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Recap / The Simpsons S 23 E 9 Holidays Of Future Passed

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Original Air Date: December 11, 2011

A Christmas Episode of the show (and what could, at one point, have been the final episode of the entire series).

After the Thanksgiving dinner, Marge set the family up for holiday photos much to their charign. She warns Bart and Lisa that they'll want to do this for their own kids someday though Bart and Lisa are doubtful they'll have any.

The photo is taken and we see the years pass via the Christmas photos as the Simpsons kids grow older. Bart tries to go to college but flunks out a year after attending and moves back in with his parents before eventually being kicked out. He married his girlfriend from "Future-Drama" (Jenda) and has two kids, but ends up divorced. Lisa, not surprisingly, is more successful in her college endeavors and her love life. She has a string of lesbian affairs in college before settling down with Milhouse and having a daughter. Maggie pursues a career in music and becomes a world famous rock star, despite that we the viewers still don't hear her voice. Homer and Marge remain married through the years.


In the current timeline, Bart is living in a broken-down apartment complex (that used to be Springfield Elementary) and barely keeping rent. His two sons are beamed over as Bart's ex-wife wants Bart to spend time with them, something both the kids and he aren't entirely happy about. Bart figures to just dump them with his parents. Lisa lives moderately with Milhouse and their now teenage daughter, Zia who spends all her time on the Neural-Net (The internet you plug into with an implant). Due to Milhouse's allergies, he suggests taking Zia to Lisa's parents house while he nurses his sinuses. Over in London, Maggie, while on tour, is revealed to be pregnant with her baby due soon. The doctor orders her to not sing or use her voice as he explains "recent studies have shown the umbilical cord is also a vocal cord."


Marge and Homer get "B-Mail" (Brain Emails) that the kids are all coming home to be with them during the holidays much to Marge's joy. Bart and Lisa arrives with their kids but Maggie is delayed as she is advised not to teleport while pregnant and has to take the commercial airlines which have descended into Mad Max-style brand of flight. Lisa tries to spend time with Zia but her daughter isn't willing, Marge suggests trying to be more "hands off" and give Zia some space. Bart likewise isn't having any luck with his kids, falling into depression when the boys reveal their mother remarried. Homer instead take the two boys out on a trip to Downtown Springfield.

That night Bart and Lisa meet up in the treehouse and have a few drinks while discussing their problems. Both agree to try their best with their kids. Maggie arrives in Springfield but no sooner then she hails a taxi, her water breaks and she has to be taken to the hospital. As the hospital is full, she has to be put in the manger wing. Lisa tries to take her mother's advice but can't go through with it and enter the Neural-Net to find her daughter. She manages to locate her thanks to Google and finds that her personal page shows that Zia aspires to be like Lisa. The two reconcile. Bart tries to locate his sons and finds that Homer took them to go see Grandpa who is located in a cryo-lab located in a graveyard (Homer revealing Abe was frozen when he came down with a disease. They found the cure for it but Homer finds the Cryo-lab cheaper then a retirement home.)

During the visit, Homer teaches the boys that, though Bart may not be a perfect father, he still loves them all the same and to give him another chance. Bart arrives shortly after and apologizes to his sons, promising he'll do better and they too reconcile. Homer likewise reconciles with his father. Marge is informed of Maggie giving birth and is there for the birth of her baby. The family all reunite for Christmas and gather together for a Christmas photo, this time taken by their pets who have evolved into intelligent beings.

