Lifetime of Simpsons

S27 E01 – Every Man’s Dream

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Well folks, we’re at the end of a week and the beginning of a new Season. Things haven’t exactly been that great here on Lifetime of Simpsons, and we’re nearing the end of this project, only two more full seasons at which point I’ll have to figure out how to address the tail end of Season 29. But, hopefully we’ll have a fun season ahead of us. If today’s any indication, we won’t!

The episode begins with Homer sleeping at his desk in the Plant, not even noticing the fact that there are several emergency klaxons sounding, letting him know that something dire is happening. Homer keeps sleeping, even while emergency crews come crashing into his office to save him. He’s alive, but he never ends up waking up from this nap, and they have to take him to the hospital to figure out what’s going on.

Marge and the kids arrive while Dr. Hibbert begins examining Homer, and when Marge starts explaining that Homer’s been having a bad habit of falling asleep at strange times, Hibbert thinks he has an idea. So, out of nowhere, he gives Homer a spinal tap and runs a quick test which concurs with his diagnosis. Homer has narcolepsy. I’m not exactly sure if someone can just randomly manifest narcolepsy in their late thirties, but whatever. Homer’s narcoleptic, and he’s going to have to start avoiding stressors to keep himself healthy.

Which obviously means that Homer is going to start abusing that ability. Homer begins avoiding everything because of his doctor’s note to avoid stress, but eventually he has no choice but to go do something. Hibbert has called in a prescription that will theoretically help Homer, so he has to go out to a local pharmacy where he finds an impossible line of old people in front of him, taking too much time. Homer cracks a couple jokes, and earns some laughs from the young pharmacist.

But apparently standing around with the old folks was too much for Homer, so he leaves the pharmacist before getting his pills, and heads over to Moe’s to get a drink. He then heads home, and Marge is not pleased. She smells beer on his breath, and sees that he doesn’t even have the damned pills that she sent him out to pick up. Marge becomes incredibly frustrated with Homer, complaining that he doesn’t show any initiative about anything, even his own health, and she’s getting fed up.

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So, desperate to placate his wife, Homer says that he’s perfectly willing to try out a marriage counselor. Which makes Marge even more mad, because they’ve apparently tried every therapist in town, except for one last one. They then head over to that final therapist’s office, and Homer is instantly terrible at it. He even goes so far as to fall asleep in the middle of the session, leaving just Marge and the therapist to talk alone.

Which is when something unexpected happens. The therapist tells Marge that their marriage is doomed, and that she should get separated and more than likely divorced. Marge is pretty shocked about this idea, but she decides that it may be the only thing that can work. So, after Homer is woken up, she tells him that they’re going to need to get separated for a while. Homer has to have a tearful goodbye with the kids, and then goes off to live life as a bachelor.

And it’s super depressing. Homer is apparently living at the Plant, sleeping in his office and showering in the decontamination showers. He’s having an incredibly depressing life, but there’s one thing keeping him going. The knowledge that Marge always takes him back, and eventually things will be mended. Unfortunately, Lenny and Carl point out that Marge has switched her Facebook relationship status to “It’s Complicated,” which makes him spiral into depression. And, to make matters worse, he tries calling her and finds that her voicemail has switched to her maiden name.

Homer is now inconsolably depressed, but still needs to go through his life. So, Homer ends up finally going to the pharmacist to pick up his prescription. He picks the drugs up from the young woman, whose name is Candace, and the two end up chatting. Candance bizarrely finds Homer charming, and she’s very impressed with the combination of drugs he’s been prescribed. So, for some reason, she ends up asking Homer out, and because he’s so confused, he agrees.

Homer and Candace then head out to a hipster bar, and start talking to each other about the breakup. Homer drops everything on Candace, and instead of running away she starts telling him that he should feel comfortable trying new things, and having new experiences. So, Homer dives in, and starts hanging out with Candace. They then pop some random pills that she has on her, and Homer basically starts having a trippy rave sequence, running around town and seeing all sorts of crazy hallucinations.

