Homer’s laziness in fixing a leaky pipe leads to a huge sinkhole under the streets of Springfield. After Marge loses her car to the sinkhole, she grows to hate her new ride more and more, until she finally realizes she hates it because its small size drives home the reality of having no more kids.
Before we get in to the episode proper, you may or may not have noticed that The Simpsons decided to forgo the opening credits in favor of a little vignette about Homer deciding who to vote for, and then getting sucked down a tube when he chooses Romney. The whole thing wasn’t terribly funny and felt really out of place. If this had been South Park I’d have been okay with its presence, though it wouldn’t have made for very good South Park. I’m not sure I really want political statements that overt from my Simpsons. I don’t think it gels with the show, especially when it’s essentially its own animated short separate from everyone else.
I’m still very much enjoying the self-referential tack The Simpsons has taken this year. “Adventures is Baby Getting” is full of them, from Bart asking Lisa for chalkboard gag ideas to Milhouse declaring that Bart’s treehouse was a Treehouse of Horror.
Also of note is Moe taking potshots at the show’s own proclivity for having celebrity guest stars just for the sake of having them, especially when someone famous moves to town and is never seen or heard from again. This is accompanied by an extremely brief cameo by NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, who simply says “Hey” as he walks past and is of course never seen again. I guess some might call this sort of thing retreading old ground, but by year 24, sometimes that sort of thing elicits a feeling of fondness and nostalgia.
Nostalgia alone isn’t enough to carry your series, granted, but thankfully Season 24 has continued to be quite solid indeed and this episode is no exception. Homer really shines in “Adventures in Baby Getting” as a guy who just doesn’t want any more kids, but gets sucked into it more and more to satisfy his wife. The humor is again skewed more towards the wacky, but it’s good, well-done wacky, and aside from the oddly placed voting thing, there’s not a single gag that fails to amuse. I think if this story had been written earlier in the show’s run, they would have handled it with a little more heart than they do here.
Bart’s story of trying to find out what Lisa is up to after school doesn’t have a whole lot of screen time devoted to it. I would assume the reason it’s here is mainly so the kids have something to do away from the main plot, which concerns S-E-X. Tuesdays and Thursdays, Lisa doesn’t catch the bus home, and is dropping pieces of paper with bizarre sentences on them on the ground. Bart is determined to get to the bottom of it simply so Lisa doesn’t have something cool without his involvement.
I loved a lot of the moments in this little storyline, particularly Otto deciding to hop off the bus after Bart, leaving the thing rumbling forward with no driver and a whole bunch of kids still on board. I’m dark like that.
The downfall of “Adventures in Baby Getting” is the rather abrupt way both stories end. Bart and his friends discover Lisa’s after-school secret, and Homer and Marge’s realize of just how many of Homer’s sperm donations have been, well, used over the years. And then that’s it. Cut to the family smuggling the kids into the 3D drive-in in the trunk and credits. I was left starting at them open mouthed and confused. Usually it’s a good thing when an episode flies by and leaves me wanting more, but this just feels off. It was like the writers got through the first two acts of these stories and then hurriedly concluded them because they were running long or just didn’t know where to go from there.
It’s a fun episode with the unfortunate problem of having the gags work better than the plot. There’s certainly some good ideas in both the A and B storylines, but ultimately it feels like neither of them really go anywhere.