330. My Big Fat Geek Wedding

(originally aired April 18, 2004)
Equally as tragic as the caricaturization of our favorite family is what happened to the other denizens of Springfield. A lot of them would also have their most prominent character trait exaggerated that it would consume them, leaving them mere comedy props to give a joke in a scene and then leave. This episode brings that idea to a more depressing level: Skinner and Krabappel, once compelling and interesting characters, are now literally props in their own episode, unable to say or do anything without interference from the Simpsons for some unknown reason. The first scene Skinner announces his wedding to Krabappel over the intercom, then we get the respective bachelor/bachelorette parties. Edna’s is at the Simpson house with Marge, and the few other female characters we have. Skinner’s is at Moe’s with Homer, Lenny and Carl. Homer and Marge’s relationship with these two doesn’t extend outside of their kids going to their school, why are they all over each other like this? Well, there is a reason, but it’s a terrible one, but more on that in a bit.

Skinner drunkenly admits he’s dreading the wedding and has cold feet, and when Edna catches wind of this, she leaves him standing at the altar. I’m not entirely sure why Skinner feels this way, all he mentions is how Edna kept bothering him to set a nuptial date. That’s the biggest problem here, this whole episode is about their relationship, and there’s not one scene in this episode where Krabappel and Skinner have a conversation with each other. They’re both seemingly adults, but the closest we get is where Skinner calls to Edna’s window, with both of them being fed lines by Homer and Marge, which eventually turns into a big pissing match between the Simpsons. Then two very telling lines are uttered by Skinner, first, “If I could just speak to Edna for a moment…” Yeah, why not? Just go up and fucking talk to her then. Second, “Just why I am taking your advice?” This whole episode he’s been glued to Homer for no reason whatsoever, and it’s very bizarre. Yeah, why are you taking his advice? Why… why… fucking why…

The third act plot turn makes things even worse, as Krabappel goes on the rebound with Comic Book Guy. A random pairing to be sure, but anything can work with some quality writing. Unfortunately I haven’t seen any of that in quite a long time, so it doesn’t make sense here. After what couldn’t be more than a week, the two are to be wed at the local sci-fi convention, and Skinner must put a stop to it. Now, I rarely pontificate about how things should be written, but here’s a thought of what they could have done. If Skinner needed to have a ticking clock before losing Krabappel forever, why not bring in the never-before-seen Mr. Krabappel? He comes back to town and wants her back, and a weakened Edna goes to him, and Skinner must prove his love to her before it’s too late. That would actually be interesting and make sense, and shed some light on Krabappel’s past. Instead, we get Klingon Comic Book Guy and Skinner in a latex Catwoman suit pitifully fight each other, and Krabappel dumping both of them. It couldn’t be any less satisfying or logical.

Running through the episode is another Homer/Marge marital strife plot. Marge tries to reaffirm the positivity of marriage to Edna, but finds that difficult given the bloated dumb asshole she’s wed to. She grows more and more cynical over the show over Homer’s insensitivity and moronic actions, except at this point, they’re really no different than how Homer normally acts. That’s the issue here: Homer is always a flaming asshole, but it’s a crapshoot as to whether Marge with either be a smiling Stepford wife, murmur and walk off exasperated, or be incredibly pissed off. Him whittling batteries in bed and talking about skipping his wedding ring at Lake Michigan can elicit any of these three responses at this point, it doesn’t matter anymore. With one minute left to go, Homer completely absolves the problem by shoving a grade school band in his bedroom closet and hiring a Klingon minister. It’s so unbelievably rushed, it’s like the writers had a minute left before they had to submit a final draft. For an episode about love and marriage, I can’t think of an episode more cold and soulless. For me, this is just as bad as “Co-Dependent’s Day,” if not a little worse.

