You know, sometimes you don’t need an overly great episode. Sometimes all you need is just a fine episode that makes you smile. Life is rough, and momentary happiness is always welcome. So while today’s episode isn’t exactly the best, it’s funny and has some heart. Which is all I really need right now.
The episode starts off with the family gathered around the piano while Homer and Marge practice a little performance. They’re singing “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” complete with props, and it’s all so that they can perform it as a toast at a cousin’s wedding. Whose cousin? No idea, doesn’t matter. The actual wedding does not matter in this episode, what matters is that Homer and Marge are going to give the most awkward toast of all time.
But before we see that wedding we quickly set up a B-Plot, which begins with Lisa heading over to the Retirement Castle to visit the old folks. Turns out their television has crapped out because it’s missing a digital converter, so they’ve just been sitting there watching a signal-less TV. Lisa decides this is too sad, and offers to go to an electronics store to pick up their converter for them. And while she’s at the store she sees something shocking. Mr. Burns having a great time playing a “Funtendo Zii” a video game console that encourages movement. And seeing how much Burns likes it makes Lisa decide to pick one up for the old folks.
Meanwhile, Homer is hanging out at work, eating Chinese food with Lenny and Carl, when it comes time for the fortune cookie. Homer’s tells him that today is his lucky day, but he says that’s usually never correct. He then promptly trips and crashes into the snack machine, shaking everything loose for free. And this is proof to him and the guys that the cookie is truthful, and that Homer is having a day of good luck. And he can’t waste it.
Homer then heads home, knowing he has to get ready for the wedding that evening. However, when he finds an Emerson, Lake, and Palmer CD in the parking lot he becomes convinced that it’s his lucky day, and looks for something to use it on. And, wouldn’t you know, it just so happens that there’s a lotto drawing that evening, and the jackpot is massively high. So, despite all common sense, Homer decides to wait in the massive line outside the Kwik-E-Mart to try and buy a lotto ticket.
Homer ends up spending basically the rest of the his day in line, slowly going insane and learning fluent Spanish so he can converse with Bumblebee Man while he waits. And while he’s stuck in the Kwik-E-Mart Marge has no choice but to head to the wedding by herself. She even has to get up and perform her own song. Which doesn’t go well, since it’s a call and response song, and she doesn’t have a partner to help her out.
But it doesn’t matter. Because Homer is finally able to get a ticket, choosing the lucky numbers from the fortune, and he begins racing off to the wedding. Homer for some reason thinks that he still has a chance to make it to the wedding without Marge being furious at him, but it’s clear that’s not going to happen. But he doesn’t give up, and races through the mountains outside Springfield, trying to get to the reception. However, he ends up taking a corner too sharply, and drives right off a cliff.
Homer then wakes up in a hospital. He luckily survived the crash, with very minor injuries, and finds his family surrounding him, terrified. They’re of course ecstatic that Homers okay, and Marge explains that she had been so furious at him for ditching her, but obviously can’t be mad now. And, to make matter more complicated, Homer sees a news report in the hospital that proves his lotto ticket from the previous night is the winning one. Homer has won a million dollars. However, the only way that he can come forward and collect the cash is to admit that he was buying a lotto ticket when he should have been singing with Marge. Whoops.
So Homer concocts a genius plan, and sends Barney to collect his winning. Barney gets the money, and then just brings it right to Homer, seemingly not even getting a cut. But Homer knows that he can’t deposit the money in the bank, because Marge will be curious. So he decides to do something insane. He hides his riches in a tree in the backyard and figures that he’ll just take money out when he needs it, and will buy the family things they need and let them stumble upon them in the wild, just thinking they have mysterious benefactors. Or fairies exist.
And, shockingly, this plan works. Homer notices they need a new washing machine, so he buys one in cash and the leaves it behind a bush in the park. He then has Bart stumble upon it, and they just take it home. And this works perfectly. So Homer begins showering the family with various gifts that they need or want. He gives Lisa tickets to the philharmonic, Bart some allergy pills, stuffs a carload of appliances in Marge’s car after a carwash, gives Santa’s Little Helper a full dinosaur, and just straight up puts a new necklace in Maggie’s diaper. Things are great.
Hey, let’s just finish that Lisa plot. Because it doesn’t really go anywhere. She brings the old folks the Zii, and while they’re a little standoffish at first, she ends up convincing them that it’s fun. And it quickly takes off. The old folks begin spending all of their time playing the Zii, having fun and getting healthier. Which really starts to bug the nurses, who enjoyed the old people sad and docile. So they break the Zii, and thus the old folk’s spirit. And there’s nothing Lisa can do about it. The end.
Anyway, Homer’s little scam is going great. Until Bart just so happens to poke around the trees in the backyard, and finds Homer’s little stash of money. So he knows what’s going on, and confronts Homer about it in the backyard. But when Homer explains what’s going on, Bart is actually pretty impressed. However, he does comment that Homer is doing so much for the family, and nothing for himself. That’s right. It’s time for Homer to treat himself.
Homer and Bart then begin traveling around Springfield, blowing vast sums of cash on Homer’s personal enjoyment. Hell, they even hire Coldplay to do a personal concert for them, while they heckle them. But things kind of hit a speed bump when they go on one of those zero-gravity trips, and the two get in a fight about Bart going to school. Bart thinks they’re rich now, and decides he shouldn’t go to class anymore, and threatens to blackmail Homer and tell Marge if Homer makes him go to school anymore.
And once blackmail is introduced Homer basically becomes Bart’s slave. But after forcing Homer to be a break dancing Neanderthal for a school project Homer decides he’s had enough, and makes up his mind to tell Marge the truth. But he has to do it in a lavish way. So he brings Marge on a hot-air balloon trip, and while they’re soaring through the air he comes clean. Marge is obviously mad at first, but is moved by the lengths Homer went through to help the family with the money. However, he’s also wasted all of the money by this point, so they’re back to normal. Other than the fact that Homer’s planted a field of flowers that form Marge’s face with the message “Love of my Life.” Which is pretty great.
There really isn’t a whole lot to this episode, but it’s one that I found myself liking quite a bit. The idea of Homer screwing over Marge so that he could get a lotto ticket, and then lie about that, is a pretty shitty thing, and really had the potential to make a garbage episode. However, by then focusing Homer’s wealth on him trying to do the right thing, and take care of the family, there’s some redemption. Yeah, it’s still shitty that he did it in the first place, and then lied to his family, but Homer actually does have their best interests at heart, and tries to better everyone, and spend all of his ill-gotten money on the family, and not himself. Until Bart, the devil on Homers shoulder, gets involved. But he ends up bringing things back by the end, with that legitimately sweet ending. Yeah, it becomes another one of those dumb episode where Homer does something horrible the whole time and then the script just has Marge forgive him at the end, but this one felt a little more earned than normal. Plus, that flower thing is really great. All in all it’s just a sweet and fun little episode. It’s kind of fluffy, but sometimes nice fluff is all you need from the Simpsons.
Take Away: Don’t lie to your spouse, especially about money.
“Million Dollar Maybe” was written by Bill Odenkirk and directed by Chris Clements, 2010.