The Simpsons, Seasons 21-31. Season 21, Episode 3: “The Great Wife Hope”

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Hey! Today we’ve got our first truly terrible Simpsons episode of the last 10 years for review! If you missed the prior installment of this series, you can check it out here. On to

“The Great Wife Hope” (October 11, 2009)

Oh great, a “Marge is a killjoy and a nag” episode. It wouldn’t be a season of the Simpsons without one of those. I’m not exactly breaking new ground with this comment, but Marge is so mistreated on this show. She cares about her family’s well being and in return for the most part she’s made to look like a wet blanket.

This week’s borrowed from Futurama billboard gag is an ad for Ned Flanders’s Leftorium: “The Leftorium Next: Right.” Not great, but after this episode you’ll be jonesing for jokes of this quality. The blackboard gag is also terrible: “I am not allergic to long division.” This weeks couch gag is that the couch escapes and leads the Simpsons in a search all over the world for it. They end up catching it in outer space. It was fine.

Marge and the ladies are bowling when they notice that there are no men in the bowling alley. A series of camera pans reveals every spot where the men of Springfield like to congregate is empty. Where have they all gone? Luckily this is answered in the next shot, where we discover that every man in town is at the Ultimate Punch Kick and Choke Championship (“UPKCC”). UPKCC is mixed martial arts very obviously modeled after UFC. The men of Springfield love it, but you know who I bet isn’t going to love it when she gets wind of this new violent obsession? Marge!

Bart misses out on getting celebrity cameo Chuck Liddel’s autograph because he’s charging $25 for it but that’s only a momentary distraction to Bart, who’s ready to emulate UPKCC with his classmates. If he does, Homer says to do it at school so that when somebody inevitably gets hurt they can sue. The long list of people Homer is aching to sue includes “that Jackass Joe Biden” and wouldn’t you know it THE SIMPSONS IS TRYING TO INFLUENCE THE ELECTION. Not cool, 2009 Simpsons. Bart and the other kids are doing MMA on the playground, Homer is cheering them on, and then Marge shows up. She is not pleased. “I think because this is not to my taste nobody else should be able to enjoy it” is an excellent summation of Marge’s killjoy attitude, and definitely not a simplistic reduction of her reacting to her son choking out another child while her husband shouts encouragement. Geez Marge, you suck. Let people like what they like. Etc.

Marge gets the women of Springfield together and they begin protesting UPKCC. Marge marches right into the arena and straight to the “Septagon” to give all the fans a piece of her mind. UPKCC founder Judd Engelbrick knows she isn’t going to say anything he likes because “that woman has natural breasts. This can’t be good.” Judd is correct; Marge wants UPKCC shut down. Judd agrees, given of course that Marge faces him in the Septagon and wins. What a silly concept; Marge doesn’t know anything about mixed martial arts. So of course she’s accepts.

After Carl and Lenny point out to Homer that Marge is going to die a grisly death because she doesn’t know how to fight and the rhythmic gymnastics she’s doing in the backyard aren’t going to cut it, Homer decides it’s time to enlist help. First they go to Drederick Tatum for training assistance, then it’s jiu jitsu training, and finally to the Yale club, where former Yale Etherweight Wrestler Monty Burns flails ineffectually while trying to take Marge down.

Marge beats Engelbrick because she’s now in great fighting shape, she attempts to give a big speech about glorifying violence, but nobody’s around to hear it because they all went to the parking lot to watch two drunk guys brawl. The end. Sweet, merciful end.

Best Joke: Slim pickings this week. I’m going with Homer’s explanation for being won over to Marge’s side: “She knew my one weakness: that I’m weak.”

Worst Joke: Several candidates this week. I’m declaring a tie, between “First time I hit a woman I didn’t love” and “Maybe some punk kid will shoot me to get into a gang,” Bart’s response to Homer telling him not everybody gets to die at home with loved ones.

Rating (out of 5 D’ohs): .5 D’ohs. Holy crud this episode sucks. It’s been done by the Simpsons at least half a dozen times, except this time they’ve spiced it up with jokes about domestic violence and gang shootings. What a hoot.

Stray Bits:

  • Marge: “Ultimate makes everything worse.” Otto: “Not frisbee”
  • Protest sign: “Unmix the martial arts”
  • MILF: Mom I’d Like to Fight

That it for this week. Next Monday: Treehouse of Horror XX

I don’t have much to promote but if you’ve got 3 bucks in your pocket and feel like reading an 80s pop culture nostalgia horror short story I wrote, you can get it here. You have to take the three dollars out of your pocket first. Or don’t and just use a linked credit or debit. card.

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