Marge in Chains
I do not have diplomatic immunity
Couch gag: The Simpsons are tiny.
Director: Jim Reardon
Phil Hartman as Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz
David Crosby as himself (Lionel’s AA sponsor)
Synopsis: Osaka Flu has hit Springfield and everyone is sick. Marge is tired and stressed and forgets to pay for a bottle of bourbon from the Kwik-E-Mart. Apu charges her, the case goes to trial and Marge is found guilty.
Discussion: Poor Marge. Her family are sick and whiny and she forgets to pay for Grandpa’s bourbon. Chaos ensues when she heads to jail for 30 days. Not only is the Simpson house in trouble, the whole town is heading for riots!
This episode demonstrates (again) that Marge is the glue that keeps people together. The ep utilises a classic Simpsons trait of having something seemingly irrelevant and linking it to the main plot- in this case, Homer buys a Juice Loosener from an infomercial on TV and the town ends up with the flu, which leads to Marge’s predicament. Sometimes this ploy isn’t used so well… but we’ll get to that in later episodes.
I think the ep works well. Based on a plausible premise of the town getting sick and stressed-out Marge can’t be expected to remember everything, there are many great moments. The court scenes are the highlight of the episode but also the inclusion of I Can’t Believe They Invented It! (Why don’t the writers use similar shows-within-shows to lengthen episodes rather than that pointless Everyone Loves Ned thing?)
I also want to make one more point- twice in this episode we see males dressing in female clothing. Bart imagines himself in a cocktail dress seducing the warden and stealing keys to free Marge, while Homer runs out of clean clothes and wears a wedding dress he found in the attic. While these scenes are played for laughs (and it works), I believe there’s also an important point being made: gender doesn’t depend on what clothes you wear. (And screw you, Laura Mulvey!)
**Note: This post originally had a clip of the Juice Loosener embedded. The clip was deleted by YouTube on copyright grounds. I’d done everything right: I acknowledged the original copyright owners (Fox), and declared I was not using the clip for monetary gain etc. It was still blocked. I’m disappointed. “Juice Loosener” is the search term most often used to get to this blog, which is just a hobby. I make no money from it and it exists for the pure enjoyment of Simpsons fans. I understand copyright is important, but when a clip is not used commercially and Fox retains the right to monetize it (by using ads etc), I’m not sure why I’m not allowed to show a small clip of a very popular episode.