I absolutely LOVED this episode of the Simpsons. I want to give Matt Groening a big hug. Last week, the Simpsons had an absolutely devastating takedown of e-cigarettes and how they are marketed to kids. Oh, man, I would have LOVED to have been in the boardroom of Blu E-cigs on Monday morning after this episode.
In this episode (I am having to post screencaps from Hulu because that’s the only legal way I can do it … I’m not even positive it’s legal this way.), Bart meets his friend Millhouse’s cute older Dutch cousin Annika Van Houten (this is cute. Simpsons writers are a big fan of Game of Thrones and the Dutch actress who plays Melisandre — her name is Carice Van Houten), who is a big fan of e-cigs. She introduces Bart to e-cigs.
Annika asks Bart to go the Quickie Mart to buy five packs of e-cigs (it wouldn’t be packs, but cartridges). Bart slaps a five-dollar bill on Apu’s counter and Apu pulls out a pack of “Laramie e-cigs” (which looks exactly like Marlboros, funny joke because RJ Reynolds own the biggest e-cig company out there — Blu E-cigarettes) and says:
“Though it’s legal in this state, you’re asking for a nicotine delivery device that could quite possibly leave your breathing through a hole in your neck.”
Bart then imagines how cool it would be to have a hole in his neck, where he could eat spinach without actually having to taste it.
“You are right, but remember this is not kids’ stuff. Now, would you like bubblegum flavour, strawberry shortcake or watermelon dream.”
Oh, SNAP. This is awesome. I literally squealed out loud. Here is THE issue with e-cigs. This is what pisses me off SO MUCH about e-cigarettes. They’re not marketed to kids? Bullshit. Why are there so many candy and fruity flavours then? These aren’t for grown-ups. These are for 14- and 15-year-olds. You aren’t … fooling … anyone, Blu and every other e-cig company out there.
Later, Marge catches Bart vaping e-cigs. Bart’s response: “It’s still legal in this state … the bill is stuck in committee.” Yup, the Simpsons got it right. The FDA has proposed banning e-cig sales to minors, but those regulations have been stuck in the “draft” phase for well over a year now. In many states, young teens can still easily buy e-cigs.
When Marge tells Homer about Bart using e-cigs, Homer says, “Oh, those are totally legal. Tell me, does he like bubblegum or strawberry?”
In the end, Bart tells Annika off at the airport as she returns to the Netherlands, telling her to “take these poison penlights with you.”
Thank you, Simpsons. Thank you, thank you. For this epic takedown of what’s turned into an absolutely craven, amoral industry — e-cigarettes.