Lifetime of Simpsons

S17 E03 – Milhouse of Sand and Fog

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Hey everyone. Well, we’ve made it through another week of Simpsons episodes and we’ve welcomed in Season Seventeen. So what better way to end the week than talking about Mihouse and his parents? Woo! Super fun!

Our episode begins with the family at church being distracted by Maggie. She’s being super irritable and fussy, and seems incredibly itchy. This obviously worried Marge, who just gets up in the middle of the sermon to try and find Dr. Hibbert. But it turns out he and his family have stopped going to this church and are now at a more boisterous and soulful church with every other black person in town. So the Simpsons stop in and Hibbert quickly identifies it as a simple case of chicken-pox.

So they bring Maggie home and slather her in lotion to try and deal with the itchiness and wait out the virus. However, they also have to keep Homer away from her, because he apparently never caught the virus when he was a kid, and they don’t want him to get it now. So Homer heads outside, upset that he’s kicked out of his own house, and ends up shooting the shit with Ned, telling him about the chickenpox.

Which is when Ned makes an odd request. Apparently Rod and Todd haven’t caught chicken-pox yet either, and Ned wants them to come over and get it from Maggie so they can get it out of the way. And this triggers Homer’s entrepreneurial spirit, so he decides to host a pox-party, and invite all the kids in Springfield who haven’t gotten the virus yet to come inoculate themselves, all while Homer makes a profit.

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And a bunch of parents are down with this plan, and come to drop their kids off at the Simpson’s house to get infected by Maggie while they go in the kitchen and drink Margaritas with Marge and gossip about parents who aren’t there. And, of course, Milhouse is one of the kids there and he’s dropped off by Kirk. Kirk then plans to just leave, but Marge insists he stay and have fun with the parents, even though Luann was supposed to be the one to pick him up, and he doesn’t really want to run into her.

Kirk decides to risk it, and stays with the other parents, drinking and having a good time, until Luann shows up. The two have a bit of an awkward interaction, but decide to just get along and drink for a while. Which obviously leads to them getting sloppy drunk and making out in Homer and Marge’s room. And wouldn’t you know, Milhouse just happens to barge in on them, and sees his parents ostensibly getting back together.

And after establishing that Homer has accidentally caught the chicken-pox from Maggie, we cut over to Luann’s house where they’re having an important talk with Milhouse. Apparently that single drunken make-out session was enough to get them to decide to give their marriage another shot. On a temporary basis at least. They’re going to go in slow, and see if they’re actually comparable after all. But Milhouse doesn’t listen to any of that, and just assumes that his parents are back together now.

But Milhouse is in for a surprise when he realizes that the biggest part of his parents attempting to reconcile is the fact that they want to spend time alone and fix their marriage, and not instantly become a family again. Milhouse was assuming that they were going to start doing things as a trio again, and he’d be the focus of attention, and the actual realities of a divorced couple trying to give things another go just disappoint him.

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So, obviously, Milhouse decides that the only logical course of action is to split his parents back up so they can continue to fight for his affections. Milhouse and Bart decide to plan a way to split the Van Houten’s back up, but they’re pretty bad at it. They try to tell Kirk that Luann think he stinks, but he takes that as constructive criticism and is happy. Then they tell Luann that Kirk let Milhouse drink beer, but she sees right through it and ignores him.

Things aren’t going well for the boys’ plot. But they get inspiration one day when they’re sitting around while Lisa watches some version of the OC that’s somehow worse than the one in our reality. And in it they see a couple of teenagers break up when the girl finds someone else’s bra in the boy’s house. And Bart and Milhouse decide that that’s genius. So they steal one of Marge’s bras and stick in it the Van Houten’s bed, hoping that that will split up Kirk and Luann.

Unfortunately Marge labels her bras, so Luann quickly realizes who it belongs to and storms over to the Simpson’s house to confront Homer. He doesn’t really get what she’s saying, until he sees the bra, and his whole world is shattered. So when Marge comes back from the supermarket that afternoon Homer decides to be a total ass and accuse her of infidelity. Which really pisses off Marge, since she’s just spent the last couple week taking care of Homer’s chicken-pox and he doesn’t even give her the benefit of the doubt and starts accusing her of something so ridiculous.

So Bart and Milhouse accidentally broke up the wrong family. Homer instantly becomes depressed and Marge is furious that he would even suggest such a thing, and things quickly become tense. Lisa almost immediately realizes that Bart must be behind this idiocy, so she tells him to explain everything to Marge. Which he does. Unfortunately Marge is too pissed off that Homer would even make the accusation, and is still mad at him.

Bart and Milhouse brainstorm ways to get Homer and Marge back together again, but Lisa tells them that schemes won’t fix this, therapy will. But that’s lame, so Bart decides to come up with a scheme anyway. He convinces Homer and Marge to meet at some area near a waterfall, and he plans on dropping a dummy of himself off the cliff, causing them to realize what’s really important. He basically comes up with the same plot as Ozymandias in Watchmen.

So Bart prepares to drop the dummy, but Milhouse ends up pushing him off the cliff instead, and he’s actually put in danger. Homer and Marge freak the hell out, and end up springing into action immediately. Homer jumps into the river to save Bart before he goes off the waterfall, and Marge is able to tie her leg to a tree and jump after them, requiring Homer to trust her. Which he does. And because Homer trusted her and they worked together, everything is fixed now. Situation over. Have a good weekend.

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I don’t think I’d ever seen this episode before, or at least I had no memory of it, and I’ve got to tell you. I’m not a fan. For a variety of reasons. There’s of course that same goddamn plot point that the show keeps dragging out around this time that drives me crazy of Homer and Marge’s marriage instantly being put on the rocks and then being magically fixed in the last two minutes. I can’t stand that. But I think my biggest problem is the fact that they’ve apparently gotten Kirk and Luann back together. I don’t remember them ever actually being back together, and who knows maybe this episode will have reset their relationship to divorce and it’ll never come up again, but it seems like they’ve magically fixed their issues and are a couple again. Which seems wrong. I really like “A Milhouse Divided” and thought that it was a bold move for the show to split up a couple and examine the realities of divorce on the show, since they won’t ever actually divorce Homer and Marge this was the next best thing. And yet, this episode just kind of blows all that up and gives us the incredibly unrealistic plot of two people who for the last ten years or so haven’t been able to stand each other to suddenly put that all aside and be together again. Unless this is going to pay off with them getting divorced again, it just seems unrealistic and ridiculous. But I guess we’ll figure that out in the coming seasons. We’re in this together folks.

Take Away: Marital problems that were so bad they lead to divorce can apparently be easily fixed with margaritas.

“Milhouse of Sand and Fog” was written by Patric M Veronne and directed by Stephen Dean Moore, 2005.

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