Recap: The Simpsons S 10 E 23 Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo
After being robbed of their savings by Snake at an Internet café, the Simpsons start scrounging for money for their family vacation. They soon learn they can get cheap plane tickets by booking last-minute flights to an unknown location. The flight they get onto flies to Tokyo, Japan, where the Simpsons take in Asian culture — and must compete on a game show in order to fly home.
This episode includes examples of:
- Amusing Injuries: The family participates with a Japanese game show, which are notorious for being sadistic (not on the scale the show has it, but pretty close), or as the host says, "[American] game shows reward knowledge. [Japanese game shows] punish ignorance."
- Animeland: The show's take on Japan, which is why the actual country does not air the episode.
- Artistic License – Geography: Several Japanese landmarks are all shown within short distance of each other.
- Banned In Japan: This episode was banned for its stereotypical portrayal of the Japanese (nothing too bad, but the Japanese audiences definitely won't like the Hello Kitty factory burning live catsnote , the scene with Battling Seizure Robotsnote , Homer tossing the Japanese emperor into a sumo thong Dumpster, and the sadistic Japanese game show). The episode is even missing from the season 10 DVD release in Japan, so if you're Japanese (or are a foreigner who moved to/is stationed in Japan from another country) and you love this episode of The Simpsons, good luck trying to find it elsewhere.
- Biting-the-Hand Humor: While on the web, Homer invested on "something called News Corp":
Lisa: Dad! That's FOX!
Homer: AAAAAH! UNDO! UNDO!
- Brick Joke/Call Back: One of the items being sold in the 33 cent store is "Skittlebrau", a supposedly fictional product that Homer had imagined in "Bart Star".
- The Cameo:
- Uncle Pennybags, the mascot of the game "Monopoly" makes an appearance
- Homer mistakes Emperor Akihito (who, at the time, didn't look that old) for a sumo wrestler and throws him in the sumo thong Dumpster.
- Notorious kaiju monsters Godzilla, Gamera, Rodan and Mothra have a cameo near the end.
- Cutting Corners: The Simpsons try to do this after they get robbed and attend a seminar to help them save wisely.
- Easy Sex Change: As Chuck Garabedian shows the audience the picture of his boat packed with beautiful women.
"And those beautiful women? They used to be men."
- Epileptic Flashing Lights: The family have an epileptic fit after watching Battling Seizure Robots.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Homer is completely disinterested in going to the new Internet cafe until Bart tells him about "a website that shows monkeys doing it."
Homer: C'mon, Lisa! Monkeys!
- Gratuitous Japanese: After the family's last one million yen flies off with the wind, Homer yells out "Shimatta baka ni!"note in frustration. Otherwise Bart and Homer speak accurate Japanese.
- Global Ignorance: Homer prefers to visit an American restaurant in Japan instead of going to a Japanese one.
- Inherently Funny Words: When Homer mistook Lisa's copy of Wired for a MAD-style parody magazine called "Weird":
Homer: "Gigabyte"! (laughs) They've done it again — "gigabyte".
- The Internet Is for Porn: Lisa protests that the internet is more than a global pornography network, but Homer stopped listening at "a website where monkeys do it".
- Japan: Several National Stereotypes references to things Japan is famous for are made: the gong, Akira Kurosawa, bowing, The Meij Shrine, The Imperial Gardens, Hello Kitty, paper thin walls, floor mats, fusuma doors, musical toilets, anime, square melons, Japandering, sumo wrestling, The Emperor, wasabi, The 47 Ronin, origami, flower arranging, fish products, their notoriously sadistic game shows, the Tokyo Tower, whaling and Godzilla. The title itself is a reference to the movie Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo about bombings by the Allied Forces on Japan during World War Two.
- Japanese Politeness: The hotel where the Simpsons checked in had a sign stating they had 20 percent more bowing.
- Japandering: The Simpsons see Woody Allen doing this.
- Karma Houdini: Snake steals all of The Simpsons' vacation money and (as far as the episode is concerned) he doesn't get punished for it nor do The Simpsons get their money back.
- By the same token, Homer steals Ned's tickets to Chuck Garabedian's seminar.
- Lightning Can Do Anything: When tied to Tokyo Tower, Homer is struck by lightning several times in a row. And survives!
- Lucky Translation: the Spanish version of "Hasta la vista, baby!" is "Sayonara, baby!". Sayonara means "goodbye" in Japanese.
- My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: The Simpsons prefer going to an American restaurant instead of doing something Japanese. Their waiter takes his "American" role very literally:
Waiter: Don't ask me; I don't know anything! I'm product of American education system. I also build poor-quality cars and inferior-style electronics.
Homer: [cackles] Oh, they got our number!
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: A spoof of Woody Allen is seen doing a Japanese commercial.
- "Rashomon"-Style: Akira Kurosawa's movie is referenced cleverly in the following dialogue:
: Come on, Homer. Japan will be fun! You liked Rashomon
Homer: That's not how I remember it!
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech / Shaming the Mob: After the Simpsons win their plane tickets on the Japanese game show:
Homer: Before I go, I want to say something. Game shows aren't about cruelty, they're about greed and wonderful prizes like poorly-built catamarans, but somewhere along the line you lost your way. For shame.
- Retroactive Wish: Attempted and failed.
- Ripped from the Headlines: The scene where The Simpsons gets seizures from watching Battling Seizure Robots is a reference to the infamous Pokemon episode ("Electric Soldier Porygon") that gave hundreds of Japanese viewers (most of which were children) seizures due to the strobe effects.
- Series Fauxnale: A lot of fans speculated that this was (or would be) the final episode, as evidenced by Bart's chalkboard punishment line, "I am so very tired," which they thought was the writers telling viewers that they were tired of doing the show (that and the episodes in season ten ranging from mediocre to downright horrid). This was later Jossed.
- The title is a reference to "30 Seconds Over Tokyo", an American World War II movie about the bombing of Japan.
- Lisa notices the Hello Kitty factory (even though it's Korean).
- Homer mentions he and Bart were in The 47 Ronin while in jail.
- One of Barney's lines to prove to Moe that he's Homer is "That boy ain't right," which is actually one of Hank Hill's catchphrases on King of the Hillnote whenever his son Bobby does something that Hank finds embarrassing.
- Near the end Godzilla, Gamera, Mothra and Rodan appear.
- Lisa seeing Godzilla's eye from the airplane window mimics the scene in Jurassic Park where the girl sees the T-Rex's eye through the car window.
- At the sumo ring, Homer borrowed Arnold Schwarzenegger's catchphrase "Hasta la vista, baby".
- The Spanish version of that phrase is "Sayonara, baby!", which fits even better in the situation.
- Special Guest: George Takei (who first appeared on The Simpsons as the first voice of Japanese restauranteur and karate teacher Akira) stars as the game show host Wink.
- Technologically Blind Elders: Homer finds the word "gigabyte" amusing, and this is his reaction when Lisa offers to show him how to order pizza over the internet:
Homer: The internet? Is that thing still around?
- Technology Marches On: These days, Snake wouldn't need a floppy disk to steal The Simpsons' online bank account; he can just hack the bank website.
- Tempting Fate: Near the beginning of the episode, while Homer is having fun at the cybercafe:
Lisa: Dad, do we have any money left?
Homer: Well, let's check the old bank account. (brings up a bar graph on one of the computers he's using) See? Even after all my cyber-squandering, we've still got $1200.
(cue Snake holding up the cybercafe and robbing Homer)
- Vacation Episode: The Simpsons travel to Japan.