590. The Marge-ian Chronicles

Original airdate: March 13, 2016

The premise:
Lisa signs up to train for an eccentric company’s Mars Colony project. Concerned, Marge signs up the rest of the family too, hoping to diffuse Lisa’s hopes to leave the planet.

The reaction: Another Lisa episode where she acts horribly… boy howdy, this is getting repetitive. And her strongest vitriol is towards Marge, which feels even more terrible. Although between brow-beating her daughter to give up her dream school and paying a little girl to pretend to be her friend, Marge isn’t exactly winning any Mom of the Year contests any time soon. Why is the show pitting these two against each other nowadays? So the family crosses paths with two idealistic imbeciles with too much investor money on their hands, who plan on launching a manned mission to Mars within ten years time, and they need volunteers. Lisa is eager to sign up, but Marge is understandably not cool with this, though she comes off incredibly strong on her, as the two angrily murmur at each other. This seems to be common now; once a lovable worrywart doormat, Marge has lately been more prone to going from zero to sixty in no time flat. So in an attempt to dissuade Lisa, Marge has the whole family sign up. Lisa is immediately annoyed, and even more so when she finds that her mother is performing even higher than she is during their trial exercises. So once again, we see that Lisa is just in it for her own glory-hogging. Helping the homeless, saving animals, or saving humanity, it doesn’t matter what it is as long as Lisa gets all the recognition her little heart desires. When it comes down to just her and Marge as the finalists, she viciously confronts her (“All you are is a stay-at-hab space wife! You’re the last person I would ever want to go to Mars with!”) I honestly and truly don’t get what this girl’s damage is. For as unacknowledged and unappreciated Lisa may be at times by them, she still loves her family more than not, and especially Marge. I get it if they want to paint Lisa as childish or not thinking clearly, but for these past three episodes, the conflicts have been solely fueled by Lisa’s inflated ego and sense of entitlement. I feel like a broken record, but it’s just not fun seeing her behave like this. By the time they rush (and I mean rush) the emotional resolution between the two, it didn’t feel like enough. It wasn’t earned at all. Marge has pulled some sneaky shit on her daughter, and I guess Lisa’s just giving it right back to her. And it looks like two shows from now, we’ve got another Marge-Lisa episode. I can’t wait to see what they hate about each other next! Sigh.

Three items of note:
– The lead-in to the main story involves Homer and Bart stealing fresh eggs from Flanders’ chicken coop. They decide to build their own, but realize that the real flavor came from their satisfaction in their thievery. This is extremely drawn out and eats up the first five minutes of the episode. It sucks.
– Homer advises Marge how to deal with Lisa in informing her how the female mind operates. It’s a cute idea in principle, but the longer it goes on, the weaker it feels. The show has done this ‘battle of the sexes’ shit a handful of times over the past decade, and it always feels antiquated at best, and offensive at worst. Did you know women like it when you listen to what they have to say? What a concept! They even bring that joke back to end the episode with! As long as you smile and nod, the female species won’t get mad at you! Who better to write jokes about those finicky women types than a writer’s room of almost exclusively all men?
– The stupidity ramps up as we rocket (ha ha ha) toward the end. In competition with another corporate shill project, the two heads move up their launch date to the following week. All the volunteers bail except Marge and Lisa, who are so stubborn they don’t want the other one to get the satisfaction of winning (do I have to mention how extremely out of character this feels at this point?) For “comedic” effect, we smash cut soon after that to the two of them in the rocket preparing for launch. I don’t get what we’re supposed to be feeling, we know they’re not going into space, so there’s no tension at all. And in the end, the two leads admit they were frauds and the rocket isn’t even finished. Their plan was to just bail as the fake launch was going on, but their car died. That’s really the explanation. What a waste of time.

One good line/moment: I did enjoy the two Exploration Incorporated heads, voiced by Tom Scharpling and Jon Wurster, just a couple of guys who only care about big ideas in the broadest terms, and willing to bend over for as many corporate sponsors to make it look like they’re achieving their dreams. Over the credits, we hear them brainstorming their next move as they drive off into the sunset (“We should fix racism.” “Racism is bad for business.” “And that is racism’s fatal flaw!”) That, and I love Scharpling’s voice. Makes me feel like I’m listening to Greg Universe.

9 responses to “590. The Marge-ian Chronicles

  1. I’m writing just to tell Mike whenever he decides to give up I’ll be happy. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading this blog; I even read some episode analysis more than once, and I’d love you to keep writing forever; but I’m really starting to feel your pain. Watching these episodes is not even infuriating; it’s more disgusting than anything. It’s like South Park episode The China Probrem. You know what I mean.

    • But he’s so close to the end though. Like only 30 episodes left. And once he finishes reviewing all Simpsons doesn’t he become the rightful heir of all England or something?

  2. Yep, this is just another terrible Lisa vs Marge episode that tried to cash in on the title of a great movie. I just don’t get why we needed so many Lisa episodes this season. Did they feel they hadn’t had enough over the last few seasons and wanted to make up for it by putting several of them together in a row? Were they having a contest at the studio to see who could write the better Lisa story and decided to pick them all? I just don’t get it!

    • One possible explanation is the departure of Harry Shearer. Since they could not use the Shearer’s characters, they focused on Lisa (who had little prominence in seasons 23-26).

  3. Almost every episode without opening sequence has a filler that has nothing to do with the episode. What’s the point?

  4. I only bothered to check this one out when it aired cuz of scharpling & wurster being in it and boy I could barely get myself to watch it. i just had no idea how old and wrong the simpsons sound now for one thing, nevermind all the bad jokes and nonsense scripts. but tom scharpling, his own radio show/podcast (The Best Show) is fantastic and is holding up better than the simpsons did at 17 years.

  5. Wait, why the fuck, out of 320 million people in the US and over 7 billion on the world, would they select a whiny eight-year-old who doesn’t even have her parents’ consent? Deep Space Homer at least addressed that. Does Lisa even have the right… what’s that stuff?

  6. These episodes are just noise at this point. Nothing entertaining or funny and virtually none of them are memorable.

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