Holidays of Future Passed has the following tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: Thankfully averted with Bart and Lisa who, despite having problems with their kids, don't do what Homer and Marge did in terms of parenting — mostly because they're better than that, and mostly because Homer's strangling of Bart became such a problem that a law was made to forbid child abuse (particularly strangling of any child) once and for all (called "Homer's Law").
  • Advert-Overloaded Future: Apparently someone figured out a way to make the stars in the night sky reconfigure themselves into advertisements.
  • Away in a Manger: Slightly parodied with Kearney as Joseph and helping Maggie (both the Mary expy as well as the "star") to the hospital and her having to be taken to the Manger...Wing.
  • Babies Ever After: All the Simpsons kids have their own kids, and Maggie has her first daughter. The "ever after" would have been true had the show ended at that point, but it's not.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Aside from the Food Pills parody, there's also a cab driver (Kearney) who drove Maggie to the hospital. When his cab's computer took his order to drive to the hospital ("Computer, hospital") as an order to go to the computer hospital, he said he'd have to do it the old-fashioned way. He took a pair of gloves and ordered them to drive to the hospital.
  • Basement-Dweller: As revealed by the Christmas photographs between the present and the future, Bart will live with his parents for several years after flunking public college until they decide to send him away.
  • Book-Ends: The first Simpsons episode was a Christmas episode ("Simpsons Roasting Over an Open Fire"). If this actually aired as the series finale, it would have ended with a Christmas episode.
  • Call-Back:
    • Bart is shown to have married (and divorced) Jenda from "Future-Drama".
    • Homer accidentally getting Edna killed echoes what happened to Maude, though, unlike Maude, we don't see how Homer had a hand in killing Edna.
    • Lisa's "Ultra Net" account included people Lisa knows and people the Simpsons met on their International travels.
    • Lisa's Ravencrow Neversmiles persona from "Smart and Smarter" makes a reappearance during the Christmas photograph montage at the beginning of the episode.
  • Broken Pedestal: Homer reveals to his grandsons who idolize him, that he was a terrible dad to their dad, and has a terrible relationship with his own father, to show them that Bart is actually trying to be a good dad to them.
  • Chalk Outline: Several of them at Moe's. One of them was implied to be of Sideshow Bob (with a rake). Another is the Capitol City Goofball from "Homer at the Bat".
  • Cloning Blues: Ralph is revealed to have made clones of himself...who get killed with alarming frequency.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Bart and Lisa do this in the treehouse after Zia won't spend time with Lisa and after Bart's sons prefer spending time with Homer than with him.
  • Experimented in College: Lisa has several girlfriends in college (and at one point, two girlfriends at once), and then gets engaged to Milhouse soon after graduating.
  • Famous, Famous, Fictional: A variation in this exchange:
    Lisa: My daughter thinks I'm a ruthless tyrant, like Hitler or Prince Harry.
    Homer: Ah, Bloody Harry. He brought back beheading in a big way.
  • Food Pills\Instant Mass: Just Add Water!: Parodied. When Marge wants to make a cake, she takes out a tablet and adds water. The tablet turns into... a recipe card, which she uses to make a cake with real ingredients.
  • For the Evulz: This is presumably why Snake (who has become a cyborg by this point) is still robbing the Kwik-e-Mart, as according to Apu, they're a cashless society now.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Carl and Lenny are revealed to have swapped brains in the future. One of them has an ex-wife who swapped brains with a monkey.
  • Gender Bender: "Martin Prince is now Marsha Princess?"
  • Generation Xerox:
    • Bart's kids have a strained relationship with their dad, but get along fine with their grandfather. Homer points out that this is par for the course with every son.
    • Lisa tries to understand a daughter that seems very different from her and can be condescending at the drop of a hat.
      Lisa: You have no idea what that's like.
      Marge: Uh-huh.
    • Maggie's daughter sucking on a pacifier.
    • Apu and Manjula's Octuplets work at the Kwik-E-Mart with their dad. They also each have their own set of octuplets.
  • Human Popsicle: Along with Grandpa, other Simpson regulars are cryogenically frozen.
  • I Taste Delicious: This episode's couch gag presents the Simpsons as gingerbread people. Homer happily takes a bite of himself.
