Season 23 has been off to kind of a rocky start. We’ve had several episode that ranged from mediocre and forgettable to outright bad. But don’t worry! Because things are going to pick up, today. The rest of this week will be comprised of episodes that I actually enjoyed quite a bit. So sit back and get ready to start craving Ethiopian food.
The episode starts right off with us learning that when Bart and Lisa have been good they get a special “Saturday Surprise Dad Day,” where Homer takes them on exciting little trips to reward them. And Homer has a pretty big surprise for them this week. He’s gotten them tickets a video game exposition going on in Springfield called E4. And not only to they have tickets, they have VIP tickets, letting them do whatever they please.
So Homer and the kids race from the house, leaving a sad Marge behind, and get ready to check out some video games. Which means it’s time for some sight-gags. We see a whole bunch of great video game titles, such as Assassin’s Creed: Summer of Love, we see Bart instantly beat some crazy God of War game, Lisa plays some sort of Marching Band Hero, and Homer gets really wild and beats up a bunch of nerds so they can race from one hall to another in order to check out some new console.
Meanwhile, Marge is at home, sadly taking care of the garden. She’s feeling upset that the kids view Homer as the fun parent, while she’s the mean one who enforces the rules. Which isn’t helped when Homer and the kids come home, all goofy from their fun day together. So that night she ends up confronting Homer and tells him that she’s sick of being a bummer. Homer then says that it’s okay if she’s in charge of some Saturday Fun Days, as long as she doesn’t have any terrible ideas.
Unfortunately, Marge is full of terrible ideas. So when the next Saturday Fun Day arrives, the kids are a little wary when they find out Marge will be running the show. However, they give her the benefit of the doubt when she says that they’ll be going to the X-Games. Which they should not have ,because Marge got things confused and brought them to the Cross Games, some horrible bible seminar where the kids get roped into participating in some horrible little play.
So that was a swing and a miss. The kids are furious at Marge, and the car ride home is no fun. Especially so when the car starts to run into issues while they’re driving. Marge has to pull off the highway, and they call a tow truck to come help them. Unfortunately they appear to be in a rough neighborhood, and they’re going to be waiting there for quite a while. Plus, they’re super hungry, causing them to venture out into the strange surroundings and try the first restaurant they come across.
And it just so happens that it’s an Ethiopian restaurant. Which raises some serious red flags for Marge, who is not prepared to broaden her culinary horizons this much. But the kids insist that since they had such a weird day that they should be adventurous and try the food. So Marge deals with it, and when he kids continue to heckle her she decides to ask the waitress for the most authentic dish on the menu. So they give the family a huge platter of food, and Marge has to give it a shot.
And she loves it! Marge is absolutely stunned, but she loves the food. And so do Bart and Lisa. The three of them begin devouring the food, when the restaurant is suddenly invaded by a group of foodies, such as Sideshow Mel, Comic Book Guy, and Tim and Eric from their titular stupid show. And they are super impressed that Marge and the kids were given such a fancy meal. So, Marge and the kids have found a new passion. They want to be foodies.
The next day Homer finds Marge and the kids talking about the food, and he’s not a fan. Ethiopian is too adventurous for him, and he has no interest in being a foodie. And because Marge is wanting to have something special between her and the kids, she decides to lean into being a foodie, and even recommends that the three of them start a new food blog. The kids love that idea, and they end up becoming the Three Mouthketeers.
Marge and the kids then begin travelling all around Springfield, trying all the food they can, and blogging about it. And people actually love it! They become a big deal, and get invited to all sorts of restaurants. Which really starts to bother Homer. He’s mad that the kids are now spending time with Marge, so he decides to fight fire with fire and buys them tickets to Krustyland so they can ride a new ride.
However, they have a bit of a conflict. Because the day the ride opens is also the day that Marge and the kids have been invited to Springfield’s most prestigious restaurant. El Chemistri, a place that plays around with food using chemistry. Homer finds the idea of El Chemistri ridiculous, and fusses that he’s not invited. So Marge decides to be the bigger person, and invites Homer along. Which was a bad call, because Homer immediately makes it all about him, trying to win the kids over to his side again, making it a Saturday Fun Day with Daddy again.
That night Marge has a ridiculous nightmare where she and the kids are being interviewed by Anthony Bordaine about their blog. However, Homer shows up and ruins it all. Marge gets mad in the dream until she’s approached by Gordon Ramsay, who tells her to sabotage Homer, and keep the kids’ love all for herself. So she wakes up the next morning and starts trying to get Homer to drop out of the date, telling him how weird the place is. But he insists on coming, so she has to resort to telling him the wrong address.
So that evening Marge and the kids head to El Chemistri with the other foodies who got invited, while Homer finds the building that Marge’s fake address has lead him to. And it’s a meth lab! Lucky Homer! We then get a fun scene where we cut between Marge and the kids having weird chemical foods and Homer unsuspectingly buying some meth. But everything goes pear-shaped when the police arrive at the meth lab, and a shootout begins, with Homer caught in the middle.
After the dinner at El Chemistri Marge realizes that she’s done something horrible, so she decides to call Homer. And when he answers she hears the sounds of the shootout, and realizes that something awful is happening. So Marge and the kids flee from El Chemistri with their weird dessert, and make their way to the flaming meth lab that Homer is caught in. Marge busts her way in, and finds Homer about to be killed by the meth dealer, who is blaming Homer for it all. Marge then decides to huck her weird “apple pie” concentrate at the dealer. He accidentally eats it, and has a crazy flashback to his French childhood, giving the police time to arrest him. The family is then back together, Marge apologizes for almost getting Homer killed, and the whole family go to Krustyland to have fun together.
I had a real blast with this episode. I think the central concept of Marge and the kids deciding that they love food, and becoming food bloggers to be a really great idea. Broadening your horizons and trying the food of different cultures can be a lot of fun, and I love the idea of a parent and their kids experiencing these meals together and then expressing themselves on their joint blog is super fun, and now I kind of want to do that with my future kids. But where the episode really gets me is that idea that Marge is worried she and he kids don’t have anything in common. Marge’s fears that the kids don’t think of her as fun, and then the near-psychotic anger she gets when Homer threatens to steal away the little thunder she was able to muster with them is probably incredibly realistic. I’m sure that this is something that all parents have to struggle with, and it’s a fantastic plot that worked wonders for me. Marge so often doesn’t get to have fun with the kids, and seeing the three of them finding something special that they can all do together is great.
Take Away: Try new foods, expand your palette.
“The Food Wife” was written by Matt Selman and directed by Timothy Bailey, 2011.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons