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Tag Archives: Martin Landau
In the wake of disquieting fan revolts over superhero films, video games, science fiction awards, and genre works of all stripes, there’s been an ensuing debate over who “owns” art. Whether you’re talking about a particular release, a broader genre, or even an entire industry, there’s an ongoing discussion to the tune of “who does this belong to?”
And the responses are legion. Is it the creative individuals behind these works? Their most ardent fans? The would-be arbiters of taste? The studios and publishers who fund them? Is it the dye-in-the-wool traditionalists or the boundary-pushing innovators? Who among these gets to decide what’s acceptable and what isn’t, let alone what’s good, great, or even art in the first place? These are questions at the heart of Ed Wood, the 1994 film from director Tim Burton.
The Simpsons have tangled with magic and magicians a few times before. Bart took it up as a hobby in “The Great Money Caper.” Milhouse was attacked by cats in an ill-fated attempt to pull one of his hat in “$pringfield.” Even Homer interrupted a show by Penn and Teller in in “Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder,” leaving Teller worse for wear. Now, it’s Lisa’s turn to get in on the act in Season 22’s “The Great Simpsina.”
In this episode, The Simpsons take home a boatload of peaches, and in the kids’ desperate attempt to get rid of the excess, Lisa runs into an old magician. This graying illusionist named The Great Raymondo (voiced by Martin Landau) takes a shine to her, and eventually takes Lisa on as his apprentice. After he teaches Lisa the secret to his greatest trick, one passed down to him from Houdini himself, she unwittingly reveals it to his greatest rival. – Craig Demon, a thinly veiled parody of Criss Angel. From there, Lisa tries her best to make it up to her magical mentor, and stop his impetuous young rival.
I really enjoyed this episode, and it stands out as one of the finest that Season 22 has had to offer. It had an engaging story, a great use of guest stars, and laughs galore. The show was really firing on a cylinders here, and the end result is not only a funny, but a well-rounded episode that kept me laughing and invested the whole way.