[7.2/10] I’ll confess that I’ve never seen an actual Hallmark movie. But I have seen films like New in Town and other similar romcoms of the type that Hallmark specializes in around the holiday season. Especially with the growing popularity of those movies with a certain set, it’s ripe for parody and a good choice for The Simpsons to poke fun at as part of their semi-annual holiday outing.
The only catch is that I wanted more than what we got. “A Springfield Summer Christmas for Christmas” is basically content to acknowledge that the tropes of the genre exist and call it a day. The best Simpsons spoofs have some extra layer, some sort of commentary, beyond just noting the clichés within a particular piece of pop culture and moving on.
The episode comes close at a few points. The director (Richard Kind) makes a few gags about how characters are interchangeable and plots are just mad libs versions of the same sort of thing, but audiences don’t care so long as the “white people have close-mouthed kisses”, but that’s about as sharp as the episode’s wit gets.
There’s some cleverness to the recursive fun of this being a Hallmark story about a Hallmark executive having to make a Hallmark Xmas movie that adds an extra layer. The problem is that the show mostly plays the romcom dalliance between Mary the big city gal and Principal Skinner fairly straight. Theoretically it’s spoofing the Hallmark style, but it’s also employing it without much in the way of comic embellishments.
The B-stories aren't much to write home about, as Bart tries to ruin the production because the film crew is occupying his home so that the Simpsons can make some extra scratch. It’s fine, but weightless and mild in its humor at best. Likewise, Homer does all he can to fleece the production, and the gags quickly veer toward the overly cartoony.
That said, the highlight here comes when Mary chooses her small town crush over her big city jerk, and Skinner points out how insane and poorly-thought-out that is. It’s the one part of the episode that really kicks the conventions of the genre in the teeth in an amusing and cutting fashion.
Plus, the episode ends on a nice note with Marge essentially saying “haters to the left” (Do kids still say cool?) when it comes to other people’s opinions about her comfort food, showing that the writers are being good sports about what they’re parodying.
Overall, this is still an amusing enough episode with a sound idea behind it and a decent array of chuckles. It just leaves a lot of meat on the bone in terms of what it’s poking fun at here.
Skinner was at the ending weird af
Now that was a very clever episode! I’m impressed that they were able to make fun of Christmas movies while actually doing all the stereotypical tropes of Christmas movies, about a director filming a Christmas movie... it’s like Simpsons inception haha