After Lisa puts on a school play inspired by her family, Marge realizes that she is considered boring. Struggling to prove that she has an exciting life, she falls into her role as the mother. When chopping wood because Homer is too lazy, her potential in Timber Sports is noticed.
Drafted by a woman into the sport, Marge quickly proves herself a star. She travels with her mentor to train in Portland while leaving her family behind. When Homer and the kids come to visit, he worries that he is losing his wife to this new life. However, he remembers that being supportive is the only thing he can do for the woman he loves.
There is nothing worse than when a series recycles an old concept and brings it back up like it is new. Unfortunately, The Simpsons can be the biggest culprits of this. Granted the show has an incredible 668 episodes under its belt now, they can’t all be original. This episode feels like a repeat of so many episodes we have seen out of the show before. Marge wants to spice up her life, she takes on a new hobby/occupation/project, Homer feels insecure, and they make up. In fact, this entire premise was the basis when she became an officer, pretzel cart entrepreneur, bodybuilder, Tupperware saleswoman, or a baker, just to name a few.
It can be exciting when one of the Simpsons adults takes on something new. It allows the show to dive into something that isn’t commonly explored. However, the plot should be something that we haven’t seen before, either. Marge, as a lumberjill, could have gone a thousand ways. She could have gotten in an argument with her altruistic daughter. She could have gotten into an unsportsmanlike rivalry. She could have become a champion for an unrecognized sport. But, they went for the old tried-and-true marriage trouble. I have said it before, but Marge and Homer have an unhealthy amount of relationship issues.
This episode does offer some highlights. It may be cliché that the Simpsons family travels to new places all the time, but in this one, they go to Portland. A perfect place for the series to make fun of it is surprising that they have never been before. Between making fun of coffee shops and hipsters to the strange amount of similar street names to Springfield, it was an entertaining look.
There were also a couple of new voices in tonight’s episode. Asia Kate Dillon, star of Gen: Lock and Orange Is the New Black, makes a special guest appearance. She manages to play the butch veteran lumberjill amazingly for a woman that looks like this might break her. Additionally, Martin Prince, Sherri, and Terri also have a new voice. Following the passing of voice talent Russi Taylor, it wasn’t clear what the show intended to do with these characters. In the past, when a situation like this happened, the characters have been shifted out of the limelight. However, Grey DeLisle-Griffin has been brought in to help keep these characters alive. The voice change is noticeable, but she is talented, and it is great that the characters can live on in Taylor’s honour.
So far season thirty-one has been above my expectations. Unfortunately, this episode is much more in line with where I was worried this season would go. A severe lack of originality while recycling the same plots over and over is not helping The Simpsons come back into mass popularity. Ironically, more than once during the episode, there are mentions of how much the show revisits, whether it be Homer’s multiple jobs, or how Lisa falls in love with every place the family visits. Not to say the episode is terrible in any way, it just feels like we have seen it already… quite a few times.