Lifetime of Simpsons

Do It For Her: An Appreciation of Maggie Simpson

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Hi there everyone, and welcome back to my Lifetime of Simpsons. And, folks, we’re done. This is going to be the last week of Lifetime of Simpsons, in it’s current form at least. I’ll continue to discuss each new episode as it comes out until the show ends for good, I’m not going to just drop the show. But, I’m all caught up, so there’s not much more to talk about. You’ve joined me through twenty eight and a half seasons of the Simpsons. That’s 629 episodes. Which is somewhere near 14,000 minutes of the Simpsons. And that’s insane. It’s been a hell of a ride, and you’ve followed me through it all, even finishing things up with two weeks of best-of’s and rankings. But I’ve decided to do something a little odd for the final normal week of Lifetime of Simpsons. I have no idea how well any of this is going to turn out, because it’s all pretty free-form, but I’m going to be taking each day this week to discuss each of the family members of the Simpsons and what they mean to me. For a while I considered to have the family members ranked by how much I appreciate them, but that proved to be incredibly difficult. So, instead, I’m just going by age! Which means we’ll be starting things off by talking about everyone’s favorite baby. Maggie Simpson.

Honestly, Maggie’s kind of the toughest nut to crack. Because, at least on the surface, there’s not a whole lot to Maggie. She rarely gets to be the star of stories, she mostly can’t talk, and she really doesn’t get to do much on her own. At times it can be hard to really get a bead on what her character is, and how it’s grown over the three decades that the show has been on the air, primarily because she just doesn’t have as much to her character.

But, the more I think about Maggie, the more I’ve come to appreciate her. She can’t really carry a whole episode on her own, but she’s an amazing element to the show, and the family specifically. Maggie has been the driving force behind some of my favorite episodes, giving us some amazing stories that really focus on the effect that she’s had on the family. But, beyond that, she’s also a great source of gags.

Even though Maggie doesn’t have a whole lot of character, she’s picked up a whole litany of weird beats and character-elements, coming together to create a fascinating little baby. I love that they’ve decided that Maggie is incredibly intelligent, but usually hidden in the background, being literally overshadowed by Bart and Lisa’s drama. She also gets to have some amazing silent comedy beats, giving truly perfect facial reactions to the absurdity of her situation. She’s often made a “straight-man” to the family’s insane behavior, while being universally beloved by the family. Maggie doesn’t usually get to be the shining star of a plot, but I always love when they decide to have her tag along. She gets to follow Bart, Lisa, Homer, and of course Marge around, getting into all sorts of weird adventures while making hilarious faces to the camera, showing us how ridiculous everyone around her is.

Eyes

Maggie often gets the short end of the stick, and because she’s not really been given a whole lot of development we don’t know what’s going to become of her. Whenever the show does play around with flash-forward episodes Maggie’s future is usually a little strange. They find ways to keep her silent, and usually give her insane careers, often as some sort of musical prodigy. But most of that is just built as a gag on the fact that she never speaks, so I’m not sure if it really does feel like an accurate and believable future for Maggie. Because we just don’t know that much about her.

What we do know is the effect that she can have on the family. Maggie is a character that can be mined for some serious emotional gold, and while episodes about Maggie don’t occur as often as Lisa or Bart episodes, they’re incredible. Maggie gets to be a perpetual innocent, a character that doesn’t know how insane her family is, and whose love is unquestionable. Maggie has no idea how weird everyone in her family is, but time and time again we get to see Maggie proudly loving them, ignoring their obvious faults. And they do the same for her. Basically every plot about Maggie, unless she’s leading a baby revolution or a wild-animal rescue mission, revolves around the family realizing that they need to do better by her. They need to give her a good future, because she’s full of unknowable potential. Lisa plots are similar, but there’s something special about Maggie stories. And it’s all typified by the episode that I took this article’s name from. “And Maggie Makes Three” is an episode that shows Homer will do anything for Maggie. They all will. Because they need to protect her and make her the best version of her that they can make her.

I’m going to be honest, this article is kind of hard to write. There’s just not much to Maggie, but I love her. She’s a fun element of the Simpsons, and I always appreciate the writers giving her funny gags. I just wish that they gave her a little more to do. But, what we’ve got is pretty great.

 

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