This week’s episode didn’t have a lot of laughs, but its interesting plot made up for it, adding a bit of mystery to the well known Simpsons formula.
The episode has many plots, each dealing with keys the Simpsons family finds lying around the house. It seems wherever the Simpsons went they either inadvertently or purposely stole keys from places like the mailbox to the Duff Brewery.
The mysterious plot mentioned earlier deals with Lisa and her discovery of a hidden classroom underneath Springfield Elementary, with the aid of a key found at her house. Inside the classroom is fake teaching equipment, from microscopes to overhead projectors. Looking for answers, she hauls Principal Skinner and her classmates to the basement, only to find the entrance to the secret room gone.
As Lisa is solving the mystery, every member of the Simpsons family is doing something. Homer is realizing his dream of flying the Duff Beer blimp, Bart is trying to create chaos by using all of the keys he found for evil and Marge and Maggie are busy trying to chase down a farting train toy. This episode is one of the few times where each member of the Simpsons family has a legitimate story to progress through and this was refreshing. Usually its either Homer or Bart doing something funny while Lisa or Marge fill time with dull plots, but this episode bucked this trend. I enjoyed each family member’s addition to the episode.
Lisa’s however was the most intriguing. She finds clue after clue and eventually solves the mystery of why there is a forgotten classroom under Springfield Elementary. I cannot really do the twists justice, and I do not want to spoil the answer, but I’ll say that it was believable and mildly humorous.
Talking, about humorous, the episode did not spend all that time trying to make the audience laugh. When it did though, it was successful. Agnes Skinner calling Principal Skinner’s birthday their anniversary was pretty funny, as was Chief Wiggum’s inability to catch toys or thieves on the ground (the ground is not in his jurisdiction).
It was nice to watch a Simpsons episode where I didn’t see the end coming, and because of this, “500 Keys” was a good episode. It followed the formula of the more successful episodes of the season, where the Simpsons either did something drastically different, or provided a strong and memorable plot.
Next week’s episode involves a romance between Ned Flanders and Edna Krabappel. This, along with the Simpsons recent inconsistent season finales has me worried, but here’s to hoping something good happens.