(originally aired March 9, 2009)
We’ve seen many instances before of Homer being an aggressively unlikable protagonist, but here’s an example where it spills into Marge, and where we see the Simpson family are hated town-wide pariahs for some goddamn reason. We start annoyingly enough with Homer’s annual backyard Mardi Gras party, which is absolutely humungous, both in attendance, and the size of their frigging backyard. This is just another exorbitant expenditure that Homer thinks he can get away with his home equity, but when he finds his mortgage rate has gone through the roof, he’s forced to give up the house. Immediately it’s hard to feel bad for him despite his gross ignorance because he was so smug and self-righteous about seemingly pulling a fast one on the bank. Also, Marge appears to be out of the picture, or just an idiot. We see her worry about the cost of the party, then proceed to get drunk anyway. Lovely. At the auction for 742 Evergreen Terrace, a guilty Flanders buys the house, offering to rent it out to the Simpsons.
With Ned as her new landlord, Marge uses this opportunity to take advantage of his good will by putting him to work on numerous odd jobs around the house. She even gossips to her sisters about having her own little personal assistant. Ned understandably gets worn out, leading to an angry phone call from Homer (“Landlords like you are the scum of the Earth! You lounge around in your egg McMansions and we never see you unless the rent check’s late!” “The rent check is late!”) They then proceed to get a news piece on Channel 6 vilifying Ned. Infuriated, Ned wants the Simpsons out of the house by the end of the month. Looking for a loophole, Homer finds he can’t be evicted if there is a senior living in the house, so he carts Grampa over, and of course openly shoves it and laughs in Ned’s face. Ned retaliates by inviting Abe to live at his house, and the Simpsons are out on the street. Again, am I supposed to feel any sympathy toward them given how both Homer and Marge are completely responsible for all of their hardships? Ned nearly signs the house to two new perfect tenants, but I guess because he’s an eternal push-over, invites the Simpsons to move back in. What fucking garbage.
Tidbits and Quotes
– I hate their stupid Mardi Gras party. Marge and Lisa apparently can build a gigantic metallic float on their own. And the backyard is big enough that Homer can ride around in that huge thing. And Marge is such a responsible parent for not only allowing the entire town to get drunk and party all night, but we see her dancing wildly all boozed up herself. Remember how horrified she was at Homer’s drunken antics in “War of the Simpsons”? That and she of course never questions how Homer can afford such an exorbitant event. And the ending features everyone on the block deciding to move now that the Simpsons are back, yet they seem to be a pretty big hit with this party. I could be leaving stuff out, but my teeth have ground into dust so I should probably stop.
– I’m confused why Gil works at the mortgage company and is in a bit of a position of power over the Simpsons. It’s not as bad as “Cross Words,” but it still betrays him being a put-upon loser. Why are they using him like this?
– The evening before the auction, Homer tries to hang himself from a tree in the front yard in front of his children. I can’t fucking believe it… I mean, we’ve never seen trees on their front lawn before! And we’ve never see them since! Come on… But seriously, I’m glad the show thinks this is funny and acceptable, just like all the other incredibly tasteful jokes they’ve done about suicide. Class act, guys.
– Homer yells at Ned on the phone holding a cigar has got to be amongst his most jerkass-iest moments. I just can’t see how the writers, throughout the entire process of making he episode, didn’t realize how unlikable this paints the Simpsons through the whole thing.
– Should I even comment on Bart’s hair color being naturally red? Nah.
– Ned’s only rationale for getting the Simpsons back, I guess, is, “You can’t be a saint unless you live amongst the lepers.” As in, let me invite back this horrible, horrible family who abused my kindness and good will so I can feel better about myself. And that family are our lovable main characters. The first three HD episodes out of the box and all of them make my skin fucking crawl.