295. Large Marge

(originally aired November 24, 2002
A transparent gimmick episode if I ever saw one… but I don’t remember my thirteen-year-old self complaining much about that. But now thanks to the Internet, I’ve seen every cartoon character in every sexual position imaginable, so who gives a crap if Marge’s tits are bigger this episode. How do we get so bankrupt of ideas that we come around to this plotline? And how do we possibly get implants stuffed into Marge anyway? Well, here’s the setup. Homer and Lisa help out at a Habitat for Humanity-type organization, only to have the former flocked by Lindsay Naegle and Cookie Kwan, both desperate for a suitable husband. The two ladies pull up, unnaturally narrate who they are and what they want, then focus in on Homer. Lindsay’s had many interactions with him at this point, and must know what a moronic clod he is. Marge ends up driving by and bears witness to Homer seemingly flexing for these women, which ends up being an amazingly insulting fake-out, where he was just demonstrating how his wife gave birth to his children, much to Naegle and Kwan’s cooing. Stupid.

One odd thing that struck me here is that Marge is kind of… dumb. Like she’s always had a strong air of naivety to her (“Well anyone who beats you up isn’t your friend,”) but she’s usually savvy enough to put two and two together in most situations. Seeing her husband, a humungous tub of lard, flexing his non-existent muscles for two women… does not compute. There has to be another explanation. And even if that is what was happening, Marge would have confronted her husband point blank, as she’s done in the past. Here, she meekly asks him in bed whether he still finds her attractive anymore, and is discouraged by his non-committed answer. So pushed by Manjula, she gets liposuction, which makes absolutely no sense for her to need and for her to do, and then the implants Mayor Quimby ordered for his assistant end up in her by accident. The surgeon tells Marge he can remove them in forty-eight hours; I guess there’s a medical risk if you rush things? I dunno. So the rest of this story is basically all men paying more attention to Marge, and her seemingly not being able to understand why. They even do a song about it, where the cast very obviously just stares at her breasts, which by the way may be the worst the show has ever done. Not just content-wise, but it’s so without purpose or a catch. You stack it up with the others, there’s no comparison. “See My Vest.” “We Put the Spring in Springfield.” “You’re a Bunch of Stuff.” Yeah, that’s really the title. Later this season we’ll get “I Love to Walk.” Ugh.

There’s a B-story here too, which almost gets equal screen time with the other one, but still feels like complete filler. Bart and Milhouse watch Krusty’s guest appearance on the old Batman TV show, and imitate his stunt on the playground, to disastrous results. As is the current trend, parents and the community at large blame Krusty, and now the two boys must help repair his reputation. The Batman segment is pretty fantastic, but beyond that this story is pretty thin, which seems ridiculous given the satiric potential of the material. South Park made a whole movie about it, for God’s sakes, these guys can’t even squeeze it into eight minutes? Anyway, Marge ends up becoming a convention model, and between her back spasms and men pinching her ass all day, she begins to realize having an ample bosom is quite a burden. The two plots collide when Bart orchestrates a stunt to have Krusty save the day, rescuing Milhouse from being crushed by Stampy the elephant, who reappears for no real reason. But the plan goes awry, Marge distracts trigger-happy cops by flashing the crowd, Krusty manages to rescue them, Marge gets her old boobs back, the end. Not as offensive as I thought it would be, but still pretty awful. And not really offensive at all; the show as of late rides this line of being innocuous, then trying to “shock” you with mentioning hookers, or someone saying ‘penis,’ but when it comes to this show that’s all about Marge’s tits, they hold everything back. I’d almost respect them more if they went completely crass and objectionable, but instead they took the safe route.

