Wow that title is a mouthful. This week’s episode, “How Munched is That Birdie in the Window” focused on Bart, his dog, and a bird. This episode failed to continue the very strong line of episodes this season, with a tired plot and fewer funny jokes.
Last week I wrote about how that week’s episode did a great job reminding the viewer of The Simpsons’ past, while creating a semi-fresh plot and some good jokes. This week it seems the show tried it again, but with far worse results.
This week’s episode had Bart adopt and care for a bird, until Santa’s Little Helper eats it. Bart then gets angry with the dog, leading to the family giving the dog up to an ostrich farm. At the ostrich farm, Santa’s Little Helper saves Bart from an attacking ostrich, and Bart forgives his dog.
Like I said, this episode seemed to draw on past ones. Bart adopting a bird reminded me of “Bart The Mother” (I know they were actually lizards) and Bart/the family getting mad at the dog and eventually getting rid of him was done before in “Bart’s Dog Gets an F“, “The Canine Mutiny“, “Dog of Death” and “Old Yeller Belly.” The problem is, instead of subtly inserting these references, the show just relied on their plot points. Bart and/or the family gets mad at the dog, only to miss him/he saves them and therefore the family takes him back. Last week’s episode did a great job with past references, while this week’s episode did not reference them, they reused them.
This week’s show did, however, get some laughs. Bart’s bird being a carrier pigeon led to many funny messages delivered from character to character. Milhouse’s message to Bart, attached with a PDF (Pretty Darn Funny) file was good. The best one however, was Mr. Burns. When Mr. Burns saw the bird fly into his office he delivered a great line, “Ah, a carrier pigeon, perhaps an update on the siege of Khartoum.” As a History major, that one made me laugh.
A jab at the Detroit Lions led Moe to say, “Leave off Detroit, those people are living in Mad Max times.” Another good line. As was Homer telling Marge that Principal Skinner “Paid Bart’s salary.”
By far the funniest part of the show was Homer’s dream sequence of being the patriarch of a pigeon racing dynasty. It featured Danica Patrick (who is contractually obligated to appear in random fan’s fantasies) and ended with both Danica and Marge beating up Homer. It was a funny bit.
Another great part was near the end of the episode. Bart referenced the picture of him and Santa’s Little Helper in the newspaper, with the caption “Who’s Walking Who?” This led Homer to say “I mailed them the answer but they never printed it.”
Overall, I’m a bit disappointed with this episode. The plot was weak and the good jokes were here and there. It did not compare with previous efforts this season. Next week’s episode is a Christmas special, and is one of those episodes with several mini plots. Let’s hope it is as good as previous entries in that format. To watch clips of this episode and others, or to learn about upcoming episodes, go to thesimpsons.com.