348. Mobile Homer

(originally aired March 20, 2005)
These Homer-Marge marriage episodes are bad enough without making Homer into a petulant child, have him use, abuse and insult Marge for really no good reason, and still end up on top again. It’s mind boggling to me that the staff watches some of these episodes without realizing how completely unlikable Homer comes off. Are they so enamored by him that they don’t notice? Following a terrible accident at home, Marge pleads with Homer to get life insurance so she and the kids will be supported in case he gets killed on one of his bonehead adventures. Ultimately unable to get coverage, Marge grows paranoid and resorts to penny pinching in order to create a nest egg, to be used on “a very rainy day.” Now Marge may be pushing things a bit too far, but her motivation is completely rational and sound considering the heightened probability of Homer’s demise. Now unable to drink at Moe’s, Homer’s had enough (“You can’t enjoy money when you’re dead, so why not have fun now?”) How big a moron is he? It’s not if they all die, it’s about if he, the sole provider for the family, dies, and his family is left for themselves. Doesn’t he care at all about what will happen to them? He then proceeds to argue that he works hard at work for that money while Marge sits around the house. It’s like I’m listening to the diametric opposite of Homer: he knows full well how much he jerks around at work, and that Marge is the glue that keeps the family together. Why is he acting like such a dickhead? It makes you completely against him to pick an ammo-less fight with his wife like this.

To assert his dominance, or something, Homer blows the entire nest egg savings on a mobile home. He invites an entire convoy of trailers to his backyard primarily to piss Marge off, ignorant to the fact that she easily sends them away when she cuts their power from the main home. Then, like in “Three Gays of the Condo,” Marge is the one who tries to bridge the relationship, but it’s even worse here; she’s pleading Homer to just come back and stop all this stupidness, but Homer isn’t having any of that. Bart and Lisa, as sick of their parents fighting as I am with this episode, reason that if they just take the RV back to the dealer, the conflict will be resolved. They end up out of control on the freeway, somehow, leading Homer and Marge to have to save them. Then the episode ends with them all on a Turkish freighter for some reason, with virtually no resolution to the Homer-Marge story at all. This episode is basically as big a train wreck as “Three Gays of the Condo,” with Homer acting like a humungous juvenile asshole to his wife for no discernible reason, and the show wrapping up in a nice bow just because twenty minutes is up, and in place of the offensive gay content is a whole bunch of shit that makes no sense, like how the kids are even able to drive the RV, or why the Simpson backyard is humungous enough to park ten RVs in. Fuck this show.

Tidbits and Quotes
– Marge fantasizes about a macho Homer completely cleaning the garage and losing weight while she’s out of the house, which of course is the exact opposite of what happens. The dream sequence isn’t framed like it’s Marge’s vision of a perfect husband, but what she honestly thinks is going to happen. Either way, it makes her seem like she’s delusional. Why would she think that?
– Homer lands on his back dead center of the front of the garage. He sees a spider coming down from above and throws a TV Guide at it. It flies up in front of him, outside the garage presumably, but then somehow ends up hitting the garage door button which is on the inside of the garage to his right. Am I to believe this is some kind of magic TV Guide? I hope someone got fired for that blunder.
– I’m sure the bit with Bart predicting Homer’s horrible accident with his drawing is a reference to something, does anyone know? Regardless, it’s just weird, creepy and out-of-place as a one-off joke like that.
– At least this show had a few laughs, which at this point in the series is a highlight: the Merry Widow Insurance sign (“Denial, Anger, Acceptance, Cash!”) and the Budget-O’s cereal, with a bum dressed like a clown on the box, that you have to assemble like it’s a model airplane.
– Bart and Lisa have to wear Goodwill clothes, but of course only for the shot where they make the joke. Also, Lisa has her regular dress on under her shirt, so what’s the point?
– Another Katherine Hepburn character. The writers must love when Tress does that voice, I guess.
– A very grisly gag involving Flanders hallucinating seeing Jesus from the RV fumes, and him turning a wicked smile once he and his sons pass out.
– I hate absolutely everything around it, but I love this line from the one RV driver when Marge cuts the power (“I was making a Monte Cristo sandwich when my crisper cut out! It’s not golden brown, it’s not brown, it’s not nothin’!”) Just how angry he is about it is very funny to me.
– This episode features the “return” of Bob from Big Bob’s RV Round-Up, with a slightly modified model (his gigantic ears are no more). I think he’s voiced by Castellaneta, who does a fair enough mimic, but there’s just no material here for him.
– Not exactly sure how Bart and Lisa can drive the RV with both of them at the steering wheel. Why doesn’t one of them work the gas and the brake and the other steer? They’re driving in Springfield, then spend a long time staring at a map, then somehow end up on the freeway. Homer and Marge drive up beside them, and Bart yells at them to kiss and make-up. Marge insists they haven’t gotten to that point yet, but Bart tells them to do it anyway. It’s like he’s the status quo forcing these two to get back together when they couldn’t be further apart. Then they’re really in trouble (“We’re going downhill, and I can’t reach the brakes!”) Then go down and push down on the brakes then!
– The episode ends with the Simpsons partying with the Turks, for reasons I really can’t explain. Also the Homer-Marge conflict is solved by Marge being drugged into complicity, so I guess everybody wins.

