Sleeping with the Enemy
Couch gag: The couch is missing, but falls from the sky and squishes the family
Director: Lauren MacMullen
Synopsis: Feeling neglected by her own kids, Marge takes her mothering to Nelson. Meanwhile, Lisa is having issues with her weight after girls at school start teasing her.
Discussion: This little endeavour of mine sure is painful sometimes. Today we have two issues which are real-life situations but dealt with in a normal, non-Simpsons way.
Lisa is suffering body dysphoria, which is basically unhappiness with her weight even though she’s within average limits for her age and height. Every woman has felt this at some point. There’s some opportunity to have some biting satire in the scene where Lisa is looking at clothes in Saks Fifth Grade, but apart from the guy earning $4 an hour planing off the thighs, the satire is completely missing. After a stint of binge eating and humiliating her bullies, the issue isn’t resolved. I’m not sure I’m OK with this- sitcom convention of narrative says the issue HAS to be resolved in half an hour (or have a Part Two), however because weight IS such an issue and isn’t easily resolved, maybe it is OK not to have Lisa change her mind and be happy with her body image.
Then there’s the Bart-Marge-Nelson dynamic. It’s mildly interesting for about five minutes, but gets real old, real quick. Bart has been promised a party if he has a perfect score on a test. When he produces the goods, with validation from Mrs K that Bart didn’t exactly cheat (if the whole class looked at the map, is that still cheating?) Marge produces the world’s worst party. Feeling that the kids don’t need her, she finds Nelson eating tadpoles and decides to use her mothering skills on him instead. It’s a bit cutesy but never really hits the heights I know the show is capable of. And how exactly does Bart know that Nelson is singing Streisand??
It’s an average episode; capable of being a lot better but not really getting anywhere.