The desire to communicate is basic, and The Simpsons routinely explores Maggie’s communication because it is a universal family desire. In the most recent “Treehouse of Horrors,” she spelled out “don’t leave” in her letter blocks. Homer’s brother Herb, played by Danny DeVito in “Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?,” invented a baby translator.
Learning how Maggie wants to be an elephant doctor is transcendent when rendered through a massively multiplayer online real player game. It is especially funny how the initial arc of communication comes right after Marge says she gave Maggie the tablet to shut her up. When Maggie tells Homer she loves him, his response is magnificently overplayed and fully within his character.
The primary plot vaguely resembles the film Jerry and Marge Go Large, where a puzzle-solving cereal box manager cracks a lottery through a glitch. The Springfield Elementary game scam entails an excruciatingly intricate way to make money, which is as real as most payoffs collected online. Converting Boblox into cash is a full-time job, and a great gag.
Skinner is absolutely harried at the start of the episode, so it is easy to picture him going along with the flow, and particularly gratifying to see his actions changing from their usual rut. The principal is under pressure from Superintendent Chalmers over a Chinese news piece on the death of American education. Springfield Elementary is the featured institution, and Ralph Wiggum is the poster child. While some of this can be attributed to the lead in the pipes, the superintendent blames the principal. Everyone calls Springfield Elementary a train wreck, and Skinner is the broken down, sad sack, never-was in a cheap shoveling coal.
Skinner and Bart have very good chemistry. They’ve worked well together since school began and learning was afoot. “The glitch is going to make us rich” promise is laid out like a deal with a devil. It’s always handy to have a principal in the pocket, and a welcome relief to see Bart as utterly corrupt, and overtly corrupting. The scene where Skinner suggests turning after-hours computer lab lessons into midnight basketball is inspired educational criminality, and it is fun to see the bonding between the good principal who learned from the best, or the worst. Corruption and sweetness are the two main ingredients of the installment. The other masterstroke of the episode is Lisa is not the wet blanket that smothers all the fun.
The most satisfying and revealing bonding moment skirts on mob behavior. When the two employ strong arm tactics to stop “jive ass snitches” from telling their parents about “this victimless thing of ours.” Martin steals the scene with his “You sick bastards” read. He stays so firmly within character, bent but not broken, righteous with knowledge which is, sadly, useless as a weapon.