Tidbits and Quotes
– Wiggum arrives at the Simpson house during the bachelorette party (“We got an anonymous tip about loud music and a strip-diddly-ipper.”) Flanders called and complained. We get the joke, right? Nope, Marge has to look out the window and see Ned looking out his and closing the curtains. Then the ladies get Wiggum to start stripping too, either they don’t know he’s a real cop, which is impossible, or they’re just fucking with him. But for some reason they all seem real psyched to see him take his shirt off and reveal his blubber gut.
– Skinner and Krabappel’s wedding is held in the school gym, Edna is brought in by Otto in the bus, the school band is playing… why does everything need to be tied to the school? They could have made it like Skinner was a penny-pincher and Edna grew tired of it. Instead, it’s just like, they work at the school, so they’ll get married at the school!
– “This is it, Edna. As I once said at the Battle of Khe Sanh, I surrender.” What a terrible thing to say to your future wife! What the fuck is happening?
– I just don’t understand a lot in this episode. This aftermath must be going on for a few weeks, Skinner and Krabappel work in the same building, and we don’t get one interaction between them. Skinner apparently doesn’t even talk to Edna before Homer coaches him into doing it. It’s like these two are children who have to be told what to do, literally.
– Krabappel meets Comic Book Guy to return the gift he brought to their wedding. Why was he there in the first place? And the climax involves saving Krabappel from him, but why? CBG treats her well, and he’s an alright guy. Skinner insults Edna at the altar and seems to have no feelings for her that he can communicate outside of being drunk. The only sweet thing he does is after what must be weeks past the lapsed wedding, he serenades Edna outside her apartment, except even that sounds insincere (“If you come home, I won’t die alone, and that’s what I’d prefer!”) It also causes my ears to bleed.
– Matt Groening voices himself in a completely random scene. Sadly, I guess it’s the highlight of the episode.
– “Why are you dressed as Catwoman?” “No, they told me it was Catman!” Really, Skinner, with breasts and heels you thought it was Catman? Do they think he’s an idiot?
– So Skinner and Krabappel are over just like that. Now they’re this weird on again off again sort of couple occasionally, I just remember she gave him a pity fuck on his birthday in one episode. She dumps CBG too for no real reason, not wanting to be tied down, or something. Except she was going to marry Skinner, I guess she made an emotional change that we never saw in this episode that was supposed to be about her and Skinner. As that whole scene “resolves,” Homer announces it must be time for the relationship reset (“Now that Krabappel’s made her decision, it’s time to whitewash over our problems.”) Marge then tells him that it won’t be so easy this time. But of course it will be, we’ve got a minute of show left. The ending is so mind-blowingly rushed, it’s staggering. Marge sits in bed musing how her marriage has been a sham and how Homer doesn’t give a shit about her. Homer walks in asking if she’s marry him one more time. Marge then immediately melts and doesn’t bat an eye when she sees twenty ten-year-olds stuffed in her closet being forced to play instruments. What a pile of shit show this is.


14 responses to “330. My Big Fat Geek Wedding

  1. For some reason, Al Jean felt the need to undo character changes from the O&W and Scully eras and revert everything to the status quo. We had Barney becoming a drunk again, later seasons would have Milhouse’s parents getting back together, and now Edna and Skinner break up. About the only thing he didn’t do was bring Maude Flanders back to life.

    Admittedly, undoing the past could work if done right, but this… isn’t. It’s just a bland episode with confusing characterization, muscling The Simpsons into the plot for no reason (“A Milhouse Divided” didn’t have Homer and Marge trying to get Milhouse’s parents back together, did it now?) and a very unsatisfying and rushed conclusion.

    Now you people understand why I easily consider season 14, as uneven as it was, to be better than season 15. It’s because of episodes like this.

    • Actually, Barney is an on and offagain drinker. THere is no consistency anymore as some episodes he is sober, others he is a drunk.

      Finally, I honestly do not have any hate towards “THe Principal and the Pauper.”

      • I remember when Barney gave up drinking, Groening said something like “he still acts and seems drunk because there’s still a lot of alcohol in his blood from before he decided to quit.” so they could kinda, you know, cheat a bit and make him lazy and slobbering and drunk ish without … him drinking… except for coffee.

        And then I think they just got lazy or forgot.

