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Worldly Distractions: The Simpsons 26.14 - My Fare Lady


crazyforkate

761 views

moe

Wait, didn't they do their "My Fair Lady" parody about ten years ago? So what's this going to be about? Oh, okay, Marge driving a taxi? I guess this isn't the worst. Will keep the vodka close just in case.

For some reason, the opening credits are in 8-bit. This is quite well-animated, provides some gags and contains more references to past Simpsons episodes and classic video games than I can keep track of. Fans will enjoy it, but make sure to rewatch a couple of times.

Then, because one opening credits sequence isn't enough, we get a Jetsons-style scene introducing the Simpson family. It's no "Simpson, Homer Simpson, he's the greatest guy in history", but it's cute, especially when Homer is used as a display for "Why Humans Failed". Of course, it turns out to have been a dream. Marge prints out (from an incredibly old printer) the kids' schedule for the day, which is packed. Homer complains about how Times Have Changed - when he was a kid, Abe made him hitchhike. Panicked at the sight of his children living a fulfilled life, he flees to Moe's.

Though he's never let it stop him before, he drinks just enough beer to get over the limit so he won't have to drive the kids. It's 8 AM. They zoom over town with plenty of funny moments in the process - Maggie at Gerald's first birthday party, Bart attending gymnastics with the sons of Snake and Chief Wiggum, who apparently use this time to get coffee and catch up. This episode's actually going pretty well. Wonder what's going to ruin it?

Marge maneuvers with incredible speed and flexibility, even street racing with Helen Lovejoy (who is driving the stepmotherless Flanders boys, WHICH MAKES TOTAL SENSE OMG). We get a non-speaking cameo from Jessica Lovejoy and the weird question of why Rod and Todd are dropped off at separate houses. I assume one of them sinned and was sent to ALERT. In the process, Helen crashes into the water tower and is presumably killed. Now who's going to think of the children?

Moe gets a ticket to see a brassy Hollywood lady in concert, but doesn't want to leave his bar. Because he's so excited for the theatre, Homer volunteers to take over for him. Meanwhile, Marge pulls up at a gas station only to meet a guy who drives for Uber Lyft "Here to There". It's certainly not a taxi, as the show is quick to remind us. He is played by Harry Crane from Mad Men, because in this magical world anything is possible. He explains to Marge how it works. She's intrigued by the extra income, so she joins up right there on the spot. A new career is born. Just like roughly 40% of the other episodes.

Meanwhile, Homer has also taken a new job, caring for Moe's in the proprietor's absence. I'm pretty sure he's done that before, but hey, the show gets a free pass if I can't name the episode.* He and Lenny and Carl notice that the bar is in dire financial straits, so they introduce a ladies' night. Meanwhile, Moe goes to see star Lainey Fontaine, who is more or less Elaine Stritch done by Tress MacNeille. It hits all the cliches perfectly. Moe just loves it, which is nice, since he's had absolutely no happiness in twenty-six years of this show. He even decides that Lainey is flirting with him, which is sure to end well.

Ladies' night is going great in the sense that the bar is packed, but badly in that no paying customers (that is, men) have shown up to justify the evening. YAY, women who don't need male companionship to have a good time! However, this does place Moe's Tavern in a bit of a bind. The customers include two rival book clubs, who get into a fight over "The Heaven Lovers' Club" and start a bar-wide brawl. Meanwhile, Moe manages to hook up with the Broadway and brings her back to the bar. Unfortunately, the brawl appears to have totaled it. The actress ditches him, Moe is despondent, and it looks like Springfield's favourite watering hole is down the tubes.

Devastated, Moe severs ties with all his friends. Lenny offers him to get a job at the nuclear plant, since their resident North Korean spy just left. Unfortunately, Moe's background check precludes it, though you'd think SNPP wouldn't look much further than "Do you have a pulse?".

Marge gets her first customer, Shauna Chalmers, who is very grateful and takes Marge's advice about body piercing. Moe indeed gets hired as a janitor at the plant, which is a huge boost. Marge starts to find her customers more and more challenging, throwing excessive demands her way and just being generally obnoxious.

Moe almost gets fired for giving Mr. Burns flack, but he manages to preserve himself by confusing the Nuclear Plant inspectors. A grateful old capitalist gives Moe a position supervising Homer. A bunch of cab drivers, including a rip-off of DeNiro, complain about Marge's horning in on their business. With his new power, Moe becomes super serious about his work, actually holding Homer accountable for his terrible record. Homer is reassigned to watering plants in Mr. Burns' office, which at least allows for some great Harry Shearer one-liners.

All of this makes Moe extremely unpopular with his friends, which leads to a blow-up in the cafeteria. Though Homer likes his new job (at least until Marge mentions that it helps his feminine side), Marge's is driving her to exhaustion. She heads out for one last call to a parody of Harry Chapin's "Taxi". Her customer is - Moe.

Through the song, they discuss Moe's problems. He wants to go back to bartending. Marge warms to him, telling him sympathetically that they should both make a change. Moe decides to return to his destroyed tavern. As Marge is driving away, she is cornered by a bunch of cabs. The angry drivers menacingly swing their air fresheners, one of which chops off Marge's hair. Enter Moe, with his shotgun, who chases the drivers away. Marge gives up her new job, and gratefully gives him her "smile" car hanging - which hangs up in the newly refurbished tavern. And thus our story has a happy ending.

This was great! After a series of stinkers, this episode had good jokes, heart, and some good old time with Marge and Moe, a duo always ripe for both pathos and humour. Rather than focusing endlessly on Homer's foibles, it gave us a slice of life in Springfield, something the show shines at and doesn't exploit enough. Next week they'll surely fuck it up - but in the meantime, here is something lovely to enjoy.

* The Simpsons Fan Code, page 83, paragraph 6, line 2

 

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