(originally aired November 18, 2007)
I know unrelated first acts are expected at this point, but goddamn this one is pretty egregious. We start with a brand new comic book store opening across from the Android’s Dungeon, one I guess Comic Book Guy never noticed being worked on until its grand opening. Its proprietor, voiced by Jack Black (another talent wasted), is actually jovial and open with his customers, leaving CBG shit out of luck. It isn’t long until business dries up and he closes his store for good. Think this is going to lead to something? Not at all. Comparing her waistline to a Wonder Woman standee outside the other shop, Marge decides to join a gym to get into shape, but finds them to be too intense and showy. She vows to open a fitness center for “normal” women, and noticing the space for rent at CBG’s old shop, she opens “Shapes.” You know, like Curves! Usually aborted first acts are just kind of rudimentary things happening, but here, it ends with Comic Book Guy’s store closing. Isn’t that kind of a big deal? I guess not, because after he locks his doors and sadly walks into the distance, we never see him again. Plus seeing the continuation and resolution to that story sounds way more interesting than what is to follow.
So act two starts with Marge’s chain (!) of stores being a monster hit, another example of Simpsons becoming super talented and successful in a matter of seconds. Now she’s a highly regarded and respected business mogul, because I guess that can happen now in the course of an episode. Once we get to this point, the actual Curves stores aren’t really regarded anymore, as the plot shifts to Homer’s unease being a layabout husband. Is it because he thinks he should be the bread winner? Perhaps he misses seeing Marge at home since she’s working all the time. Maybe he could team up with CBG to help take down his competitor and Shapes simultaneously. Or, it can be that Homer fears Marge will marry some new buff guy now that she’s successful, so he gets his stomach stapled to make himself more attractive. Then we have the ending where he becomes an abnormal monster after having a long list of surgeries done, and he’s chased about town a la Frankenstein. Considering the extent of the damage, I figured it must have been a dream sequence, but honestly, at this point in the series, it wouldn’t have surprised me if it weren’t. Then after all this bullshit nonsense, they have the gall to end it on Homer asking Marge why she stays with him. I’ve been pondering the same thing for eight seasons now. A complete broken down mess of an episode.
Tidbits and Quotes
– They wasted their time designing a new comic shop, and getting four guest stars, all for the first act which is completely unrelated to anything else in the episode. It’s pretty incredible; couldn’t they have come up with a CBG-centered story instead of the shit that comes after this? I know all of them, but the graphic artist is another instance of “who the fuck are these guys?” for 90% of the public. The best is Alan Moore, of course (“You wrote my favorite issues of Radioactive Man!” “Oh really? So you like that I made your favorite superhero a heroin-addicted jazz critic who’s not radioactive?” “I don’t read the words, I just like when he punches people.”)
– At the Android’s Dungeon, CBG and Martin discuss Superman and Batman. Then at Coolsville, Milo talks about the Formidable Mulk and the Thung. It’s the whole Star Wars/Cosmic Wars thing again, except this time it’s within the same show. Are you going to cite the original characters, or make up shoddily named knock-offs? You have to pick one or the other.
– The OK GO music video parody with the treadmills sure hasn’t dated itself. Nope. Not at all.
– We previously established the new comic book store is right across the street from the Android’s Dungeon. Marge walks out of L.A. Body Works and what is directly across the street? The Android’s Dungeon. It really is like they just crammed these two stories together with no regard at all.
– We never really see exactly what Marge’s gym is or why it’s such a success. It instantly becomes busy and popular, and we get these glowing endorsements from Selma and Bernice Hibbert (“I love this gym!” “Me too!”) Then we see Lisa working the front desk, because I guess she doesn’t go to school, telling Marge she’s so busy she needs to open up a second location. Okay?
– Marge gets so famous instantaneously that she goes on Oprah… I mean, Opal, who has a long-going relationship with a guy named Stedman… I mean, Straightman. I guess it’s funny because people think he’s gay.
– The writing for the “conflict” is amazingly bad. The other husbands just list off telltale signs that Marge might want to get a new husband, then we see Homer consult said list that he’s written down. It’s like, one, two, three, that’s all of them! And he’s so worried, yet when he gets Marge to talk about her day, we see he’s preoccupied with the TV, then he remembers the list and caps it off, then he breaks down in tears as he proceeds to steal amenities from the hotel room. It’s beyond short term memory into what I fear Homer might be bipolar.
– In one of the clunkiest, most hackneyed and cliche contrivances ever, Marge consults some other ladies about getting a new handbag, but Homer walks in after that part is said and he thinks they’re discussing her getting a new man. But just so the audience knows for sure… “They’re convincing Marge to dump me!” No shit, we picked that up. What follows is just more out-of-place shock humor (“I get a new one every two years! From Italy!” “You would love a big black one!”) Ugh.
– The saggy excess flesh Homer has banded behind his back is so fucking disgusting… As is the remainder of the episode, really. Though the only laugh in the episode came from the plastic surgeon holding up a gigantic staple remover regarding fixing Homer’s stomach back up.