A Milhouse Divided
couch gag: The family sit on the couch and Bart is fuzzy. Homer tunes the TV, causing Bart to changes colours. Finally Homer smacks Bart and he returns to normal.
Director: Steven Dean Moore
Synopsis: When Milhouse’s parents split up at the Simpsons’ dinner party, Homer reassesses his own marriage.
Discussion: This is another episode in which the events carry on past this one ep. Lisa’s vegetarianism is another example. Kirk and Luann Van Houten are clearly having problems and it all boils over at Marge’s dinner party with the couple deciding to divorce. Despite the episode’s title, Milhouse doesn’t really feature much except in the scene where he’s driving a race car around his house. Apart from this scene, he’s not shown as feeling conflicted or sad. You’d think there’d at least be a scene where his parents are asking him where he’d like to live. That seems a logical scene from the title, doesn’t it?
In any case, in the third act, the focus shifts from the Van Houtens to the Simpsons, and Homer reassesses his own marriage, thinking Marge might take a leaf from Luann’s book and divorce him as well. This was done because the writers thought a whole episode about the Van Houtens wouldn’t hold the audience’s interest… maybe so, but shifting the focus makes the ep feel disjointed. Having said that, this is a technique the writers use a lot: the beginning scenes are often just the set-up for what comes later, not necessarily having anything to do with the final plot.
In any case, Milhouse’s parents are now separated and will stay that way. There are future episodes which toy with them getting back together, but we’ll get to those in good time.