Hey everybody, well let’s get to a really monumental episode. The episode itself is just kind of okay, and while it features the first appearances of two characters that have had long lives on the show, it’s probably best known for something pretty depressing. This was the last episode Phil Hartman did Lionel Hutz, so yeah. Bummer. Let’s watch Marge sell a house.
The episode starts off with the hilarious gag of Homer enjoying a lazy Saturday, only to find out its Tuesday. But when it’s time for his real Saturday, Homer eagerly awaits doing absolutely nothing. Unfortunately Marge is super bored and antsy, and wants to go do something, even though Homer complains that he just wants to sit on his ass. A couple of months ago my wife had a seizure, and hasn’t been able to drive, so she’s been kind of confined to the house while I go do my job, so that scene of Marge desperately wanting to get out of the house while Homer just wants to be a bum is very familiar. So Marge tries to come up with something to do, like go to an azalea festival, but Homer has excuses to not go to them all, like how he and Lenny already went to that festival together. So Homer decides to take his wife out for a fancy day together. So they logically go to a police auction.
So Marge kind of wanders around the auction, mad that this was Homer’s best idea, while Homer shockingly buys something. A badass hotrod named Lil’ Bandit that was previously owned by Snake, who is watching from his cell, getting increasingly pissed off. And once the auction is over Homer starts racing home in the car, which is really getting Marge upset. Especially since he starts driving like a stunt-driver, popping up on two wheels. So Marge tells Homer that she won’t drive with him if he drives like a maniac, so he drops her off on the side of the road and races away. Marge then begins walking home before running into Lionel Hutz, who is now a realtor. And man do I love his realtor slogan, “if you lived here you’d be home by now.” Hutz really sells how great it is to be a real estate agent, and Marge decides that that’s something she wants to do. Because it’s not like the last time she tried to get a job ended in a mob war or anything.
Marge then starts studying for her license exam, while Bart and Lisa help her. They even roleplay as a couple, giving Marge hard questions to try and demonstrate her knowledge. They also help her make little songs to remember all the obnoxious questions she needs to be able to regurgitate for the exam. And after a couple days of research, she heads in to take her exam, humming the whole time, and passes with flying colors! So she goes home to celebrate with the family, and then immediately heads over to Red Blazer Realty, the realty business that Lionel Hutz works at. And that’s when the episode starts referencing Glengarry, Glenn, Ross like crazy.
Marge starts working at the realty firm, meeting all her crazy co-workers. Besides Lionel Hutz we have Cookie Kwan, Gil Gunderson (who is the best) and some random dude who didn’t get popular. And after mingling with the coworkers, Marge heads out to start working. Unfortunately, it turns out Marge is shockingly honest, and that’s not exactly giving her a lot of business. She straight up tells everyone she shows houses too about all the faults in the house, even convincing Dr. Hibbert that he doesn’t even need to move in the first place.
Meanwhile, the Homer B-Plot continues to be super goofy, with him driving around in Lil’ Bandit like an idiot. He tries to drag-race with Principal Skinner, and ends up earning even more ire from Snake, who can tell he’s not using premium fuel. So he decides to the do the only thing he can, and easily escape prison to hunt Homer down. But before that plot gets even crazier, we see that Lionel Hutz has been teaching Marge how to lie. They sit down with some book with all of the houses their agency are representing, while he tells her how to lie about them. And she’s not doing well. Although she does see that they have some house that some grisly “jockey” murders happened in, and Hutz lets her know that she’ll never be able to sell that one. He also lets her know that if she doesn’t sell a house in her first week, she’s fired. So no pressure.
And with that knowledge, Marge begins pounding the pavement; taking the Flanders’ around town looking at all the terrible houses she’s learned about. She does her best to lie about them, and Ned is more than happy to buy any terrible house she shows them, but she keeps letting her conscience get the better of her and tell them the truth. That is until they pass by the murder house. The Flanders’ apparently don’t know about the house and just love it. Ned even hands Marge a check for the deposit. And after briefly thinking about telling them the truth, she decides not to and save her job.
Meanwhile the Homer plot has become a Loony Tunes cartoon, where Snake is stringing up razor wire on a road in the hope that Homer will cut his head off. But luckily Homer ducks for no reason, and survives. Although Kirk Van Houten’s arm isn’t as lucky. And around the same time the Flanders move out of their old house and head into the murder house, while Marge is getting increasingly paranoid and guilty about not telling them the truth. And after a little bit she decides she can’t do it anymore, and heads to the murder house to tell them the truth. And while she does that, Snake and Homer start fighting atop Lil’ Bandit, having an insane car chase.
Marge makes it to the murder house, and is initially horrified to find the Flanders family laying in the living room, covered in red. But it turns out they’ve just been painting Todd’s room red, and still don’t realize where they’re living. So Marge finally lets the cat out of the bag, and tells them the grisly history of their home. And shockingly they’re pretty cool with it. Ned’s actually excited to own a piece of Springfield history. Marge is pretty stunned that they’re still on board with the purchase, but is glad that that means she still has a job. That is until Homer, Snake, and Chief Wiggum come smashing in through the wall, ending their car-chase and destroying the house. So Marge gives back the check, loses her job, and heads off to the unemployment office to get a check with George Bush!
This episode is okay. That whole subgenre of episodes that are basically “Marge gets a job! And it doesn’t go well!” don’t really do much for me, but this is one of the better ones. I thought it was so in character that she’s too honest to be a real estate agent, and it was hilarious to see her deal with her crazy co-workers, especially poor old Gil. And even though it’s incredibly stupid, I really like the Homer/Snake B-plot. And I think the whole “jockey murder” thing is hilarious vague, where we learn just enough for it to sound insane, but not enough to actually have any idea what actually happened. But put all together, the episode just doesn’t really click for me. I’m not sure why. Maybe just the mood I was in. Who knows. Or perhaps it’s the fact that this is out last Lionel Hutzepisode. That fact really bummed me out. We still have a few more Troy McClure appearances, and that’s great, but man do I love Lionel Hutz. And now he’s gone. It’s a real bummer guys. Sorry to end this one on a downer.
Take Away: Phil Hartman was the man. And honesty in the real estate game is a real hindrance.
“Realty Bites” was written by Dan Greany and directed by Swinton O Scott III, 1997.