Lifetime of Simpsons

S20 E05 – Dangerous Curves

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Hey everybody, are you ready to watch a weird-as-hell flashback episode that almost defies description? Because that’s what we’re getting today! I more or less enjoyed the episode, but most of what I felt while watching it was “this is going to be a pain to describe in the article.” So here’s my best shot!

The episode starts off with the family stuck in horrible traffic on the highway, ready to celebrate Fourth of July weekend at a cabin. But everyone else had that idea too, so they’re just stuck in the hot car going slowly insane. Which is the only way to explain the actions of Marge, who decides that they should pick up some hitchhikers on the side of the road. I guess she explains it away by saying that the hitchhikers are teenagers, and probably not ax-murderers.

It’s the Squeaky-Voiced Teen and some random girl, who are out having an adventure together. And this immediately makes Homer and Marge start reminiscing about their young love. That’s right, these random middle-aged people are going to start rambling about their love life to two strangers and their children. Sounds fun!

The story begins with Homer and Marge biking in the countryside outside Springfield, kissing and goofing off when Homer crashes. His bike is wrecked, and they’re forced to start hitchhiking to get home. And the people that pick them up happen to be a young Ned and Maude Flanders, who just got married. In fact, they’re literally on their honeymoon, heading up to some cabins to have some romantic time together. And they’re going to bring along these random people.

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But just one level of reminiscing isn’t going to be complicated enough, so the episode decides to throw a curve ball and toss in another story. It begins with Homer and Marge driving around with Patty and Selma, and Homer being mocked. This is taking place five years previous, when Bart and Lisa were kids and Maggie wasn’t born yet, and Homer gets so frustrated with Patty and Selma that he kicks them out of the car, and races off.

This obviously makes Marge mad, who starts arguing with Homer. And that’s right when their car runs out of gas, stranding them in the middle of nowhere. They grab a gas can and begin wandering around, looking for help, when they come across a mansion where people are having a big party. They ring the doorbell, and the host of the party, a man named Alberto, invites them in and to enjoy themselves at the party.

Marge is a little worried about being at the party, since the kids are back home torturing Grandpa, but they decide to stay anyway. And while Homer is getting some drinks for him and Marge, he ends up running into a woman named Sylvia who is extremely charmed by Homer, and assumes that he’s hitting on her. She even invites him to come do the limbo with her in the back yard. Which does not make Marge happy, leading to the two having a big fight at the party.

But Homer decides to stand his ground, and tells Marge that he should be allowed to have fun with a mysterious woman. Which is a perfect time to return to the present and see the family drop the two teenagers off and finish their journey to the Kozy Kabins. And once they’re at the Kabins they pick the first story back up. Because it turns out that these are the same cabins that they came to with Ned and Maude back in the day.

And things are awkward. Ned and Maude have lectured Homer and Marge about premarital sex, and instead of helping them get back to Springfield they insist on these two random teenagers staying with them on their honeymoon, and in separate rooms so they can’t fool around. You know, just a good time hanging out with a married couple who are about to lose their virginity. And you just met them. Super chill.

We jump back to the party story at this point though, and see that Homer is still hanging out with Sylvia and having fun. They even start a sushi fight that embroils the entire party, and that causes Marge to fall into the pool. She goes into a changing room, soaked, and begins crying, upset about the whole day. Which is when Alberto arrives, with a fancy dress that he wants Marge to wear, since her dress had been soaked.

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This of course leads to Alberto hitting on Marge, and convincing her to go for a ride with him in his crazy glider-plane thing. They fly around, and end up landing at the Kozy Kabins, presumably to have sex. Which is a coincidence, because Homer and Sylvia show up at the same time for the same purpose. Neither Homer nor Marge want to go through with this, but I guess they’re too awkward to make that known to their respective partners.

This then leads to a ridiculous Marx Brothers-esque farce sequence where Homer and Marge find each other and both try to play the whole thing off while hiding from the others. Homer pretends that this was all a plan to rekindle their romance, and Marge makes Alberto hide in a trunk that’s in the room. Homer then drags the trunk outside, and makes Sylvia hide in it while he and Marge have sex in the Kabin, unaware that both of their potential partners are now stuck in that box. And they apparently never told each other why they were actually at the Kabins.

Back in the present we see Homer and Marge unpacking the car while the kids hop in some sort of little peddle-car and go adventuring. And while they’re getting everything from the car they end up running into another family visiting the Kabins. Alberto and Sylvia. Turns out that after being locked in a trunk together they started dating and have now been married for years, and have a daughter. The two start talking to Homer and Marge, and the truth about that night comes out.

Dramatic! Which means it’s time to switch stories again. This time we hop back to the teenage years and see Homer and Marge trying to spend time together while trapped with the Flanders’. Ned keeps telling Homer that he ought to get engaged with Marge that day, and he ends up going to go talk to her. The two chat in the forest, and decide to carve their initials on a tree, showing their love for each other without actually getting engaged.

And those initials come into play in the present when Homer is wandering around the woods, trying to calm down after the revelation that Alberto and Sylvia just dropped on their laps, and he finds the initials. He decides to pry the wood off the tree and give it to Marge. But in doing so the tree falls down and ends up suspending Homer over a chasm. Marge shows up and the two try to save each other. They end up falling off the tree, and forgive each other on the way down. They end up hanging from the bark of the tree, right as the kids arrive in the river, floating in the peddle-car. Homer and Marge drop down into the car, and the family return to the Kabins for a nice weekend.

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Yeah, this is a weird episode. I did some research and I guess it’s at least somewhat based on a movie with Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney called Two for the Road. I’ve never heard of this movie, but it at least makes me understand the episode a little more with the knowledge that it’s based on a movie with a similar structure. Because this is a weird one. The dual flash-backs and the frame story in the present was an odd structure, but I think it more or less worked. What’s weird is the idea of having Homer and Marge completely ready to have simultaneous affairs on the same day. The thing with them meeting Ned and Maude in the past is fine, and something that didn’t seem off to me at all. But the affair plot is just strange. Yeah, both Homer and Marge have been involved in near-affairs in the past, but never with people that they just met that afternoon. And at the same time! I don’t know, this one just rubs me the wrong way. The episode is fine I guess, and the weird structure is interesting, but that plot point bugs me.

Take Away: Don’t have affairs with randos you meet at parties.

 

“Dangerous Curves” was written by Ian Maxtone-Graham and Billy Kimball and directed by Matthew Faughnan, 2008.

 

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