Lifetime of Simpsons

S02 E14 – Principal Charming

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Ah, the uncomfortable horror of setting family members up! This was a pretty sad episode actually. I’ve noticed the trend in this show that if the episode is about a certain character, everyone else acts very different. Every episode up until now has had Patty and Selma be incredibly obnoxious characters that are barely people, but here we have a Patty and Selma episode, so they’re suddenly decent people who have a hard life. Let’s go!

I love that this episode starts with Homer being woken up by Barney, who had to call his best friend to tell him about an all you can eat BBQ place. So Homer runs down and interrupts Marge while she’s jazzercising to tell her that they’re going to the BBQ place, and that Patty and Selma will have to babysit the kids. Marge calls them up while they’re working at the DMV, and I’ve gotta say, Patty and Selma are pretty much like every single DMV employee I’ve ever encountered. They’re standing at their counters, not being helpful to poor old Hans Moleman, and Selma says they’re free to babysit the kids after they go to a wedding between co-workers. We find out at the wedding that the guy whose getting married was going to sit with Selma the day he met his future fiancee, and Patty made him move, possibly costing Selma a marriage. So Selma goes to watch the kids, and is pretty depressed. You actually begin to feel back for Selma in this episode.

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Homer and Marge come home, and have a discussion in bed about how Homer owes Marge a favor because apparently they went to some bowling hall of fame so Homer could see a car shaped like a bowling pin. She tells Homer that she wants him to find a decent man for Selma. Homer mistakes the twins, mentioning that one is celibate, and we get the amazing explanation from Marge “Patty chose the life of celibacy, Selma just had celibacy thrown upon her.” Thus begins Homer’s mission to find a man, while scanning every single male he comes across with some weird Terminator vision to list their pros and cons.

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At school, Bart is doing some sort of science experiment with Martin, and learns about a chemical that can kill grass, so he decides to steal it, and write his own name in the playground. Principal Skinner runs up the bell-tower the school has for this episode and sees Bart’s name, and because it was the dumbest prank ever, brings Bart to his office. Bart calls Moe’s, apparently knowing Homer will be there, and after first giving a great prank all with “Homer Sexual,” he gets Moe yelling on the line as Principal Skinner picks the phone up. Apparently Moe knows Principal Skinner’s voice, and give the phone over to Homer so that he can come to the school and have a conference. While there, he uses his Terminator vision and decides that Principal Skinner will be an adequate date for Selma, and invited him over to dinner. Jeez, could you imagine having your principal come over for dinner? But that night when he comes over, Homer introduces the wrong twin and Principal Skinner falls in love at first sight with Patty instead of Selma, who continues to be alone and depressed.

Skinner invites Patty out on a date, and after pumping Bart for information on how to woo his aunt while he works with Groundskeeper Willie, he comes to pick her up. They go to a revolving restaurant where the date isn’t going well until Principal Skinner starts demeaning the waiter, who used to be a student. They then go see the new Space Mutants movie, which is set in Australia this time, and after Skinner tries to make a move on Patty they head back to the apartment, where Patty refuses to kiss him, but does agree to go out on another date. Time starts to go by, and Skinner becomes increasingly lenient on Bart, not wanting to be mean to the nephew of the woman he loves, and Selma gets more and more lonely. But Patty starts to actually care for Skinner as their relationship begins to grow.

When we reach the third act, Selma is so desperate that she wants Homer to set her up with Barney, and it’s revealed that Skinner plans to propose to Patty. He gets a ring with the help of Bart, who is basically running the school at that point, and gets ready for the proposal. He carries Patty to the top of the bell-tower, and has written “Marry me Patty,” in the grass with that chemical from earlier. But then we get a super depressing scene where Patty refuses the marriage, because despite the fact that she does love him, she can’t leave Selma alone. Skinner figures out that she could never leave her twin, and they break up, knowing that they both love each other, but that they can’t make a marriage work. Which is shitty since there are several other episodes where Selma gets married, and has no problem leaving Patty behind. Anyway, a dejected Skinner decides to stop Bart’s reign of terror, and Patty comes home to be with Selma, admitting that she’s throwing her last chance at happiness away to be with Selma, which is some heavy shit. But to deflect that we end on a silly joke of Skinner and Willie mocking Bart while he’s re sodding the proposal, erasing it from existence.

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This was a pretty dark episode guys. It had some really funny scenes, because no Simpsons episode will tip all the way to dark, emotional stuff, but man was that ending devastating. Despite the fact that none of the previous episodes have given up any reason to like Patty or Selma, they’re still made to be incredibly depressing and sympathetic characters. They’re doomed to be lonely forever because of their own weird co-dependence, and they know that. The end was so sad. They know that they’re doomed to live together forever, never leaving each other, until they die. Holy crap. Talk about a sad ending.

Take Away: Don’t set up your friends with relatives, it leads to awkward disasters. And don’t become so co-dependent to someone that you sacrifice your own happiness. Kinda dark this episode guys.

“Principal Charming” was written by David M Stern and directed by Mark Kirkland

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