Well everybody, another season has come and gone. Season Fourteen hasn’t really been a particularly great season, but there have been some hidden gems in here. Things aren’t completely bleak yet, but the show is certainly sliding in quality. Which you could expect from something that’s been running for fourteen goddamn years. So let’s close out season fourteen with a bizarre little story about Moe and Maggie becoming best friends, like they just threw darts at a wall with character names.
The episode starts off with the family heading to the Springfield Botanical Gardens to check out the blooming of a rare flower that only opens up once every hundred years. And they’re not alone, because it quickly becomes apparent that everyone in town is here, wandering around the flowers and getting ready to check out the special one. We get a couple sight-gags like Homer getting attacked by a Venus fly-trap, but it doesn’t really last that long.
We quickly cut over to Moe’s, where Moe is standing alone in the bar, wondering where all of his regulars are. But his television answers that question pretty quickly when he sees a news report about the stupid flower, and sees all of his friends/customers standing around getting drunk in public. Moe gets jealous that they’ve replaced him with a cooler, but instead of having a freak-out like he normally would, he decides to just go to the Garden and be with the rest of the town.
However, when Moe gets to the Garden he finds that since the whole damn town is there, it’s at capacity. They decide not to tempt the fire marshal and kick one person out to make everything okay. And it’s obviously going to be Moe. So they toss Moe down a hill, and everyone gets ready for the flower to open. But when it does, it turns out it’s one of those “corpse flowers” that smell terribly, causing the whole town to stampede out of the Garden as fast as they can.
This mass exodus creates a huge traffic jam as the entire town tries to drive over a bridge that gets them back to town, leaving everyone stranded. But while Homer’s driving on the bridge, trying to deal with the traffic, the family almost get in an accident and have to slam on the breaks. This is a bad thing, because Maggie’s car-seat is apparently terrible, and the sudden halting breaks it, sending her flying out of their sun-roof and off the bridge.
Luckily though, Moe was on the bridge too, planning to commit suicide, and as he’s getting ready to throw himself off the bridge, Maggie suddenly comes flying down into his arms. He’s saved her from watery death, and the whole damn town was standing there to see it. So Moe is now a hero, and just like that, Maggie decides that she loves him. And Moe clearly really likes the attention from the baby, because he starts popping over to check on her.
Moe stops by the Simpson’s house to check on Maggie, and gets a specially knit sweater that Marge has made him. And when Homer rushes out to work, and Marge has to deal with a drug-addled Grandpa, she asks Moe to watch Maggie for her. The two spend a while together, playing some sort of tea-party version of his bar, and actually have a pretty good time. Plus, Maggie seems to really adore Moe, and cries when he leaves.
So Moe continues to come by and babysit Maggie, spending time with her and playing together. And things are pretty great. Moe is softening as a person and Marge suddenly has a lot of free time now that she doesn’t have to take care of Maggie, and she’s spoiling the family with fancy dinners and whatnot. So everything’s fine! Plus, Moe even is broadening Maggie’s horizons by telling her the story of the Godfather as a fun little story.
But things start to get weird when Maggie’s birthday comes up, and Moe starts trying to make himself the most important person at the party. He intimidates other kids, insults everyone else’s gifts, and even gives Maggie a model of the bar with an unflattering Homer toy in it. But things really get creepy when Moe shows up at the house one night to take care of Maggie when she’s fussy, since he has his own baby monitor. This is the last straw, and Homer and Marge tell Moe to leave, and never come back.
But it isn’t that easy for Maggie and Moe. Moe become even more unhinged than normal, just absolutely distraught at losing his little friend, and Maggie is seriously missing Moe. Which really comes to a head when she hears Fat Tony and his guys talking outside her window one night, and decides to escape the house and follow them, since their banter reminds her of the Godfather story that Moe was telling her.
And with Maggie gone, Homer and Marge obviously assume that Moe is behind it, and get the police involved. But when they storm Moe’s sad apartment they find that he doesn’t have Maggie, and he decides to help them. Some clues they found at the house make Moe realize that Maggie must have heard gangsters, which is confirmed when Marge says that the mob routinely meet in their back yard. And with that knowledge, Moe, Homer, and Marge head to Luigi’s to find Fat Tony.
Unfortunately a mob-war is brewing at Luigi’s, and when Maggie comes tottering in she gets caught in the middle of a stand-off between two rival gangs. Moe, Homer, and Marge show up right before shit hits the fan, and Moe decides to sacrifice himself and go get Maggie. He goes in, and manages to calm down the situation by showing them all how cute Maggie is, and he’s able to get out without a scratch. So Maggie is safe now, and Homer and Marge agree that Moe can keep spending time with Maggie, but within reason this time.
I guess this episode is fine. There’s nothing objectionable about it, and nothing that really stands out as terrible to me. But there’s not much that I really like about it either. Moe and Maggie are such a weird pair, and like I joked about up at the top of the article, it seems like they wanted to make an episode about Maggie getting an unexpected friend and just picked a name at random. I suppose it works okay, but it’s one of those plots that I feel like you could easily just switch Moe with almost any other weird secondary character and it would work just as fine. It’s an okay episode, and a weird one to end the season on. Usually they kind of try to end on a high note, or at least a weird note, but this episode is just kind of nothing. Oh well, come back tomorrow for some Treehouse of Horror action!
Take Away: It’s okay to let a casual acquaintance hang out with your infant, just lay some ground-rules.
“Moe Baby Blues” was written by J Stewart Burns and directed by Lauren MacMullen, 2003.