Episode 12 - I Married Marge
1 January 2011
Synopsis: Marge thinks she might be pregnant and heads off to Dr Hibbert's to find out. While she is gone Homer tells the story of how he and Marge got married and had Bart.
The Good: This is a really strong episode. Focussing on the sweet, unassuming, dedicated love that Homer has for Marge (and vice versa) the story hits a lovely emotional note.
That love is built well like a modern day fairytale with everything conspiring against them allowing for them to overcome the odds. Marge's family all disapprove of Homer and constantly put him down. His own father laughs at how lucky he is to have put Marge in the position where she will have to marry him. Yet both genuinely love one another and though paying for Bart is a struggle, they are both thrilled upon his arrival. Homer's struggle to find a job shows his determination to do right by Marge and make his utter incompetence more sympathetic.
We get yet another layer of explanation for why he is allowed to work at a nuclear power plant as he yells at Mr Burns, demanding a job in his "feisty but spineless" way. There were lots of solid jokes like that which furthered the story nicely. Homer's first attempt to interview for the job with Mr Smithers led to a classic exchange when he was asked the standard interview question "What is your worst quality?" The other applicants give answers which reveal their strengths while Homer honestly concedes "It takes me a long time to learn anything, I'm kind of a goof off..." Later Homer is determined that the baby will arrive and see a man with a good job leading Patty and Selma to quip "Yeah the doctor!" The scene where Homer proposes to Marge was beautifully put together as she reads his sweetly written card while he is searching for it with his butt sticking up in the air.
There were also a bunch of gags based around the 1980s time period. Homer ruins the ending of The Empire Strikes Back for people in the line and Mr Burns cackles over a game of Pac Man. There are also nice gags about existing characters as Mr Burns amusingly claims he will remember Homer's name, Bart being a hell raiser from the womb and Dr Hibbert sporting quite the afro. Throw in Homer confirming that his new baby does indeed have eight fingers and eight toes and you have an episode which crackled with relevant and amusing lines.
The episode of course ends on a universally accepted truth and irony. Despite talking about the joy which Bart's birth brought, Marge and Homer are thrilled that she is not pregnant. Their overstretched existence clearly wouldn't cope well with another mouth to feed and so it comes off as a genuine yet ironic finishing line.
The Bad: Nothing really.
Best Joke: The best line came very early on as Lisa and Bart get excited about the prospect of a new baby in the house:
H: "Yeah sure for you a baby's all fun and games, for me its diaper changes and midnight feedings."
L: "Doesn't Mum do that stuff."
H: "Yeah but I have to hear about it."
It's an outrageous line and really funny. It's also the first real sign of turning Homer's slow witted style of comedy into something more biting, selfish and hilarious.
The Bottom Line: This is the second best episode of the show so far. As with "One Fish, Two Fish" (211) by telling a story all about Homer's love for his family the emotional impact of the episode is much higher than normal. The simple story structure and the intrigue of a flashback also help keep the episode moving and the jokes consistently aid the story rather than holding it up.
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