Sitcom lore dictates that no matter how many twists and turns are packed into the third act, everything shall be miraculously returned to normal for the final frame. But of course, The Simpsons is no ordinary sitcom. And so, while the abrupt ending of 'Pygmoelian', say, serves as a self-aware gag (just as Moe begins to question the episode's deus ex machina, the closing credits come down and cut him off mid-sentence), other episodes latch on an ending that had absolutely nothing to do with the preceding twenty minutes. For example, in 'Missionary: Impossible', Homer and Lisa Jr. appear to fall to their death - only for the scene to suddenly cut to a Fox network telethon. Or in 'The Frying Game', in which Homer faces the electric chair only to discover at the last minute that it is in fact simply a stunt for a reality TV show. Or perhaps the most ridiculous of all; the conclusion to 'The Great Money Caper', which sees Groundskeeper Willie wrongly sentenced for stealing the Simpsons' car. Upon hearing the guilty verdict, he snatches Chief Wiggum's gun and shoots up the courtroom. Homer and Bart finally give in and admit to losing the car in a scam- at which point Marge declares the trial a hoax, much to Homer's confusion. Just as Lisa is about to explain, Otto bursts through the courtroom doors and yells ''Hey, everybody! Surf's up!'' The court empties, everyone grabs a surfboard and up go the credits. It doesn't quite justify building up an entire third act only to throw it away with a deliberately evasive non-sequitur. In each example, why bother to invest in the episode if it's only going to throw the ending away?
Yorkshireman (hence the surname). Often spotted sacrificing sleep and sanity for the annual Leeds International Film Festival. For a sample of (fairly) recent film reviews, please visit whatsnottoblog.wordpress.com.