The 24th season of The Simpsons is nearing its close, with only a few episodes left to air, and unfortunately, “Fabulous Faker Boys” does not portend good things. It’s an incredibly flat episode, which features four separate guest stars for seemingly no reason at all, as it wastes most of them. (Justin Bieber, who appears only for a single joke, is a perfectly fine kind of cameo, though a bit obnoxious.)
The main plot of the episode starts with Principal Skinner asking Marge to sign Bart up for music lessons, an extremely out-of-nowhere and haphazard way to get Bart to learn piano from some kooky Russians, although not before a montage visiting some Springfield regulars and seeing what kind of music they have to offer. There wasn’t much new in that montage, although I did like some of the additions to Comic Book Guy’s shelf of Dune books (“Dune, Where’s My Car” made me laugh harder than it deserved to). And when we get to those Russians, it turns out they’re voiced by Jane Krakowski and Bill Hader, both of whom I have a lot of fondness towards, and both of whom are completely wasted here. It could have been any two actors putting on a Yakov Smirnoff accent and it would not have made a lick of difference.
The B plot feels slight, with Homer losing his last two hairs, then wearing a series of silly hats before being re-invigorated by yet another guest star, Patrick Stewart, and then gaining back those hairs at the very last minute thanks to his confidence. It’s all meaningless, and though I lack the encyclopedic knowledge of The Simpsons unnecessary too confirm my suspicions, it feels like something that’s been done before, even if only as a throwaway gag. Which, to be honest, is what it should have been – there’s barely enough there to sustain two jokes, let alone a whole sideline of them. “Fabulous Baker Boys” was to The Simpsons as a whole what that plot was to the episode: an unsightly, unfunny diversion.