‘The Simpsons’ – ‘Holidays of Future Passed’: The darkest timeline?

Senior Television Writer
12.12.11 39 Comments


I have other work I should be getting to right now, but last night’s “The Simpsons” was so tremendous that I want to take a couple of minutes to acknowledge it, with thoughts on the Christmas episode coming up just as soon as I get some mohawk gel and a can of dog food…

As I’ve talked about this season when discussing “The Simpsons,” one of the things I really appreciate about these last few seasons is how the show has really rediscovered the heart of the family and the way they relate to each other. It may not be as funny as it used to be, if only because they’re doing variants on the same thousands of jokes they’ve told before, but when they want to tell a simple story about how Homer wants to be a better father, a better husband, or whatever, the show can still do that, and do it really well.

And, unsurprisingly, a lot of what made “Holidays of Future Passed” strong was the emotional side of things, in seeing how these alternate future versions of Bart and Lisa turned out to be so unhappy and so disconnected from their kids, and also in seeing how this version of Homer turned out to be a very wise, sweet guy after somehow surviving into old age. Homer’s speech to the boys at the cryogenic facility was really sweet, while also being a clever variation on the very familiar joke of how Homer and the family neglect Abe because he’s such a pain in the ass.

But I also enjoyed the various jokes about what this world of the future would be like (air travel especially), and there were two jokes that made me laugh as long and as loud as I have at anything “The Simpsons” has done in quite a while: Krusty as the Andy Rooney of 2041, and Ralph Wiggum as an endless series of stupid clones who keep killing one another. So very wrong, and so very, very funny.

Again, no new stories for this show to tell, but this may be the best alt-future episode they’ve done since “Lisa’s Wedding,” waaaaay back in 1995.

What did everybody else think?

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