477. The Blue and the Gray

Original airdate: February 13, 2011

The premise:
When Marge discovers her hair stylist has been covering up her grayness for years, she decides to embrace her age and go full gray, much to Homer’s dismay. Meanwhile, Moe recruits Homer to be his wing man to help him get girls.

The reaction: The A-story was pretty empty, so let’s get that out of the way first. “Secrets of a Successful Marriage” already revealed that Marge dyes her hair, but I guess they added a line in her that the blue dye causes her to lose her memory? What? But basically, Marge goes gray, the other gossiping biddies give her shit for it, and she gets insecure. That’s just about it. We don’t even get to that plot until a third of the way in. We also have some time-killing scenes after that where the boys tease Bart about his mom and he ends up in therapy, but that doesn’t amount to anything. The rest of the episode is Moe getting help from a swindler pick-up artist and utilizing Homer as his wing man to pick up girls at clubs. Like, hot, trendy clubs with young looking girls, which I guess exist in a dumpy town like Springfield? And here’s the kicker: it works. We see a couple moves that Homer pulls, all of which are like bullshit gross pick-up artist 101 maneuvers: have the wing man go after the less attractive (fatter) friend, taking out rival competition by revealing something embarrassing. This all couldn’t be easier to make fun of. But they don’t. It’s played completely straight, and we see Moe scoring with girls. And Homer too. When Marge confronts Homer at the end, he has a throng of ten girls surrounding him, captivated by his every word. Why? Why? For God’s sakes, why. It’s completely nonsensical. I don’t even know how the two plots are even supposed to connect. We don’t even see Homer making excuses for why he’s been out so late to an inquisitive Marge. Marge finds out when two super skinny girls walk into a shop he’s in talking about what a great catch Homer is. It’s all very confusing.

Three items of note:
– There’s a gag here that almost works regarding the Simpson children’s hairlines. Bart ponders exactly where his head stops and his hair begins. Alright, good joke. But then it just goes on and on with Lisa fretting and nearly having a nervous breakdown from it, and it just kills it. Per usual, there are a lot of needlessly elongated segments in this show: Homer opening the door to Moe’s again and again, the slooooow dripping of the blue dye as Marge makes her decision, Gil’s scene at the supermarket, Homer envisioning Bond villains for some reason, the very ending with the Maggie and Gerald cupids that kiss (which felt kind of gross to me); if you’ve got a gag that maybe kinda works, make sure you run it for at least twice its length.
– Dr. J. Loren Pryor from “Bart the Genius” makes a reappearance, sounding nothing like his original voice. He appeared in a few other shows, and I feel like I remember he also showed up randomly in a more recent episode as well. But, anyway, I don’t blame Shearer for not remembering, or caring, what Pryor sounded like. Would you?
– Speaking of elongated jokes, the ending is such a slog. We devote, no joke an entire minute to a sequence showing Marge’s transformation into a witch. She crashes her cars and frazzles her, tears her dress, her shoes curl up, she ends up with a broom, cats follow her, and just in case you didn’t get it, the Wizard of Oz Wicked Witch motif cues up as well. And Mr. Teeney appears as a flying monkey. Yeah, with wings. It’s just so, so laborious. Fifteen seconds in, I get the joke. I get it. She’s the visually unfavorable comparison to those hotter younger girls. But I guess they’re just so desperate to fill time that they can stretch stuff like this out as long as they need to.

One good line/moment: The sleazy pick-up artist’s seminar is held at the Springfield Airport Motor Lodge. In the establishing shot, a landing airline shoots by, knocking the sign over. It was quick and unexpected, and I was actually amused by it.


3 responses to “477. The Blue and the Gray

  1. To this day, this still ranks as the #1 Worst Episode according to the Worst Episode Ever podcast.

    • I still think framing Marge for drink driving is the show low point. How can anyone ever do anything but loathe Homer after that?

  2. There are many horrible, shit, empty episodes in ZS history, but I remember this to be one of those episodes that insult people’s intelligence. I don’t want to watch it again to exactly remember why though.

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