Specs and the City

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"Specs and the City"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no.541
Directed byLance Kramer
Written byBrian Kelley
Showrunner(s)Al Jean
Production codeSABF06
Original air dateJanuary 26, 2014 (2014-01-26)
Couch gagHomer sits down to watch the Super Bowl, only to have to get up to get his six-pack of beer...which Bart tossed over an overhead power line. When Homer retrieves it, he gets shocked – and keeps getting shocked until the town's power goes out.[Note 1]
Guest appearance(s)
Seasons

"Specs and the City" is the eleventh episode of the 25th season of the American animated sitcom The Simpsons, and the 541st episode of the series. It premiered on the Fox network in the United States on January 26, 2014. The episode was written by Brian Kelley and directed by Lance Kramer.[1] The original title of the episode was intended to be "I Only Have My Eyes for You", a take on "I Only Have Eyes for You", but was changed to "Specs and the City", a take on Sex and the City.[2] The Oogle goggles were originally known as "MyEyes".[3]

Plot[edit]

In a December 2013 flashback, Mr. Burns passes out Christmas gifts to his employees after Homer, Lenny and Carl had discussed his previous terrible presents. The employees at the power plant unwrap the gifts to find Oogle Goggles. Concerned with his boss's sudden kindness, Smithers wonders if he should contact Mr. Burns' doctor, but Mr. Burns lets Smithers know that now all his employees can spy on each other. Furthermore, with a press of a button, Mr. Burns thinks he can kill an employee (he can't). Fast forward to February 2014, when Marge encourages Bart and Lisa to join in the Valentine's Day festivities of making cards for everyone in the class. Bart doesn't want to give Nelson a valentine because Nelson is a bully whom he doesn't love. However, Marge shows Bart an amusing video the school had sent out with a kid who overdoses on candy hearts when he doesn't receive Valentine's Day cards. Bart then chooses a shoddy valentine from an old box for Nelson.

As Homer heads out with his family, he notices that Flanders' home is worth more than his home, so in order to up the value on the property, Homer snatches Flanders' flowers and plants them on his yard. Through Homer's goggles, he sees that the value shoots up, before Santa's Little Helper urinates on the plant and value drops. During Homer's snuggle time with Marge, he cannot take off his goggles, prompting Marge to walk out on him. Homer desperately asks the goggles to find a gift for Marge under five dollars. Homer then asks the goggles to take him back in time to two minutes ago. In the morning, Marge flips pancakes in anger. When Homer decides to give up the goggles, he places the goggles on the lazy Susan before it lands on Maggie. Marge grabs the goggles and puts them on to which Maggie spits her pacifier at her in defiance.

Over at Springfield Elementary School, a line of kids waits to give Nelson a Valentine's card. When Nelson is ready for Bart to give him his card, a fed-up Bart says he won't give Nelson his valentine and tears it in half, leading Nelson to tell Bart he has one week to give him the best valentine ever or Nelson will kill him. Meanwhile, Homer appears at work without his goggles, but he soon realizes that he cannot live in a reality without them because when Carl saw him, he slapped Homer repeatedly. Homer looks for goggles in Mr. Burns's office only to find the room empty. Homer sees the monitors of all the employees doing everything but their work. Homer also sees Marge wearing his glasses and feeding Maggie ice cream even though Marge had told Homer they had run out of ice cream.

Homer sits on Mr. Burns' cushy chair eating popcorn when Mr. Burns shows up asking, "Who are you?" and Homer says Mr. Burns. Mr. Burns apologizes to "Mr. Burns" and backs away from the chair and out of the office. Homer continues to watch Marge do her everyday errands, which includes visiting a therapist where she talks in detail about the infuriating behavior Homer displays every day. Back at SES, Bart gives Nelson a card that's based on fear (of both the pressure of Valentine's Day and Nelson's psychotic actions) which outright calls Nelson a crazy violent person who will someday be on Death Row; to everyone's shock and happiness, Nelson is moved by Bart's honesty and gives him a hug. Based on advice from Moe, Homer sets up a fake appointment at the therapist's office to "bump into" Marge, but before he can do this he overhears her say that the therapy is her reset button. He figures out that Marge always goes from being miserable on Tuesdays before her appointments to being absolutely happy and lively on the Wednesdays after them, and he quietly watches her leave before going through his own appointment (he has the psychiatrist cut his hair). Homer later tells Marge she deserves to have her secrets, and they end up making love to the horror of the monitoring Mr. Burns.

