Jeremy Likes TV

I like TV. Probably more than any human should.

TV Diary | The Simpsons: “The Book Job”

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TV Diary | The Simpsons – Episode 23.06 – “The Book Job” – Original Airdate: 11/20/11

Editor’s note: New feature time here on the blog. I’m kind of shamelessly stealing from The AV Club’s format for their episode reviews, but I don’t think they’ll care much. I’m actually going to start doing some mini-reviews that I’m calling TV Diary. As we enter the digital age, DVRs have become much more prevalent over the past five years and many people tend to keep up with their favorite shows on their own pace. Many, like myself, rarely watch anything live so the stockpile of shows on the ol’ TiVo can get rather large. TV Diary will give you a look at what I’ve been watching – it may be a show that aired months ago, or it could be a show that aired just last night. My hope is that maybe I’ll turn you on to something you haven’t been watching or warn you away something that’s terrible. At the very least, it’ll allow me to exercise my writing muscles. Anyway, onto the first entry.

Started getting caught up on some Simpsons episodes with the kid last night and found that the somewhat resurgent 23rd season is continuing along successfully with yet another strong episode in the season’s sixth episode, “The Book Job.” Basic plot: Lisa and Homer discover that the young adult fiction business is nothing more than a racket after Lisa comes to the realization that the author of her favorite Harry Potter-esque book series has actually been fabricated by the series’ publishing company. Their aim?  To trick the country’s children into buying “ten books a year” and swear allegiance to a writer that doesn’t actually exist while the books are pumped out factory-style by overworked lit majors. Kind of a nice twist on the fanaticism that fans have for those types of books. What follows is a duped Lisa deciding to write her own series as a response, while Homer realizes that he can capitalize on the craze by assembling a team Ocean’s Eleven-style[1] for purely capitalistic reasons. While Lisa struggles with staying focused enough to actually get down to writing [2], Homer ropes in Bart (for obvious reasons), Skinner (for working with children for years), Patty (due to her love of fantasy novels and ability to speak Parseltongue), Moe (who’s inexplicably already written a children’s series), and Prof. Frink (solely because he has a computer) [3] for their various skills to group-think together a fiction series that will actually entice a publishing company into forking over some cash. British author Neil Gaiman shows up as the requisite guest star who joins the crew. Along the way theirs and Lisa’s pursuits intertwine when Homer’s group neglects to create a fake author with a sympathetic backstory [4] and she’s unable to write anything, so she becomes their front. They sell the idea [5] but eventually, the publishing company (lead by guest star Andy Garcia) bastardizes the book, changing the setup from trolls at a prep school under a magical bridge to yet another vampire series, causing Homer’s crew to begin to experience pride in their work and attempt to break in and sabotage the publishing of the book. In all it was a fairly funny look at the YA craze (think Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games) that’s swept the country over the past five years or so. And with movie franchises for each those series in various stages of production/completion it’s a timely subject to lampoon as well [6]. The ending (which sees Gaiman one-up everyone by walking away with his name on the best-selling book) is a little jumbled but the journey itself was enjoyable. It’s clearly unprecedented for a scripted series to reach its 23rd year on the air, so it’s nice to see that The Simpsons isn’t content to coast this season as it’s been all too willing to do in recent years.

[1] Complete with split screens and caper-esque music.
[2] Something that this writer is all too familiar with. On a frequent basis.
[3] Their exchange goes something like this:

Homer: “You have a computer?”
Frink: “Yes, why?”
Homer: “You’re in.”

[4] The accepted practice, it would seem.
[5] The check they receive is humorously made out to “The Crew” for “a cool million.”
[6] Going pretty highbrow with their targets this year: “The Food Wife” saw the show take stab at food bloggers.

Miscellany:

Ralph Wiggum Line Of The Week: Upon being scared of a dinosaur show and shoving his head under his mother’s dress: “I wanna go back in Mommy.”
Marge gets very angry when someone speaks ill of Betty Crocker.
Lenny has adopted a capuchin money, apparently. Because of course he did.
Moe bleeds green blood that *eventually* turns red. Or so he says.
Bart to Gaiman: “Your job is to get lunch. And lose the British accent.”
Homer: “I just hope we put in enough steampunk. Whatever that is.”
Moe, blaming Gaiman for not remembering to make up a fake author: “Let’s acid-melt him in a bathtub.”
I’d really like to know what happened in this “Kansas City” incident that Homer and Bart repeatedly reference.

Episode Grade: B


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Written by jeremylikestv

January 3, 2012 at 8:38 pm

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