Lifetime of Simpsons

S13 E10 – Half-Decent Proposal

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Hey, yesterday was fun wasn’t it? Things were positive, it was a funny episode, it had a good message, just all around a pretty great episode. So how about we end the week on a weird-as-hell nothing of an episode? Sounds about right!

The episode starts off with us soaring through Springfield at night, looking at everyone asleep. Well, by everyone I mean Comic Book Guy, who is talking about Jar Jar Binks in his sleep, because we oddly don’t see anyone else, so it kind of felt like a standard first-act gag reel like we usually get, but where all the other gags were edited out, and just Comic Book Guy made the cut. It’s kind of weird. But whatever, the main point is that we see Marge being kept awake all night from Homer’s ridiculous snoring.

Homer’s apparently got some serious problems with his septum and his snoring like a goddamn bear, to the point that Marge can’t get a wink of sleep. And it’s really starting to affect her, because the next morning she’s a complete wreck. So they decide to go to Dr. Hibbert’s to see if there’s anything he can do to fix Homer, because the whole sleeping situation is becoming untenable. And, while there is a surgery he can perform that would fix thing, it’s super expensive and they just can’t afford it.

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So Marge just gets to suffer and sleep on the doorstep! That is until she just breaks down and goes to get a good night’s sleep at Patty and Selma’s apartment. And after initially assuming she was there because she’d left Homer, they decide to have a girl’s night. Which seems counterproductive since Marge is there to sleep, but whatever, alcohol and trashy TV is what they decide to do instead of letting her sleep.

And after watching some Sex in the City knockoff for a while, they switch over to the news and are shocked to see a report on Marge’s old boyfriend/attempted rapist Artie Ziff. Turns out Artie has become a millionaire in Silicon Valley since high school, and Patty and Selma obviously decide that they should try and wreck Homer and Marge’s marriage and get Marge with Artie. So they get Marge even drunker, and send Artie a suggestive email, hoping to rekindle thing.

Which works out way better than they would have hoped, because it turns out Artie Ziff is a goddamn lunatic and has been obsessed with Marge for twenty years, even building a shrine to her in his office. So as Marge is heading back home, refreshed after her night’s sleep, she’s shocked to find a helicopter belonging to Ziff landing in the backyard. Artie has shown up to sweep Marge off her feet, and he’s shocked to find her married and with three kids.

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But that doesn’t slow down Artie! He instead doubles down on his creepiness and invites Homer and Marge out for a yacht-ride with him to discuss an idea he has. And once they’re trapped on the sea with him he lays out his proposal for Marge to spend a weekend with him in which he’ll try to win her back, in exchange for a million dollars. And obviously Marge is not cool with this plan, and demands to be brought back home.

However, that night Homer decides to talk to her about the whole thing, and says that he has total confidence that Marge wouldn’t leave him for Artie, and that they could use the money he’d give them to get his snoring surgery. So, against her better judgment, Marge decides to agree to Artie’s insane proposal, and is brought to his huge mansion. Where things get weird fast. Because it turns out Artie’s plan to win her back revolves around him recreating their senior prom, complete with random Springfield townsfolk dressing like it’s the 70’s.

And things are made even worse when Homer decides he needs to crash Artie’s mansion and cancel the deal after the barflies make him believe that Marge will definitely be leaving him. So Homer rushes to Artie’s mansion, only to find the bizarre prom going on, and gets kicked out by his old high-school principal. But he ignores that and climbs onto the roof, only to look through a skylight and see Artie and Marge kissing. So Homer’s heart is broken and he heads home to rethink his life.

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Except that’s not actually what was going on. Artie was pushing himself on Marge, yet again, and she was busy slapping him in the face, again, but Homer missed that. So Marge heads home, furious at Artie’s gross little plan, and is shocked to find Homer gone, and a videotape in his place. She puts the tape on and finds that it’s a message from Homer. He explains that he saw Marge and Artie kissing, and has thus decided to leave forever and start a new life.

And where is he going to start that new life? Well after seeing Marge and Artie kissing he decided to go back to Moe’s to complain, and ended up picking Lenny up and taking him with him. And after getting a partner they get on a bus and head out in to West Springfield, which is apparently three times the size of Texas. Sure, why not. So Homer and Lenny make their way to an oil operation and get jobs working the rigs.

Meanwhile, Marge and the kids figure out that Homer is somewhere in West Texas, and decide to make a deal with the devil to find Homer. They call up Artie, ask to use his helicopter, and fly around trying to find Homer. Which they do, but right as they find Homer, an accident causes the whole rig to light on fire. But Homer, being stubborn, doesn’t want to get on the helicopter. Until Artie explains that Marge will never leave Homer, and that he’s won. Oh, and Carl is there, so Lenny decides not to die either. So Artie flies them home, promises to stop harassing Marge, and gives them a device to turn Homer’s snoring into subliminal messages.

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Yeah, I’m not a huge fan of this episode. I think the idea of bring Artie Ziff back is a good one, and the idea of him being massively rich and successful makes sense, but the whole “Indecent Proposal” aspect is just so creepy. And it’s made that much worse when it plays out exactly like you think it would. He’s just such a perv. And it’s kind of shitty that Homer has that little faith in his wife that he assumes she’s left him. Plus, that whole third act is just bizarre. I don’t know what was with the decision to have Lenny be in love with Carl, but it’s really the least of that act’s problems. West Springfield is three times the size of Texas? What the hell? Homer would rather burn to death and leave his children fatherless than presumably get a divorce, which isn’t even the scenario that was happening in reality? It’s just a weird one folks.

Take Away: Don’t trust sleazy millionaires. Especially if they have a history of almost sexually assaulting your wife.

“Half-Decent Proposal” was written by Tim Long and directed by Lauren MacMullan, 2002.

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