Hey everybody, let’s talk about sexual harassment! This is definitely one of those episodes that slip my mind, and when it started playing I was suddenly hit with memories of an episode that I had kind of deleted from my mind. It’s kind of a strange story, but has one of my new favorite aspects that I’d forgotten so many of these classic episodes had, random Mr. Burns appearance. Seriously, Mr. Burns is the bacon of Simpsons characters, it may not always make sense to put him in it, but boy is it appreciated.
The episodes starts in kind of an odd place, with Marge and Homer checking the mail as Homer drinks a sample of dishwashing liquid. That’s not a thing anymore right? I remember samples of stuff coming in the mail when I was a kid, but now as a grown-ass man with my own house I’ve never noticed anything like this. Stupid future. Anyway, as they’re sitting there they realize that there’s something wrong with the houses foundation, and it’s beginning to sink on one corner. Homer makes the manly decision of trying to fix the problem himself, and since this is the pre-internet days, he gets an instructional video to help him. And if there’s an instructional video Troy McClure must be here too! “Dig Your Own Grave and Save!” was certainly my favorite of his credits this time. Unfortunately for Homer though, the video is a little advanced, and makes absolutely no sense to him, so he has to suck it up and call a handyman, Surly Joe’s. I never realized as a kid how obnoxious it is to own a house, and deal with all the weird things that are breaking. So many things have broken in my house in the year we’ve owned it, and I’ve learned rather quickly that I was missing quite a bit of knowledge on this type of thing. And I know Homer’s pain, because as much as I try to fix things myself, I’m pretty incompetent, and need to pony up for a professional to come help me. Turns out Surly Joe is pretty nice, and he can fix their house no problem, but unluckily for Homer the bill will be $8,500, and as we’ve learned several times on this show, Homer and bills don’t work very well. So he tells Surly Joe that they’ll have to pass, and decides to just live with the messed up house.
I laughed so incredibly hard at the joke that came next, which was us joining Kent Brockman mid-broadcast as he says “…leaving the Vice President in charge,” while there’s a picture of a flaming White House. But then he zips right over to a local news report about the Simpsons house, which has become a big deal in the neighborhood. People are just coming to gawk at the house, and Marge decides that Homer’s plan of ignoring the problem isn’t going to fly, and she offers to get a job to help afford the repair. I love Homer misunderstanding that idea and thinking that means he doesn’t have to work, and he thinks about going to live in nature like Walden, and all we see him write in his journal is “March 15th, I wish I brought a TV. Oh god I miss TV” But Marge bursts his bubble, and explains that he would still need to work, and instead of working on this plan any more, they head off to a Power Plant retirement party. Some guy named Marley that we’ve never seen before is being forcibly retired, the workers are getting to have dinner at a crazy restaurant called the Spruce Caboose that’s built into a derailed train, which is great. Mr. Burns has a little speech, and we learn that Marley really doesn’t want to retire, afraid that his job was all he was living for, but Burns ignores him, and even has goons throw him out of the train. We do get a crazy Citizen Kane reference though when Smithers gets a song and dance number for Burns, and I always love a good Citizen Kane reference.
Back at home Marge tells Homer that she thinks it might be a good idea for her to apply for Marley’s job, but Homer is pretty hesitant, since he doesn’t want them to work together. And like any good American, Homer uses the Bible to justify his weird issues with the wonderful quote “Thou shalt not horn in on thy husband’s racket.” But despite his issues, Marge decides to apply anyway, and writes a pretty unimpressive resume since she hasn’t worked since high school, so Lisa helps her…embellish her resume with some crazy lies. And she gets the job! When she tells the family Homer is still a little against it, but Lisa finds it romantic, thinking they’d be like the Curies, leading to Bart’s amazing vision of the Curies as giant Kaiju monsters destroying Tokyo.
The next day Homer and Marge carpool to work as he begins giving her advice on how to survive in the Plant, “Blame the guy who can’t speak English. Oh Tibor, how many times have you saved my butt?” Unfortunately while Marge is working Grandpa has to take care of the kids, and is convinced Maggie is suffering from all sorts of crazy old-timey ailments. This seemed random at first, but it leads into a really weird and brief B-plot where Bart is faking being sick to avoid tests at school, so Grandpa has to pick him up, and makes him use leeches and a rectal thermometer. Back at the plant Marge isn’t doing well, since no one explained how to run the machine she’s in charge of, and Homer isn’t helping since he just encourages her to slack off and send her work through a pneumatic tube to a beaver dam. But then the episode takes a serious turn into weirdness when Mr. Burns is just randomly looking at his employees on the monitor, seeing people playing chess in radiation suits and just straight up cock-fighting, but then he sees Marge and falls instantly in love, even seeing his shriveled little heart like he’s the Grinch or something.
Burns starts creeping on Marge almost immediately, seeing how the job was going so far. She misunderstands why he’s there and starts to give him advice on how to improve morale, especially these three weird individuals, a woman taking shots at her desk, a guy crying, and a crazy man muttering with a rifle. She gets funny hat day and Tom Jones music to start happening in the Plant, and it doesn’t really do much to help anyone but Marge. Burns then starts promoting Marge, even giving her Smither’s office, which doesn’t go over well for Homer since he’s used to seeing people get promoted over him like friends, coworkers, and Tibor, but is feeling depressed about Marge. But while that’s going on Burns is falling more and more in love with Marge, just watching her on the monitors while he kicks his feet around like a teenage girl. He decides to invite Marge to a dinner at his mansion and has Smithers go out and kidnap Tom Jones to perform at the dinner. Man Smithers has committed a lot of crimes for Mr. Burns. And while we learn that the money from Marge’s promotion was enough to get the house fixed Smithers is out gassing Tom Jones and dragging him back to Springfield.
Bart’s plot wraps up with him complaining of ovary pain and heading home again, but when he goes to take the test again he’s told to go out in the hallway, and is attacked by an escaped wolf that was on the Krusty show. Bart gets attacked by the wolf while writing about Ivanhoe (a story about a Russian farmer and his tool) and is saved by Willie, who wrestles the wolf to submission. Bart passes out after telling Mrs. Krabappel the truth, and he’s taken home by Grandpa, who says that ”We’ve got to rub some garlic on you before the next full moon.” But back in the real plot, Mr. Burns calls Marge into his office and invites her to dinner, even shows off the hostage Tom Jones, but when she mentions she’s married he freaks the hell out and fires her. Homer and Marge go to the mall to get Lionel Hutz’s legal advice, and he comes with them to sue Burns, but he quickly bails when he sees Burns’ team of lawyers. Marge decides to give up, but Homer defends her to Burns, and when Burns realizes that Homer really loves Marge, he decides to let the two of them still enjoy the dinner, complete with captive Tom Jones.
This was such a goofy episode, and I’m really shocked I had this much to say about it. The whole foundation problem was funny, and I really liked the stuff featuring Marge working at the plant. But the episode really kicked into gear with Mr. Burns, who always makes things good. The Bart plot was a little pointless to me though, and really didn’t need to be there. I forget this episode a lot, and honestly I’ll probably forget it again pretty soon, but it was fun.
Take Away: Don’t work with your spouse…that’s a lot of time together. And I guess don’t call wolf.
“Marge Gets a Job” was written by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein and directed by Jeffrey Lynch, 1992.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons