(originally aired May 7, 2006)
As if the gender swapping episode wasn’t cliche enough, now we have Marge getting amnesia. How does it happen? Doesn’t entirely matter, as the five minutes building toward it aren’t addressed or paid off in any way whatsoever. The episode is invariably a Homer-Marge episode: Marge quickly regains her memory of her children, but is unable to recognize her own husband. So the conceit of the show is Homer must make her remember their marriage and love for each other. His first attempts involve showing her photos of him savagely beating up people and suggesting that they have sex. You see, this is aggressively violent and moronic Homer, so the fact that there’s a mental block keeping Marge from remembering him seems more like a godsend than a problem that needs to be resolved. Given how much crap Homer has put her through over the years, it’s become almost impossible to believe that he truly deserves to be with Marge at this point, and nothing he does in this episode makes it feel any different.
The final act involves Marge being pushed by her sisters into a speed dating event, where she meets a seemingly nice guy. Then he abruptly ditches her when she tells her of her condition and that she has kids. Sure, why not. Homer shows up and delivers some nice pleasantries about Marge, which is kind of nice, and she gets back into her good graces. But how do we wrap things up? Marge had remembered her kids by triggers: Maggie’s pacifier sucking, Lisa’s intelligence, all telltale traits of their characters and what they mean to Marge. So what’s Homer’s? Beer, of course (“You get drunk all the time!” “But you also remember that you’re an enabler?” “Of course I do! That’s why we’re such a great team!”) So the thing that makes Marge finally remember the love of her life is that he loves to get wasted, and that’s our heartwarming ending. On top of that is her gleeful admission that she enables that behavior, it’s like “Co-Dependent’s Day” all over again. This moment is really the whole crutch of the episode, and this is what their relationship is hinging on. So Homer does stupid, reckless shit, and Marge puts up with it. That’s what the writers think of the core essence of their marriage now. These Homer-Marge shows are just making me depressed…
Tidbits and Quotes
– The opening is ridiculously stupid. Bart, Nelson and Milhouse come up with a “scam” of spray painting people’s house numbers on their curbs and demanding pay. Homer refuses, leaving a “74” on the front curb. This results in him getting all the mail from 74 Evergreen Terrace, because if you’re a mailman, it makes perfect sense for the numbers to go 740, 74, 744. Marge receives the house cleaning contest winner notice, but is confused as to why she got it. Then nothing is ever made of it. Four minutes of stupid, stupid filler.
– I feel like the idea of Marge tidying up the house before the professional cleaners get there is kind of amusing and within her character, but then it just gets pushed way, way too far. And that’s how she gets amnesia. Alright then.
– Once more they play around with the severity of Homer strangling Bart, where a memory-lapsed Marge is alarmed by it. Bart weakly comments, “It hurts when I swallow,” prompting Homer to strangle him again. Hilarious!
– I mention it every time they use it, but Homer’s elongated moan seems to be a favorite clip to reuse again and again. It wasn’t funny the first time, and continues to be not funny every time.
– A rare Dubya mention in the photo album: first a picture of Homer fighting Bush Sr. from “Two Bad Neighbors,” then a picture of Homer fighting Bush Jr. in the Oval Office. It’s an amusing joke that would have worked a lot better in another context.
– Homer takes Marge out on a date to get her to love him again, which is the first sweet thing he’s done all show. They go to Luigi’s, who sings them a backhanded song (“That Homer Simpson is quite a guy/He paid me ten bucks so I would lie/The truth is he’s not so great/He is the one man I truly hate”) It’s another instance of showing how Homer’s gone from just some random schmoe to a town-renowned asshole. What run-in could Homer and Luigi have had that would cause him to hate him that much?
– Act two ends with Skinner and Krabappel crawling out of the mini-golf castle, having just fucked. Krabappel coldly comments, “Birthday’s over, Seymour.” Then she leaves. Funny?
– The nice guy at the speed dating builds an immediate report with Marge. He even has two brothers who bear resemblance to Patty and Selma. Then in case you didn’t pick that up, we show Patty and Selma adjacent. Why explain it? We get the joke.
– Lenny and Carl phone up Homer to tell him about Marge’s date. This has been going on forever now, but it’s just ridiculous how these two are joined at the hip. Do they lead separate lives at all? They were just Homer’s two work chums, now they’re like hetero (maybe) life partners.