376. Regarding Margie

(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.

15 responses to “376. Regarding Margie

  1. It’s depressing to see amnesiac Marge get so horrified when she finds out exactly what kind of man her husband is, and not for the reasons the writers wanted it to be, but because she’s RIGHT. If this story had taken place in the classic era, it would be pretty easy to argue to Marge why Homer is a good and loving husband/father despite his foibles. But in this episode the only reason they can come up with for Marge getting back together with Homer is the same reason in every other post-classic break-up episode: “Because she’s put up with all of his crap so far, right?”. It’s just sad.

    And you’d think that even when Marge got her memory back, the experience of viewing her marriage from the outside would make her rethink some things. NOPE.

    • It’s horrible because they keep giving us reasons why The Simpsons should fall apart, be destroyed, torn apart and end without ever doing that. However, I still think you and this blog may be too…biased based on what era this episode is in. You care a bit too much about continuity in The Simpsons if you are going to let other episodes get in the way of this one.

  2. At least you are nearly done with this god awful season. Fortunately, 18 is a slight improvement and features some great moments along with the best episode since “Trilogy of Error.”

    • Every awful season of Zombie Simpsons, someone inevitably chimes in to assure us that the next season is not so bad, an improvement over the current shit season. So far, that has never been the case. (Or, if it has been true, we’re just talking about degrees of unbearably awful.)

      No thanks.

  3. American Dad did this type of episode so much better and concerning the mail and the Bush Jr. parts erm wouldn’t the mailman think i’ve done this house everyday for months/years it can’t be 74 and why wasn’t there a scene with the residents of 74 evergreen terrace complaining to the post office about lack of mail and whatnot :S and why didn’t Homer just paint over the 74 on the kerb? Lastly why didn’t ZS ever make any Bush commentary seeing as they were ultra-liberal you’d have thought that they would be mocking him every bloody episode?? ZS is 1,000,000 miles away from logic anyway…

    • They made fun of a few Bush Jr. things (like his “mission accomplished!” speech and all that) but they were so thinly veiled and never direct unlike, say, Clinton… or Nixon, Bush Sr., Regan, er.. etc.

      It does make you wonder…

  4. Not much to say about this one. The plot is rather old hat and the gags mostly miss. It’s also a bit of a downer that Marge only seems to stick with Homer because she’s an enabler to his drinking.

    “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?”

    I actually do think that’s a pretty funny bit, mainly for how quickly Edna leaves after they have sex. Turns the tables on the “only men want to leave after sex” stereotype. Though it does make Skinner out to be even more pathetic, I’ll give you that.

  5. BTW, I know this is off topic, but since this is a Mrage/Homer episode, did anyone see this past Sunday’s Simpsons episode? It has got to be one of the worst, most boring episodes I have ever watched. In fact, it was so bad that I think I to am now done with the show (well, as far as new episodes are concerned, I’ll still watch everything through Season 9).

  6. I really hate this episode.

    How the fuck could she remember she had kids and not remember that THEY HAVE A FUCKING FATHER






  7. – “What run-in could Homer and Luigi have had that would cause him to hate him that much?”
    It could be a reference to “Guess Who’s Coming to Criticize Dinner.”

    – “Why explain it? We get the joke.”
    If you hadn’t noticed, the series has gone from being witty satire to pandering to the lowest common denominator in hopes of getting more viewers.

    As for the episode, the precedent set in “Secrets of a Successful Marriage” comes back to bite the show in the ass yet again. Even worse, since now Marge thinks being an enabler is a GOOD thing.

    • As for the episode, the precedent set in “Secrets of a Successful Marriage” comes back to bite the show in the ass yet again.

      I never got any problem with “Secrets” episode ending, I actually think it was great. In that one the dependence was only the Homer’s dumb point of view, something really in character for him to think: without Marge he’s basically dead (both believable for Homer to think and hilarious). In fact they have Marge pointing out that is NOT really a good thing, which is true. So Marge is not an enabler there, but we can see why she forgives Homer: because we know what Homer really meant with that speech; he simply could never afford to lose Marge, and he clearly learned his lesson.

      Here, it is not an hilarious exaggeration of Homer, it is THE SHOW itself telling the audience that Homer is a monster and Marge is an enabler, and it is a GOOD thing!!!

  8. Good God, this just sounds terrible.

  9. If there is one thing that I hate more than anything else, it is stupid amnesia plots. They are always worthless to me because they always just happen to fix the problem at the end of the episode, making the whole thing pointless. The only time amnesia episodes should be done is if it is to exposit a backstory we need to/should know about that goes along with the story.

    For example, The Way We Was would have been the time to do an amnesia plot. Perhaps even with “And Maggie Makes Three” or “I Married Marge.” Those are stories that could work with it. This bullshit excuse to just have a criss in their marriage though? No, god damn fuck no!!

    Now I will admit, I did slightly chuckle at the Skinner/Krabappel comment.

    • Yes, if you wanted to ruin two sweet, heartwarming and completely realistic episodes, you could have them done as amnesia stories.

      There is never a good time for an amnesia episode.

  10. You might not believe I am saying this, but after watching Bonfire of the Manatees, I still find Regarding Margie worse than that. That plot was at least more coherent because it didn’t have a huge, gaping, unresolved plot hole of a mailman being too stupid to think the address number 74 came between 740 and 744, and this ending is even stupider than that ending for having Marge put up with Homer’s jerkishness because she enables it, and believing they are a good team because of it.

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