Tidbits and Quotes
– “We’re building homes for the homeless!” “You know it’s gonna be bad, but you just can’t prepare yourself!” The six thousandth joke about Homer’s long-running hatred of charity.
– It’s stupid and makes no sense that they’re there, but dammit, I still love the Three Stooges stuff with Carter, Bush and Clinton. They just match those personalities so well.
– Homer mentions Bart being “El Barto,” once again reminding me how they never really used that bit on the show at all. Besides “Homer’s Odyssey,” can anyone remember a time El Barto was mentioned on the TV show at all? It was mainly a thing with the comics.
– Yeah, the Batman show is the best part of the episode, with Adam West and Burt Ward as themselves. Krusty plays Clown Face, “the painted Pagliacci of Perfetti,” who along with his henchman, Hoo, Hah, and Hee, trap the dynamic duo in a merry-go-round of doom (“Show our guests to the twirly gates!”) Good thing Batman always carries his Bat Carousel Reversal Spray (“What don’t you have in that belt?” “Patience… for harlequin hoodlums like yourself!”)
– We really rocket past Marge’s decisions this episode. She just snap-decides to get the liposuction, then later snap-decides to go into modeling. Unlike Homer, Marge is not so quick to act. It took her desire for danger to slowly bubble until she decided to be a cop, it takes her longer to process and think things through. But hey, we gotta keep this plot moving, so let’s hurry it along, even though there’s minutes of filler we could shave off to devote to developing the main plot more.
– The plastic surgeon from “Pygmoelian” returns; I love Azaria’s read on him (“I’ll come back alright, and I’ll bring my husband to do a little malpractice on you!” “Your husband? I’m sure he’s going to be furious.”)
– I remember seeing promos for this episode and there were a few scenes in the commercials that never made it to air, like Marge ducking down to hide her breasts in the double-sink, and her desperately pointing at her face as Bart has locked eyes with her chest. Even that stuff’s a little bit daring, but they cut it all out.
– I kind of like the cutesy innocence of Homer discovering Marge’s new breasts and the two enjoying each other… and then Homer falling off the bed.
– “Mom! What happened? Your endowment’s bigger than Harvard’s!” “Well that cinches it. Lisa gets the prize for best off-the-cuff response.” “Actually I saw them earlier and I was working on it in the hall.” So, upon seeing that her mother’s breasts were noticeably larger than before, instead of confronting her about it, Lisa, an eight-year-old, decided to spend her time to come up with a clever joke to make and act surprised upon seeing them for the first time. Also Homer just used the word ‘cinch.’
– Good thing Mr. Burns, Mayor Quimby, Moe, Dr. Hibbert, and every other secondary character were all at Luigi’s so they could all do that musical ode to Marge’s breasts. And in the end, Marge is still naive about the whole thing.
– Homer takes his wife to Marge. Lenny and Carl fawn (“You’re a lucky man, Homer!” “Yeah. This is the longest I’ve ever gone without looking at Lenny!”) So yeah, they’re gay now. Lenny and Carl are gay lovers. Thanks, writers.
– Krusty’s show has been handicapped, now unable to do anything dangerous or imitable. The crowd is restless; Nelson yells, “Bring out Mr. Teeney!” Who’s there with the other bullies, Martin, Sherri and Terri… basically the audience is 90% kids from the school. What is this, a field trip? But why design new kid models when you can just use the old regulars?
– Bart just randomly shows up in the Friar’s club steam room to talk to Krusty (“How’d you get in here?” “The doorman died.” “Oh no, he was my agent!”) See that works, an improbable event masked with a good joke.
– There’s really no reason to have Stampy be the elephant. It’s not like that gives Bart’s plan some safety since Stampy never listened to him in the first place. It’s just more call-backs that intend to get some recognition points from the audience. Well if they remembered Stampy, they must be good writers!
– I love the cat calling vendors (“Hey lady! I like the way your body looks!” “Stop objectifying my mom!” “I will, in a second. Woo, hey baby, you’re an object!!”)
– “Hey, it’s that clown who hates children!” “And flags!” “I say we judge him by what he does next!” More fucking narration explaining what’s happening, disguised as a “joke.” It’s just like the “It’s Lisa, and she’s winning us back!” line, and I fear we’ll have more jokes like this in the future.
– That shootout drags on so long, with Stampy just hanging there in his hind legs. He’s kind of got a lot of weight on him to stay hanging in the air like that, it’s like they’re in a freeze frame before Marge flashes her tits.

