378. Homer and Marge Turn a Couple Play

(originally aired May 21, 2006)
Just as the season began, we end with another shitty Homer-Marge episode. Kinda. The best I can say it’s nowhere near the abomination of “Bonfire of the Manatees,” but it is boring and stupid. The Isotopes’ new best player Buck Mitchell’s game is getting affected by his hot pop star wife, and is in need of some marriage counseling. And why ask a trained professional when you can consult two random strangers who showed up on the stadium kiss cam? So Homer and Marge help the young couple out, sort of. But, through misunderstanding, Buck believes he overhears his wife and Homer fooling around, which is not a cliche hackneyed premise at all, or poorly executed and ridiculous, and things go sour one more. This also gets him in Marge’s bad graces. But everything gets resolved in the third act one way or another, as it always does, whether we believe or care about it or not.

This whole episode… just, who cares. We meet these two new characters: Buck we know nothing about, and Tabitha is just a pastiche of sexy pop stars, hoping to keep the audience awake by flashing as much yellow skin as possible. We see Homer and Marge “counsel” them twice, which consists of Marge reading from a therapy book and dispensing simple pleasantries and ideas. Around this, the characters just tell us the information rather than show it: Lisa comments how weird it is that her parents are dispensing marriage advice when their own is so shitty, Kent Brockman talks about how Homer and Marge are responsible for Buck’s improved performance, and then a sportscaster comments on how they screw it up. Do we care about Buck and Tabitha, these two strangers, and whether they’ll get back together? No. Do we care for the sake of Homer and Marge, who worked so hard to keep them together? No, because we barely see any of it. Do we even care if Homer and Marge stay together? At this point, I honestly don’t give a crap. Three more seasons to go…

Tidbits and Quotes
– I remember teenage me quite enjoying Tabitha Vixxx in this episode. And you know what, between her design and Mandy Moore’s voice, her scenes were the only interesting parts of the whole episode. I’m not quite sure why…
– “You remember when we used to kiss like that, Carl? With our respective girlfriends.” Please stop, writers. Just… please. Stop.
– I’m confused why Marge’s gossip circular has a photo of old Groucho Marx Krusty as we’ve seen in the future episodes with the headline “Krusty’s Sad Last Days.” Is this a periodical from the future?
– The main issue seemingly is that Buck feels embarrassed and uncomfortable with his wife’s music career involving her wearing as little amount of clothes as possible. It’s what makes him lose focus at the game, and the first thing he brings up in consoling. Is it ever brought up again, or resolved, or discussed further? Nope!
– Buck hearing Tabitha and Homer’s moans through the door as he gives her a neck rub is unbelievable, like how lame and unoriginal can this show get? And the “protection” bit is just annoying. I could hear the trombone “wah waaaahhh” sound when it’s revealed to be a bib.
– There’s a bit toward the end where Tabitha volunteers to polish Marge’s lamp, and proceeds to just do a pole dance. There’s some satire to be had involving vacuous pop stars, that perhaps their sexy demeanor and behavior is more absent-minded, like just a compulsion they can’t control. It could have been delved into, considering it’s the main source of Buck’s frustration. Instead, it’s just a gag. Whatever.

Season 17 Final Thoughts
Not much left to say at this point. The series is broken in nearly every respect and shows no sign of any attempted repair. A token chuckle or two every episode is the best I hope for, and sometimes I don’t even get that.

The Best
“Milhouse of Sand and Fog,” “My Fair Laddy”

The Worst
“Bonfire of the Manatees,” “See Homer Run,” “Million Dollar Abie,” “Regarding Margie,” “The Monkey Suit”

5 thoughts on “378. Homer and Marge Turn a Couple Play

  1. Yeah, this season as a whole was just down right awful. Honestly, even with watching it back in July I hardly remember anything from it. On the positive side, I felt 18 was a much better improvement. It still isn’t all that great, but I found it to be the best season since 10 and has one of the series’ best episodes ever in it. Plus, there are some really great gags with a nice Lisa and Moe story and one focusing on Kent Brockman for a change.

  2. This was the first episode I remember finding completely boring from beginning to end. It marked the last point I was genuinely interested in new Simpsons.

  3. Excellent review of this episode and this season.

    One quote I like from the baseball announcer: “That’s an E-3 if you’re keeping score at home… and if you are, your loneliness saddens me.” I’ll bet they were saving that up for awhile.

  4. Man, two soulless episodes in a row. YUCK!!! Then again, that is this season in a nut shell.

    First though, yeah, I don’t understand this episode. Why go to Marge and Homer? Why not go to the Lovejoys since they actually run a marriage console program? It would have been a nice call back to The War of the Simpsons. Hell, at the time, they probably could have handled it better than they did with this past year’s Kamp Krusty sequel.

    The chucken grease stuff aside, another really dumb moment was the Duffman bit. That just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. This whole thing started because she was stripping down during her song, but nothing ever came out of that. In fact, what was the point of the scene when the pop star started to dance around the lamp? I don’t get it.

    Thank the gods I am done with this cesspool of a season (again, technically). This remains the second worse season of the entire franchise (24 is #1 in my book, at least at the moment), and if I had to choose the best episode of the season, it would have to be The Seemingly Never Ending Story.

    As for the worst, good god, where do I start? Bonfire of the Manatees for sure (which might be the worst of the entire series), Homer’s Paternity Coop, Million Dollar Abie, The Monkey Suit, and this one. Although the one where Lisa pretends to be a boy is just as bad… Oh screw it, the worst episode is the entire season!

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