Season Nine has been off to a bit of a rocky start so far. We’ve had some seriously weird stuff starting off this season, and several incredibly divisive episodes. But for the next couple days at least we’ve got some great stuff. All starting with this fun little episode about Apu, a character who has really become one of my favorite secondary characters in this go-through.
The episode starts off at a venue that I’ve only ever seen in TV comedies, and I don’t think actually exists. A charity bachelor auction! This isn’t a real thing right? Eh, whatever, let’s see what kind of great bachelors Springfield has to offer! We see Krusty emceeing this auction to get the fire department a new engine, while wearing a bathrobe and being drunk off his ass on martinis. But things start to go downhill rapidly when we see the quality of men that sign up to be auctioned off. We see Barney, Moe, Hans Moleman, Comic Book Guy, Professor Frink, Otto, Disco Stu, and Captain McCallister all sent over to the Reject Booth, because no one makes even a single bid on any of them. “Yar, I’m not attractive.”
And as a result Krusty is about to shut down this horrible experiment due to lack of interest, that is until Marge has an idea. Like always. She notices Apu is sitting in the crowd, but didn’t go up, so she badgers him to put himself up for auction. He’s a little nervous at first, but starts to list all of his qualities to the women in the audience, like the fact that he has a doctorate, runs his own business, likes to cook, listen, and builds furniture. Which of course gets all the single older ladies of Springfield all riled up, and incited a bidding war. But when no one is able to agree on a winner, they pool their money to buy him. So Apu does the only logical thing and starts dating all of the women at once, having a great time for seemingly the first time in his life.
And Apu is loving it. He’s become a serious lady’s man, and seems to be having the time of his life. So of course the other shoe drops as he’s checking his mail with Homer and comes across a letter from his mother back in India. And when he opens it he’s horrified to find a dried lotus in the letter, which signifies that it’s time for his arranged marriage. Which is obviously going to put a damper on his new lothario lifestyle. So Apu does something that he really should have learned by now is a terrible idea, and asks Homer for advice. And after some thoughts, Homer decides that the best thing to do is have Apu call his mother and tell her he’s already married. So Apu goes with it, calls his mom and awkwardly tries to explain how he can’t get married, because he already has a wife. So he’s free!
That is until a couple days later when Apu’s passed out at the Kwik-E-Mart counter because he’s been staying out too late at night. And as Homer tries to scam him with lottery tickets and Yodels, something horrible happens. Apu’s mother shows up, having flown from India to meet Apu’s wife. Apu panics as she walks into the building, and Homer comes up with another brilliant idea, telling Apu that he should move into his house and pretend Marge is his wife. Because that’s the best thing to do. So Homer runs home, and promptly forgets the entire plan. That is until Apu shows up and Homer rapidly tries to explain things to Marge. She kind of gets steamrolled by Homer and Apu, and decides to just go along with it, even though Apu’s mother is instantly horrible and judgmental of Marge and her grandchildren.
While all of this is going on Homer realizes he needs to find somewhere to hide out while this ridiculous ruse is going on, so he heads over to Moe’s, but is dismayed that Moe is going to Easter Island for vacation. So heads over to the Retirement Castle, deciding to live with Abe. And luckily there’s an old man named Cornelius Talmadge who is new to the Castle, seems to be missing, and no one knows what he looks like, so Homer assumes his identity. And man does Homer love it at the Retirement Castle, using wheelchairs, getting rolled over, and eating liquefied Lays chips. That is until the real Talmadge shows up after going on a crazy bender, so Homer has to run back home.
And things aren’t going great at home. Apu’s mother continues to be awful to everyone, especially as it becomes more and more evident that this is a scam. The kids don’t even know anything about the Hindu culture, and ask her questions about her bindi. But the real issue is when she barges into the bedroom and finds Homer in bed with Marge while Apu is sleeping in a sleeping-bag on the floor. At which point Marge finally gives up, and Apu has to admit that he’s been trying to trick his mother the whole time. Which she seems oddly okay with, but then announces that that means the arranged marriage is back on!
So they begin planning Apu’s elaborate wedding, at the Simpsons house for some reason. And man do I love this interaction:
Marge: ““I’m still short a tandori oven, an elephant, and four castrati.”
Bart: “What’s a castrati?”
Marge: “I’m not sure, but I’m sure it’s spicy.”
So great. But we jump right to the day of the wedding as the Simpsons do their best to prepare an authentic Hindu wedding in their back yard. Bart’s ripping up bible pages to make a fire sacred, they dress up in traditional outfits, they get Reverend Lovejoy ready to officiate, and pass out flowers to all the random townsfolk who show up along with the Indian guests. And once everyone is there Apu shows up, on an elephant, like a badass, and heads up to await his fate. But, much to Apu’s shock, it turns out Manjula is gorgeous, and actually has a pretty compatible personality with his. They briefly chat at the altar, trying to figure out how they will fit together. And they decide to give it a go, since they could always get a divorce if it doesn’t work out. They get married and have a cute dance to a cover of “Close To You,” in Hindi, which was adorable, and it leaves their relationship in a pretty good place.
I really like this episode. Apu has really started to be one of my favorite character, and I’ve really enjoyed all of the episodes that have given us some insight into him. Plus, I find the whole idea of arranged marriages to be fascinating. I personally wouldn’t be down with that, but I’ve also grown up in America where the whole concept seems ridiculous. I’ve watched documentaries about the subject, and while I wouldn’t want to participate, it seems to work well for people, so hey, more power to them. Plus, Indian weddings are bonkers. A friend of mine’s family if Pakistani, and his sister’s wedding was a three day affair that was a complete celebration. I really liked my wedding, but I didn’t have a goddamn elephant! Plus I really like that Apu was worried about an arranged marriage, and still is concerned even after he sees that Manjula is beautiful. It isn’t until he realizes that she’s witty and sweet that he decides to give it a shot. From what I remember Apu and Manjula stay together, and I think they did a great job at showing the two start to fall for each other, and not make it cheesy like it was love at first site or something.
Take Away: Don’t lie about fake marriages.
“The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons” was written by Richard Appel and directed by Steven Dean Moore, 1997.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons