The Simpsons Season 24 Review “The Day The Earth Stood Cool”

Making fun of hipsters is practically a professional sport by now, and I can’t say I was looking forward to what The Simpsons might have to say on the subject. So, I was pleasantly surprised when “The Day The Earth Stood Cool” turned out to be one of the strongest episodes of the season so far. It certainly didn’t hurt that we got not only Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein bringing their Portlandia cred to the show, but Patton Oswalt rounding out the guest stars to a nice, even three, but what really shone in the end were the one-off jokes of the night.

The plot was simple, and featured surprisingly few diversions. Every member of the Simpson family got something to do, but it all centered around Springfield becoming Portland-ified. A particularly nice note was seeing Lisa instantly take a liking to her new neighbors; the few moments we got of her ogling T-Rex’s Studio Ghibli parody animated movie were maybe my favorite of the whole night, if only for a certain specificity of parody that’s often lacking in newer Simpsons.

Also fun was watching Marge stumble her way through Homer’s new hip obsession. She doesn’t understand The Onion, and even less so The A.V. Club. When Lisa comes back proclaiming the brilliance of a piece of art that was just a guy crying in a room, Marge gives the best version of her signature disapproving grumble in a while. The breastfeeding plot with her didn’t quite land with me, but it was marginal enough that it didn’t weigh the rest of the episode down at all.

Hipster jokes are constantly in danger of verging into hack territory, and it seemed like the writers’ strategy for avoiding that was to just throw as many jokes at us as possible in twenty-two minutes. And of course, some of them weren’t great, but I’ve already forgotten in the wake in of gag like Tyrannosaurus’s “all ages burlesque show,” and Homer begging to be allowed to live in the cool people’s shadow, “like those eels that eat whale poop.” Topping it all off, though, was the sequence at the very end, framed as a kind of public service announcement for Mr. Burns’ handmade nuclear power. For that brief moment at the end, kicked off by the killer line of “Nuclear energy was a craft before it was a science,” I really felt like The Simpsons might be back, at least for a little while. We’ll see if quality of “The day The Earth Stood Cool” sticks around, though – I have my doubts.