Hey, you know how so much of this week has been shockingly solid, and earned the show some good will? Well kiss that goodbye, because we’re closing out Season Seventeen with a real stinker, just to remind us what this show is really about at this point. Let’s do this thing.
Our episode starts off with the family sitting around and watching some terrible detective show on TV that basically just revolves around a guy who solves crimes through the use of hunches. But when that’s over Kent Brockman comes on the news to inform the family that they Springfield Isotopes are doing good again, which means it’s time for the family to jump back on the bandwagon! It’s been a while since the Isotopes have been relevant, but the Simpsons have no problem heading down to the stadium to check out a game.
The family get down to the field and the game begins while Grandpa tells them a wonderfully ridiculous story about how he played in the women’s baseball league during World War II to avoid getting drafted. But the real source of comedy from this scene is the announcer of the game, because he’s great. Mixed in with the regular baseball horseshit he’s just tossing out insane statements, like a player being related to a wolf-boy of Juarez. I have no idea what’s up with the announcer, but every time he said something I greatly enjoyed it.
But things actually start happening when they announce that it’s time for the singing of the National Anthem, and it’s going to be sung by a pop star named Tabitha Vixx who is married to the Isotope’s star player Buck Mitchell. Tabitha walks up to the pitcher’s mound, and starts singing the National Anthem, before quickly changing into her new single while taking her clothes off and writhing around the field, much to the joy of creeps in the audience like Moe. And much to the fury of Buck.
Buck is super embarrassed by Tabitha’s actions, and ends up playing a terrible game because of it. Buck does terribly, and the crowd quickly turns on him, booing him off the field. Which is bad news to Howard K Duff, the owner of the team. He’s worried that people will stop coming if Buck quits carrying the team, but he gets a good idea when Duffman gets a Kiss-Cam going to distract the people. Because Homer and Marge get put on the jumbotron, and have a loving make-out session, which Duff decides he can use to his advantage.
So that night while the Simpsons are hanging out at home, they get a surprise visit from Buck Mitchell. He tells them that he saw their display of love at the game, and wants Homer and Marge to fix his marriage. Marge is a little worried that their marriage isn’t good enough to inspire others, but Homer convinces her that they can be marriage counselors, without any sort of training, and she agrees to go through with it.
Which means Buck and Tabitha are going to start coming over to the Simpson’s house to have counseling sessions, which Homer is super into. Buck opens up and explains that when they got married he assumed that Tabitha would end her massively successful career and become a house-wife, and when she didn’t do that he’s gotten irritated. This is a serious issue, but Homer and Marge decide that they’re equipped to help them.
Homer and Marge begin seeing Buck and Tabitha constantly, even going up to their mansion in the Springfield Hills. And, slowly but surely things start to get better. The Simpson’s teach Buck and Tabitha to compromise and spend quality time together, and they both start to seem happier. Buck is doing better at baseball, and things seem to be on the mend. Even though Tabitha’s behavior at her concerts still isn’t making Buck that happy.
But that progress is going to hit a major speed bump right now. Because after Tabitha’s local concert in Springfield Homer goes backstage to tell her how great she did. And while they’re talking she asks Homer to give her a neckrub to help her stress. Which is when Buck comes up, assuming that Homer and Tabitha are having an affair. So Buck punches Homer, and storms out to start being bad at baseball again.
Which is bad news for Homer, because now everyone knows that he’s directly responsible for Buck being bad, and thus the Isotopes being bad. So the town hates Homer now. So Homer decides he needs to fix Buck’s marriage to fix the town. But he has to do it on his own, because Marge is mad at him for the whole neck-rub thing, and she won’t help him. Which means that Homer is going to come up with a really stupid plan.
But Marge isn’t out of the weeds, because as soon as Homer leaves she’s visited by Tabitha. Apparently she’s ready to leave Buck, and just wanted to let Marge know. But Marge isn’t giving up this easily, and she decides to help them stay married, and rushes off to the field with Tabitha to fix things. Which happens to be where Homer is, getting ready to enact his terrible plan. And let me tell you, any plan that involves a blimp isn’t a good one.
Homer has taken the Duff blimp hostage, and is playing a message that purports to be from Tabitha, telling Buck that everything is going to be okay. Which inspires Buck to hit a homerun to win the game. Unfortunately the ball hits the blimp, and causes it to crash. This terrifies Buck, who I guess assumed Tabitha had to be on the blimp for the message? Whatever, he’s furious at Homer for tricking him, and is ready to kill him in front of the public. Until Marge and Tabitha show up and deescalate things as Tabitha announces she’s staying with Buck. So everything is fixed, Homer and Marge are triumphant, and we’ve crossed another season off the list.
I don’t know what exactly it is about this episode, but it does nothing for me. I’m not even sure if I would go so far as to say that I dislike it. It’s just kind of nothing. At least it wasn’t an episode about Homer and Marge’s marriage being on the rocks, until they tossed that in at the end. I think the idea of Homer and Marge helping someone else’s marriage is a decent idea, but Buck and Tabitha are just kind of the worst. Buck has some ridiculous and shitty problems with his wife, and it’s basically not addressed. They just tell them to communicate. And aside from plot stuff, the things that are really bugging me about this episode are some of the gags that show Family Guy must have been getting popular. Because this episode has a lot of those annoying gags where things just drag on and on until you just want to scream at your TV. Homer dumps a bag of baseballs on Buck, and it’s seriously thirty whole seconds of balls falling out of a bag. If that kind of crap amuses you, more power to you, but it bugs the holy hell out of me, and I’m really worried that that sort of “humor” is going to start showing up on the series.
Take Away: Don’t expect your spouse to lose interest in their life and worship you. That’s the worst.
“Marge and Homer Turn a Couple Play” was written by Joel H Cohen and directed by Bob Anderson, 2006.