Lifetime of Simpsons

S09 E16 – Dumbbell Indemnity

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Well last week we got to see Apu’s quest for love, and that turned out pretty good, so who else should be set up? Otto? Nah, he’s later. Principal Skinner? Oh right, he’s still with Edna. Well, then to quote Wednesday’s episode, “Let’s say…Moe.”

The episode starts off with Bart and Lisa bored and playing a game they call a “Texas Snowball Fight” which involves them whipping scoops of ice cream at each other. But Homer puts a stop to that, and decides it’s better to endanger his children by smashing their busted water heater with a pipe until it explodes. Homer then lees the scene of the crime as the water heater starts blasting water all through the house until it’s pouring out the chimney like a waterfall. He runs right past Marge and runs off to Moe’s to hide. But as Homer gives Marge a toast of appreciation at the bar, Moe get’s all defensive and angry, explaining that he hasn’t had a date in four years and is just a little touchy.

So Homer decides that the only thing Moe needs is to take him on as a wing-man. Because the perfect wing-man is a guy whose been married for ten years and has three kids. But whatever, they head out to Disco Stu’s and Moe start doing his best to flirt with women. And it goes as well as you would think. The best he does is carrying on a short conversation with a woman trying to hock Bacardi. So Moe gets frustrated and leaves, realizing he’s destined to die alone. But as he’s loudly explaining his horrible situation, he comes across a kindly woman named Renee who’s selling flowers at a little cart on the sidewalk. The two get to talking, and after Moe successfully charms Renee by calling her gorgeous, and Renee ends up agreeing to go out on a date with Moe. So they plan on going to get a steak the size “of a toilet seat.”

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We then get a montage of Moe and Renee going out on dates which typically ends with Moe getting horrible harmed, but they’re starting to fall for each other. They even double date with Homer and Marge at the Gilded Truffle, where Moe asks for their most expensive food stuffed with their second most expensive food. Which results in lobsters stuffed with tacos. Marge is obviously confused about why Renee is dating Moe, and she explains that while it started out as pity, she’s actually grown quite fond of Moe. That and the fact that Moe is apparently spending a crazy amount of money on her, lavishing her with expensive dates and gifts. Which really becomes and issue when Moe finds out that his cards are completely maxed on.

Moe understandably freaks out at this point, and tries calling in everyone’s tabs. Which logically sends everyone running for the hills. And since Moe is out of ideas, he does what everyone on the show does despite it never working out, and asks Homer for advice. Which doesn’t go great, but while Moe is spit-balling he realizes that his shitty car is insured for $5,000 and he comes up with a plan to have Homer steal Moe’s car, crash it on the train-tracks, and have Moe collect the insurance money.

So a couple nights later Homer is awkwardly eating dinner while dressed like a robber, and leaves to “commit certain deeds,” and heads off to steal Moe’s car. And to perfect the alibi Moe and Renee are going on some sort of police charity cruise, and Moe makes sure that Chief Wiggum sees Moe’s awesome park job to establish the location of it. And as the cruise heads out, Homer shows up and stops Snake from stealing the car so he can take it. Homer heads off to the train tracks, but get sidetracked when he passes a drive-in theater playing some movie called “Hail to the Chimp” that’s about a monkey president. He sits and watches the whole thing, missing his chance with the train. Homer tries to chase it down, but realizes that he screwed up, and decides he has to come up with his own plan. So he drives to a cliff and intends to drive the car off, bailing at the last second. Unfortunately the cliff is right next to the police cruise, and they see the whole thing, even when Homer accidentally rolls back in the car. So when he finally comes up for air, the police arrest him, since they’re massive amounts of evidence against him.

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Homer is then arrested and brought to jail, where we get an amazing line from Chief Wiggum, “fingerprints are just like snowflakes. They’re both very pretty.” But it looks like Homer’s screwed. The family come to visit him, and he tries to explain that he stole Moe’s car for a good reason, but no one is believing him. And when Moe shows up, it turns out he doesn’t intend to bail Homer out, since that could get him arrested for insurance fraud. But Moe starts to feel guilty, and decides to do the right thing. He goes to get Homer’s bail money with the intentions of then turning himself in. But that plan gets derailed when he and Renee see a sign at a travel agency for Hawaii, and they decide to do that instead, leaving Homer to rot. “Hawaii? What about Hawaii? Moe? Who’s going to Hawaii? Am I going to Hawaii?”

But it turns out Moe does actually have a conscience, because as he’s packing for his trip he start to see a ghost of Homer complaining about how Moe screwed him over. And it finally gets to Moe enough that he spills the beans to Renee, and explains the whole thing. Meanwhile, Moleman is working at the prison giving out books to the prisoners. He comes into Homer’s cell, and hands him a book called “How To Tunnel Out of Prison,” which gives Homer a great idea. He smashes Moleman over the head with the book and escapes with the cart. And as Homer’s genius escape is hatching, we see that Renee is pretty horrified at what Moe did, but fully supports him going clean. That is until Moe starts to plan an even more elaborate scheme involving faking his and her death. Which is the last straw for Renee, who ends up leaving Moe just as he begins burning down the bar. But as Moe is realizing that he’s in over his head with the fire, Homer shows up and the two start brawling. Which ends pretty quickly as they get overpowered by the smoke and faint. Luckily though, Barney was in the bathroom, and he springs to the rescue, saving two kegs of beer, then Homer and Moe in a joke that used to crack my grandpa the hell up when we would watch the episode with him. So Homer and Moe come to outside on the sidewalk, and make up, deciding that they’ll remain bros before hoes.

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I never noticed that there’s practically a whole sub-genre of Simpsons episodes that are basically “Secondary character tries to fall in love.” And they’re actually pretty great. It’s an interesting look into the lives of the secondary characters, which is something that I always love, and I thought it was a lot of fun to get a peak into the twisted psyche of Moe. Although I’m not quite sure what to think of Renee. Because I can’t quite tell if it’s her idea or not that Moe spends all of his money on her. Like, I don’t think she’s a golddigger or anything, because she bails at the end when he starts coming up with his crazy fake-murder plot, but she also doesn’t stop him from spending so much on her. I just can’t tell if we’re supposed to like Renee or not. Maybe that’s irrelevant, and we’re just supposed to lose respect for Moe. It’s also just kind of sad that most of these types of episodes lead to either solid long-term relationships or even marriages, and Moe just loses Renee. No love for Moe. Other than the love of his best friend I guess.

Take Away: Don’t commit insurance fraud for a woman. And if you do, at least bail your friend out.

“Dumbbell Indemnity” was written by Ron Hauge and directed by Dominic Polcino, 1998.

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