TV Club: Homer outsources his parenting on a forgettable Simpsons

An emotional journey on The Simpsons is bound by both the show’s running time and the fact that, in the show’s reality, nothing and no one can ever really change. That’s not the handicap it seems, though. The Simpsons may have traveled far afield from its initial conception as a satire of the typical American family in its now 604 episodes. (Tonight’s “Dad Behavior” uses Bart’s chalkboard gag to tout the Thanksgiving week marathon of them all on FXX). But, no matter how many times the characters go to space, or to almost every continent, or survive disasters natural and manmade, their archetypical roles and relationships always revert back to their starting places. In one way, it’s standard sitcom boilerplate—the “situation” in sitcom can stretch, but not truly violate its boundaries. In another, this stasis lends a vein of thematic melancholy to the …

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