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Looking at the world through Google Glass

By Alex Sferrazza
On March 9, 2014

The 25th season of "The Simpsons" continues with its latest episode "Specs and the City." The masters of pop culture satire offer up their parody of "Google Glass" in the episode in the form of Oogle Goggle glasses, which Mr. Burns has generously gifted to the employees of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. Homer and the rest of the crew soon become inseparable from the devices much to the annoyance of those around them. Marge eventually has had enough and forces Homer to give up his pair. Unbeknownst to the workers, the devices simply serve as a means for Burns to spy on them in their daily lives. This works to Homer's advantage after he discovers he can spy on Marge who has started wearing Homer's pair.
This isn't the first time "The Simpsons" has done a tech parody show - last season featured a hilarious iPad spoof, the MyPad - and it's not the best either. The concept is full of potential and while the writers do an admiral job in the episode mocking how absorbed modern society is with these devices, I feel as though the concept could have been greatly expanded upon from more than just simple sight gags.
This wasn't a bad episode by any means and enough gags are put in place to ensure constant amusement ( i.e. Jen & Barry's Occupy Walnut Street Ice Cream Flavor). However, unlike other shows which rely solely on this sort of humor, when "The Simpsons" does so, it feels a bit off. While the story eventually ended on a somewhat touching note, most of the episode's plot was significantly lacking again with various rapid-fire gags getting most of the laughs.
A minor subplot involving Bart having to give a Valentine's Day card to every member of his class including Nelson the bully was intriguing at first but got old incredibly quickly.
The couch gag was funny, if not somewhat predictable. Homer keeps electrocuting himself, attempting to grab a six pack of Duff that Bart has placed on the electric wire.
I think the biggest issue "Specs and the City" has is standing as a poster child for critics who lambast "The Simpsons" for having run out of ideas. While I would argue against that statement, this episode indeed calls upon every hallmark we're used to seeing in the show without surpassing us with something new. The pop culture parody gags are solid here as they always are, but for the most part, the episode features a distinct lack of heart. "Specs and the City" is far from the finest work we've seen from the show, but it's not truly terrible.

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