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Dumbbell Indemnity

Silly string is not a nasal spray

Couch gag: The family sit on the couch and are squished into a cube by one of those things that squishes cars into cubes

Director: Dominic Polcino

Guest voice:
Helen Hunt as Renee

Synopsis: A woman is finally interested in Moe but he goes broke trying to keep her happy. 

Discussion: We all know Moe is unlucky in love (and for good reason, apparently). It’s nice to see him with a woman just to explore the lengths he would go to to keep her. Renee (voiced by Helen Hunt, who was Hank Azaria’s girlfriend at the time) is a sweet woman and doesn’t ask for all this extravagance unleashed upon her, but she doesn’t shy away from it either. Moe runs out of money, engages Homer in an insurance scam to get more money, Homer screws it up yadda yadda yadda. 

It’s not the first time Homer and Moe have fought. Remember when Homer made a delicious drink and Moe took the credit? Homer and Moe are more than friends, Moe is the person who gets Homer drunk. It’s a special bond. 

What’s great about this episode is Moe’s relationship with Renee. She’s a normal woman, for a start, and Moe’s character deepens within this relationship. He’s awkward. Not just around women, but with himself as well. He knows his shortcomings and he knows women won’t just like him for him (he may be surprised…) 

Homer’s stint in jail is a dark point in the episode, but when viewed as a whole it works. Out of context, it’s a bit out-there and doesn’t really add to Homer’s character. Homer is very much a What’s In It For Me? kind of person even though it mostly masquerades as a desire to help a friend. For example, after he’s stolen Moe’s car, he takes a detour to see a movie, All Hail the Chimp. Instead of taking the car to the railroad as planned, he’s decided to do something for himself, which ultimately screws the entire plan and gets him into trouble. Maybe it’s s good thing Moe spends the insurance money on a trip to Hawaii and not bailing Homer out; it shows Homer that sometimes friends are selfish as well. 

One last thing: this ep’s title is based on the movie Double Indemnity. I encourage you to watch this film, it’s really good. It was one of the first American film noir films and also made smack bang in the middle of the Production Code, which forbade it from showing all the juicy bits (this is why mutually attracted people are shown to smoke; it’s a symbol of smouldering sexuality). Also during the Code, all crime had to be justified- the criminal had to be caught. It’s a very interesting time in Hollywood and a really great movie. 

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