345. There’s Something About Marrying

(originally aired February 20, 2005)
Following in the footsteps of “Three Gays of the Condo,” this is another episode that the writers hope will make the series look tolerant and progressive, but ultimately just feel hacky and gimmicky. To bring in more tourists, Springfield legalizes gay marriage, and when Reverend Lovejoy forbids to perform any services, Homer steps in, having become an ordained minister over the Internet in less than a minute. Then it stumbles into this weird thing where Homer vows he’ll marry anything to anything else, and he goes on Smartline to defend his actions. He’s acting purely out of greed, but the deeper connotations are slightly disconcerting. Kent Brockman cites the recent surge in rash marriages, and Homer is defending the rights of callously handled unions, and because this is the gay marriage show, it makes it seem like they’re directly connected. Homer even talks about marrying inanimate objects, even things that don’t exist, which is like those stupid arguments that opponents to gay marriage use. It’s all very confusing, it’s feels like the show is in the argument for, but in the most backhanded, negative way possible.

Alright, time for the big reveal: which of our characters is coming out of the closet? Turns out it’s Patty, although this is nothing we already didn’t know (“There goes the last lingering thread of my heterosexuality.”) Patty comes out to her sister, and reveals that she’s marrying a pro golfer named Veronica. So, alright, she was hesitant to come clean to Marge, and for some reason decided to drop that bomb and announce her marriage at the same time, but I’ll be generous and go with that. Clearly she and Veronica must have been together for a long time to want to tie the knot, but here’s the kicker: Marge discovers Veronica is actually a man, exposing her protruding Adam’s apple as proof. I don’t even know what to say. You’re telling me that Patty noticed this? This person that she’s about to marry, in all the time they’d have spent together, even if they never had sex, which they imply they haven’t, that she never ever questioned his gender? It’s just such a bizarre, unnecessary twist, I don’t understand why they would do this. They make like they want to normalize gay marriage, but ultimately just turn it into a gigantic farce. This show isn’t as aggressively offensive as “Three Gays,” but it’s just as awful.

Tidbits and Quotes
– The opening bit with Bart and Milhouse pranking that travel channel guy is so boring. Also Blinky is now a giant Creature from the Black Lagoon type monster now. Or at least a fish just like it.
– The map to star’s homes bit annoys me; the joke markers aren’t funny, then it holds on it until Homer asks the audience if they’ve read them all, which just annoys me further considering that the jokes weren’t funny enough to warrant holding the frame so we could read them all. It’s like a feedback loop of aggravation.
– It really bothers me that Lisa suggests the town accept gay marriage, and is armed with two supporting reasons (“We can attract a growing segment of the marriage market, and strike a blow for civil rights!”) Lisa is eight. Of course this isn’t a new complaint, but it’s especially bothersome here. At times like this, I think back to “Selma’s Choice” when Lisa was equally as eloquent, suggesting that Selma try artificial insemination, but there it was a joke that such a young girl would know about such a thing (immediately followed by Homer thinking that means having sex with a robot). But nowadays, Lisa has the mentality of a liberal college-bound feminist, so it’s no longer precocious, it’s just annoying.
– Like with “Three Gays,” the show hides behind its claims of acceptance so it can make a bunch of gay jokes. Right off the bat at the start of act two we have the Springfield pro-gay commercial, with men skipping toward the town underneath a rainbow, and then two men marrying wearing wedding gowns. Maybe the joke is that Springfield is intolerant, not the writers. Maybe.
– Homer is completely fueled by cash this episode, but I really don’t understand a lot of the shit he does this show: forgetting what straight marriage is, telling Brockman to call him “Your Holiness,” childishly goading Lovejoy… Then at the end of Smartline, Marge tells her husband she’s proud of him. He flat out admitted he’s only doing this for the money, what exactly is she proud of?
– Was Patty hesitant to reveal that she was gay, and about Veronica, to Selma? To her mother? Did she do it all at once, or much earlier than when she told Marge? You’d think she would have wanted to have this conversation earlier. Why would she hide this long, up until she’s going to get married, to tell Marge she was gay? If my sister waited that long to tell me something like that, I’d be a little annoyed about it. Is that why Marge is so upset? (“I just can’t believe my sister would keep me in the dark for all these years, then expect complete acceptance on the day she gets married!”) Perhaps, it’s not exactly explained well.
– Homer’s fantasy of him marrying himself, with two Homers making out with little Homer children running around… I don’t even know what to say, other than that it’s grossly out of character and incredibly disturbing.
– The Veronica reveal is so bonkers on so many levels. Like who are the people sitting on his side of the chapel? They must know that he’s a man, so are they all in on this ruse? Or maybe they’re not, maybe they’re other golfers that he knew from the women’s circuit. But what is this man’s life? Does he have any family or friends, does he lead a double life as a man and a woman? How did he think this marriage would work out, especially considering it wouldn’t take long after their wedding for Patty to discover he has a penis. Did he just think that she would accept it? A hundred questions are whizzing around my head that this show gives no answers to; it’s one of the most ridiculous and stupid things this show has ever done.

