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“Your no-frills, fumbling sales pitch has won me over.”
I was momentarily taken aback by the big, bold “TV-14″ content warning before the start of tonight’s Simpsons. But, after calming myself with the thought that no, there wasn’t a rogue Family Guy episode coming, I remembered that tonight’s 2020 episode of The Simpsons was venturing out into the stormy, controversial waters of . . . the pot. More specifically, the growing national movement toward marijuana legalization and the proliferation of cannabis-related legal businesses (no longer called head shops, thank you very much), a civic transformation that has brought untold decades of generational warfare and unfruitful hyperbolic debate tactics right into the mainstream. After all, when, one year, parents are telling their kids about the dangers of smoking dope (while shifting their eyes in grudging recognition of their own youthful recreational use), and the next they’re driving past three chipper-looking dispensaries with names like “Calming Harvest” on the way to Arby’s, it’s fair game for a show like The Simpsons to see just how Marge and Homer will approach the issue.
Still: Big, scary content warning. Review rated AV-14. Proceed at your own risk.
In the past, The Simpsons’ weed jokes have largely centered on Otto, Springfield’s most stoned school bus driver, so it’s natural he’d show up as catalyst for a second-act plot twist here. Once Marge innocently lucks her way into a sales job at Drederick Tatum’s post-boxing cannabinoid empire, thanks to her wholesome probity providing a reassuring face to the shiny, Apple store-esque Well+Good store, Springfield becomes so weed-friendly that Otto’s buzz is seriously harshed. Mumbling his way through an attempted Well+Good purchase with beaming store manager Desmond (a crisply funny Billy Porter), Otto’s usual allusive asides and winks are greeted with more tinctures, lotions, edibles, and other shiny cannabis products than he could have ever dreamed of, although he finds himself turned off when his talk of the cops sees Springfield PD officer Eddie making his own recommendations.
As with most of its audience, the whole marijuana issue’s been viewed as a wry joke on The Simpsons since the start, with reactionary, draconian enforcement contrasted against mostly harmless stoners and law enforcement types who are only too ready to partake when nobody’s looking. Now that the legal pot business is here to stay (at least for the mostly white, upwardly mobile types who can look to cash in), that the Simpsons (family and series) would incorporate it into the sweep of shenanigans, adventures, and whatnot feels, well, organic. And the script for “Highway To Well,” credited to the always-welcome Carolyn Omine, does an admirable job of making the marijuana element (underrated dispensary name) feel right at home as just another excuse for Homer and Marge’s differences to bubble to the surface, rather than reeking with “very special episode” staleness or sensationalism. As things turn out, legalized pot is just another new development in American society that reveals the characters, in a more or less satisfying manner.
For Marge, the aching, hidden need to feel valued and special is a defining trait. As much as her Homey loves her, he’s terrible at showing his wife those things, except in the sort of grand, often deeply irresponsible gesture that defuses an episode’s marital conflict. At Well+Good, Drederick, Desmond, and pink-haired saleswoman Lauren (Chelsea Peretti) are all using Marge for her guileless suburban sheen on their burgeoning business, but they also seem to like and respect her, and she gradually comes to see how her distribution of mood-altering gummies and $30 bottles of CBD soda make her customers’ lives a little better. (Even Mrs. Skinner returns happily praising son Seymour for being a big deal principal, which is the episode’s most convincing case for legalization and widespread use.) The problem for Marge is that, at first, she doesn’t know what she’s been selling, which is problematic on any number of levels. (Not a good look for the Well+Good staff, in that Marge is unwittingly handing out a sense-altering drug to people who also don’t know what they’re taking.)
Still, after a talk around the Simpsons’ dinner table, Marge decides to go back to the job, a decision presented as considered, adult, and even laudable, which is probably why the episode got that network warning more than any old stoner gags. The central parental dilemma is neatly summed up in Homer’s turn-on-a-dime encouragement/admonition, when he tells the departing Marge, “Now go sell that safe, legal drug our kids should never ever use!” As far as a TV institution like The Simpsons taking a stand on marijuana, pointing out that Marge’s new job (“legal in this state” is said several times for emphasis) is compared reasonably to her working in a liquor store is a similarly rational paradigm shift. Later, Moe—bummed about the rise of pot over his favored legal and lucrative intoxicant—bemoans the old days before these “tie-dyed bong-monkeys,” when people just drank themselves into dangerously needless fistfights, which doubles down on the joke.
