Original airdate: May 13, 2012
The premise: When Ned and Edna reveal they’ve already gotten married, Marge volunteers to throw them a make-up party. But their union runs into trouble when Edna decides to enroll Rod and Todd into public school.
The reaction: Remember that desperate marketing gimmick… I mean, momentous show-changing event of the new relationship between Ned Flanders and Edna Krabappel? After revealing they did indeed stay together in a quick scene in the season premiere, now we finally check back in on these two, and it turns out they got married in secret. First off, I honestly and truly don’t understand this relationship. It was barely explained at all in “The Nedliest Catch,” the show thrust them together on one lunch date, followed by a montage of their relationship growing, but we never see exactly why they care about each other, much less come to love each other. And now they’re married? And we’re going to do a relationship episode about these two characters who we don’t really get why they’re together. Okay… Even worse, it seems to all be about Flanders fretting that their marriage isn’t perfect because he disagrees with Edna about certain things. These two act like a couple of twenty-somethings fretting over small-ish problems, when meanwhile these two have both been married in the past. We also have Rod and Todd, who I don’t even remember from the Nedna episode, and Edna deciding to pull them out of their wacko ultra-religious school. It’s unclear how much time has passed between the start of their relationship and now, but are we to believe Edna doesn’t know what school her step-children attend? Why wouldn’t she know that? And Ned is passive-aggressive at the idea of his boys going to Springfield “Hellementary” even though that’s where his wife works? It all just feels so, so weird; it honestly feels like they just randomly put these two characters into a relationship, and now they feel obligated to do at least one episode featuring them. But I just don’t see it. Maybe in the show’s heyday they could have written some angle to make me believe in Nedna, but here, it just feels like the one-dimensional shadows of Ned and Edna spewing out cliche, over-explained dialogue in a sleeping pill of an episode.
Three items of note:
– I’m still low-key annoyed by the new opening titles and how they just try to cram so many needless jokes into it. Each episode opens with a little gag over the classic cloud introduction, but this one was way too long, apparently. It’s a news copter with an incredibly long banner that reads, “We Don’t Hate You FOX News, We Just Love MSNBC, CNN, CBS, etc, etc, more.” Like a really long banner. The joke is longer than the beginning cloud animation, so what do they do? Just hold the frame. Four seconds after the copter goes by against a static background, then the animation and music begin. It’s like someone hit unpause. You couldn’t do a little four second animation of the clouds moving?
– A big bugaboo of mine in this show now is that Springfield’s oddball residents will just pop up wherever, whenever, regardless if there’s a reason for them to be at an event, or someone’s house, or anywhere. This episode openly acknowledges this as the reason Ned and Edna kept their message hush hush (“Everyone in this town makes such a big heck-a-baloo about everything!”) Cue Lenny, Disco Stu, Professor Frink, and other assorted weirdos barging into their hospital room. We see the same thing later on at their wedding party. How do Ned and Edna know Sideshow Mel? Cookie Kwan? Captain McAlister? None of that matter. Everyone in the town knows everyone, and sadly, it’s been that way for a while now.
– There’s a sort-of running story maybe involving Bernice Hibbert, Helen Lovejoy and Luann Van Houten upset with Marge for throwing Ned and Edna the wedding party because they wanted to throw it themselves? What? I don’t really understand why they’re so bitchy, or why they would care, or why they would want to throw the party, or why all three of them were in the bridal supply store I guess lying in wait to get the jump on Marge. Marge bends over backwards to make sure the party goes perfectly (which, for some reason, means breaking up a potential hook-up between Lindsay Naegle and Captain McAlister. Why would that reflect badly on Marge?) Then when Ned snaps at Edna, Helen is smugly overjoyed, texting a photo that Marge’s party was a disaster? What? I don’t fucking understand what the point of any of this is. This “plot,” and the whole episode. And this show. Why am I still watching this?
One good line/moment: I actually did think the LGBT scene was pretty clever: Ned’s meeting of the Left-Gifted, Bi-Dexterous, and Trans-Handed community. It runs a little long, but not as tortuously long as some other potentially funny segments have dragged on in the past.