Lifetime of Simpsons

S02 E20 – the War of the Simpsons

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Another episode about Homer and Marge’s marriage being in trouble. For as solid as their marriage seems, they sure do have it tested a lot. We start right off with Homer and Marge preparing for a dinner party with all their friends, and they’re getting freaked out. Dinner parties, or really any parties, really suck to plan. All the weird details that add up like an avalanche. I do love that Homer pronounces hors d’oeuvre’s as “horge doovers.” And just like any party your parents held at the house, the kids have to go upstairs to their rooms for the rest of the night. Bart complains about this, saying that there’s nothing fun to do in bed, which leads to Homer having a thought about eating a sandwich in bed. The guests start to arrive, and the kids are sent upstairs, and Homer has to act like an adult. Which does not go well. Pretty much immediately Flanders works up some potent cocktail for Homer, and he starts to get sloshed. Marge tries to caution Homer’s drinking by asking him if he remembers the time he got drunk at the Winfield’s and threw up in their laundry hamper, resulting in his amazing “…no?” The night gets progressively worse. It seems like no one is having a very good time, and Homer is getting drunker and drunker. He has an awkward interaction with Dr. Hibbert when he puts a plastic ice cube with a fly in his drink, and Dr. Hibbert points out that the chemicals in the plastic are worse than the actual fly would have been. But Homer’s behavior reaches it’s worse point when he starts ogling Maude’s breasts, then passes out while everyone leaves the party, disgusted at Homer.

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The next morning Marge peels Homer off the floor, and brings him out to her car in the driveway to yell at him. She turns on some mariachi music, and rationalizes this method by saying that this way the kids won’t know they’re fighting. But we see Bart and Lisa watching the car, knowing exactly what it means, saying that mariachi music brings a chill to their spines. Marge yells about what he did, and when Homer tries to recollect the previous night, he sees it as some sort of New Yorker cartoon where everyone is witty and charming, especially him. Marge tells him that he has to explain to Bart why he was such an ass, saying that he scared Bart, which led to a line that made me laugh my ass off, “No I didn’t!…oh, you mean on the inside.” Homer talks with Bart, then tries to sneak off to church to be with Marge, desperate to make it up to here. While he walks in in the middle of church and makes the whole congregation look at him, since word spread fast about what an ass he made of himself the night previous. He tries smoothing things over with Reverend Lovejoy, but while he’s talking Marge signs them up for a couples retreat lead by the Lovejoys.

Homer is initially dismayed about the retreat, but he learns that the retreat will be at a place called Catfish Lake, so he decides that he’s going to fish the whole time. But they run into a problem when the babysitter Marge hired shows up, and she has a horrible PTSD flashback of a time she babysat baby Bart, and he tried to kill her with a car, while Omen music plays. Which was weird, because Bart remembers her and asks if she’s back for more, which I guess means he did it on purpose? That’s odd. Anyway, because the babysitter bails, they decide to have Grandpa watch the kids, and Bart pretty much immediately decides to start messing with him, tricking him into letting the kids do things that they aren’t supposed to. Homer and Marge head off to Catfish Lake, and when they get close Homer turns off at a gas station that’s also a bait shop to try and learn about the fishing. And while he’s buying his secret worms, they tell him about a legendarily huge catfish named General Sherman that lives in the lake. For the rest of the episode we cut back to Bart and Lisa taking advantage of Grandpa, and Homer being terrible at the retreat.

The marriage retreat consists of the Lovejoys, who are running it, the Flanders, the Simpsons, and some horrible family that we don’t know that initially scream at each other, “Queen of the harpies!” but then Reverend Lovejoy simply has them look into each others eyes, and they fall back in love and leave the retreat. I love Lovejoy’s summation of the retreat, “a marriage can’t be fixed in a few hours, it takes a whole weekend!” While Marge begins detailing all of Homer’s numerous faults, we check back in on the kids, who are having Grandpa buy them ice cream while Bart smokes cigars, and then watch more McBain. Back at the retreat Homer decides to sneak out in the early morning so that he can try to catch General Sherman before Marge wakes up, but she catches him, and is pissed that he’s trying to fish instead of save the marriage. She tells him that if he really wants to save the marriage, he won’t go fishing. He agrees that he’ll not fish, but he can’t sleep, so he goes for a walk. When he reaches the pier he sees a kid leaving his fishing poles, and he tries to grab one for the kid, and as soon as he touches it, General Sherman takes the bait, and drags Homer off into the lake. And unluckily for Homer, Marge looks out and sees Homer zipping around the lake, not knowing that it was an accident.

Back at the house Bart has decided to throw a crazy party, that even Otto and Snake attend. The house becomes a hellhole, and Grandpa tries to restore order, but no one listens to him. By the end of the party Grandpa is sitting alone on the couch, crying to himself. Bart and Lisa see it, and decide that they have to make it up to Grandpa, and clean the house for him. But as they start to clean we learn that Grandpa is just screwing with them. Back at the retreat Homer is clubbing General Sherman to death, and rows himself to the pier, singing “We Are the Champions,” but when he gets there, Marge is waiting for him. They yell at each other about Homer ruining the marriage, but then Homer says that to prove his devotion to the marriage, he’ll throw the fish that he spent the whole day catching back. Then he does it, much to the surprise of both of them. Which apparently fixed the marriage? Whatever. They leave the retreat and get back home, marveling at how clean the house is. Grandpa admits that he was fake crying, and just walks out of the house laughing, leading Bart to swear that he’ll never trust another old person. The episode ends with the family happy together, and we learn that the weirdo’s at the bait shop now tell stories of how some mythical man named Homer almost caught General Sherman.

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This was an interesting episode. I really loved the stuff back at home with Bart and Lisa taking advantage of Grandpa, but then feeling bad about it, but the marriage stuff kind of fell flat with me. It’s just weird that they keep telling stories about Homer and Marge’s marriage being in dire straits, but apparently not very dire, because it’s so easily fixed. It seems weird that Homer just didn’t give a shit about saving the marriage, but then fixes it super easily by just tossing the fish back. It was a little sweet, but it just didn’t work great for me. Oh well, they can’t all be winners.

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Take Away: Don’t be a crappy spouse. I feel like that’s been the takeaway a couple of times, but they just keep piling the message on. Oh, and I guess don’t take advantage of the elderly, they’re craft and will get back at you.

“The War of the Simpsons” was written by John Swartzwelder and was directed by Mark Kirkland.

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