MyPods and Boomsticks
"Mypods and Boomsticks" is the seventh episode of the twentieth season of The Simpsons and first aired on Fox, November 30, 2008. Homer becomes suspicious of Bart's new Muslim friend, Bashir, and decides to invite his family for dinner; having offended them, Homer goes to their home to apologize but discovers what he believes to be a terrorist plot to blow up the Springfield Mall. Homer immediately goes on a rampage through Springfield to warn the residents about the impending disaster. In the episode's subplot, Lisa gets her very own MyPod (a parody of iPod). It was written by Marc Wilmore and directed by Steven Dean Moore with Shohreh Aghdashloo of 24 guest starring as Bashir's mother, Mina. The episode was largely known for being the first episode of The Simpsons to have Islam portrayed in a large role.[unreliable source?]
During a trip to the mall, Lisa obtains a "MyPod" from Krusty at the Mapple Store. After Bart interrupts an important message from Mapple founder Steve Mobbs, insulting "Mapple's" user base, he runs into a Muslim boy from Jordan named Bashir and befriends him. After meeting Bashir, Homer is impressed by the boy's manners, but Lenny, Carl and Moe convince him that all Muslims are terrorists. He invites Bashir's family over to dinner in an attempt to expose them, but openly discriminates. Offended, they leave. Later that evening, while going to their home to apologize, Homer catches a glimpse of Bashir's father working with TNT in his garage; due to a nightmare featuring the Genie of Aladdin in which he transforms Homer's "decadent, Western society" into a stereotypical Islamic republic, he decides to eavesdrop on Bashir's parents talking about Bashir's father's job in building demolition, but misses part of the conversation and thinks that Bashir's father is a suicide bomber. As soon as the father departs for work, Homer convinces Bashir's mother to invite him in for a proper pardoning of his dinner prejudice. In reality, he hacks into the family's laptop and discovers a diagram of demolition plans for the Springfield Mall.
He rushes to the Springfield Mall to warn the shoppers (except Patty and Selma), and sees Bart standing near a detonator with Bashir and his father. Homer tries to get rid of the dynamite by throwing it into the river, but it blows up a bridge which leads to the Duff Beer brewery. It actually turns out that the old mall was slated for destruction, which the city council wanted, while the bridge leading to the brewery was supposed to open the next day. Realizing his mistake, Homer apologizes, and the Simpson family throws a "Pardon My Intolerance" party for Bashir's family. Meanwhile, Lisa becomes obsessed with her new MyPod until she gets a US$1200 "MyBill". She goes to Mapple's undersea headquarters and begs Steve Mobbs to consider a reduced payment plan. Steve Mobbs offers Lisa a job at Mapple to help with her bill. Much to her chagrin, Lisa is given a job where she must stand on a street corner dressed as a MyPod, handing out Mapple pamphlets and telling people to "Think Differently."
The episode features numerous parodies of Apple Inc. and its products. Apple is portrayed as Mapple, with the MyPod, MyPhone, MyTunes, MyCube, Mapple Store and Brainiac Bar referring respectively to the iPod, iPhone, iTunes, Power Mac G4 Cube, Apple Store and Genius Bar. Later episodes of the show also feature a MyPad, a reference to the iPad. The CEO of Mapple is Steve Mobbs, a parody of Apple Inc.'s then-CEO Steve Jobs. The scene where Comic Book Guy throws a sledge hammer at the screen is a reference to the famous "1984" Apple commercial.
The scene where Homer is on a flying carpet is a parody of the film Aladdin; the Genie also makes an appearance. The Simpsons regular Dan Castellaneta does the voice of the Genie in this episode. He had previously performed the Genie's voice in the Aladdin television series, The Return of Jafar, and the Kingdom Hearts video game series. Steve Mobbs operating a series of holographic screens with his hands is a reference to the 2002 film Minority Report.
The episode features Minnie Riperton's song "Lovin' You" and Miles Davis' "Moon Dreams", while the episode's Itchy & Scratchy cartoon features Ludwig van Beethoven's "Symphony No. 5" and the Alicia Bridges song "I Love the Nightlife".
The episode was generally praised by critics. Robert Canning of IGN praised the episode; as a whole, he called the episode funny and strong and "gave the now familiar 'suspected terrorist' plot a Simpsons twist," but called the remainder of the Mapple storyline less impressive. Canning ends his review by saying that minus Lisa's involvement after act one, it was a decently funny episode of The Simpsons. He gave the episode a rating of 7.6/10. Daniel Aughey of TV Guide also praised the episode for its jokes but lack of flow, calling it "one step behind". Entertainment Weekly's Five Best TV quotes of the week includes Bart's line of "Wow, all these years I've been patting lambs when I should have been shoving them in my mouth."
The Council on American–Islamic Relations praised the episode and sent a commending letter to Matt Groening. Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the council in Los Angeles, wrote "I applaud your effort in Sunday's episode of 'The Simpsons' to humanize American Muslims by challenging anti-Muslim sentiment in our society. [...] By introducing a professional Muslim family, the 'Mypods and Boomsticks' episode highlighted the diverse make-up of Springfield and brought to light how Americans can work toward mutual respect and inclusion by getting to know their neighbors." During the episode, Homer mistakenly calls God (Allah) "Oliver", and the Islamic holy book (the Qur'an) "the Corona". A spokesperson for Britain's Islamic Cultural Center and London Central Mosque commented on the episode before it aired, telling the U.K. tabloid The Daily Star, "I hope Muslims take no notice of the show." Creator Groening defended the episode by saying, "Cartoons deal in stereotypes. We try to be sensitive."
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- Ayloush, Hussam (2008-12-03). "Thank you letter — Matt Groening". Council on American-Islamic Relations. Retrieved 2008-12-06.[dead link]
- Dyke, Peter (2008-12-01). "Simpsons Creator Defends Muslim Plot". Daily Star. Retrieved 19 Dec 2010.