(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.