17 thoughts on “348. Mobile Homer

  1. Don’t you remember, their backyard is big enough to have a forest, a river, and it sown ecosystem in it?

    Anyway, yeah, this episode is absolutely terrible. But then, what from this season isn’t? The only thing I like out of this episode is when Homer says, “Oh no, so the kids are driving on their own AND home alone.”

  2. The episode’s existence is justified by the great Lifetime film parody, “From Homemake to Homeless”. And I did like Marge calling out Homer on his lies: “Oh PLEASE! From what I hear, you waltz in there at 10:30, take a nap on the toilet, then sit around Googling your own name until lunch!” “(gasp) Who told you that?!” “You shouted it while we were making love!”

    Still, not great overall; your various criticisms are valid. One thing not mentiond: Around this time, Homer’s “D’oh!” catchphrase was seemingly replaced by the far less funny “Dammit!” Here, he says it when he can’t get in the RV.

      1. I agree! But Mike was pretty critical of it when he did season 5, he said it was the worst of the season. Just putting things into perspective 🙂

      2. Yeah, “Secrets” is the only non-clipshow classic show that kind of rubs me the wrong way. But compared to the trash we have now, it’s a nugget of pure gold.

      3. Wellit had a lot of good moments, like Homer making a Marge plant, Reverend Lovejoy telling Marge that the Bible doesn’t allow people to go to the bathroom, Moe’s hip-hop dance course, and Homer nearly getting busted for teasing the order box at Krusty Burger’s. However, Homer was acting like a dry-run version of the childish, mentally-stunted jerk he would be later on and the implication that Marge takes Homer back all the time because their relationship is run on co-dependency is really the moment when people should have thrown up their hands and given up on the show, since the writers would surely run that into the ground.

  3. I don’t think I get it either, but I absolutely love the joke about Bart knowing Homer would get injured by the garage door.

  4. I despised this episode when I watched it in 2005, and I still despise it today. Definitely in my bottom 10.

    Reading your recent reviews, I note you’re growing quite fond of the phrase “Fuck this show.” Can’t say I blame you.

  5. “That’s no marriage bed! It’s a loveless slab of bossiness!”
    This may be the meanest thing I’ve ever heard any protagonist say to his wife. Fuck Homer.

  6. I don’t know why, but I feel like I watched this episode just recently even though I know I didn’t. I know this whole plot of Homer needing to get life insurance sounds so familiar.

    Anyway, the episode is quite subpar, but the line, “They’ve taken off with the RV AND they’re home alone,” always makes me laugh. That is the one thing from this episode that has always stuck in my mind. Other than that, I can’t think of anything really funny.

    I mean, the stuff in the garage is kind of dumb as I noticed the book too. Also, Bart’s drawing holds no relevance to anything at all. An entire episode could have been dedicated to just that.

    Homer is a complete and utter jackass though and the whole argument feels forced. I just don’t get why they think they can keep doing marriage crisis episodes. They’re boring at this point. Of course, nothing will ever be as bad as the Manatee episode from the next season. That is hands down the worst episode of the entire franchise.

    The Flanders bit makes no sense to me. Like what is the whole point of that scene? There’s no purpose to it either other than being mean spirited for the sake of it. It feels tacked on.

    Oh, and that ending. What the freaking hell is that all about? I don’t understand it one bit.

  7. I remember watching this episode a few years ago and I fucking hated it. I still do, in fact, it’s one of the worst episodes of the entire show. Because of episodes like this and Every Man’s Dream, I’ve grown to hate these Homer and Marge marriage crisis episodes. They’re just so unlikable and bitter throughout most of them so the “heartwarming” ending just comes off as bullshit. Not to mention that the show does them all the goddamn time, especially around season 13 or so. I know these types of episodes have been around since the beginning but at least there’s a reason why Homer and Marge are fucking married.

  8. Why is Marge suddenly worried about Homer dying NOW? The guy has one life-threatening drama after another from one episode to the next.

  9. This is a pretty fucking awful marriage crisis episode but Homer calling the Turkish sailor a “Cyprus splitting jerk” got a pretty good laugh out of me.

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