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They Saved Lisa's Brain
Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo
Beyond Blunderdome


"Aah! Undo! Undo! Ohh..."
Homer

"Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo" is the twenty-third and final episode of Season 10.

Synopsis[]

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.

Full Story[]

When learning of a new Java Server cyber-cafe's opening downtown, Lisa asks Homer to take her. Even though Lisa tries bribing him, Homer refuses, until Bart walks in, saying he knows a website that shows monkeys "doin' it". Homer immediately agrees to go and eagerly jumps in the car with Bart. At the Java Server, Homer nearly spends all of the family's checking account money, leaving only $1,200, Soon after, Snake walks into the cafe with a gun and cyber-robs Homer, completely emptying their account, leaving no money for their family vacation. To earn some money, Homer sneaks into Ned Flanders' house in the middle of the night, to steal and sell his possessions. Ned catches him, but rather than reporting him, informs him of a savings seminar instead, to which Homer steals his tickets. The family then attends the seminar to help solve their money problems. As the seminar progresses, it soon becomes apparent it is held by a man who, while he does point out a few useful tips, could stand to be a little less tight with his money. One of his pointers includes saving money by scrounging through trash for food. The Simpsons then find out they can get cheap plane tickets by booking last-minute flights. This method comes down to booking a flight on a Boeing 747-200B with open seats, and an as of yet unknown location. The flight they get onto, triumphing over the Flanders, then heads for Tokyo, Japan.

Onboard the plane, Homer has gotten over his triumph at beating the Flanders, and is disappointed that they are not going to Jamaica. He tells Marge that they could have just gone to the zoo to see Japanese people - she is annoyed with him until he adds that Takashi, a member of his book club, is Japanese and washes the elephants at the zoo. Shortly after takeoff, Bart is playing his Gameboy, until an air hostess tells him that it is not safe to use electronic devices yet. Bart complies, and turns off his Gameboy. The plane takes a nose dive, prompting the air hostess to frantically tell Bart to turn the Gameboy back on.

At the Royal Tokyo hotel, Homer discovers that the Japanese are years ahead of America, having a talking toilet in the bathroom that sprays fountains of multi-colored water, while Bart discovers the TV has a camera that shows footage form the toilet. This gadget soon appalls Bart, Lisa and Marge, as Homer makes use of the mulit-gadget toilet.

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They start buying various things that cost a fortune there. Homer buys a square watermelon but it turns into a normal round shaped one causing him to accidentally drop it and smash on the ground wasting his money. Lisa wants to do something Japanese but Homer and Bart blatantly refuse and would rather ignore the wonders of another culture, running off when Lisa suggests something traditional. The only piece of Japanese culture Bart is willing to take in is the shows that are aired on T.V., one of which is entitled "Battling Seizure Robots" causing the entire family to collapse on the floor in convulsions. After recovering, they visit America Town, an American-themed restaurant, and then they are forced to go to the Sumo fights, Homer is arrested for attacking the emperor, whom he thought he was a sumo wrestler. After being freed from prison (where Homer and Bart learn of Japanese culture and the secret to inner peace), the Simpson family is down to their last one million Yen, which they need to get home. Homer folds the money into a flying crane origami to show Lisa "something Japanese", which is then blown away in the wind, Homer cries "D'oh!" in Japanese.

They try to earn money by gutting fish at the Osaka Fish Concern. While working, they see on the work TV an advert for the Super Happy Smile Time Family Wish Show, which grants the winners anything they wish for.

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They go on the game show to win plane tickets back to Springfield, but go through a series of painful and humiliating tasks (most of the tasks were completed by Homer while his family watched on) including being tied to Tokyo tower during a lightning storm. Meanwhile back in Springfield, Moe sees Homer on TV as he's getting electrocuted by the lightning and he, Lenny, and Carl find out Barney was disguised as Homer to put beers on Homer's tab. To get the tickets in the final round, the Simpsons have to grab them off a bridge that's suspended above a "volcano". Back in Japan, the Simpsons get the tickets, but learn that this task in actuality, was not a challenge, but a trap in which they bridge they are on snaps on demand and they all fall into makeshift lava, which is only Orangeade loaded with Wasabi.

Before leaving Homer takes advantage of now having what they wanted to harshly ridicule the host on live T.V. about how he should be ashamed of himself. Not that the host takes anything he says into account, bringing in the next contestant the second the family exits the stage. When taking off for their return trip home, the Simpsons' plane is attacked by Godzilla, who happens to also be battling Rodan, Mothra, and Gamera. However, the family, in particular Lisa, were so exhausted from the events of their stay that they proceeded to fall asleep through the entire spectacle. Their plane wriggles free, and they fly off to Springfield without any further incident.

Reception[]

When it was first broadcast, the episode attracted 12.5 million viewers.

Since airing, the episode has received mostly favorable reviews. The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, gave the episode a positive review, and wrote that it was "A magnificent end to the season." They wrote that the episode was "thoroughly racist" but "completely inoffensive because it's simply very funny." Jake MacNeill of Digital Entertainment News was also favorable, considering it to be one of the better episodes of the season. James Plath of DVD Town wrote that the episode has "some funny moments."

Not all reviews were positive, however. Aaron Roxby of Collider was more critical, denouncing the episode's dated references. He wrote: "I am going to go ahead and give this one the benefit of the doubt and assume that making fun of Japanese junk culture and game shows felt fresher in 1999 than it does now." Colin Jacobson of DVD Movie Guide called the episode "mediocre". He wrote that, though the episode's concept should "open up lots of interesting possibilities", it "doesn't explore them particularly well". While he did not consider it to be a bad episode, he thought it "fail[ed] to live up to its potential".

Citations[]

Season 9 Season 10 Episodes Season 11
Lard of the DanceThe Wizard of Evergreen TerraceBart the MotherTreehouse of Horror IXWhen You Dish Upon a StarD'oh-in' in the WindLisa Gets an "A"Homer Simpson in: "Kidney Trouble"Mayored to the MobViva Ned FlandersWild Barts Can't Be BrokenSunday, Cruddy SundayHomer to the MaxI'm with CupidMarge Simpson in: "Screaming Yellow Honkers"Make Room for LisaMaximum HomerdriveSimpsons Bible StoriesMom and Pop ArtThe Old Man and the "C" StudentMonty Can't Buy Me LoveThey Saved Lisa's BrainThirty Minutes Over Tokyo
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