Hey everyone, remember when SUV’s were big news that people were freaking out about? Well here’s a whole episode about that!
Things start off at the Elementary School where some baffling faculty talent show called That’s Edu-Tainment is happening. I’m really not sure what the hell is going on with this. Did anyone else have anything like this? Anyway, we see the faculty sing and dance, Willie do bagpipe stand-up comedy, Edna do some sort of balloon burlesque show, and Skinner and Chalmers fail at an Abbott and Costello routine. Which results in the entire audience fleeing in horror and intermission, desperate to escape.
And because Homer is too busy eating junk food he bought at the concession stand, he tells Marge that she has to drive them home. Which quickly is revealed to have been a bad call, because Marge is the most passive driver of all time, and it takes forever for them to get out of the parking lot. They even see Krusty get so pissed off that he just drives through the playground in his badass Canyonero SUV. Which gets Homer excited. So the next day Homer heads down the Canyonero lot, and ends up buying one, even though he doesn’t get it from poor old Gil.
Homer’s pretty proud of his new purchase, even though the salesman screwed him over and added all kinds of unnecessary things onto it, and gave him a terrible interest rate. But who cares, it’s time to show the truck off to his coworkers. Unfortunately Homer apparently accidentally bought something called the F-Series, which is a Canyonero specifically made for soccer moms, which leads to Lenny and Carl mocking him for driving a “girl’s car.” And since Homer is an idiot, he lets this really drive him crazy, and refuses to drive the Canyonero anymore, leaving it for Marge.
Marge isn’t really into the car, feeling like it’s too big and ostentatious for her, but since she’s left with no alternative, she decides to give it a shot. So she and the kids pile in and head out the grocery store. And while at first Marge though that the car was stupid and full of useless gimmicks, she quickly becomes a convert, starting to love it’s space and usefulness. But when they run into traffic she really start to appreciate the car’s power, because she ends up just driving through a field to get home, shouting “out of my way nature!” which I feel like could basically work in any car commercial.
We’re then treated to a hilariously weird little scene where Lisa walks in on Bart wearing an entire chicken as pants while declaring himself Baron von Chickenpants. Which doesn’t really have anything to do with anything, other than establishing that Marge has started to care more about the car than anything going on in the house. She’s too busy hooking up some crazy halogen headlights to the car to care about Bart’s desecration of their dinner, or Homer finding a peanut with three chambers. But it’s not just a love for the car that starts to foster, because she’s also getting some serious road-rage. She starts flying around the streets of Springfield, passing everyone and getting more and more mad, until she finally cuts off a funeral procession, and gets pulled over by Chief Wiggum.
As a results she has to go to traffic school and go through a day-long seminar about road rage with some other lunatics. But as with most things in Springfield, the seminar isn’t that good. It’s mainly watching film strips, which is sad because this is the first time that we aren’t getting Troy McClure as our host. Although it does feature an example of road rage as an astronaut waving a golf-club over his head while screaming, and the advice to “keep your murderous rage at home, where it belongs.” They also get to wail on Eddie, whose dressed as a bear, with two-by-fours for most of the day, which I guess is neat.
However, at the end of the day all of the previously insane road-ragers are now completely domesticated, and are too timid and polite to actually leave the station. Which ends up pissing Marge off so much that she breaks through the conditioning, and returns to her ways, leading to an accident that ends up freeing some prisoners from the jail, and getting her license revoked.
And the third act of the episode starts up with Homer and the kids heading off to some sort of wildlife sanctuary, without Marge, since she thinks Homer drives like an old lady, and can’t stand to be in a car with him anymore. So she stays at home while her family goes and looks at a bunch of boring sleeping animals. And in classic Homer fashion, he gets frustrated at the animal’s lack of peppiness, and throws a rock at a lemur, which causes a crazy chain reaction that ends up with the pack of rhinos in the sanctuary going insane, and stampeding out of their pen.
The police arrive, and are unable to do anything to stop the rhinos, so for some reason that I didn’t quite understand other than the plot needs it to happen, they go to Marge and ask her to help. They think that her driving will somehow corral the rhinos, but Marge isn’t really interested in helping, until she learns that Homer and the kids are the only people still trapped in the sanctuary. So she hops in the Canyonero, and drives out to the sanctuary, and manages to corral the rhinos back into their pen. All except one, who ends up attacking Homer, and dragging him through the town before ending up in a construction yard. He gets stuck in a porta-potty and prepares for death as the rhino begins to charge, but Marge is able to swing into action and saves the day. She manages to cause the Canyonero to roll and light on fire, giving the rhino a distraction that the sanctuary people use to capture it. And the episode ends with Marge’s source of road-rage destroyed and everyone having a weird monologue praising the works of Stone Phillips and Dateline.
I’m not sure what it is about this episode, but it’s one of those that just don’t leave practically any impact on me. This is one of those crazy episodes that I barely remember, and honestly had to use my notes for way more than most episodes. Usually I check back on the notes once or twice, making sure I didn’t miss anything important, but this episode I was checking back constantly, because I just couldn’t remember what the hell happened in it, even though I had just seen it. It’s weird, because I’m usually all for Marge episodes that don’t revolve around her being mad at the family or Homer specifically, for being shitty to her, but this one just feels like a blackhole of interest to me. Maybe it’s because the whole premise revolving around how crazy and evil SUV’s are, which feels super 1999 to me.
Take Away: Road rage is bad, and you should leave your murderous rage at home, where it belongs.
“Marge Simpson in: “Screaming Yellow Honkers”” was written by David M Stern and directed by Mark Kirkland, 1999.