Marge on the Lam
couch gag: family crash through the wall
Director: Mark Kirkland
Phil Hartman as Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz
Pamela Reed as Ruth Powers
Synopsis: Homer promises to take Marge to the ballet, but gets caught up at work (with his arms in vending machines) so Marge goes with her neighbour Ruth. Becoming friends, they have a girls’ night out which ends in some law-breaking fun.
Discussion: Marge is right, it’s not easy for her to make friends. Homer has the barflies and various guys at work, but Marge really only has her sisters. So when Ruth suggests a girls’ night out, Marge is up for some fun. And it is fun… until Chief Wiggum pursues for a small taillight and Ruth admits the car is stolen.
To be honest I thought this episode was much later in the series. We don’t see a lot of Ruth, which is a pity because Marge needs to let her hair down more often. Much of the episode parodies Thelma & Louise including the climatic car chase into Springfield’s Great Chasm. Luckily, the chasm is filled with garbage, ensuring a safe landing for Homer and Wiggum.
This is a great episode. Homer’s not the sharpest tool in the shed and his imaginings of wearing vending machines for the rest of his life are funny. Lionel Hutz babysitting the Simpsons kids could have done with some more funny; what happened to Bart’s famous babysitter pranks? Lionel is a natural target and easily outsmarted by the kids, especially Lisa.
New Kid on the Block
I will not bring sheep to class
Couch gag: The couch falls through the floor when the family sit on it.
Director: Wes Archer
Sara Gilbert as Laura
Phil Hartman as Lionel Hutz
Pamela Reed as Ruth
First appearance of:
Synopsis: Bart develops a crush on the new neighbour, while Homer launches a lawsuit against an all-you-can-eat seafood place as they kicked him out before he’d finished.
Discussion: Who knew the Simpsons had other neighbours besides the Flanders’? (Well OK, we knew the Winfields existed…) Anyhoo, the Winfields moved out, leaving divorcee Ruth and her daughter Laura to move in. Bart immediately falls in love with Laura and tries to win her over, ending up heartbroken when she chooses a boyfriend of similar age to herself.
We’ve not really seen Bart fall for a girl. Last time girls were mentioned, he was grossed out over Milhouse and Samantha kissing. Unfortunately Milhouse is nowhere to be seen in this episode and we’re stuck with Homer’s lawsuit, the greatest false advertising since Hutz’s case against The Never Ending Story. Just like the lawsuit, this subplot is frivolous. There are a few good lines but it’s wasted against Bart’s crush on an older woman.
Sara Gilbert is the perfect voice for the tomboyish and pseudo-rebellious Laura (she has impeccable manners but prefers bad boys as romantic interests). We never hear her speak for the rest of the series (so far) although she is occasionally seen in the background. Ruth has another starring role when she escapes with Marge, but we’ll get to that episode a lot later.