Hi there everybody and welcome back to another week of Lifetime of Simpsons. And you know what? It seems like last week’s trend of episodes that are lesser versions of classic episodes isn’t quite done yet. Because today we get to discuss an episode all about Marge being a buzz-kill and wanting to stop something that other people are enjoying. Since those are always just a joy.
The episode starts off with Marge and a group of local ladies participating in some crazy bowling where they all have serious handicaps, like wearing a straight-jacket or oven mitts. But they seem to be having a great time, so whatever. And once of the reasons that they’re having such a great time is that there aren’t any men in the bowling alley. Which strikes them as super strange. And, to make maters stranger, we see that there seemingly aren’t any men anywhere in Springfield.
So where are all the men? Why they’re all at a stadium to check out the latest exciting sport to his Springfield, the Ultimate Punch Kick and Chock Championship. It’s just UFC, and the men of Springfield love it. Homer and Bart watch several men get beaten viciously, and love ever second of it. They even let Bart go get some autographs, even though Homer makes him pay for it. Homer also makes Bart promise to never try any of these moves at home. Only at school.
And the next day at Springfield Elementary we see him doing just that. So are all of the other boys, having turned one of the jungle gyms into a goddamn Tunderdome. Nelson seems to be handily conquering the other kids, until it’s Bart’s turn. And before we see how Bart handles himself we see that Marge has arrived to pick the kids up. When Lisa says that Bart is busy fighting she storms over to the jungle gym to stop it. And she’s shocked to find that Bart is great at it, easily dominating Nelson.
Despite the fact that Bart is good at this sport, and interested in it, Marge is aghast and decides that she needs to destroy it. So she calls up her group of ladies, and they begin brainstorming ways to ruin in. Since, as they agree, because it’s not to their taste no one else should be able to enjoy it. So the begin spreading the word about how horrible UPKCC is, and she even forced Homer and Bart to picket a match with her.
However, Bart and Homer quickly get bored and buy a ticket from a scalper, running into the stadium. Marge is pissed, and decides to buy herself a ticket so she can go inside and ruin it for everyone. She ends up storming into the stadium, even getting into the ring itself, just so she can nag everyone at once. She gets a hold of the microphone and begins lecturing all the men in the audience, telling them that this sport is horrible and needs to be destroyed.
Which really irritates a man Chett Englebrick, the founder , owner, and public face of the UPKCC. He thinks that Marge’s position is ridiculous, and decides to mock her in front of his rabid fans. Chett says that he’ll shut down the entire CPKCC if Marge can beat him in a one on one fight. She’s rather taken aback by that, but decides to agree to the fight. So they make a plan to have a huge match in a couple weeks, and Marge heads home to train.
Homer and the kids try to convince Marge that this is a ridiculous idea, and that she should give up. But she remains resolute, and begins training herself. By doing rhythmic gymnastics. Which does not instill confidence in the family. So they begin planning some training of their own, and end up bringing Marge all around Springfield so that she can train with different masters, becoming the ultimate fighter, and hopefully able to beat Chett.
It turns out that Carl knows Drederick Tatum, and he sets up a meeting so that Marge can learn how to box from them. Next they go to Akira and learn some judo from him, while also watching him hurt Homer. After that they learn some old-fashioned wrestling techniques from Mr. Burns before finishing things up by meeting with the local bullies to give her some down and dirty techniques. All in all, it’s a pretty decent lineup of trainers.
And before we know it the day of the fight arrives, and everyone is still pretty convinced that this is a terrible idea. Homer and the kids continue to try and tell Marge to stop, but she insists that in doing this, and winning, she’ll make the world a less violent place, so it’ll be worth it. Which is some hot nonsense, but whatever, they need to keep the episode going. So Marge and the family head to the stadium to get this over with, hoping that something miraculous will happen.
Chett ends up getting carried into the ring by a group of women dressed as housewives. And then the match begins! And Marge is not doing well. Chett is not holding back, and just starts whaling on Marge, easily winning the match. However, Bart can’t watch his mother get beat up, so he dives into the ring, and tries to spar with Chett. Which also doesn’t go well. Chett just grabs Bart, and prepares to beat him up in front of everyone.
Which was a bad call. Because seeing Chett focus on Bart triggers Marge’s maternal instincts, and just lunges at Chett, beating the hell out of him. And, in the end, Marge wins. She gets up to celebrate, and is even able to block a sucker-kick from Chett, further proving that she’s the winner. Marge then tries to give an impassioned speech about how she wanted to end violence but only succeeded by finding her dark side, but everyone has already left, and no one cared. Homer and Marge then head on home so that Bart and Lisa can fight in the ring. Lisa handily wins.
This episode has some interesting parts that I liked, but overall it just bugs me. I really, really hate episodes that are about Marge deciding to destroy something that other people are enjoying because she doesn’t like it. At least this episode kind of points out how ridiculous she’s being, and how this stance is so shitty, but it’s still not a type of episode that I like at all. Marge is a great character, but by continually forcing her to be this uncool nag who just hates everything popular and wants to ruin her children and husband’s interests is just a serious bummer. I get that Marge is supposed to be the voice of reason for the family, but when they put her in this position she just becomes incredibly unlikeable, and you basically end up rooting against her, which is ridiculous. I enjoyed seeing Marge train with all of Springfield’s greatest warriors, but other than that the episode is just kind of a wash.
Take Away: Just because something isn’t to your taste doesn’t mean that you should try to ruin it for everyone else.
“The Great Wife Hope” was written by Carolyn Omine and directed by Matthew Faughnan, 2009.