But Marge isn’t going to be working at a cannabis business come episode’s end, so the test is in what conflict will eventually bring her out of the weed biz. And there, there’s one hit and one miss, although the miss is the funnier of the two, as Homer’s Otto-pleasing turn to the old school backroom weed-dealing business (although prefaced by a disclaimer that everything about to happen is now legal) sees him transforming Moe’s storeroom into a humorously observed simulacrum of every dingy, wet-bathing-suit-smelling den any self-respecting pot enthusiast recognizes only too well. Otto’s thrilled, what with Homer dressed like a “cool toddler,” unused hand weights, an exotic pet, and Lenny as “the weird friend who never acknowledges you,” sullenly playing “a (legal parody of) Goldeneye on a (legal parody of) a N64,” according to Simpsons EP Matt Selman’s Twitter.
Narratively, the couple’s final clash is handled with complicated but understandable motivations. Homer’s seedy side-hustle costs Marge her ability to project the squeaky-clean image Tatum needs to front his expanded, celebrity cannabis spa expansion, so she accepts an offer to rat Homer out—to the health department, for serving food while running a legal business. It’s a sly way to at least nod toward thew backdoor ways legislators and law enforcement have chosen to come after legal things they don’t like (cough—abortion—cough), although, like the completely unmentioned issue of the many, many, mostly non-white pot offenders still in prison, the episode doesn’t really delve into the politics.
Instead, there’s a cheese-balls sting as the culmination of the “drug war” Bart and Lisa term their parents’ dueling pot business squabble, with Homer left on the hook for a $25 fine. Of course, betrayal is a bigger penalty, with Marge’s late attempt to warm Homer about the sting still seeing Homer (having made his way past security by claiming to be other guest voice Kevin Smith’s dad) turning up drunk at Marge’s big opening. (Thus shocking the gathered, vaping celebs in attendance. See Selman again for hints—apart from Rainer Wolfcastle and McConaughey, I’m lost.) Homer’s right to feel hurt—not to come down on Homer’s side too hard, but him doing something independent of Marge that he couldn’t have imagined would hurt her new career is pretty low on the list of horrible Homer-isms. Still, it’s narratively fitting but pretty harsh for the drunk Homer to lash out with the one piece of information that will completely tank his wife’s career—Marge has never tried marijuana. (Here, having scoured my thirty years of Simpsons memories, I bow to the commentariat on whether that’s canon.)
With Marge’s apt switcheroo of a protest, “I can start anytime I want!,” one drop of what Homer calls her “oils and goos” sends the neophyte Marge, to steal a phrase, tripping balls. (Sadly, both the chicken pot pie and napkin she attempts to clear her palate with are both heavily weed-infused.) Here, Omine’s script walks a mostly successful line—Marge has to be genuinely disconcerted by her experience, while, at the same time, Desmond, Lauren, and everyone else’s good time is shown to be equally likely and valid outcomes. Again, for anyone worrying about the Disney-fication of The Simpsons should take comfort in that “Highway To Hell” takes a middle road on the whole pot subject, the middle road being more daring than one might expect under the circumstances. And if the Homer-ex-machina of the CBD oil conflagration that toasts the spa derails a substantive resolution of Homer and Marge’s main conflict, it does demonstrate a quiet elegance in how quickly Homer casts aside his sort-of earned anger as soon as he spots just how freaked out Marge is by her first-ever drug experience. Acknowledging that he is happy she found a place that made her “feel special” (even as he accidentally burns it to the ground), Homer talks down the jittery Marge with the knowing advice, “You’ll be fine in two hours—that’ll seem like 12.” All in all, a Simpsons take on legalized marijuana could have been disastrously squarer.