Couch gag[edit]

This episode's couch gag features an ident commissioned by the UK network Channel 4, in 2006 (though first aired in July 2007), for use before its broadcasts of Simpsons episodes.[4] The writers added in all-new sections in order to theme the gag around the Super Bowl which was broadcast near the airing of this episode. In the original ident, Homer places his six-pack of Duff beer on a hammock in the Simpson's backyard. When he sits down, he inadvertently fires the six-pack into the sky, only for them to get caught on the power lines hanging over the garden. When Homer manages to get up to the beer cans, climbing up the family's garden tree, he is shocked by the electricity now running through the six-pack. He is continuously shocked as the camera pans up to a birds-eye view of Springfield. Every time Homer is shocked, an area loses power, which slowly start to make out the shape of the Channel 4 logo. In the updated couch gag version, Homer sits down to watch the Super Bowl, only to discover he has misplaced his six-pack of Duff. He discovers Bart has tossed it onto the overhead power line in the family backyard, and when Homer retrieves it, he is shocked. He continues to get shocked as the camera pans to a birds-eye view of Springfield until the town's power goes out (the Channel 4 logo is noticeable, but the power outages have been changed so it isn't as obvious).[5]

Reception[edit]

Dennis Perkins of The A.V. Club gave the episode a C, saying "It’s not that 'Specs And The City' (wherein Mr. Burns’s gift of Google Glass-style eyewear to his employees leads Homer to a surprising revelation about Marge), is a bad episode of The Simpsons, or even a bad episode of television. It’s that it’s so nondescript that it seems constructed according to the guidelines of a sample spec script template—it hits all the recognizable beats of a Simpsons episode without imbuing any of them with originality, personality, or, you know, laughs. There was one thing that annoyed me, a handful of moderately amusing lines, and then it was over. I keep having to go back to my notes to remember story details watched twice only minutes ago. Not a good sign..."[6]

The episode received a 1.7 rating and was watched by a total of 3.87 million people, making it the second most watched show on Animation Domination that night beating American Dad! and Bob's Burgers but losing to Family Guy with 4.11 million.[7]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ This gag (not including the Super Bowl themed sections) was initially an ident commissioned by the UK television network Channel 4 and produced by Gracie Films. It has been used before many of the channel's broadcasts of the show between 2007 and 2015.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Simpsons Episode Guide 2014 Season 25 - Specs and the City, Episode 11". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 2014-01-29.
  2. ^ "Twitter / mxedtr: Dunno. By the time I rec'd". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2014-03-31.
  3. ^ "Twitter / mikepriceinla: @mxedtr @MarsalComas That was". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2014-03-31.
  4. ^ "D'oh! Channel 4 ident to feature in upcoming episode of The Simpsons". Channel 4. 2014-01-24. Retrieved 2014-04-30.
  5. ^ "The Simpsons to air Channel 4 logo in Super Bowl couch gag". Digital Spy. 2014-01-24. Retrieved 2014-04-30.
  6. ^ "The Simpsons: "Specs And The City" · TV Club · The A.V. Club". Avclub.com. Retrieved 2014-01-29.
  7. ^ "Sunday Final Ratings: '60 Minutes' & 'The Bachelor: Sean and Catherine's Wedding' Adjusted Down + Final Pro Bowl & Grammy Awards Ratings". Tvbythenumbers. 2014-01-29. Retrieved 2014-01-29.

External links[edit]