Lifetime of Simpsons

S11 E21 – It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge

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So far this week’s been…rough. It hasn’t been as bleak as Bummer Week was, but the episode have been pretty bottom of the barrel. Which has sadly been a running theme with Season Eleven. And sadly we aren’t really going to get much better with this one.

The story starts off with the fourth graders being introduced to their new video cameras, which are being given to them for some sort of project. They don’t really explain what the kids are supposed to be doing with their cameras, but I guess that’s not important, all that matters is that they had to cut geography from the budget to afford the cameras. So it’s totally worth it.

It also gives Bart an excuse to bother people on the bus with his camera, before being banished to the front of the bus with Otto. He then proceeds to quiz Otto on some basic traffic questions, which Otto ignores, claiming that he’s too nervous. He’s apparently ready to propose to his girlfriend, and is worried. And by ready, I mean that’s where the bus is headed right that moment. Otto drives the bus up to the drive-thru that his girlfriend, Becky, is working in, and proposes, with all the kids present. She says yes, even when Otto takes a moment to talk about the solo from “Every Rose Has a Thorn.” Good work Otto.

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We then see that this marriage is happening super quickly, because Marge and Homer are already getting an invitation. The only problem is that they say the wedding is taking place at their house. Bart confirms that he said that was okay, without asking his parents, since they’ve already hosted a wedding there, and there’s still some stuff left over. So Marge just goes with it, and hold yet another wedding for a casual acquaintance.

The wedding is ready to begin, and we look around at how everyone’s doing. Otto’s parents are disgusted with him and his life, and leave before the ceremony, Patty and Selma try to make Lisa a love-hating spinster like themselves, Homer eats the inside of the wedding cake, and Bart videotapes Skinner trying to pee. And while all of that’s going on we see that Marge is having a heart to heart with Becky, where she learns something shocking. Becky hates heavy metal, and doesn’t know how to tell Otto. So Marge tells her to just go through with the wedding, and work on gently nagging Otto until he loses his passion.

And once that little nugget of wisdom is passed down, they get ready for the wedding, and Becky starts walking down the aisle. But a problem arises when Otto makes the organ player stop, and brings a Poison cover-band out to play instead. Which is the last straw for Becky. She freaks out and yells at Otto, telling him that he has to choose between her and heavy metal. Otto then obviously picks heavy metal, and leaves Becky stranded at the Simpson’s house.

So things aren’t going well for Becky. And because Marge was kind of responsible, she says it’ll be okay if Becky wants to stay with the Simpson’s until she gets back on her feet. So Becky moves into the house, and starts making a big difference in all of their life. After a goofy scene were Homer’s changing the oil on Marge’s car while Bart’s hoping to film it crash down on him, we see that Becky is ingratiating herself with the family. She helps Marge out with cooking, coming up with all kinds of new suggestions that the family love, she helps Bart film some kung fu moves for his video, and she and Lisa have a jam-session where Lisa plays her sax and Becky paints. Everyone loves her!

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Except Marge. She’s starting to feel really intimidated by Becky, since everyone else in the family seems to think she’s perfect. So Marge obviously decides she needs to go talk to Patty and Selma about this strange scenario, and they instantly tell her that Becky is trying to usurp her family and kill her. Which Marge realizes is ridiculous. But it does start to nag at her, and she can’t get the idea out of her head. Especially when she’s driving home and the brakes on her car go out, almost leading to a disastrous wreck.

And while that’s going on Becky and the rest of the family are at an ice cream parlor for some news. Turns out Becky has found an apartment and will be moving out soon. But before Marge can show up to hear the relieving news, the ice cream shows up and Homer starts gorging himself, until he stops breathing. So Becky starts CPR on Homer, right as Marge comes in. She freaks the hell out, and ends up attacking Becky, screaming that she’s a usurper, and tries to kill her. But the cops happen to be there, and they arrest Marge, since though the law may be powerless to protect people, it’s great at punishing people.

We then cut over to an insanity hearing to determine where Marge should be sent for her aggravated assault. She tries to put up a good defense, but the tribunal has no choice but to declare her insane. And rather than go to a mental asylum, she decides to escape, and jumps out of a window before running away. The police start to hunt down Marge while she steals some clothes and does some research on Becky at the library, hoping to find some proof that she’s evil. But all she finds is several newspaper articles that show Becky as a great person.

So Marge decides she’s just been crazy, brakes notwithstanding, and goes home to apologize. But when she gets home she’s shocked to find Lisa and Maggie in chains, and Becky getting ready to sacrifice Homer in the living room. So Marge attacks her, and then realizes that this was all a music video for Bart’s project. Marge then apologizes to Becky, after realizing that it was Homer that cut her brakes, when he was doing the oil. Oh, and Becky also admits that she thought about killing Marge and stealing the family, but it was too much work. So everything’s fine! Until the people from the mental asylum show up and tranq Marge, but the episode ends at that point, so I guess everything’s fine.

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This is a strange one. I really like the idea of Marge being intimidated by someone who not only does the things she does, but connects with the family in different ways than she does. Marge is incredibly under-appreciated by the family, so it makes sense that if someone would show up and be more appreciated than her, that she would get jealous. It’s just weird that the episode takes the dark turn of Marge trying to kill Becky. It escalated way too quickly, and then the third act became super strange, with Marge on the run from the law and the mental asylum. And there’s something about the ending that doesn’t sit well with me. They all apologize, but it ends with Homer helping the police tranq his wife. I feel like that’s strange. Wouldn’t it end with some sweet moment, with Marge and Homer reaffirming their love, or the family saying that even if Becky was fun, she means more to them? I don’t know, I feel like there should have been a sweet ending for this story, not a goofy one. But what do I know; I’m just some geek on the internet.

Take Away: No one is out to usurp your family. And if they are, it’s just too much damned work.

 

“It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge” was written by Larry Doyle and directed by Steven Dean Moore, 2000.

 

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