Hey everyone, who wants to talk about an episode that should certainly revolve around Marge, but ends up getting hijacked by Homer’s insecurity? Sounds like a blast right? Nope! Well, what are you gonna do, it’s Lackluster Week.
The episode begins with Bart and Milhouse, and basically every other kid, in the Android’s Dungeon hanging out and looking through the long-boxes for some rare comics. And in the process Milhouse ends up getting scratched by one, and cries on it, causing a minor smear. Which obviously leads Comic Book Guy to insist that Milhouse buy the comic for $25. And this does not go over well with the kids, who are sick of Comic Book Guy’s ridiculous rules.
But there doesn’t seem to be anything that the kids can do, as Comic Book Guy points out, because there’s no other option in Springfield for comics. Except for the brand new comic shop that’s opening up across the street at that moment that Comic Book Guy accidentally points out. Whoops. So the kids promptly flee from the Android’s Dungeon, and head over to the grand opening of Coolsville, the new comic book and collectible shop run by some hipster named Milo.
The kids love Milo, and Coolsville, and begin hanging out there all the time. We get to see everyone enjoying Coolsville, like Lisa reading Tin Tin and accidentally ripping a page, which Milo doesn’t care about. And this is really pissing off Comic Book Guy, who basically begins stalking everyone in Coolsville. We also see Marge looking at a cardboard cutout of Wonder Woman, and start to get depressed about her weight, which seems kind of random now, but will come back.
But before we get to that we get to bask in the glory of a panel of comic book writers visiting Coolsville. We see Alan Moore, Dan Clowes, and Art Spiegelman signing comics and being awesome. Clowes just wants to sell out and draw superheroes, Alan Moore yells typical nonsense and complains about terrible adaptations of his work, and Spiegelman tries to keep them in check. They also spring to Milo’s rescue when Comic Book Guy shows up, trying to out Milo as a cool person, before trying to attack him with one of the katanas he’s trying to sell at the Android’s Dungeon now.
Meanwhile Marge has continued to feel bad about her body, and decides to join a gym and try to fix that. So she joins some snooty gym, gets all dressed up to do aerobics in the 1980s, and tries to begin. And it doesn’t go well. The place is too stressful, full of people who are already in great shape, has a bunch of weird classes, and has people just straight up creating OK GO videos. So Marge leaves pretty unfulfilled.
Marge decides that Springfield needs a gym for normal women where they can do the exercise they want without being judged. So she decides to make it. Because the Android’s Dungeon is doing terrible business Marge buys the building and transforms it into Curves, her ideal gym. And it’s an instant hit. The women of Springfield love the gym, and begin frequenting it immediately. It even reaches the point that they have so many members that they’re able to justify buying an old Krusty Burger and creating a second location.
And just like that Marge has become a gym mogul. She becomes a huge deal, being featured in magazines and guesting on talk shows to talk about being an entrepreneur. And it reaches the point that she and Homer get to go to a fancy hotel for some sort of entrepreneur conference. So while Marge attends the conference Homer gets to sit at the pool with all of the other husbands who are mooching off their wives creations.
However, while talking with the other husbands they tell Homer something shocking. Almost none of them are first-husbands, and they tell Homer that when Marge gets rich enough she’s going to dump Homer and pick up a trophy husband. Homer’s a little worried about this warning, but he becomes convinced that it’s going to happen when he overhears some women telling Marge to buy a new purse, and he thinks they’re talking about getting a new husband.
So Homer becomes terrified that Marge is going to leave him, and decides that he needs to become more attractive to keep her. So he heads to a plastic surgeon and gets a stomach staple procedure. He stops being able to eat solid food, and it actually does get him some results. And Marge is really impressed with his new physique, especially since he doesn’t explain how it happened, and because he hides all of the unseemly flab that came from the procedure.
But Homer is worried that Marge will find the flab, so he goes back to the plastic surgeon and asks for a whole boatload of crazy procedures. So Homer is knocked out, and we cut straight to Marge being honored by the city for all the success she’s had with Curves. And while she’s giving a speech Homer shows up, now having turned into some sort of horrible monster.
The people of Springfield freak out at Homer, and start chasing him through the city with pitchforks to stop him. And he eventually is lead to a belltower, where he falls to his death. Which is when we find out that all of that was a dream, and that Homer is still at the plastic surgeon. Turns out that the surgeon told Marge when Homer signed up for all the procedures, and then knocked Homer out. So now Marge knows the truth, Homer is put back to normal, and I guess Curves goes out of business and Android’s Dungeon comes back?
It’s probably not a good sign when I watch an episode on a Sunday, and have basically no recollection of it by Thursday when I write it up. But that’s what happened! And I think one of the problems with the episode is that there are too many things going on, and none of them are adequately flushed out. The whole first act with Coolsville could have normally been its own episode, but instead it’s just crammed into the first act. Honestly it seems like instead of having an A plot and a B plot being told at the same time like normal they just separated them into their own halves, which seems really strange. I kept expecting the Coolsville stuff to come back, but once the Curves stuff starts that entire plot is just abandoned. It’s also getting a little tiring to watch episodes like this, that revolve around one of the Simpsons starting some new career, getting massively successful at it, with the knowledge that they’re never going to mention this again. I have to assume we’ll never hear about Curves again, and that next time we see something about comic books it’ll be at the Android’s Dungeon, and not Coolsville. But story structure quibbles aside, I’m also just not a fan of the idea that this episode should have been about Marge succeeding at something she was passionate about in order to have it focus on Homer being moody and petulant. This could have been a great Marge episode, but instead it’s all about Homer’s insecurities, which is a real bummer. We’ve had plenty of episodes about Marge failing to start a career, and when they finally give her something she’s good at we barely see her. It’s just weird.
Take Away: Your spouse should love you for you, and you shouldn’t have to transform yourself into a plastic surgery nightmare.
“Husbands and Knives” was written by Matt Selman and directed by Nancy Kruse, 2007.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons
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