Oh man, an episode with that’s essentially a Grandpa/Mr. Burns episode? If only you could throw in some Jasper or Krusty this would pretty much be a perfect episode for me. But even without those two, this episode is still tremendous, because this is a really great Grandpa episode that’s not nearly as depressing as “Old Money.”
Things start right off with a wonderfully weird joke, that almost counts as my missing Krusty element, where we see Krusty forcing Sideshow Mel to conduct a monkey Philharmonic where a bunch of monkeys are playing kazoos. And, as you could assume, the monkeys quickly stop playing their song and just maul Sideshow Mel. But, as usual, that little opening gag has nothing to do with anything, and we see that it’s Maggie’s birthday. The family starts showing up to celebrate with her as Patty and Selma bring Jacqueline and Grandpa shows up after going to the wrong house first. They sit around the table, getting ready to celebrate as Maggie tottles in wearing her first dress, before Grandpa points out that she’s soiled herself. We’re then introduced to a wonderful gag that I feel like the show abandoned far too quickly where Bart ponders why there aren’t any other babies, and Lisa tells him that Maggie doesn’t get along with the other babies, and we see that she has a highly contentious relationship with Gerald, a baby with a unibrow. Gerald is so weird and ugly, and I love the strange, unexplained joke that he and Maggie have some deep, fiery hatred between each other.
But things really start happening when they bring out the cake and start taking pictures of Maggie, which freaks her the hell out. She starts shaking in fear, which causes Jacqueline and Grandpa to start rattling off crazy old people cures for her imaginary ailments. The party then starts to wind down as the family recollects a previous birthday when Bart and Lisa performed a musical number for the Armour Hotdogs song, which they’re then forced to replicate in a hilarious bit of satiric marketing. But after that things kind of peter out, and Patty and Selma head out with Jacqueline because she’s going to miss Matlock, which spurs Grandpa to head back to the Retirement Castle quickly as well, which includes a random old person saying the hilariously bleak line of “each Matlock could be our last.” Jesus.
And because of those two things they had in common, Marge decides that her mom and Grandpa should start to hang out, since they’re both old and lonely. Homer’s not down with this, but Marge presses the matter, and they end up inviting Grandpa to go hang out with Jacqueline, which leads to the hilarious scene of Grandpa running into her retirement center and coming out with some random other old lady before running back in to get her. And man do I laugh every time that sad old lady asks Homer if she can come too, and he just rolls the window up. So the four head out to lunch, and Jacqueline continues to reference her loneliness, which causes Grandpa to do the weird little potato dance from the Chaplin movie, before getting stopped by the Blue Haired Lawyer, who is representing Charlie Chaplins estate. Grandpa then goes and hangs out with Jacqueline at her apartment, and the two actually do connect. And this causes Grandpa to realize he’s falling in love, before changing his mind and assuming he’s having a stroke. But as the ambulance brings him to the hospital he changes his mind again and decides that he’s in love, which causes the EMT’s to throw him out of the back of the moving ambulance.
A quick little B-Plot gets set up at this point as Bart watches an infomercial hosted by Troy McClure (Hydro, the Man with Hydraulic Arms) who is selling animation cells from Itchy and Scratchy. Bart decides he needs the cell, despite it being $350, so he steals Homer’s wallet and calls them up. And after trying Homer’s Federal Breast Inspector and License to Ogle cards, they accept his Visa and he gets the cell. And man is it a wonderful scene when we skip ahead and see Bart excited to get the cell, and start answering the door every time people call for “Homer Simpson,” which leads three separate grown men to punch this ten year old boy in the face. But it’s all worth it when he finally gets his cell, and opens it to find that it’s just a single painting of Scratchy’s arm, and nothing else. And while this is going on Homer starts to get grossed out by the idea of Grandpa and Jacqueline dating, because that would make him and Marge siblings, which would cause their kids to become “horrible freak things with pink skin with no overbites, and five fingers on each hand!”
But everyone ignores Homer’s issues, and Grandpa is all set to go on a date with Jacqueline. He talks to Homer about getting advice about dating, since Grandpa’ only plan is to “Kiss her like a mule eating an apple,” which is wonderful. We then get a silly scene where Homer teaches Grandpa how to play it cool and get some, which must be a weird conversation for a son to have with a father. We briefly check in on Bart, who has managed to sell his terrible cell to Comic Book Guy for a clock shaped like Mary Worth, which is hilarious. But Grandpa and Jacqueline get to their old people dance, which falls apart pretty quickly when Mr. Burns shows up and cuts in on Grandpa’s action. Burns and Jacqueline start swing dancing, and Grandpa is quickly swept away in favor of Burns. She even leaves with Mr. Burns, which causes Grandpa to walk away sadly before being accosted by the Blue Haired Lawyer, who is now representing Jimmy Durante.
And we see right away that Mr. Burns is smitten with Jacqueline. He giggles to Smithers about their date, admitting that she’s the first woman to turn down sex with him since he’s become a billionaire, which he finds wonderful. He even makes an announcement to the Plant telling everyone that has found love that they can home, which leads to the wonderful joke of one sad man left crying. Burns even asks Smithers to help him write a love-letter to Jacqueline, which he does under protest, and just recites the things he writes to Burns. So Burns heads off for another date with Jacqueline, and picks her up at the Simpsons house. They family wasn’t informed that Burns was the old guy that Jacqueline met, and they freak out since Burns is a well-known monster to their family. And man do I love that when Homer and Marge are in the kitchen talking to Jacqueline, Bart shows up to extort Burns out of the $350 for the cell by threatening him with squirt guns full of ketchup and mustard. It works, and Bart gets out with the money he stole from Homer.
So Burns and Jacqueline start to date, including going to Luigi’s where he mocks them in the kitchen. Bart’s little B-Plot get wrapped up in between their dates where he gives Homer the $350 he stole, vowing to never do something stupid again, before going off with Milhouse to play with an abandoned X-Ray machine. But the main plot ramps up its tension when Burns proposes to Jacqueline, and she says yes. Marge tries to explain to Jacqueline that Burns is an evil man, but she says she doesn’t care, because he can provide for her, and he’s apparently a great kisser, which causes Homer to shout out “Ewww! Yuck!” which made me laugh a lot. So the wedding rapidly approaches, and we see that no one but a WWI German soldier has shown up for the grooms side, and that they didn’t even invite Grandpa. The ceremony starts off, and Burns is acting like a jerk right off the bat. He tells Lovejoy to skip all the church crap (which I agree with, but I guess I was supposed to see that as a bad thing), he kicks Bart, and tries to cram a too-small ring on Jacqueline. But right as she’s about to says “I Do,” Grandpa shows up and pulls a Graduate, calling her name in the little glass booth with the organ in it. He ruins the wedding, and asks Jacqueline if she would marry him instead. But she says no, and then announces she doesn’t want to marry Burns either, and they run off onto a Senior Bus while listening to a goofy parody of Sound of Silence.
This episode is so hilarious. Yeah, there’s some good emotional stuff, because thinking about older single people living such lonely lives is really a pretty bleak and powerful topic, but this episode was definitely more on the silly side. It tackled a bit of the drama inherent in such a plot, but it was pretty clear that it was more about making a silly episode where Grandpa and Mr. Burns compete over a love, with the added goofiness of having that love be Marge’s mom. It’s full of wonderful gags and just really works on every level. Excellent work!
Take Away: Old people need love too, and can be quite lonely.
“Lady Bouvier’s Lover” was written by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein and directed by Wes Archer, 1994.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons