Our week of mediocre episodes continues! Who doesn’t want to watch an episode where the men of Springfield start to bitterly hate Apu because he’s doing decent things for his wife and making them look bad?
The story starts off with another example of Homer’s wonderful parenting as he regales Lisa with a charming fairy tale before bed that’s obviously a thinly veiled allegory of him peeing in the alley behind Moe’s. And things aren’t going well in the other room, because right as Bart’s going to sleep he drops a bombshell on Marge that he’s supposed to have a working model of the digestive system done by the next morning. Marge temporarily says that he’s just going to have to deal with the failure, but ends up caving and agreeing to make the whole model herself that night. Which is ridiculous, because I don’t think I could make such a thing as a grown-ass man, how the hell did Mrs. Krabappel think a 10 year old could?
Whatever, I don’t need to think too much about Krabappel’s syllabus, let’s see how Marge deals with the assignment. She somehow has to create a complicated model and it’s the middle of the night, so she logically has to go to the Kwik-E-Mart, which is conveniently open. She has a late-night chat with Apu, stunned that he’s always open, and the two agree that they should have a double-date. Apu makes the valid point that the Simpsons hosted his wedding, so it should be his turn to entertain them, so they make a date.
And after a full night of working, Marge is somehow able to make the model just in time for Bart to head into school the next morning. Unfortunately the digestive system thing was just a red herring of a plot, and as soon as Bart gets on the bus, Nelson sabotages it and breaks it, making Marge’s night of frantic work worthless. But it doesn’t matter, because this isn’t an episode about digestive systems, it’s about Apu and Manjula’s marriage!
So we cut over to Apu and Manjula’s apartment as they get ready for the Simpsons to arrive. Homer and Marge make small-talk with the other couple for a while before sitting down to what sounds like the blandest Indian dinner of all time. I love Indian food, but all they’re eating is apparently chickpeas, lentils, and rice, the most boring Indian food. Although it does lead to the hilarious “prayer” of “good rice, good curry, good Gandhi let’s hurry.” However, the evening takes a dark turn when the subject of work comes up. Apparently Apu has been lying to his wife the entirety of their marriage, saying that America has an 18 hour work day, and no weekends. And when Marge explains that that’s not true, Manjula flips her lid, leading to a massive fight that the Simpsons kind of awkwardly walk out on.
At some point in the future we see Homer riffling through the terrible cards the Kwik-E-Mart has to offer for the upcoming Valentine’s Day, trying to find something for Marge. And when he finds one with a bad pun and some monkeys, he heads up to the register to pay and chat with Apu. Turns out Apu is still in a lot of hot water. However when he realizes that the approaching holiday may be a good excuse to show Manjula how much he loves her, and get her off his back. So Apu posts a poem in the newspaper, declaring to the entire town that he’s going to shower his wife with seven days of extravagant gifts.
Which starts to have some unanticipated consequences pretty quickly, as demonstrated when Manjula and Marge are randomly playing badminton. Because while covering their bed in wildflowers and training a parrot to sing songs is cool to Manjula, it’s making Marge super jealous. She talks to Homer that night in bed about this envy, and how she never gets romanced anymore, while Homer is hilariously just reading the back of a Krusty Flakes box.
And Marge isn’t the only woman in Springfield to start feeling a little jealous. Basically every woman in town is starting to get pissed at the men in their lives, and how shoddily they’re treating them. So the men decide to do something, and have a meeting in Moe’s to discuss what needs to be done. And instead of taking Apu’s goal to heart, and coming up with acts of love on their own, they decide that Apu is the enemy, and that the have to destroy his final day of love, in the hopes that that will somehow make them look better.
So a task force of Homer, Moe, Ned, Dr. Hibbert, and Chief Wiggum start following Apu around on Valentine’s Day, trying to figure out what his last act is going to be. But they start to get frustrated when it turns out Apu is just doing some errands first. He goes to Tiffany’s and buys some breakfast instead of jewelery and goes to a dock and delivers porno to sailors instead of buying a boat. Which starts to piss off the men, until they can’t take it anymore, and throw Ned out of the car for thinking that maybe they’re wasting time that could be spent being better partners.
However, things finally start to come together when they see Apu approach the airport. They briefly lose Apu, and when they notice Elton John making an emergency landing in the Springfield airport, they assume that Apu has somehow hired the singer to play a private concert. So they go talk to Sir Elton, and end up making him get in a dog kennel to sabotage Apu’s plan. But when it becomes apparent that Apu has a totally different plan, hiring a skywriter, they just leave Elton alone, and go ruin that.
Apu gives his message to Fantastic Dan, who lifts off to write it in the clouds. But Homer is able to jump aboard the plane at the last minute, and gets to work ruining it. He and Dan tussle in the plane, while Homer keeps trying to destroy the canister. And Homer’s destruction of the canister leads to the message reading “I LOVE YOU” and then a blob, that all the women in Springfield read into to fit their own ideas, thinking that their men wrote it. Except Marge, she lives in reality. And while Apu and Elton John chat about the crazy skywriting incident, Fantastic Dan gets to work trying to kill Homer, and ends up dragging him through a whole rose field, before dumping him in the Simpson’s backyard. Which ends up looking romantic, earning Homer some points. So everyone is happy! And the episode ends with Elton John performing a special concert for Apu and Manjula in their weird rooftop garden.
I don’t know, I guess this episode is okay. There are some good jokes in it, and some great animation, like the hilarious scene when Homer is busy reading the Kama Sutra while driving, but overall I think the premise just didn’t click with me. After hours of following Apu around, Ned finally acts like a voice of reason, and explains that the men are just being stupid and stubborn, and that they should just love their wives. Which the other men respond by beating him up and throwing him out of a moving car. And that’s just kind of the tone of the whole episode. It treats romance as a weird obligation that men have to get out of the way. And I feel like that’s not an idea that the show would usually have. It’s certainly not something I agree with. It’s just a weird episode with some strange morals in it, that just didn’t really sit well with me on this go-around.
Take Away: Be romantic with your partner, and don’t treat it like an obligation that needs to be checked off.
“I’m with Cupid” was written by Dan Greaney and directed by Bob Anderson, 1999.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons