The tween lit craze is ripe for the mocking and this episode did it very well. I loved Homer getting his crew together, Ocean's 11-style. Neil Gaiman coming in and doing odd jobs for everyone was great.
This episode ruled it for the heist. Skinner's pizza strategy had me rolling.
Neil Gaiman: I'm so proud of us! Bart: Aww, you didn't write any of it! Neil Gaiman: That tuna didn't salad itself!
Yeah, this was a really good episode. I'm gobsmacked at what a high batting average this season has had--more good episodes than the last four seasons or so combined.
As with last week, lots of good freeze-frame fun. (I was watching as it was on, so thanks to SS for the AV Club link so I could catch it all. "I got the idea from every movie ever made" may be the best quotable Simpsons line since "the rat symbolizes obviousness!", and "Sit Stay Love" cracked me up.
You say gimmick, I say procedural. :-) That's the kind of show it was supposed to be. In the vein of L&O and CSI, you weren't supposed to care about the characters (at least not in the beginning). Victor Garber was cool, but that's a given.