Lifetime of Simpsons

S06 E23 – The Springfield Connection

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Well here’s another entry into the odd sub-genre of episodes that basically revolve around “What if Marge got a job?” And this is a particularly goofy one.

The episode starts off with Marge and Homer on a romantic date to an outdoor symphony, which seems a little too classy for Springfield. But they’re playing the score to Star Wars, so maybe that explains it. I love seeing stuff like that done by the symphony. The Colorado Symphony does these crazy shows where they play all kinds of geeky music, and I love being in a classy symphony hall listening to silly things while the audience is dressed like they’re going to Comic-Con. But anyway, I love that they’re listening to Star Wars, and that Homer is being all judgmental about them butchering a classic. And once the show is over Homer and Marge head home and have to cut through a bad neighborhood. Homer starts to explain how to Marge about how to deal with the ghetto, and then quickly gets scammed by Snake’s Three-Card-Monte game. Homer of course loses, and Marge catches the scam. She confronts Snake about it, and he bolts away. And in a shocking display of courage, Marge decides to chase after Snake. She manages to confront him in an alleyway, and when he pulls a knife on her, she knocks him out with a trashcan lid. Marge is a hero!

So Marge and Homer head home and Marge finds that she kind of loved the thrill of chasing Snake. She tries to ignore that thrill at first, but when Bart and Lisa start making a huge deal about it while asking her to explain every detail she starts to just give into it. Unfortunately her life doesn’t have a lot of thrills in it, and celery soup is not cutting it. So she starts trying to find little things to excite her, like riding on the shopping cart, rolling under the garage door before it closes, or looking at the Death Sports category of the magazine rack. But she can’t find the same thrill, so she decides to go to the source, and heads to the police station to ask for a job. When she asks the different officers while they eat pizza, they just laugh at her for a while, but then end up just giving her the information on how to join the police academy.

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And with that knowledge Marge heads out to the police academy, and learns that it’s kind of a mess. There’s some crazy dude who only cares about having a gun, and Chief Wiggum just seems like a terrible teacher. And the sad thing is that Marge knocks all the tests out of the park, but Wiggum is just kind of incompetent. She dominates the obstacle course while avoiding the door in the wall, she only shoots the targets shaped like the criminals and avoids that babies and old ladies, and she goes on a crazy action scene car-chase only to find Wiggum wasn’t even looking. But apparently she did good enough to pass, so Marge is a cop now!

Right away we see that Bart and Lisa find having their mom be a cop while Homer is super intimidated by it and gets whiny. But that stuff doesn’t come up again for a while, because we get a lot of great scenes of Marge being a cop in Springfield. Wiggum has her walk the worst beat in town, with no partner apparently, and she shockingly doesn’t run into that bad of stuff there, unless the rest of these scenes are in “Junkytown.” She goes to the Kwik-E-Mart where Apu assumes she needs a bribe, and we get the great gag of Mr. Burns just stealing the bribe money while neither of them notices, because he apparently needs more money. She then is on an episode of COPs where she stops a domestic disturbance between Principal Skinner and Agnes, which is hilarious.

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But then we start to see some of the downsides of Marge being a cop. She makes Bart wear ridiculous pads when he skateboards, which makes the bullies beat him up even more. She also starts to lose friends, since the ladies (and Moe) at the beauty parlor don’t really want to gossip around her anymore. Homer is also taking advantage of her being a cop, and plays a horrible joke on Flanders by surrounding his house in police caution tape, as if something awful had happened to his family. And just like that, Homer switches his opinions about Marge being a cop, and he starts to love it. He has Lenny, Carl, Moe, Barney, and oddly Herman over to play poker and smoke Cuban cigars while Homer talks about running background checks on all of them. But then Marge comes home and scares everyone off, harshing Homer’s good mood.

And things really escalate with Homer and Marge when Marge is out doing her beat, being depressed about everyone in Springfield committing crimes wantonly. And like a cherry on the top of the sundae, she sees Homer parking across three handicapped parking spaces while trying to buy beer for Jimbo, Dolph, and Kearney. Marge explains that that’s not okay, and Homer starts to belittle her and act like a child, saying that she’s not a real cop. This pisses Marge off, and once Homer steals her hat to tease her, she ends up slapping some cuffs on him and arresting him.

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This is obviously going to be a point on contention in their marriage, even though Homer is only in jail long enough to eat Hans Moleman’s last meal, because Moleman is apparently being executed. And as soon as they get home Homer starts acting all shitty to Marge, and seemingly to spite her, he starts up another poker game almost immediately. The same gang shows up to play poker while Moe makes fun of Homer for calling his car-hold a garage, and we notice Herman acting suspicious. Herman heads into the garage for “fresh-air,” and we learn that he’s actually running a counterfeit jeans operation from Homer’s garage. And when Homer comes to check on Herman, he catches the crime, and Herman takes him hostage. Marge shows up, I guess having figured out that Herman was running a smuggling ring out of her garage, and tries to save Homer.

Herman drags him out into the backyard, and ends up bringing Homer into Bart’s treehouse. And Marge saves the day by going up a secret trapdoor in the treehouse to get the jump on Herman. Herman tries to escape with a zipline, but crashes into the ground and ends up getting arrested when the rest of the police show up. And wouldn’t you know it, the Springfield police force are corrupt and they end up just stealing all the jeans, getting rid of the evidence. This is the last straw for Marge, and she just quits the force, returning things to the status quo. And the episode ends with the hilarious notion that the poker crew had just been sitting in the kitchen, oblivious to the fact that a goddamn action movie was happening outside.

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This is such a silly and fun episode. I really like the idea of Marge realizing that there’s nothing exciting in her life, and finding anything to make it better. Becoming a cop is a little extreme of an option, but hey, it worked for her. And it’s so great that Marge becomes the only competent cop in Springfield. She’s the only one who actually gives a damn about anything, and the sheer fact that no one else in Springfield care about the law just ends up breaking her. Oh, and what a genius move to have Herman be the sketchy counterfeit jeans smuggler. Perfect casting.

Take Away: Being a cop is hard, and the system is super corrupt and broken. Oh, and don’t play 3 card monte games, they’re scams.

 

“The Springfield Connection” was written by Jonathan Colier and directed by Mark Kirkland, 1995.

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