The Simpsons Review: “YOLO” (Season 25, Episode 4)


You know that you’ve reached a level of complete cultural penetration when The Simpsons take notice, so to Drake I now say enjoy your remaining moments of relevancy.

This week’s episode followed Homer as he tired to go YOLO – “You Only Live Once” – by living his childhood dreams. For the first time this season, we get a Simpsons episode that’s rather low-key and not high concept, which is probably why it was a fairly satisfying outing for the show.

When Kurt Van Houten arrives to pick-up Milhouse in a flashy sports car and talks of taking DJ classes, Homer and Marge laugh off his YOLO-titude as a midlife crisis, but the more Homer thinks about it, the more he realizes that he too is in kind of a rut. Enter Homer’s childhood Spanish pen pal Eduardo Barcelona (known in America as “Eddie Miami”), who arrives in Springfield to help Homer realize a few of his dreams, like playing pirate, riding on the back of a fire truck, and fighting a Gorn.

Meanwhile, at Springfield Elementary, Kent Brockman’s on the trail of a cheating scandal and Principal Skinner’s in a mood to deflect. At an assembly of the PTA (which, as you know, always goes well), Lisa comes up with an idea to create an honour code for the school, which, for a time anyways, turns Springfield Elementary into an oasis of honest and competent study. Of course, Bart threatens to bring the whole system down, because to do otherwise would mean becoming the thing he hates the most: Lisa.

It’s hard to tell which story had more going for it, but I give the edge to the goings on of Springfield Elementary if only because Homer’s gone through midlife crises before, like in “How I Spent My Strummer Vacation” for example. And while it’s also true that the low educational standards of Springfield Elementary have also been a source of much fodder, at least the show can revel in its own meta-ness about it. “You took your sweet time coming to our rescue,” chastises Superintendent Chalmers when Lisa suggests her idea for the honour code.

Of course, there’s the sad inevitability of Bart trying to ruin everything, pointing out to Lisa that her reporting of his cheating will mean that her system has failed. I liked the touch of madness in Lisa as she struggles to get Bart to turn himself in, which he eventually does once he receives a sign from God. Also, I got a good laugh out of the idea of a detention quilt, especially Jimbo’s tribute to all the victims of atomic wedges.