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The Strong Arm of the Ma

The school does not need a “regime change”

Couch gag: The family are portrayed as a novelty cardboard cutout, and the real family put their heads through the holes to other family members’ bodies while their photo is being taken.

Director: Pete Michels

Guest voice:
Pamela Reed as Ruth Powers

Synopsis: After Marge is mugged at the Kwik-E-Mart, she develops agoraphobia and refuses to leave the house. To while away the hours, she begins working out on gym equipment Homer purchased at Rainier Wolfcastle’s garage sale.

Discussion: Welcome to the 300th episode of The Simpsons! At this point, there’s 233 left to watch, but since the US has just started yet another season, by the time I get there, there’ll be more to watch. Geddit?

Anyhoo, Marge gets mugged at the Kwik-E-Mart and is afraid to leave the house. Homer has bought some gym equipment from Rainier Wolfcastle, who is selling all his stuff to pay debts (also, I’ve just realised that, in the US, a garage sale is called a yard sale). Having nothing else to do while cooped up in the house all day, Marge starts using the equipment and becomes strong. Enter Ruth Powers, her old neighbour, who has since been in prison, beefed up herself and encourages Marge to start using steroids and enter bodybuilding competitions. All this is well and good, but then things get a little silly.

If you ‘scuse the pun, this ep builds up quite nicely, but then plateaus and never really goes anywhere. Marge gets roid rage at Moe’s and then there’s some cute little scene where Homer wishes for his feminine wife back, and all is well. I suppose there had to be some roid rage in there, but perhaps it could echo Homer’s rage a few eps ago where he was Angry Dad.

Marge and Homer are no strangers to working out and getting fit. Just off the top of my head, I remember Marge working out to become a cop and Homer using midnight sessions at the gym with Rainier Wolfcastle. Bart and Lisa seem to have skipped the working-out phases, unless you want to include their ice hockey games, military school and Lisa failing phys ed at school…

It’s not a bad episode, but it could be better. There are some hidden gems in season 14, and the first 2/3 of this ep are one of them.


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