- Speaking of observations, the episode pops with funny offhand references the characters keep throwing at each other. Desmond reassures the wheeling-and-dealing Otto with the admonition, “Pump the brakes, jorts.” And in the smoky aftermath of the spa’s destruction, Moe and Tatum commiserate, Moe telling the champ, “Cheer up, neck-face,” and Tatum returning a weary, “Thanks, monster-man hallucination.”
- Marge, on discovering what her job really entails: “Pot is for Cheeches! And Chongs!”
- Lisa drops in one line about the tax revenue Springfield will now lose after the fire spooks the town into outlawing weed once more.
- That will also cost Maggie her new, progressive “pre-toddler” learning center, where, as we see in some subtitles I could use help in translating, she’s learned Mandarin.
- Additional reading: For more on those still imprisoned for what soccer moms and former craft brewers are being profiled in their hometown paper’s lifestyle section for.
Suspect Who Shot 2 Louisville Cops During Breonna Taylor Protests Identified
Officials with the Louisville Metro Cops Division have actually recognized the man captive that they say shot and injured 2 law enforcement officers Wednesday evening (Sep. 23) amid objections in the city.
Larynzo Johnson, 26, was apprehended at 8: 40 p.m., according to his citation, which mentioned he would certainly face numerous costs of first-degree assault of a police officer and first-degree wanton endangerment.
LMPD acting Principal Ronert Schroeder stated Thursday that the suspect will certainly be billed with 2 counts of attack and 14 counts of wanton endangerment, “all guided versus law enforcement officer.”
Johnson is implicated of shooting two LMPD officers around 8: 30 p.m. Wednesday evening, as demonstrations continued across the city in the after-effects of the announcement that simply among the three police officers who terminated their weapons the evening Breonna Taylor was killed would certainly encounter costs.
Johnson’s apprehension citation, offered by the workplace of the Jefferson Area Circuit Notary, said the suspect’s actions “revealed an extreme indifference to the value of human life” and also put policemans at the scene at risk of death or serious injury.
The citation said LMPD officers were reacting to a big crowd at Broadway as well as Creek Street in downtown Louisville that had actually established fires and would certainly not spread after being warned.
Johnson was amongst the group and “deliberately utilized a handgun to fire numerous bullets at officers. Two police officers with LMPD were struck by the bullets causing serious physical injury.”
Witnesses determined him as firing the gun and afterwards ranging from the scene, the citation states, and he was in belongings of a handgun when he was restrained.
Footage reviewed by LMPD policemans, according to the citation, showed him shooting the tool, as well as a National Integrated Ballistic Details Network examiner was exploring an association between the firearm recuperated as well as covering housings recouped from the scene.
” There is a high chance that a tiny contrast, by a guns inspector, will confirm the organization in between the gun’s ballistic proof,” the citation from the detaining officer states.
Johnson’s document shows no previous arrests for terrible criminal activities or felony sentences. His address on the apprehension citation listed no residence address but “CAL,” meaning city at big.
One Facebook Live video taken at the time of the shooting by a person in the group shows up to show a guy in a various colored hooded sweatshirt shooting a handgun at a team of officers. A male was nabbed putting on a t shirt that appeared to match that summary.
The two police officers injured in Wednesday evening’s shooting were determined Thursday early morning as Maj. Aubrey Gregory and Robinson Desroches, an officer with LMPD’s 2nd Department that has been with the division considering that March 2019.
Gregory was struck in the hip and also was released from the medical facility overnight, LMPD acting Principal Robert Schroeder said, while Desroches undertook surgical treatment after being hit in the abdominal area. He is also anticipated to make a complete recuperation, Schroeder stated.
” Last night’s circumstance could have been so much worse for our policemans and also for individuals that were protesting when the shooting rang out,” Schroeder stated. “… We are very fortunate these 2 officers will certainly recover.”
The night before, Schroeder described the tense scenario as “extremely significant” as he talked to press reporters in a press instruction that was broken up after just minutes.
” I am extremely concerned about the safety and security of our officers,” Schroeder said. “Clearly we’ve had actually 2 officers shot this evening, and that is extremely significant. … I assume the security of our police officers as well as the neighborhood we offer is of the utmost value.”
And also to believe … every one of this could have been avoided had they jailed the police officers that killed Breonna Taylor.
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