Papa Don’t Leech
Couch gag: An artist paints the Simpsons onto the couch
Director: Chris Clements
Beverley D’Angelo as Lurleen
The Dixie Chicks as themselves
Synopsis: When Springfield goes broke (again), Mayor Quimby calls on residents to pay their back taxes, including Lurleen Lumpkin. Discovering Lurleen has self esteem issues rising from her father’s abandonment, Marge tracks him down.
Discussion: We first met Lurleen waaaay back in season 3, when Homer was her manager. Lurleen hasn’t aged a day yet has been divorced three times (she married men who all look like Homer) and is haunted by her father’s abandonment when she was a child. Marge tracks him down, there’s a catchy song and Royce Lumpkin abandons his daughter again, selling her catchy song to the Dixie Chicks.
Lurleen was a memorable character and it’s been far too long between visits. I feel her appearance here is overshadowed by the Dixie Chicks’ apology song in which they claim they’re “patri-otter” (patriotic) again, but overall the episode is harking back to the original feel of the show. When the show first started, creator Matt Groening said he wanted the show to have a somewhat realistic theme around it (never mind their yellow skin). It was to contrast the happy families on TV at the time such as the Cosbys and the Keatons. The picture I chose to represent the episode shows this realism clearly: there’s a large crack in the wall behind Homer. (If I was doing some more analysis on the picture, I’d also point out the division between Homer and Lurleen, and their truce in the laundry which is traditionally Marge’s domain… but I digress).
God knows what attracts Lurleen to Homer, but Marge quietly threatens her at the end and tells her to never come near her husband again. I wonder what would happen if all Homer’s ladies got together? You’d have Lurleen, Mindy, Homer’s Vegas wife Amber (or Ginger, I never remember)… That could be very interesting!
Overall, this is a thoroughly enjoyable episode although the opening sequence of Homer and Grampa’s car crash is quite disturbing and doesn’t fit with the theme of the episode or the series. I did comment a few days ago about disturbing imagery creeping into the show. Maybe this a theme that will continue? I hope not.