Lifetime of Simpsons

S24 E03 – Adventures in Baby-Getting

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Well folks, it’s been a kind of all-over-the-place week here on Lifetime of Simpsons, but we’ve done it. We’ve entered Season 24, and we’ve polished off another week. And we’re going to be capping things off with a really strange and uncomfortable episode about sperm banks and family planning! Woo!

The episode begins with Marge refilling a hummingbird feeder in their backyard, to the joy of some monstrously obese hummingbirds, while Homer sits in a hammock. However, as Marge is heading back into the house she notices that the outdoor faucet is leaking, and she asks Homer to do something about it. This then begins a montage where we see Homer successfully ignoring Marge’s requests to fix this faucet for approximately a whole calendar year.

And this is a bad call! Because for that whole year the drips from the faucet have been absorbed into the ground, and have formed a massive underground lake underneath Springfield. Which in turn has been absorbed deeper into the Earth, causing a giant cavern to form under Springfield. And thus, a sinkhole is created! Specifically, a sinkhole is created as Marge and the kids are driving around downtown Springfield, getting their car swallowed up by the Earth.

Marge and the kids were able to escape the sinkhole by using an inflatable staircase she keeps in the car, but they do have to leave their car down there. And they aren’t the only ones, because the sinkhole is rapidly opening up all around town, swallowing up a lot of stuff. In true Springfield fashion, the townspeople are more or less ignoring the sinkholes and going about their days, until Mayor Quimby finally makes an executive decision, and they just fill up the sinkholes with the tires from the tire-fire, and pave over it. Thus trapping Marge’s car forever.

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Before we see Marge attempt to buy a new car though, it’s time to introduce one of the weakest and more needless B-Plots I’ve ever seen on this show. It all begins one day when Bart and Lisa are heading home from school, and Bart and Milhouse notice Lisa not get on the bus. They decide she’s up to something, and sneak after her as she suspiciously gets inside a cab. They can’t follow the cab, but they do find a piece of paper that fell from her bookbag, that has a weird sentence on it that appears to be a riddle. Neat!

Anyway, Marge has decided that it’s time to go car-shopping, what with the loss of her car, and has headed to a dealership to check things out. And she’s almost immediately condescended to by a shitty salesman, who she promptly owns by demonstration a whole lot of knowledge and planning regarding the cars. This deflates the dealer, and she ends up getting a pretty good deal on a new car, which she brings home to show off to the family.

However, almost immediately Marge starts having issues with the car. She doesn’t like how it drives, she doesn’t like its new-car smell, and keeps insisting that it won’t start for her, despite Homer easily starting it. Marge has decided that the car is a lemon. So she and Homer return the car to the dealership so that the mechanic can take a look at it. And he’s baffled. The car seems absolutely fine, and he ends up telling Homer that in his professional opinion it seems like Marge is having some psychological issues with the car.

Homer and Marge then drive the car home, and Homer begins trying to get to the bottom of Marge’s problem. He starts needling Marge, and they shockingly do make a pretty big breakthrough. Marge realizes that the problem she has with the car is that it only has room for five people, which cements the idea that they aren’t going to ever have another baby. Which in turn makes Marge realize that she isn’t done having kids, and actually wants another one immediately. Which horrifies Homer.

But I know what you’re thinking. What’s going on with Lisa’s weird riddle. Well, Bart is still obsessing over it. He’s snooping around Lisa’s room, trying to find clues, and ends up finding nothing. And, his second tactic of just demanding she tell him what’s going on, also fails. So, with no other alternative, Bart enlists the people who know Lisa best, Milhouse, Nelson, and Ralph, and they all start working together to follow her. Which they do, and just find more pieces of paper with weird sentences written on them, not really getting any closer to the answer.

Back in the real plot, Homer is terrified that Marge wants another baby, but he can’t figure out a way to tell her. So he just has to keep mum while they go see Dr. Hibbert to check if they’re both still fertile. Which they are not! Homer is sterile, which is something that whole episodes have been about in the past, but I guess this is supposed to be a shock. So, Marge is devastated. While Homer is secretly super excited and pleased.

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However, when they leave Dr. Hibbert’s they decide to go to Moe’s for some reason and sulk. And while they sitting in the bar Lenny comes over to ask what’s going on, and they explain the whole situation. Which is when Moe points out that Homer used to donate a lot of sperm to a sperm bank in Shellbyville, and that it’s possible that they may still have one of his samples. Good work Moe! Marge is instantly convinced that this is a sign, and she and Homer race off to Shellbyville to get some semen!

And, you know what, let’s just finish off that weird B-Plot. Bart and the other boys have been obsessed with Lisa’s weird behavior for quite some time, to the point that they’re gotten desperate. So desperate that they ask Principal Skinner of help. And, shockingly, he has some. Because he recognizes the handwriting on the note as that of his predecessor, a former principal. So, Skinner and the boys go to the principal’s home, and find that Lisa is there waiting for them. Because she’s apparently been in some weird club where this old principal is teaching them cursive, since the school wouldn’t. Those weren’t riddles, they were sentences that had all of the letters of the alphabet. Neat.

Anyway! Homer and Marge are now rapidly driving toward Shellbyville, while Homer is trying to figure out a way to sabotage this plan. And, luckily, he finds one. Because apparently the Shellbyville sperm bank is near some sort of street of tourist traps, and Homer attempts to derail their trip by getting Marge interested in every single one of them. In fact, they manage to spend the whole damned day there, to the point that they have to spend the night in a motel.

Which is when Homer decides to finally let his secret out. He finally tells Marge that the reason he’s been so weird is that he doesn’t actually want another baby, and never did. This leads to a massive fight, and Homer ends up being kicked out and forced to go to another motel. And, to make things worse, they’re still going to the sperm bank the next morning! But first they stop for a quick, tense breakfast, where Homer sees a family with four kids, and starts to notice how well they’re doing, and he realizes that he could probably handle another baby.

Homer and Marge then get to the sperm bank, and Homer ends up telling Marge that he’s changed his mind. She’s thrilled, and the two march up to the receptionist and ask for Homer’s sample. Unfortunately, they’re out of luck, because a couple has just bought Homer’s final sample. Luckily though, they’re able to easily convince the couple to give the sample up, by showing them what Homer looks like. However, as they prepare to leave the sperm bank with Homer’s sample, Marge makes a startling discovery. Just about every single child from this bank came from a sample of Homer’s, meaning that there’s a whole bunch of chubby and weird-looking babies out there. This kind of bothers Marge, and she decides that there’s enough Homer out in the world for now, and they decide to hold off and not deal with this baby subject for a while.

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This episode is fine. It’s not a particularly funny episode, which doesn’t need to always be the case. Some of my favorite episodes of the show took a more sentimental approach than a straight-up comedic one. Unfortunately, I don’t think that this episode really utilized emotion either. The idea that Marge wants another baby, and Homer doesn’t, should be rife with dramatic potential. But, instead, they have Homer lie to his wife, and make most of the episode revolve around his deception, before immediately folding. This is a major discussion that a couple should be having, but Homer just ignores that and tries to get one over on Marge the whole episode. Yeah, she gets mad, but things could have been so much better if he had been honest from the beginning. It’s just a weird episode, and I feel like Homer and Marge should be more open with each other. It just feels out of character. Plus, it bugs me that a major reveal of this episode was that Homer is sterile. But that’s just because I’m a tad obsessive.

Take Away: Be open with your partner. And cursive is dumb.

 

“Adventures in Baby-Getting” was written by Bill Odenkirk and directed by Rob Oliver, 2012.

 

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