Tuesday, July 24, 2007

14 Days of Simpsons

#7: Kamp Krusty
Season 4
After making a deal with Homer to get good grades in school, Bart and Lisa go away to Kamp Krusty, "The Krustiest Place on Earth!" While they're initially excited about their summer, they soon learn that Kamp Krusty is a run-down prison run by the tyrannical Mr. Black and his C.I.T. henchmen, Dolph, Kearney and Jimbo Jones. Worse yet, instead of sports and arts-and-crafts, the kids are expected to pass their days sewing counterfeit wallets. The only thing that gets Bart through this ordeal is the hope that Krusty himself will visit, but when that doesn't happen, the kids lead a rebellion against Mr. Black and take over the camp. With Bart as their leader, the kids speak to the media and reveal what a sham Kamp Krusty is. Meanwhile, with Bart and Lisa away from home, Homer and Marge are getting in touch with their relationship. Homer feels so good, he's even losing some weight and growing some hair. This all changes when he sees Bart on TV, condemning Krusty and his ramshackle camp. In the end, Krusty apologizes to the campers and takes them on a trip to Tijuana.

This episode takes so many shots in so many directions it’s almost difficult to know where to start. The primary jab, upon which the episode is based, is aimed directly at themselves and the marketing machine that The Simpsons has become. From the mouth of Bart “How could you Krusty? I’d never lend my name to an inferior product!”

Actually, the reason I like this episode is quite simple: it contains two of my favorite jokes in all of Simpsondom. Lisa’s letter home describing her experience home strikes pitch perfect notes. Among them, my second favorite line in the episode and, for some reason, one of my favorite turns of phrase I’ve ever heard: “Our arts and crafts center is, in actuality, a Dickensian workhouse.” Of course, Marge & Homer’s response to the letter was clearly written by actual parents in the writing room…

The second joke may actually be my favorite throwaway joke in the entire series, but I never see it quoted or even referred to by other fans. It is an absolutely perfect jab at news-media specifically and in general our growing tendency to exaggerate (as I often do in this post and others). Ladies & Gentlemen, Mr. Kent Brockman…

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