Hey, you know what happens way too much lately? Homer and Marge’s marriage being on the rocks. That used to mean something, not it happens about five or six times a season. Here’s one!
The episodes starts off with the family gathering for some sort of weekly “Family Wednesday” evening together for some good old fashioned bonding. Marge has decided that this week the family is going to do some massive jigsaw puzzle and everyone seems pretty down for it. They open up with box and pour out the approximately three billion pieces and get to work trying to make sense out of the chaos. Which apparently takes all night, because they stay up until the wee hours of the morning doing the puzzle.
But that wasn’t enough, and the monstrosity isn’t anywhere near being done, so the family just make it their new life goal. The kids are sent to school with puzzle pieces instead of lunches so they can work on it, and Homer is just staying at home and ignoring work. Although that does lead to Lenny and Carl stopping by, assuming Homer has some wacky new job. But they’re disappointed to see that it’s just obsessive puzzle-building.
And after some ungodly amount of time, they finally finish. The bring the massive puzzle out to the backyard and admire how enormous and perfect it is. Well, until Ned points out that they’re missing one piece. So the family freak the holy hell out, and start ripping the house apart, desperately trying to find this one damn piece so they’ll finally be free. They look everywhere in the house, and Homer starts going through his and Marge’s closets when he finds something else.
Marge has a little box of memories hidden in her closet, so Homer pops it opens and starts snooping. And inside he finds a flier from the grand opening of Moe’s bar back when they were dating, and start to reminisce about how great that was. But while remembering the night fondly, he turns over the flier and finds a lengthy note that Marge had written that night where she planned to break up with him. Apparently that night Homer had been a complete ass and had gotten alcohol poisoning he drank so much, and Marge had had every intention of ending their relationship.
However, Homer also finds some doctor note in the box which indicates Marge found out she was pregnant the next day. He puts two and two together, and decides that this means Marge only stayed with him because of Bart, and that she never loved him. Despite years of evidence to the contrary. So Homer sits in the room, depressed, until Marge comes in with the missing puzzle piece, and he confronts her about the letter. She admits that things were dire that night, and Homer flips out, deciding their whole marriage was based on lies.
Marge tires to move past this, like a rational adult, but Homer just won’t let it go, and after a whole day of being pissy to her he decides he needs to move out for a while and think about the marriage. So Homer leaves the house, and goes to live with Kirk Van Houten in his depressing apartment. But that night Homer can’t sleep over the sound of crying men and suicide attempts, so he flees the apartment and heads back to his house.
However, right as he gets to the house he finds a newspaper with an ad for two men seeking a third roommate in their apartment, and he decides that that’s a more logical reaction. So Homer heads out to the neighborhood that the apartment’s in, which he’s never been to, and doesn’t seem to realize that it’s clearly a gay neighborhood. He even runs into Mr. Smithers and has an awkward encounter with him and still doesn’t put it together.
But he finally gets it explained to him when he meets with the two men in the apartment, Julio and Grady, who just flat out tell Homer that they’re gay. Homer really has no problems with this, I guess having learned his lesson with Jon, and they all agree that Homer should move in. And shockingly, they become quick friends. He bonds with Grady and Julio, and they even take him out to get him dressed better.
Sometime later, Homer is out hanging out with Bart and Lisa, when he brings them back home to Marge, and things are awkward. They’re still separated, and she’s depressed that Homer seems to be liking his new life so much. Things end up so bad that Homer has to storm out of there, and get taken to a gay danceclub with Grady and Julio to cheer himself up. But apparently that fight wore down Marge too, who decides to crash Homer’s new apartment with Weird Al so he can sing a parody of ‘Jack & Diane,’ that tries to show him how much his life is better with Marge.
The song works, and Homer agrees to go out on a date with Marge to see if they can reconcile their marriage. But disaster strikes when Grady and Julio get Homer super drunk on margaritas the night of the date to help with his nerves, and his massively late to getting to the silly Medieval Times style restaurant that Marge had picked. He finally does show up, wasted, but by then Marge is furious, and it’s her turn to be pissed and storm out, keeping the marriage in a state of flux.
So Homer returns back to the apartment, depressed, and thinking that his marriage may be over forever. And while talking with Grady, Homer’s shocked when Grady ends up hitting on him and kissing him. Homer’s stunned, and then quickly flees, realizing that he wants to be back to his old life. But before going to Marge, he goes to Moe’s and slowly realizes that alcohol has been his problem all along.
To which Moe responds by pouring beer down Homer’s throat until he gets alcohol poisoning, and is brought to the hospital. Luckily though, Marge is called and comes to the hospital right after Dr. Hibbert explains to Homer that that stupid night that Homer’s been fixated on, Marge really loved him. So it’s all been a stupid misunderstanding, and Marge has loved him all along, and everything is magically fixed!
This is an interesting episode, but I don’t think that it really worked all that well. I like the concept of Homer leaving the house for a while and making great friends with two gay gentlemen, but his reasoning was so weak. Of course Marge loves him! What a ridiculous fight they had! And he didn’t even let her explain herself; he just got all pissy and left the house, and his family, because he was being stubborn. This may be realistic to some people, but it just felt really weird. Homer and Marge’s marriage has been through rougher patches than this, and it’s never escalated to this point. It just felt like they could have come up with a better justification for the premise, because this one just felt unearned.
Take Away: Apparently just leaving your wife and family is a great way to rekindle your marriage.
“Three Gays of the Condo” was written by Matt Warburton and directed by Mark Kirkland, 2003.