The Simpsons is an institution in comedy, it has been on TV for literally 54 years and has featured every man, woman and child on Earth as a guest voice. And it suffered a backlash a few years back. Starting a little rough, the Simpsons became one of the best written, most hilarious shows animated or otherwise and then, one day, people turned on it. They said it had lost its magic. The storylines began to focus on stupider and stupider things. Homer’s idiocy became the driving plot device. The storylines became either stale or completely preposterous and ridiculous. People were not happy.
The reality is no show is going to crack 500 episodes without some stinkers. Look at Holy Taco, we do three articles per day, 5 days a week. Since 2008, we have published literally 6 or 7 really lame articles. It happens to everyone. But we can’t abandon the Simpsons, it’s an icon. It’s the reason animation is where it’s at today. And because of that, we have some ideas for episodes we’d genuinely like to see. Are they preposterous? Sure, but the Simpsons has the chops to make anything awesome. Anything.
Maggie Becomes a Pageant Baby
Easing into the idea like a warm bath, let’s start with a simple storyline that’s not even hard to imagine the show doing. Maggie gets involved in the pageant scene. Unblock TLC and watch an episode of Toddlers and Tiaras and tell me it’s not insane.
Maggie is spotted by a pageant official at Springfield Mall and invites Marge to enter her in the Little Miss Duff pageant. After attending the pageant and failing miserably at the hands of the insane mothers and spoiled brat entrants, Marge blames herself and decides to step it up a notch as she enters Maggie in the Little Miss Springfield pageant, forcing Maggie through all the ridiculous pageant tricks to win including inappropriate wardrobe, botox injections and a choreographed dance routine to some Lady Gaga before she gets addicted to baby uppers, caffeine and Dexatrim.
Kirk van Houten is a serial killer
One of the big issues with the storylines that people feel are weak on the Simpsons is that they never push the envelope. Homer will go to band camp. Principal Skinner is actually a dude named Armin Tanzarian. The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase. Ugh. The best thing is to go hard or go home.
Kirk van Houten has always been a marginal, loser type character. He’s the future prospect of his son Milhouse, a dork who won’t accept his dorkdom and expects things to somehow get brighter one day. Or that’s how it seems. In reality, Kirk’s warped psyche has driven him to the point where he finds people he feels he can look down on who are enjoying the things in life he can’t enjoy – wealth, happiness, love, and he kills them.
Grandpa and Jasper Get the Wrong Pills and Go on a Road Trip
Grandpa Simpson is a one note character but it doesn’t mean that note can’t be funny, he’s a cantankerous old coot. Jasper is a tragically underused character who’s funny because his name is Jasper and he has that beard.
The Springfield Retirement Castle is notoriously uncaring and poorly staffed. When Grandpa and Jasper have their meds mixed up with some other, less stable inhabitants the two start tripping and head out on the road in Jasper’s 1971 red Chevy Impala convertible. Destination? Bat Country. Or Vegas.
Lenny and Carl Plot to Rob the Money Train
Lenny and Carl are always good comic foils and have enjoyed interplay based off their perceived sexuality and their ethnicities in the past. They’re primed for more of a principal role in the tradition of all great black and white buddy comedies that were made awesome by Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder.
When Lenny loses his job, he convinces partner Carl to help him rob the Money Train. Yes, it’s stupid, yes the movie was bad, but dammit man, that’s the point. Who on Earth would parody a 1995 buddy comedy that no one liked? Why would anyone even dream of that? Therein lies the mad brilliance of it all.
Bart and Milhouse Discover a Body
The interplay of Bart and Milhouse is classic on the Simpsons and shows that great dynamic that Bart fits into as victor in one scenario and victim in the next. Like the real-world school experience, Bart is victimized by bullies but then has his own underling over which he has absolute rule. That the two of them should have a Stand By Me experience is absolutely necessary.
One lazy summer’s day, an excited Milhouse calls on Bart to let him know he overheard Nelson and his cronies talking about a body down by the tracks. The two boys decide to be the first to discover the body and potentially poke it with a stick as Jimbo Jones allegedly did once years earlier, and head out on an adventure together, trying to outpace the bullies and their parents who are hot on their trail.
The Military Cordons Off Springfield Due to a Classified Reasons. As Tensions Run High and Paranoia Reins, the Power is Shut Off to Every House Except Apu’s
Race relations and government buggery have always been staples of the Simpsons repertoire and what better way to hamfist both into one episode than by wholesale stealing from the Twilight Zone?
The residents of Springfield awake to discover all exits out of town blocked, the power cut off, phones dead and contact with the outside world impossible (kind of like the movie, but not). No explanation is given and attempts to leave town are met with military force. As days pass, food becomes scarce and the desperation begins to peak, the lights return to Apu’s place. Why Apu? What does he know that everyone else doesn’t? What could he be hiding? And is it wrong to kill and eat him for this?
Marge Abuses Laxatives
The Simpsons is no stranger to dealing with body issues and physical appearance. Homer gained weight to go on disability once and Patty and Selma look like CHUDs. Not to mention Marge’s fake boobs, Marge losing her hair and Marge becoming a body builder.
After receiving an offhanded comment about her weight from Helen Lovejoy, Marge checks the bathroom scale and realizes she’s not as young as she used to be. Watching Homer overindulge in butter and beer and fearful she herself will become Homer with a beehive, she tries to diet but is foiled by Homer’s interference and inherent crappy results most diets offer. Desperate, she begins stealing Grandpa’s laxatives to shed the pounds as quickly and awfully as she can.
Ned Flanders Invites a Drifter who Dresses and Acts Like Jesus to Live with Him
Here’s what we know about Ned Flanders; he’s a devout Christian, he’s in his 60’s, he’s hung like a horse and was mentally scarred by his parents. Oh, and he has a couple of nerdlinger kids. But he generally comes through any episode smelling like a rose. Except for that whole dead wife ordeal. That didn’t really end well.
On a trip to downtown Springfield one day to fetch some cucumber and cottage cheese with which to make nachos, Flanders is stricken by a heavenly vision. There, on the corner, stands Jesus. Dressed in a tunic with a rope belt and leather sandals, scruffy Jesus warmly greets Flanders an asks him for change so he can get a beer, or a glass of water he can turn into beer. Flanders, not one to let his messiah spend the night on the street, brings the son of man home with him. Hilarity ensues.
Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, Sam Simon, Ian Maxtone-Graham, the ball is in your court. Make the Simpsons shine again – toss in some stories about murderers and substance abuse. For the sake of laughter.