratify?” “Yes, I do everything but masturbate.”
-“They liked to be called little people.” “Eh, not that much.”