The Food Wife
Director: Timothy Bailey
Gordon Ramsay as himself
Anthony Bourdain as himself
Mario Batali as himself
Tim Heidecker as Amos Bruse
Eric Wareheim as Fois Garth
Synopsis: Homer and Marge try to outdo each other as most fun parent, and Marge ends up starting a food blog with the kids.
Discussion: This is a surprisingly complicated episode. What starts out as Fun Dad vs Plain Old Mom ends up with a variety of themes presented in an interesting array of narrative features.
We begin with Homer taking the kids to a video game convention. Kudos to the writers here for thinking up clever and amusing parody titles for the games and gaming systems. It’s a really clever and fun way to introduce the episode.
Marge feels left out as the kids bond with Homer. While the kids are chanting “Fun dad! Fun dad!”, Marge is sad that the kids don’t feel the same about her. Let’s face it, when Marge tries to be cool, it doesn’t end well (“Get ready for the Shaq attack!”). Her attempt at being fun take her and the kids to a Christian-themed gaming community… you can guess how well that goes. The car breaks down on the way home and they stop to eat at an Ethiopian restaurant. Finding it delicious, Lisa suggests they start a food blog.
Eager to get in on the bonding action, Homer wants to join the family at an exclusive restaurant but Marge deliberately gives him the wrong details and Homer ends up in a meth lab! I’m sorry, this whole sequence is hilarious as Homer puts together what he knows of molecular gastronomy with what’s happening in the room.
It’s a very well thought out episode, executed perfectly with complex layers of themes which make this ep seem deep and meaningful. It’s about family bonding, parents’ one up-man-ship, and this new wave where food is an experience rather than just something to fuel our bodies. A very well done episode (or is that “perfectly cooked and seasoned”?)
Also, if you’re playing The Simpsons: Tapped Out, you’ll find loads of references in this episode.