It takes a special breed of show to be both cruel and kind at the same time. The Simpsons manages to do that. Family Guy does not.
Never forget that, Family Guy.
The Simpsons often does a good job fleshing out its background characters, and this time around the show focuses its attention straight on the sad, lonely life of Edna Krabappel. Mrs. Krabappel has often been depicted as a woman who was more than capable of find a date, but now we see a different side. Recently divorced, with an ex-husband who pours sugar in her gas tank, Edna lives alone outside a nameless cat and decides to try her hand with a personal ad.
Dates with Jasper aside (and who wouldn’t want to date Jasper?), it doesn’t seem to be going too well. Then she gets a letter from a man she knows only as Woodrow. Woodrow is the man of her dreams. He tells her he hates yo-yos and that she has a butt that won’t quit. He looks just like Gordie Howe in his prime! When Woodrow stands her up for their first date, he does manage to let her down gently with a letter explaining he has to leave town but he’ll never forget her. It’s about as sweet an outcome as Mrs. K could hope for without ever meeting the man of her dreams face to face.
Oh, wait, Woodrow wasn’t real. Bart was writing the letters, gleaming information from what he knew about his teacher after she gave him a month’s detention. Bits of the letter came from his teacher’s musings, old movies, and Homer’s only love letter to Marge, or more accurately, Homer’s only drunken love postcard to Marge. That postcard may be an episode highlight. Five dollars? Get out of here.
You’d think Mrs. Krabappel would have recognized if not Bart’s handwriting, then at least that it was clearly written by a kid with questionable penmanship.
Bart, sensing he was partially responsible for breaking Edna’s heart, collaborates with the rest of the family on the perfect goodbye letter. Homer gets a good last line in, which was much better than his previous suggestion of “I am gay” to go into the letter.
By the way, what was up with the yo-yo demonstration? Do those things actually happen? Seemed weird. I mean, Bart showed some real talent there, but Homer was hard pressed to name a single person who got rich by doing yo-yo tricks.
Further dating the episode: two of Homer’s mental ideas of rich guys who might have gotten rich with a trick yo-yo were Donald Trump and Bill Cosby.