Super Franchise Me
Couch gag: A Parody of Cat Stevens’ Tea for the Tillerman album cover
Director: Mark Kirkland
Synopsis: Marge opens a sandwich franchise but loses out when a competing shop opens across the road.
Discussion: Wikipedia says this episode garnered “mostly positive reviews“. Did we watch the same episode? It’s easily one of the worst episodes in the entire series. Here’s why:
- We’ve seen it before. Remember when Marge had a pretzel franchise? The only difference this time is that Homer doesn’t hire the Mafia to wipe out the competition.
- While The Simpsons is well known for perpetuating stereotypes, a montage of Marge hiring the town’s most unemployable people is going from the sublime to the ridiculous. Shauna, Gil and Squeaky Voiced Teen do not add anything to the narrative as the family ends up serving all the customers themselves. Total yawn fest.
- Why is Marge and some random franchise woman at Bart’s school anyway? If you’re going to introduce the main plot, make the meeting plausible. Maybe marge could have been stocking up on sandwich supplies, or making sandwiches at the tuck shop and random franchise lady is another mother. Come on, put some thought into it!
- Enter competition. OK, so Cletus’ kids’ names are always amusing, and it makes sense for the whole family to be working there. But when we’ve seen Marge stressing over finding the dosh to open the franchise, and see Cletus et al open a store so quickly… where did they get the money? Mafia connections? And why are Springfielders flocking to eat roadkill?
- Mr Burns wooing the cardboard stand up of Mrs Hubbard, who looks remarkably like a sandwich. It’s pathetic on so many levels.
- There is no resolution to the plot whoatsoever. Homer gets bashed in his crotch. What? What if the Simpsons tried to sabotage the second store? Now that would be fun! But no, Marge and family go whimpering into the night after losing all their money (except their original investment) and life returns to crappy normal…
- …With a weird chase scene at the end to eat up some more time because the main plot didn’t take long enough.
There is nothing about this episode that makes sense, is humourous, or deserves any praise whatsoever (disclaimer: I didn’t get the couch gag and had to look it up. Even then it was pointless, although I concede it was somewhat artistic and kinda cute although the Ralph-on-a-swing thing was waaaay more creepy than it should have been).
I’m calling it as one of the worst episodes in the entire series. It’s not only rehashing an old plot, it’s doing it with a whole lot less style.