Lifetime of Simpsons

S26 E18 – Peeping Mom

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It’s time to end yet another week here at Lifetime of Simpsons, and I don’t know about you, but I think that means we should probably tackle an incredibly weird and unpleasant episode about Bart and Marge’s relationship being on the rocks. Excitement!

The story begins with Marge angrily storming into the Mapple store, because her phone isn’t working. She doesn’t really get good service, what with a non-employee just looking through the photos on her phone, so she ends up leaving, still in a huff. However, as she’s driving home she begins noticing a swath of destruction in town, and ends up running into Chief Wiggum. She asks him what’s going on, and the answer is not good.

Someone has stolen a bulldozer and gone on a joyride, causing a whole lot of property damage, and the number one suspect is of course Bart. Marge is horrified that Chief Wiggum would blame Bart without any evidence, and manages to take Bart away from Wiggum, and bring him home. Although, that’s not the end of this, because when they get home Marge instantly starts interrogating Bart, trying to get to the bottom of this whole bulldozer affair. And she has very little luck.

Oh, but this isn’t all about bulldozers and lies, there’s also a rather confounding B-Plot in this episode, which revolves around the Flanders’ getting a new puppy, which they name Baz. Homer and Lisa become aware of this new puppy, and head over to look at it, while Ned is busy doing some sort of Christian training, which is primarily shame-based.

That’s not really going to build into anything for the rest of the episode, but it especially isn’t going to do anything for now. For now we need to go back to Bart and Marge. She’s still trying to get to the truth about this whole bulldozer thing, and wants Bart to promise that he had nothing to do with it. He promises again and again, and even manages to look her in the eye and promise he wasn’t involved, but that just makes Marge assume that he’s a great liar, which makes her more angry.

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But, eventually, Marge gives in. She accepts that Bart didn’t have anything to do with the bulldozer, but the fact that everyone believed he could have means that he has a problem. So, to solve it, Marge decides she needs to keep an eye on Bart, and make sure that he stays on the straight and narrow. In fact, she’s even going to start following Bart to school, just to make sure that he stays well-behaved. And, as you could guess, this quickly drives Bart insane, especially when he has to confront the numerous lies he tells Marge about his school-life.

Although it’s time to check in on the whole dog plot. Because it turns out that Baz is the sweetest little dog in the world, and she absolutely loves Homer. She keeps coming to play with Homer, and seems to think that he’s the best person in the world. Which does start to make both Ned and Santa’s Little Helper a little jealous. Oh, and we also see that Lisa is feeling forgotten when it comes to Marge and Bart’s squabble, and Homer immediately just fixes that, because it doesn’t matter.

Marge is continuing to stalk Bart, trying to find proof that he’s up to no good, and it’s slowly driving Bart insane. He keeps trying to hide, just to get some solitude, and Marge just keeps showing up, proving to be unshakeable like a goddamn Terminator. Bart seems to be wanting to talk to Milhouse about some new prank that they’re planning, but he can never get a free moment from Marge, so it just has to wait.

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But all of this stress finally weighs upon Bart enough that he decides to just escape the house in the middle of the night, and go wander around on his own. Unfortunately, Marge is on his tail. They run around the whole town, before Bart finally tries to hide on some island in the middle of a lake. But, Marge shows up too, and they end up having a big fight. They’re both pissed off, and when the bulldozer inevitably comes up Marge officially gives up, says that she doesn’t care what Bart does, and leaves him to his own devices.

Before we finish off the episode though, it’s time to close off that more or less pointless sideplot. Because Baz has continued to spend more and more time with Homer, and it’s really starting to frustrate Ned. To the point that he decides he should give Baz to Homer, since it seems to be what would make he puppy happiest. And Homer does think about it, but when he realizes how depressing Ned’s life is, and that this puppy is a ray of sunshine in an otherwise abysmal existence, he decides to refuse, letting Ned keep the puppy.

Anyway! Time for some pranking. Because now that Bart has finally shaken free of Marge, it’s time for him to plan his big prank. And guess what? It involves a bulldozer. Yeah, this whole goddamn episode Bart has been promising that he had nothing to do with this stupid bulldozer, and it was all a lie. He did it. He has the bulldozer. And he’s planning on using it again when Mayor Quimby gives some speech in front of the Springfield sign, causing all the letter but FIE to fall, because Bart and Milhouse think it’s a bad word.

So the day of the big prank arrives, everyone meets in front of the Springfield sign to hear from Mayor Quimby, and Bart readies his bulldozer. But, as he’s about to go through with it, he starts to feel a twinge of guilt, and decides to modify it at the last second, making the two letters that stand say FD. The people of Springfield decide that this means Fire Department, and see it as a loving tribute, so no one is mad. For some reason. Bart then goes and tells Marge the truth, and she immediately forgives him. For some reason. We then have a weird wrap up where Marge and Bart are happy, Homer makes up with Santa’s Little Helper, and Lisa feels appreciated. For some reason.

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Man, this episode is just kind of a bummer all around. I actually put of writing this article for just about as long as possible because I didn’t want to think about this stupid episode any more. Usually episodes that work like this are about Homer and Bart, where they’re both at their wits end and just can’t stand each other, but by subbing Marge in it somehow makes an already boring plot even worse. I just can’t stand episodes like this where Bart is just the absolute worst. He spends the whole stupid episode saying that he was innocent, only to have been lying the whole time. And he doesn’t even really learn anything! Not really. He changes things at the last minute, but still goes through with the prank. And then the episode just ends and everyone forgives each other, with no narrative reason to do so. They just kept doubling down how shitty Bart could be, and then ran out of time to walk it back and give him a satisfying ending. The B-Plot with Ned and Homer was also pretty weird and pointless, but it took up such a shocking amount of the episode, which just makes the problems with the primary plot that much more frustrating. Not a great way to end the week folks.

Take Away: If you do something shitty and then make a minor apology afterwords, you’re in the clear.

 

“Peeping Mom” was written by John Frink and directed by Mark Kirkland, 2015.

 

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