Tag Archives: Marge Simpson

The Simpsons: Bart Learns the Value of his Mother’s Love in “Marge Be Not Proud”

One of the great things about the Simpsons as characters is that they can pretty much do anything or be anything. You can put Our Favorite Family in whatever kind of story you’d like, from a standard domestic squabble to a world-threatening catastrophe, and for the most part, the characters are so universal and recognizable that they’ll still fit regardless what sort of narrative they’re dropped into. It’s part of what makes the show’s Treehouse of Horror franchise work — these characters can be slotted into any number of spoofs, pastiches, and homages, because they’re firm but malleable enough for it to click no matter the setting or plot.

But as I discussed with Robbie and Matt on The Simpsons Show Podcast, I often find that my favorite episodes of the show draw back to the quieter and more relatable stories for these characters. I warm to the ones where they feel like real people going through trials that we can all understand, accented with that trademark Simpsons irreverence.

That’s what’s so striking about “Marge Be Not Proud.” In a series that can claim some of its greatest triumphs in the guise of monorails gone awry, and city-threatening comets, and town-hopping, knife-wielding, Machiavellian maniacs, The Simpsons makes such an impact in this episode by stepping back from the commedia dell’arte-style flexibility of its characters, and focusing on the specific and down-to-earth story of a boy and his mom experiencing one of those moments that makes them see each other in a different light.

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The Simpsons: How “Moaning Lisa” Learns to Make Something Out of Sadness


The story of Lisa on The Simpsons is, in many ways, a tragic one. More than any other character on the show, she does not really fit into Springfield. That means that when she’s facing the type of complex problems that bother a sensitive young woman like herself, there’s little hope for a helping hand from someone who could address those problems with a level of understanding beyond her own.

Bart loves his sister, even if he can only admit it in a roundabout way, but he’s a brat whose bad behavior draws his parents’ attentions away from a child who needs it just as much, if not more. Homer, as Lisa acknowledges, means well and cares about his daughter, but he’s in so far over his head when it comes to the big questions nagging at her that he’s not much help beyond a good hug. That leaves Marge, perhaps the least-regarded member of The Simpson family among the show’s fans, as the only character on the show who “gets” Lisa.

Marge’s connection to her daughter makes her the emotional core of episodes like “Moaning Lisa”, particularly within the more grounded confines of The Simpsons’s first season. Even if Marge is, at times, a little too provincial to truly connect with her daughter’s world-weary concerns, she understands that Lisa is a remarkably precocious child, and that along with the insight and intelligence that will hopefully give her a better life someday, Lisa’s greater potential comes part and parcel with a greater set of challenges as well. The throughline for the episode, heavy stuff though it may be, is Lisa and Marge working through these types of challenges.

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How to End the Simpsons – Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind (s19e09)

Someday, The Simpsons is going to end.

As a diehard fan, even one who has some significant misgivings about the current state of the show, that’s a tough pill to swallow. The Simpsons has been on as long as I’ve been watching television. Even at its lowest lows, it’s been the small screen version of comfort food for me, and sooner or later our favorite family will sign off for the last time.

If show runner Al Jean is to be believed, that might not be for another twenty-five years. Still, the day is going to come, and I think it’s close on the horizon. With the recent contract negotiation, standoff, and finally renewal through Season 25, the end of the show appears to be on the minds of those who work on and produce it. Whether it’s threats to pull the plug in order to prompt salary cuts or requests for a share in the back end profits of the show, those involved seem to have a not-too-distant endpoint in mind.

This begs the question – how do you end a show that will have been on television for a quarter of a century and produced more than five-hundred episodes? How do you sum up, honor, and conclude twenty-five years worth of adventures? It’s a tall order to say the least.

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The Andrew Review: The Simpsons – The Blue and the Gray (s22e13)

In Season 22's "The Blue and the Gray" Marge decides to stop dyeing her hair and stick to ner natural gray.

In the most recent episode of The Simpsons, entitled “The Blue and the Gray,” Marge takes the bold step of forgoing her usual hair dye and deciding to sport her natural gray hair color. I really enjoyed this main story. It was fresh and original without feeling forced or contrived. It’s hard to come up with a situation the Simpson family has not already dealt with, and Marge-centric episodes in particular tend to cover already well-trodden ground. Who would have thought that a pack of middle-aged male comedy writers would have a hard time coming up with interesting material about a wife and mother? That barb aside, this episode bucked the trend. The basic plotline of Marge deciding to embrace her self confidence by going gray soared. The central conflict of Marge balancing her commitment to being “empowering” against the town’s reaction, not to mention her concerns about whether Homer’s support for the new-do is genuine, carried this episode home.

Of course, my fellow Simpsons nerds and I have known since Season 5’s episode “Secrets of a Successful Marriage” that Marge has been as “gray as a mule since she was seventeen.” In that same vein, I have no doubt that this blip in continuity will be cause for much consternation for my fellow diehards, but I’m willing to overlook it. I am a firm believer in Matt Groening’s “waistband continuity” where the continuity can stretch to fit the joke. I did take some issue with the fact that they hand-waved the issue with the hairdresser that the fumes from the dye wipe Marge’s memory that she’s actually gray. It would be better just to play it off as though the hairdresser was keeping it from her, or just reframe it as Marge knowing about the dyeing all along, but choosing to stop. Still, that’s a quibble in what was otherwise a strong and unique storyline.

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