*** This is a user-submitted post by Eli Sanza. ***
Season 29 of The Simpsons opened with a medieval parody and a title change from The Simpsons to The Serfsons. This initially had me wary because The Simpsons frankly does too many parodies, and they tend to feel like desperate attempts at doing something new with the characters. But this episode was actually well-written.
The plot is basically about the family discovering Marge’s mother has ice-cold blue skin spreading across her body (after an intimate night with an ice walker) and Lisa using her magic to create gold so that the family can afford to buy the amulet that will cure her, only for Lisa to be imprisoned for revealing her powers.
The family’s attempt to rescue Lisa leads to a bout with a fire-breathing dragon, which Marge’s mother defeats by removing the amulet that cured her, becoming encased in ice and entering the dragon’s throat to cool down the beast’s fiery breath.
The sacrifice Marge’s mother makes is set up smoothly when she reveals in Act 2 that she doesn’t want to be cured because she feels like she has nothing to live for. Marge’s acceptance of her mother’s fate is handled with sensitivity as you see her struggling to say goodbye.
This was a heartfelt plot, but in classic Simpsons fashion, the emotion is accompanied by hilarious comedy. This includes clever jabs at medieval conservatism when Marge tells Lisa her only choice in life is to grow up to be a wife or a harlot, and when Homer says feudalism is the best system because it’s the only system.
The satirical barbs that the series is known for include a gag about Aslan, the lion from The Chronicles of Narnia, trying to convert everyone to Christianity, and Homer is hilarious as usual when he enlists the townsfolk to help save his daughter while declaring Homerisms like, “If we can put a star-spangled hat on a man, why can’t we kill a bunch of rich jerks and take their stuff?” Perfect logic.
The funniest scene is the ending when Lisa reveals the death of the dragon means the death of magic, and while Lisa tries to reassure the villagers by praising the benefits of embracing science instead of magic, Homer revives the dragon in panic by feeding it fire wood, as Marge explains to Lisa that living in a world without magic would make zero sense.
The Simpsons smiling as the dragon burns a nearby village at the end of the episode is a funny commentary on society. Their embracing of magic and their rejection of science was ultimately the more dangerous path. But who cares? Magic makes life easier, so it’s all good.
Did you see the Serfsons? What did you think of it?
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