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He then sleeps with Candace. What?! Yeah, buckle up folks, this episode is just going to get crazier and crazier. Homer starts panicking as soon as he wakes up the next morning, but Candace insists that everything is fine. But Homer can’t help but feel like he’s betraying Marge, so he calls the house to talk to her. Unfortunately, when he calls Selma answers, and she starts telling Homer that Marge can’t talk to him, because she’s out on a date with her new serious boyfriend.

Homer is pretty crushed by this news, but he decides that he’s going to try and move on as well. Homer and Candace then begin dating for real, and spend a lot of time together while he starts acting younger and younger. They get matching tattoos and Homer start meeting her friends, who are all pretty baffled by her choice. But, it’s all good. They seem legitimately happy together, and Candace even says that she wants Homer to come meet her father.

This is obviously going to be incredibly awkward, what with Homer dating a woman much younger than him. But, the meal isn’t awkward because of that. It’s awkward because it turns out that Candace’s father is Marge’s new boyfriend. Marge shows up, and the dinner instantly becomes the most horrible thing in the world. Marge and Homer start fighting and Candace and her father start arguing, just becoming a soup of anger.

And, just as you think that things couldn’t get worse, they do. Candace’s dad ends up proposing to Marge, and Candace announces that she’s pregnant. This episode is becoming a soap opera! Which is the cue for things to become Inception. Because Homer then wakes up, and finds that he’s still in the therapist session from earlier. He’s confused at what’s going on, and realizes that he’s been given a second chance.

So, Homer says that he’s had a revelation, and says that he’s going to become a better husband. Marge isn’t too sure, but he promises that he’ll be good for an entire month, and even picks March. A month then passes, and Homer has a good month, and a sober St. Patrick’s Day. Everything seems to have been wrapped up in a nice little bow, when Maggie takes out her pacifier and starts singing a nice jazz song.

Yeah, that’s odd. Which means Homer’s still dreaming. He then wakes up and finds that he’s in a bar with Candace, apparently showing that this is reality. Homer freaks out, and runs through the streets until he reaches his own house, only to find Marge and the kids living with Candace’s dad. Homer then drops to his knees, and begins weeping. Which is when Marge wakes up. Yeah, this whole episode, start to finish, has been a dream that Marge has been having. She then goes to see that therapist, for the first time, and she tells Marge that the dream means that she’s worried about her marriage, but thinks Homer is a good husband, so it’ll all work out.

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This episode is interesting. I don’t think that I particularly liked it, especially the ending, but there’s some interesting ideas in here, and it had enough aspects of it that kept my interest from not liking it. I remember when this episode came out, because they made a whole fuss about Homer and Marge breaking up in it, and implying that it would be a massive sea change to the history of the Simpsons. And that was just a stunt. Of course Homer and Marge won’t break up. That’ll never happen. But the idea of having an episode where Homer and Marge gets separated, and Homer starts dating a younger woman had potential. But, having Homer actually sleep with Candace was where I realized that something was happening with this episode that was going to make it noncanonical. And, wouldn’t you know it, the whole episode ends up being some weird dream-sequence pastiche that doesn’t matter at all. Having it all be a dream, and thus having no one actually learn anything is a pretty shitty ending, but they made it even shittier by having it be Marge at the end who is having the dream.

I hate that so many episodes about Homer and Marge’s relationship ends up Marge learning that she should just suck it up and forgive Homer. I once read a study where people analyzed Wikipedia story summaries, and found that female characters tended to be passive, and they often had verbs like “forgives” and “gives in” while men have verbs like “accomplishes” and “succeeds.” And Marge often gets put into that camp. She so often has to just forgive Homer. It’s almost never something that Marge has done that Homer has to forgive, and Homer almost never actually does the right thing and truly apologizes. So, by having an episode that ends up being a complete dream where Marge dreamed about Homer trying his best to fix their marriage, and then deciding that it means he’s a good guy is kind of twisted. Marge ended up forgiving him for something that didn’t even happen! All she does is forgive! And it’s really starting to wear me down.

Take Away: Marriages are hard work, and Incepted dreams don’t fix them.

 

“Every Man’s Dream” was written by J Stewart Burns and directed by Matthew Nastuk, 2015.

 

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