Episode 7 - Marge Gets A Job
17 June 2011
Synopsis: The Simpson home is sinking to one side and they don't have the money to get the foundations repaired. Marge takes a job at the Power Plant to earn the money which doesn't make Homer happy. Mr Burns however falls for her and begins trying to seduce her. He is upset when he learns about her marriage but treats them to a fancy night out anyway including a personal concert by Tom Jones. Meanwhile Grandpa is forced to deal with Bart who is constantly faking sickness to get out of tests at school.
The Good: There were good aspects to both these stories and they each concluded well.
Bart gets to literally act out the "Boy Who Cried Wolf" for a TV audience when a wolf escapes from the Krusty show and attacks him. It was a nice straightforward morality play with Bart suffering bad consequences for his string of lies. Similarly Mr Burns falls for Marge and naturally wants to fire her and Homer once he finds out he can't get what he wants. Instead he decides to do something nice for Marge instead, showing that even he can do the right thing on occasion.
The episode is filled with somewhat unusual jokes and sequences. Some work well and some don't. Overall I think there was so much silliness that it probably didn't help the stories to work as they could have. But to be fair most of the gags were pretty entertaining.
Understandably we get a string of jokes about the workplace and the nuclear plant in general. Poor Jack Marley begs not to be fired at his own retirement party while Smithers prepares a musical number to celebrate Mr Burns instead. Marley is later seen reapplying for his vacated position which was also amusingly tragic. Once Marge takes the job she points out to Mr Burns how depressed her co-workers seem. We see one crying, one drinking and one polishing a rifle. She suggests that a "Silly Hat Day" and some Tom Jones music might cheer everyone up. There's something wonderfully more depressing about the next shot of those same workers performing the same depressed motions while wearing silly hats and "What's New Pussycat" blaring out of the speakers. Burns' old fashioned and megalomaniacal nature is outrageously exposed in a line about him and Smithers digging up comedian Al Jolson. As you can see there's a real edge to many of these jokes.
We also get Smithers love for his boss firmly confirmed when we see his fantasy dream of Burns flying in the window to see him at night. That pretty much establishes their dynamic as it still exists in 2011.
The Bad: As I say the whacky humour can be detrimental on occasion. Groundskeeper Willie suddenly wrestling the wolf to a standstill came out of nowhere. Similarly Smithers actually kidnaps Tom Jones at gun point which is kind of funny but also sort of presents you with a story that is bigger than the one we are meant to be focussing on. Grandpa's list of old fashioned ailments was mostly entertaining but you get the impression the writers just wanted to see how many they could find in a medical dictionary.
Best Joke: Bart's illness flares up just as Mrs Krabappel presents him with a test. As he prepares to leave she asks if he has ever read "The Boy Who Cried Wolf." Misunderstanding her meaning he whines "I'm half way through it I swear!"
The Bottom Line: There's nothing much wrong with this and in many ways the jokes are pretty good. But something doesn't quite click with either story.
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