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16 responses to “345. There’s Something About Marrying

  1. I remember the somewhat-big build-up to this episode, “who’s going to get GAY MARRIED” ads via fox. OoOOoOo… meh.

    Zombie Simpsons really has NOTHING to say that South Park (not even a show I am a fan of, mind you, but it’s certainly intelligently-written usually) and, eh, Family Guy, hasn’t already said. Sometimes I think part of the reason that Zombie Simpsons sucks is because our culture kinda, you know, is a wasteland… and the show reflects that, because it’s the writers putting all these stupid gimmicky premises together as a means to seem ‘current’ and ‘edgy’ but it seems out of date and wrong for this show. And seeing the Simpsons get cellphones, new video games consoles, being internet-savvy, etc. etc. etc… it just clashes too much with the characters — who never age yet suddenly live in an “Internet 2 [3?]” age. .. Episode sucks completely, and I gotta agree on the Homer asking about if the audience read everything yet. I love 4th-wall-breaking but this just seemed like desparate, unfunny filler, and yet another attempt from the writers to acknowledge how “in-the-know” they are because they post anonymously on nohomers or something. It’s not just that the writing is insulting to the fans, it almost seems designed to exclusively highlight their own interests and for people to recognize their own, uhm, “intelligence”, and it does nothing for the show.

    Fuck.

    • “And seeing the Simpsons get cellphones, new video games consoles, being internet-savvy, etc. etc. etc… it just clashes too much with the characters — who never age yet suddenly live in an “Internet 2 [3?]” age.”

      I totally agree with you. One of the main reasons Zombie Simpsons sucks and the show must end is, whatever the quality of the episodes, everything feels so weird, like the characters adapted to every age and social issue, or even their look, the modern settings, the animation.. everything has this air of artificiality. This is because The Simpsons is a 90s show, and everything in it yells “90s!”, from the animation, to the characters. The best examples are Bart and Marge, two perfect 90s characters the writers have absolutely no idea how to use in this modern era(the other characters are simply one-dimensional and annoying).

  2. Marge saying she’s proud of Homer when she has absolutely no reason to be. It seems like it’s a joke in itself now, or that the writers think “I’m so proud of you, Homey” is Marge’s catchphrase. It doesn’t make sense.

  3. I had to restrain myself of yelling aloud when I read the shitty pun title on twitter. Fucking garbage.

  4. I will say, I do like the part when Patty first reveals her preferences to Marge and Marge felt relieved and Homer says something like, “Marge, I would be more worried about me leaving you for a sausage patty more than your sister Patty.” OUtside of that, another horrible episode. And coming up in like 2-3 episodes is when Selma wants to adopt a baby. -_-

  5. For such a controversial subject as gay marriage, this episode sure had its kiddie gloves on. Why weren’t Lovejoy and Flanders a bigger part of the plot? Why did they resort to more gay stereotypes?

    Two things bothered me about Patty coming out:
    1) I know Patty hasn’t really had an interest in men or dating ever since the classic era (although I took her “There goes the last lingering thread of my heterosexuality” statement as a deadpan joke more directed at Homer’s obese body, not a coming-out moment), but then why does she have such a crush on MacGyver? This never made sense to me. Maybe she’s actually bi?
    2) They portray Marge in this episode as initially for gay marriage, until Patty comes out, at which point she becomes uncomfortable. This potentially interesting point about human behavior is undermined by the fact that, as you said, Patty waited until right before she got married to tell her. It’s kind of similar to the contrived conflict as in the movie “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”; in that film, if you recall, the parents are shown as hesitant about the interracial marriage, but I think the real issue was that the young couple wanted to get married and have a honeymoon right away (like, that NIGHT), not that the man she was marrying happened to be black. I think -any- parents would be hesitant about a whirlwind romance like that. Same goes here: Patty announces that she’s getting married to a woman, so there’s no time for the “surprising” news to sink in for Marge. Contrived conflict.

    The “map to stars’ homes” gag didn’t bother me as much as some of you (by that, I mean, I didn’t see it as a deliberate slam against fans), but it’s not a great gag either.

    “Homer even talks about marrying inanimate objects, even things that don’t exist, which is like those stupid arguments that opponents to gay marriage use. It’s all very confusing, it’s feels like the show is in the argument for, but in the most backhanded, negative way possible.”