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12 responses to “295. Large Marge

  1. Ah, the things the Internet has done to television. I still haven’t listened to the Season 14 DVD commentaries (after the stream-of-consciousness mess that was the Season 13 commentaries, I’m pretty much losing my only incentive to keep buying the DVD sets), but I don’t care what reason they give for this episode’s inception (if they give one at all); I have my own theory. I think the writers discovered all the skeevy Internet fan art of Marge and decided “Hell, let’s make an episode out of that!”, then bent over backwards to try and have it make sense for Marge to get breast implants. And failed miserably. (And I think it was just two years later that Marge appeared in Maxim magazine. Seriously, what the fuck are they trying to say?)

    Season 21’s “The Devil Wears Nada”, one of the worst episodes of all time in my opinion, is almost a carbon copy of this episode, in that Marge implausibly becomes a sex symbol within the show’s universe and then proceeds to act horrifically out of character for the entire duration of the plot. It’s a shame that it aired two weeks after “The Great Wife Hope”, the episode that marks the end of this blog’s run – I was really hoping to see you rip TDWN a new one. Marge almost makes out with Flanders, for fuck’s sake.

    • Yeah, I never saw that one. I saw the promo for it, then proceeded to avoid it like the plague.

    • J.B.: I don’t recall if they talked about the inspiration for this episode on the commentary (been a while since I listened to it). But I doubt the writers just looked at some DeviantArt pic and wrote an episode based on a fan drawing. To quote Homer, give them a LITTLE credit.

      • Oh, I’m sure they didn’t actually come up with the episode that way. But what I’m saying is that it certainly feels like they did. There’s this air of self-aware fanservice throughout the entire thing. It’s like Patrick said – it feels like the writers are just reveling in the fact that they’re doing something outrageous for the sake of outrageousness. There’s no point to this episode.

  2. I remember being actively angry about this, even as a horny 14 year old boy. And at the same time, I could not look away.

    I think specifically the maggie reaction shot sent me into a fit. The whole episode internally, continuously says “We can’t believe we’re doing this!!” and they seem so very pleased that not only are they doing it, they are *pointing out that they can’t believe they are doing it*.

    It’s a continual problem with later simpsons, the smirking self reference that doesn’t actually substitute for good jokes, writing, or premises.

    But yeah, you know, cartoon tits.

  3. ““Mom! What happened? Your endowment’s bigger than Harvard’s!”

    Show of hands, who would have guessed this line belonged to Lisa and not Bart? Granted, Bart probably doesn’t know about Harvard’s endowment, but since when did Lisa come up with snap remarks like that? And you’re right, Lisa the feminist should be outraged by this. Wasn’t she the one who said the new Malibu Stacy has an achievable chest?

  4. I actually find this episode somewhat entertaining but eh.

    And I seem to recall “El Barto” being in random walls in the background here and there… and definitely since the switch to computer animation… but if I remember correctly, the recent grafitti art episode didn’t even mention El Barto.. on the episode it would make PERFECT SENSE for it to be on…?!

    But you’re right, it’s mainly a comics thing, as well as a video game thing…

  5. I find this episode to just be absolutely boring. It has some funny one liners in it, but that is about it. It is as boring as listening to Ben Stein.

  6. “Well that cinches it. Lisa gets the prize for best off-the-cuff response.”

    I was a bit confused when I read this because I thought it was Mike commenting on Lisa’s line, I didn’t realise it was something Homer said.
    This is just nonsense, nobody talks like that!
    And even if someone did, that person wouldn’t be Homer.

    “It’s just like the “It’s Lisa, and she’s winning us back!” line, and I fear we’ll have more jokes like this in the future.”

    Oh yes >.<
    It's a shame too because I think there is potential in that, you could write a really funny exposition joke but probably only once, not have it three or four times an episode.

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