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The Cartridge Family

Everyone is tired of hearing that Richard Gere story

Couch gag: The couch is filled with water and the family run in, their bottoms on fire.

Director: Pete Michels

Synopsis: When riots happen in Springfield, Homer can’t afford home security so he buys a gun.

Discussion: This episode treads on controversial ground. Although the episode was written to show guns in a neutral way, I feel it is satirising American gun culture. I dislike the ending, when Marge goes to throw away the gun but decides to keep it, realising she looks good holding the gun and is probably feeling the power of the gun, similar to Homer’s last impassioned plea.

Without getting into a gun debate, this episode represents Homer in a way that sees him as a responsible family man (wanting to protect his family) but also classic Homer (using the gun irresponsibly). Marge dislikes the gun and stays at the Sleep-Eazy Motel until Homer decides what’s more important. I’m not at all sure he’s come to the right decision: yes, he wins Marge back, but he’s also hiding the gun from her, knowing he’ll keep lying to her about the gun in the future.

The ep has a good plotline, with Marge standing up for her ethics and Homer standing up for his. It’s a real situation, not all families agree on what’s best for them and this is another reason I don’t like the ending. Marge has handled a gun before, so she of all people should know the responsibilities that come with it.

Overall, I find it hard to be neutral about this ep. Guns are shown inappropriately: Moe has altered his gun, Bart uses it in a game with Milhouse, Homer points it at Marge as his “surprise” and obviously Homer is using it in all manner of idiocy such as turning off the lights in each room. It’s a good storyline, strong characters, weak messages and a dreadful ending.

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