Original airdate: May 1, 2011
The premise: Selma meets of Springfield’s more notable residents at the DMV and the two are instantly smitten. Despite Marge’s hesitance about their relationship, the two get married. But then Selma finds out a terrible secret that shakes the foundation of… wait, why does this sound so familiar…
The reaction: Yeah, it would be impossible to watch this episode and not compare it to “A Fish Called Selma,” one of the greatest episodes in series history. But even without the compare and contrast, this show would be a nonsensical mess. So Fat Tony meets Selma at the DMV, why a powerful mob boss is there in the first place, I’m not entirely sure. They couldn’t come up with a joke reason for that? Anyway, Selma wins Tony over with her venomous insults and lack of fear about being killed… and I guess that’s it? So eventually they get married, and none of the Simpsons appear to have a problem with this. You’d think Marge would raise an objection to her sister being involved with a violent and dangerous man, but seemingly not. Her ire is only raised when she’s seated at a terrible table at the wedding, and at Selma’s constant haranguing of her about Homer. To win the affection of the Simpsons back, Fat Tony invites them out to his house out on the shore, where Marge and Selma bury the hatchet for no real reason. Selma just sits down next to her and says, alright, I guess I’m not mad anymore. With a scant three minutes to spare, we finally start getting to the ending, where Marge overhears Tony talking about Selma as his “goomar,” mafioso lingo for mistress. How does she know that? I guess she’s a big Sopranos fan. Confronting Tony about this, his wife conveniently crashes his car into the backyard, and he confesses that their wedding was a big lie; Selma is actually just his mistress, and the vows done in Italian confirm this. What a ridiculous and stupid ending. Also, didn’t we just have an episode this season where Tony is mourning at his dead wife’s grave? Although I guess that was Fat Tony, this is now Fit Tony. Oh whatever. I really didn’t even want to directly compare this to “Fish,” because it’s so unfair. In that episode, Selma and Troy McClure felt like real people, and we understood what they both got out of their relationship. Even when she realizes their marriage is all a showbiz scam, Selma accepts it for a perfectly logical reason, at least until the very end when it gets pushed too far and she leaves, again for a logical reason. There’s none of that in this episode. Selma marries Tony because at this point that’s the joke with her character, she gets married a lot, they make several jokes about it. And Tony I guess just wanted a broad to fuck on the side. We don’t care about either character in this non-relationship within this non-story. Just terrible.
Three items of interest:
– The B-plot is very dull, up until the end at least. Lisa discovers that Bart has a nose from sniffing out truffles in the woods, which restaurants will pay top dollar for. Such an odd premise. So this leads to her working her brother like a mule to get as many as possible. But why? What’s in it for either of these two, what do they want with the money? She gets so crazed that she blindfolds Bart and puts a muzzle and leash on him to lead her to her beloved truffles, which is pretty damn weird disturbing. Ultimately, it’s revealed that she’s been eating them herself, and Bart gives the last truffle to Luigi’s overworked hunting pig. The twist of the pig going nuts and eating all the other truffles from Luigi’s diners was a bit unexpected, but besides that, the rest was just sweet, sweet innocuous time filler.
– At the wedding, we get one shot of Selma’s daughter Ling in Patty’s arms. I’d forgotten all about her, as I’m sure most people have. The show clearly isn’t interested in budging one inch outside the status quo, evidenced no better this season with Fat/Fit Tony, so it’s odd to me when they have episodes that create big changes like this, and then proceed to do absolutely nothing with them. Selma has a daughter, which must have filled at least some of the hole in her life to feel loved and needed. Her desperation to find a husband could have been linked to her wanting Ling to have a father figure, or perhaps Fat Tony would provide her financial security for her child. It could have given an interesting and human connection to the story. But no; if remembered at all, Ling is essentially just a prop for Selma to hold in her arms, nothing but an afterthought.
– Once at the Jersey shore, Tony introduces his nephews and niece, who are facsimiles of the cast of Jersey Shore. The limp wristed parody involves making softball jokes about tanning beds, machismo behavior, and sub par MAD Magazine-level names like “The Occurrence” and “Tushie.” I’m almost surprised they didn’t just get the Jersey Shore cast on the show, why not, considering the show is just a guest star vehicle at this point. Though part of me feels like they think that Jersey Shore is too beneath them, so they took their sick burns at their expense. I hope that’s not it, that would be far too sad. It’s as pathetic as the show normally is with its attempts to be topical. South Park had done a Jersey show a year prior, in a much more inventive and scathing fashion.
One good line/moment: The couch gag was pretty good, with the abandoned video store being demolished. Although this was a few years prior, I also saw it a joint comment on the death of TV box sets. The Simpsons themselves called it quits at season 17 because the market dried up, which is pretty convenient for them. I can’t imagine that many people are clamoring to scoop this season up on Blu-Ray. At least I hope not.