Lifetime of Simpsons

S07 E19 – A Fish Called Selma

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Guess what everybody; it’s a whole episode about Troy McClure! I really love this episode, but it kind of blew my mind that this was the first episode that Troy McClure actually interacted with the Simpsons. He’s in the show so many times, but before this I feel like the closest they ever got to him was Krusty’s fake funeral a few episodes ago in “Bart the Fink.” So buckle up and get ready for some Troy McClure goodness.

Things start off with the family watching a terrible Muppet movie on TV called “Muppets go Medieval,” that seems to feature Troy McClure as the human that’s seducing Miss Piggy. And the kids have lots of questions, first and foremost what a Muppet was, which is explained by Homer as “Well, it’s not quite a mop, it’s not quite a puppet, but man… [laughing hysterically] to answer your question I don’t know.” I also love that Bart thinks that Troy McClure is a Muppet made out of leather, even though he’s seen the dude in a million things. We’re then introduced to the weirdest gag from the episode when Homer talks to Marge about the weird rumors that surround McClure about his fish fetish. A joke which is super funny and strange, but gets hammered into the ground by the end of the episode.

But when the joke is still funny we cut right over to Troy driving his DeLorean with its “Follow me to the Springfield Aquarium” bumper sticker. He’s swerving all over the road, and ends up getting pulled over by Chief Wiggum, who doesn’t recognize him from any terrible movies. And when Wiggum checks his license he finds that McClure is supposed to be wearing corrective lenses, which he hates because they make him look like a nerd. But Wiggum demands he goes to the DMV to pass an eye-test after giving him a bribe. So Troy heads over to the DMV, and runs right into Selma, who freaks out since Troy used to be such a hearththrob. And taking advantage of that fact, Troy manages to talk Selma into passing his eye-test in exchange for a date. So the two head to the Pimento Grove for a truly horrible date where Troy couldn’t be more bored and Selma is just gushing like a fan-girl. But things change when the date ends and they head outside where some lingering paparazzi see McClure with a human female, and freak out. Troy then realizes that this could be a good thing, and milks his kiss with Selma for a primo photo that ends up on some gossip page along with a hilarious headline of “Look who’s drunk,” with a smashed Ranier Wolfcastle.

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The next day we cut over to Troy’s sad mansion, which looks kind of like the Deaton Sculpted House outside Denver, complete with a bedroom aquarium, and he gets a call from his agent, MacArthur Parker, who has good news. That picture gave him some good buzz, and there are now actually some people who have interest in casting him in things, so Parker recommends that he keeps dating Selma, and keep getting his picture taken. So Troy and Selma begin dating, which hits a speed-bump right away when Selma gets kicked out of a fancy restaurant for smoking, but it’s kind of saved when Troy comes outside with her to smoke his cigar, which was actually kind of a sweet gesture. And things start moving a little fast when Troy later invites her to a special screening of “Muppets go Medieval” at a dingy drive-in theater, where he ends up proposing to Selma by using his dialogue that went with Miss Piggy. Selma’s getting married again!

So Selma moves into Troy’s creepy house, where he sleeps in a guest room rather than with her, and right away his career is starting to revitalize. Parker calls him and gets him a job as the lead in a new musical based on Planet of the Apes, which has the amazing title of “Stop the Planet of the Apes, I want to Get off!” We’re then treated to the truly crazy Apes musical which features a parody of “Rock Me Amadeaus” that’s about Dr. Zaius. There’s also the truly wonderful line from Homer “I love the legitimate theater,” which I saw after every live theater I see. And the play is a success! Troy’s star is on the rise.

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But at this point, when the Simpsons are over visiting Selma and Troy, Selma starts to get really shitty about the whole thing, making fun of Marge and Homer’s marriage, and just generally gloating about being with Troy. And at some point after that we see Homer and Troy drinking together and Moe’s while Homer tries to pitch Dracula movies. But after Homer is done with terrible movie ideas, Troy drunkenly tells him the truth about everything, that the marriage is a sham and that he doesn’t actually even like Selma. Unfortunately the next scene is the wedding, and when Lovejoy asks if there’s anyone with reason to not let the wedding go through, Homer is too busy singing in his head, and isn’t able to impart that important knowledge. So Selma and Troy get married and drive off into marital bliss.

And later that night Homer and Marge are chatting in bed when Homer finally remembers the thing Troy told him, which freaks Marge out. And as we know by now, Marge isn’t one to let something like this go by without being meddled in. But while that’s going on we cut over to the hotel that Selma and Troy are in for their wedding night, where Troy gets a call from Parker, who has some big news. There’s a new McBain movie coming out, and people say they want McClure to be the sidekick, so they’re going to have to kick things up a notch.

There’s a slight wrinkle though when Patty and Marge have an intervention for Selma, and tell her that Troy just married her for the fish rumors. She gets furious at them, and storm out, and heads straight to the house to ask Troy about what they said. But shockingly Troy just openly admits that it’s true, and ends up actually convincing her that it’s okay and for the best. So they decide to stick together and live a lie, and enjoy the results.

And with them both on board, Troy’s career starts to get even better. We see him getting Buster Keaton’s spot on the Springfield Walk to Fame, even threatening that Selma will get a star soon too. And while all of that’s going on the hunt for McBain’s sidekick is heating up, and Parker tells Troy that the only way to get the role is to be a family man, and have a son. So he and Selma talk it over, and they decide to have a baby, despite the fact that Troy is repulsed by sex with her, and doesn’t even seem to know how to do it. And during the awkward night when they try to conceive, Selma finally gives up, and tells Troy that she’s fine living in a loveless marriage, but that it’s too cruel to bring a child into a loveless marriage. So she calls the agreement and the marriage off, and heads off into the night with Jub Jub. The episode then ends with the hilarious revelation that McClure turned down the McBain role to make his own kids movie, “the Contrabulous Fabtraption of Professor Horatio Hufnagel,” which is going to be a sure fire hit.

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I really enjoyed this episode, even though the whole fish fetish thing got carried way too far. It was a funny gag at the beginning, but man did I not remember that they mentioned it every couple minutes. Plus, for being an episode about Troy McClure, they didn’t come up with that many great fake movie titles, except “They Came to Burgle Carnegie Hall.” But there’s a lot of great jokes in this episode, and I really like the premise of McClure having a fake marriage to get his career back on track, at the expense of poor Selma. But the true shining moment of the episode is that ending. I’ve mentioned this before, but Selma isn’t really my favorite character, and in episodes that aren’t about her, she’s usually horrible. But that ending is so sad and affecting that it really moves Selma up a couple pegs in my book. She gives up a life of fame, money, and luxury because she doesn’t want a child to grow up in a loveless house, which is a really brave thing that a lot of people don’t go with. There are plenty of people who bring kids into loveless homes that don’t even have the wealth and luxury to fall back on. It’s just a really emotional and powerful ending that really made this episode work.

Take Away: Don’t have sham marriages, and maybe think twice about bringing kids into loveless marriages.

 

“A Fish Called Selma,” was written by Jack Barth and directed by Mark Kirkland, 1996.

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