  2. This is the worst episode up to this point, at least until the likes of “Bonfire of the Manatees” and “Homer And Marge Turn a Couple Play”. Ever since The Principal and the Pauper, the writers have been on a mission to strip away every last bit of dignity and intelligence from Skinner’s character, and this is the final nail in the coffin. Whether you liked them together or not, plenty of people were invested in Skinner and Krabappel over 7 years, and it just ends in the most character-degrading and undignified way possible. (Yet, no one gives a shit about Flanders and Krabappel, and they end up married!) The disregard for the audience is just stunning. Imagine if any other long-running television romance ended like this. What if, say, on The Office, Jim got cold feet the night before the wedding and confided to Creed while drunk, then Pam dumped him at the altar, coldly avoided him for weeks, then got into a rebound relationship and klingon wedding with, say, Kevin. All in the same episode.

    • To be fair, that’s a much harsher example. Jim and Pam’s relationship is a major part of The Office, where Skinner and Krabappel really only have those two episodes, so it’d be an even bigger kick in the balls in that scenario. But the characters themselves are ones we’ve come to know and love anyway, so seeing this situation handled so coldly and callously is incredibly disheartening.

      • forbidden donut

        True, not meaning to directly compare the two. But this is the closest the show’s come to a long-running character arc. There have been episodes about both characters’ search for love since the 2nd/3rd season. There have been loads of references to their relationship over 7 seasons. While we do see some hints the relationship was troubled (Alone Again, Mom and Pop Art), Special Edna was supposed to be all about Skinner getting over himself, so it feels like a cheat to have Skinner just revert to being a commitment-phobe again.

      • Could you imagine if they did this with Monica and Chandler from Friends or Turk and Carla from Scrubs?

  3. I miss when Krabappel and Skinner were enemies in episodes like “The PTA Disbands”. I liked them as a couple too, but after this episode, I really wanted them to go back to having a professional rivalry. Instead, we got a couple years of Skinner being a mopey sadsack while Edna treats him coldly. How is that funny?

  4. I like the visual of of Skinner dressed as Catwoman, Groening signing Bender dolls, and the cut from Homer at the bar where you think he’s telling Marge about Skinner having cold feet and then it’s revealed that he’s still just talking to Skinner.

    Otherwise, yeah, this episode is a downer. Skinner was always my favorite character, because he seemed a lot more complex, intelligent, and interesting than most of Springfield. As they did with nearly every other character, the writers made him unfunny, STUPID, pathetic, with no dreams or hopes or dignity or… well, a soul, really… just a lifeless charicature, a recurring gag for when crowd scenes when they need a familiar character to spout some line that makes fun of schools or something in an “ironic” way… it’s not just conventionally bad, it’s downright depressing to watch.

  5. I clearly remembered this episode from when it was first aired. I hated it then. I hated it when I watched it back in July. It is just an awful and disgusting episode. So now Comic Book Guy has slept with Skinner’s girlfriend AND Skinner’s mom. WTF??!!

  6. Also I’ve always wondered why the wedding was at the school and why certain characters were there (Dr. Hibbert, CBG, some of the mobsters and well The Simpsons and others) and also the real Skinner wouldn’t make a fool out of hiimself and dance on his own like that. And why would the kids care enough about them to sing that song for them???? JARRING!

    • Since the mobsters were there, they could’ve at least given Johnny Tightlips a good scene. He’s probably the best character they came up with in the zombie years.

      Johnny Tightlips is a reference to Frank “Tight Lips” Gusenberg, who was shot down in the real-life St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago and replied “nobody shot me” while dying.

  7. I highly suspect they had Krabappel hook up with Comic Book Guy just so they could call this episode “My Big Fat Geek Wedding”. It’s not the last episode that feels like they came up with the title first, either.

  8. The Wiggum joke could have worked if they substituted Wiggum with a new sexy cop and someone commented that he wasn’t Wiggum,/Lou/Eddie and no one believed it was actually his first day.

    Whatever. I’m clearly putting more thought into this shit episode’s jokes than the writers did.

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