    I agree in theory to your criticism, but then again Homer’s an idiot. Of course he’d take his newfound marriage licensing “power” too far. It does seem to undermine the writers’ point about gay marriage, though; if they’re pro-gay marriage, they aren’t making their case very well with the whole slippery slope argument that conservatives use (if gays get married, that will lead to people marrying animals! And marrying rocks!).

    “How did he think this marriage would work out, especially considering it wouldn’t take long after their wedding for Patty to discover he has a penis.”

    Shades of M. Butterfly…

  6. I remember this was the first Simpsons episode to get a “viewer discretion is advised” disclaimer at the front. And considering how badly this episode fumbles at satirizing a controversial subject, I have to wonder why they bothered.

    It actually is amazing how offensive this episode gets. I’d actually put it on par with “Three Gays of the Condo”, since it pulls the same blunder of not treading any new territory and instead trotting out all the same tired gay stereotypes that every other show does for a cheap laugh. And their feeble attempt at wrapping a story around this mess just makes the whole thing even more atrocious. Just thinking about the Patty/Veronica relationship for any length of time, like you did, causes the whole thing to fall apart. Shame on you, writers.

  7. I actually do like this episode up until that reveal at the end. Homer’s plot gets ridiculous but I thought it had some good gags. I enjoy the meta bit at the end with Lisa announcing the end of Homer’s wedding business for no reason other than the episode being over.

  8. I actually loved the ‘Homer making out with himself’ scene, because it’s the perfect visual representation of Homer’s personality nowadays.

  9. drewzuhoskydaily

    They could have done more with this episode. I guess they didn’t want to take a specific stance on the issue.

  10. “You’re telling me that Patty [never] noticed [Veronica’s Adam’s apple]? This person that she’s about to marry, in all the time they’d have spent together, even if they never had sex, which they imply they haven’t, that she never ever questioned his gender?

    “[Homer] flat out admitted he’s only [marrying anything to anything else] for the money, what exactly is [Marge] proud of?

    “Was Patty hesitant to reveal that she was gay, and about Veronica, to Selma? To her mother? Did she do it all at once, or much earlier than when she told Marge? You’d think she would have wanted to have this conversation earlier. Why would she hide this long, up until she’s going to get married, to tell Marge she was gay? If my sister waited that long to tell me something like that, I’d be a little annoyed about it. Is that why Marge is so upset?

    “Who are the people sitting on [Veronica’s] side of the chapel? They must know that he’s a man, so are they all in on this ruse? Or maybe they’re not, maybe they’re other golfers that he knew from the women’s circuit. But what is this man’s life? Does he have any family or friends, does he lead a double life as a man and a woman? How did he think this marriage would work out, especially considering it wouldn’t take long after their wedding for Patty to discover he has a penis? Did he just think that she would accept it?”

    Loads of unanswered questions all right, but I think they can all be condensed down to just one: “What the FUCK is happening?!”

    And for the record, Veronica was voiced by Tress MacNeille. At least it was better than wasting ten minutes of the life of a special guest voice.

  11. I hate this episode. Absolutely hate it. I found this episode more offensive than “Three Gays and a Condo,” personally. Just like “Three Gays,” it uses the pretense of being accepting as an opportunity to cram in as many cheap, stereotypical gay jokes as possible. Worse, it takes a serious issue at the time (gay marriage, which did not have widespread support at all in 2005) and, as you said, turns it into a complete fucking farce. What point are they trying to make with Homer? No idea; it seems like it is bolstering the claims of conservatives who view the whole concept of gay marriage as a sham. And Patty and Veronica? Fuck, that’s insulting on so many levels. (And of course, the usual complaint about liberal-activist Lisa.)

    This was the episode that made me stop watching The Simpsons every Sunday. It was so goddamned offensive, not just to the fans of the show or in its desecration of characters I once loved, but in it’s absolute inability to do social commentary anymore. I think this episode was supposed to be a pro-gay-marriage thing, but it really just came off as insulting and inept.

    This show was a major part of my life for as long as I can remember. I recall not being allowed to watch it the first few seasons it was on, but sneaking and doing so with my older sisters around 1990-1991 or so. I remember by late elementary school, early middle school, I was watching it three times a day in syndication, every fucking day, plus new episodes every Sunday. Around Season 8-9 (though I didn’t think of the show in terms of seasons at that time) I noticed a palpable decline in quality, which got worse as time went on, but I stuck with it, even through my first year and a half of college.

    After this episode, I was just like, “Fuck it, I’m wasting my time.” Since this aired, I’ve seen maybe a dozen new episodes over the next ten seasons. They were all terrible, incidentally.

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