After the annual “Treehouse Of Horror” and a break for the World Series, The Simpsons is back with an episode that’s not quite as sour as its season opener but is still disappointingly thin.
In “Adventures In Baby Getting,” Marge suddenly decides she wants another baby. This is because she has buyer’s remorse over a new car that’s can’t fit four kids, which kind of feels like we’re headed for some kind of consumer culture satire, but no, never mind. When Homer sensibly points out that Maggie still isn’t toilet-trained, Marge protests, “Her soft spot’s been skulled over for the past three months!” Bye-bye, Maggie, for the rest of the episode. We never find out what Bart and Lisa think of getting another sibling.
For the third episode on a row (after telling Bart he was an accident in “Moonshine River” and trying to choke time-travelling Bart in “Treehouse”), Homer voices regret that he had even his first child. He’s shocked at the thought of having an “on purpose” baby, and when Marge asks how long he’s felt this way, he says, “I guess it started sometime before Bart was born.” Even on The Simpsons, we can’t get away from Hollywood writers obsessing over their terrible relationships with their fathers.
This time, Homer gets into the paternal mood near the end of the episode, after Marge insists on driving to the fertility clinic in Shelbyville to pick up one of the sperm deposits he left 15 years ago to raise money for a car. This is their only option because Homer is now shooting blanks, as he discovers when looking at some of his swimmers under a microscope: They look like little Homers with X’s for eyes. But when Homer and Marge notice the clinic’s photo gallery of babies with familiar-looking bullet heads (he needed to make a lot of donations to get that car), Marge abruptly decides that “there’s enough Homer in the world.”
The episode’s subplot has Lisa sneaking off somewhere after school and absently dropping papers that have sentences with all the letters of the alphabet. (“The five boxing wizards jump quickly.”) So she’s practicing touch typing? No, Bart, Milhouse, Nelson, and Principal Skinner follow her and discover that she’s learning cursive writing at the home of one of Skinner’s predecessors. Not any funnier than it sounds.
- This week’s opening scene on the awfulness of Springfield is about a giant sinkhole that swallows Marge’s car (with her and the kids in it). TV’s Kent Brockman reports on the phenomenon with the graphic SINK-O DE MAYO. Considering this is a show about Homer Simpson, it’s kind of disappointing that mayonnaise isn’t involved. After Moe remarks that some people exiting his bar (“traitors”) are at the bottom of the sinkhole, Mayor Quimby fills it with tires and paves it over. Maybe they got out in time, but who knows?
- Bart explains to Lisa what he does after school: “I write stupid stuff on the chalkboard. And if you have any ideas, I’m really running out.”
- Homer and Marge take the “scenic route” to the fertility clinic, a highway full of kitschy buildings shaped like Christmas tree balls or whatever is being sold inside. There’s the “No Hard Fillings House Of Pie.” Also, a motel called “M Night Shyamalan’s Flop House,” a house-sized chair that exists so someone can fall off it, and a Paul Bunyan statue with arms added to turn it into a Hindu goddess.
- Principal Skinner aptly describes his school if Lisa weren’t a student there: “A tornado shelter with voting booths.”
- “Adventures In Baby Getting” has a jaunty soundtrack that recalls the 1930s Little Rascals shorts, maybe to go along with the old highway and the scenes of Bart and his friends acting like little detectives? It does make for a nice segue into the ukulele theme of the more exciting Bob’s Burgers.
- In case you haven’t seen it, this episode starts with the already released clip of Homer voting for Mitt Romney, in part because Obama “promised me death panels and Grandpa’s still alive!”