  • Karma Houdini: Homer’s being liked by his grand children so much can across as this as the excuse being that children always like their grand parents better than their parents. However the reason for Bart’s hostility to Homer and Homer’s hostility to Abe was that Abe and Homer were Abusive Parents. Bart is never shown to be abusive in any way, just going through a bad divorce.
  • More Dakka: When Snake tries to rob the Kwik-E-Mart, Apu shouts for help from his grown up octuplets, who promptly produce a multitude of weapons.
  • Mum Looks Like a Sister: Lisa doesn't look much older than her teenage daughter.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Lenny and Carl switched brains so Lenny could get back together with his wife, who was sleeping with Carl.
      Carl: Turns out she had switched brains with a monkey on a Japanese game show, and it just got weirder from there.
      Lenny: Ah, I found it quite normal.
    • Homer somehow got Edna killed.
  • Not So Different: Bart and Lisa bond in the treehouse over some wine and their parenting difficulties.
  • The Nothing After Death: Maude's ghost claims as such to Ned, though he doesn't seem to notice.
    Maude's Ghost: There is no god, Neddy. It's just an empty, meaningless void.
  • Off with His Head!: According to Homer and Lisa, once he got the throne, Prince Harry became a big fan of this.
    Lisa: My daughter thinks I'm a ruthless tyrant, like Hitler or Prince Harry!
    Homer: [chuckles] Bloody Harry. He brought back beheading in a big way!
  • Oh, Crap!: Apu and Manjula when Marge closes the door in a way that causes all their grandchildren to start crying simultaneously.
  • Older Than They Look: Lisa is almost 40 in the episode. She looks 10-15 years younger. Boy, did she age well.
  • Plane Awful Flight: Teleportation has reduced the airline industry to a last resort in the episode's futuristic setting. Unable to teleport due to her pregnancy, an adult Maggie has to board a ramshackle plane manned by a crew straight out of a Mad Max movie.
  • Product Placement: Google
  • Rake Take: Moe's has a Chalk Outline of Sideshow Bob next to a chalk outline of a rake.
  • Reincarnation: Apu thinks his brother was reincarnated as a cow, but it insists it's just an animal that died 600 years ago.
  • Series Fauxnale: This episode was conceived as a Distant Finale in case the show really was going to end due to some disagreements at the time between FOX and the voice actors due to the latter being forced to accept a pay cut.
  • Silver Vixen: Marge remains very good-looking for being the grandmother of a teenager at this time.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Subways Suck: In the future, the interior of planes look and sound like subways and is the transportation of choice for the poor, the elderly, and pregnant women.
  • Time Skip: Unlike previous episodes that take place in the future, there's no framing device here. The only present day scene is the one in the beginning with the family photo.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Ralph Wiggum's clones. Bart also counts since he plans to sell his good kidney and hopes another one will grow over time.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Homer by the time he's a grandparent, he's a really good grandfather and has learned from his mistakes.
    Bart: How can he be such a cool grandfather when he's such a lousy father?
    Marge: People learn from their mistakes...and your father made so many mistakes.
  • Truly Single Parent: Milhouse comments that, when he and Lisa ordered their daughter, she was made from the best parts of their genetic materials and he says it means nothing from him.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Per usual, the next generation of Simpson kids greatly resemble their parents. Justified in Lisa's daughter Zia's case by Milhouse's comment suggesting Lisa to be Zia's only biological parent.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: Milhouse manages to marry Lisa
  • The Voiceless: Maggie, in continuing with the Running Gag that was set up on "Lisa's Wedding."
  • When Trees Attack: Invoked; it turns out in the future they discovered plants were sentient, as Bart forces the tree in which the treehouse sits to bend down so he and Lisa can get out.
    Tree: Our conciousness was a secret for thousands of years...then one pine tree had to open his sappy mouth!
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: While under the belief that he's Santa Claus, Abe Simpson is sad that he'll never die.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Implied.
    Bart: Nelson still calls you?
    Lisa: Let's just say someone calls someone.

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