Hello everyone, and welcome back to yet another week of Lifetime of Simpsons. And folks, this is a big week. We’ve got several really fun episodes this week, and by the end we’ll be knocking on the door of a historic episode. But that will be next week, for now let’s get going with the first episode of the week.
The episode starts off with Principal Skinner and Superintendent Chalmers hosting some sort of PTA meeting that’s basically them tell the parents how horrible Springfield Elementary is, and that there’s nothing they can do about it. And at the end of the meeting they pass around a clipboard so all of the parents can write down their email addresses to get further updates. Which really panics Marge, who doesn’t have an email. This quickly leads to Marge being a laughingstock of the meeting.
However, this is an easy fix, so Marge heads home and Lisa helps her set up and email, and teaches her about the internet. And Marge loves it. She quickly becomes obsessed to the internet, and starts surfing the web, checking out everything it has to offer. Like peeping on nude Homer in the backyard with some sort of Google Earth program. But this new hobby quickly reaches the point of obsession when she sends everyone a St. Patrick’s Day ecard, and just sits there refreshing her inbox for a response.
No one responds, but while she’s sitting there refreshing she notices a banner ad for some fantasy MMORPG called Earthland Realms. And since she has nothing better to do, she clicks on the link and sets herself up with an Earthland Realms account. She goes through the tutorial and creates a version of herself that’s an elf cleric, and she begins exploring the world. And after completing some basic fetch quests, she realizes that she’s spent the whole night playing the game. She’s officially addicted.
Marge continues to play and master Earthland Realms, having a grand old time, and she begins to learn that this is a very popular game. She ends up running into all sorts of Springfield citizens who are also playing the game, like shopkeeper Apu, local harlot Mrs. Krabappel, Moe the troll, and Skinner the turkey-lizard. Everyone seems to love the game, and has a blast with it, but there’s one character that everyone hates. The Shadow Knight, a mysterious and evil player who is able to kill everyone. And wouldn’t you know, the Shadow Knight is Bart.
So this is going to be a Marge/Bart episode, which means we need to set up our Lisa/Homer B-Plot. This starts off when Lisa asks Homer to come watch her play soccer, which she’s picked up since seeing Bend It Like Beckham. So Homer takes Lisa to the soccer field, and watches her get ready with her team, when they learn that the referee didn’t show up, and they’re going to have to forfeit. Not on Homer’s watch!
Homer decides that he can be a ref, so he runs off and puts on a Foot Locker uniform and offers his services as a soccer ref. The only problem is that Homer has no idea what the rules of soccer are, and ends up just making them up. Which results in Homer having a blast, running around and making an ass of himself, but he also ends up making Lisa furious, since it appears that he’s just mocking this fun new interest that she’s found.
But let’s check back in on Marge and Bart. She’s actually oddly proud of how great Bart is at Earthland Realms, and decides that Bart would love to play this game with his mother. So she shows up at his castle, much to his horror, and quickly starts to mother him. Bart keeps trying to ditch Marge, but she just keeps finding him and scolding him in public, making everyone significantly less afraid of the dreaded Shadow Knight.
Bart temporarily gets rid of Marge, who walks through some magic woods by herself, but he ends up coming to her rescue when the bullies attempt to attack her. And at that point he’s stuck. She begins following Bart around all the time, questing with him, and she even starts to live in his castle, messing with his stuff. She even gets rid of all of his loot, and decorates the castle in Hello Kitty stuff, which causes Bart to go into a rage and start breaking stuff. And during his temper tantrum, he accidentally hits Marge’s elf with his weapon, and kills her character.
Meanwhile, Homer has actually decided to be a better father to Lisa, and has learned every soccer rule there is. So now he’s an expert ref, and actually starts to make the game fun. However, he’s also very protective of Lisa, and when she gets tripped by one of the girls he instantly takes her side. Which, rather quickly, results in Lisa going mad with power and flopping all over the place so that Homer will take her side. However, when it becomes clear that Lisa is cheating, Homer has no alternative, and ejects her from the game.
So now Marge is pissed at Bart, and Lisa is pissed at Homer. Maggie presumably remains indifferent. Funs times at the Simpson’s household. The Lisa issue is easiest to fix though, because Homer just gives her a BBC documentary about horrible soccer riots that were started because of flopping, and she pretty quickly realizes that she was in the wrong, and apologizes to Homer. The two then have a good time playing soccer together in the back yard.
Bart’s problem is a little more difficult though. Because apparently unlike any other video game, Earthland Realms doesn’t just revive your character immediately. So Marge is still dead. Which means that Bart is going to have to use some pretty powerful magic to bring his mother back to life. But he succeeds, and she’s very grateful. That is until the rest of the town learns about how weak Bart is because of the spell, and they march in to kill him. Which is when Bart loses interest, and ends up having fun playing soccer with Homer and Lisa, while Marge begins enacting bloody revenge on the people who killed Bart, letting her become the new Shadow Knight!
I actually liked this episode quite a bit. I double checked and this episode actually came out after the South Park episode that was about World of Warcraft, so it wasn’t exactly an original premise, but it was still a fun one to see on the Simpsons. They’ve always had a weird relationship with computer and the internet, and it was fun to see Marge get so addicted to the internet and this game in particular. I loved seeing the people of Springfield become so obsessed with this game, and Marge loving every minute of it. But the stuff that really drew me into this episode was the central plot of Bart being mortified that his mom loves something he loves too. That’s incredibly relateable to anyone who has ever had a parent decide to give a video game you play a spin, and this episode played with that dynamic perfectly. Plus, that Lisa subplot is terrific. That could really be its own episode, and it gave us a lot of fun cameos from various girl characters who were usually only ever in one episode. It was just an all around fun episode, and a pretty good way to start off the week.
Take Away: Spend time with your parents and cut them some slack if they don’t understand something.
“Marge Gamer” was written by J Sewart Burns and directed by Bob Anderson, 2007.