21
Mar
14

Compare & Contrast: Marge Becomes Less Attracted to Homer

King Size Homer17

“Mr. Burns, can you make me thin again?” – Homer Simpson
“I guarantee it. . . . One . . . one! . . . one! . . . Bah, I’ll just pay for the blasted liposuction!” – C.M. Burns
“Woo-hoo!” – Homer Simpson

The Simpsons always had an acknowledged and popular soft touch with big emotions.  For all the craziness going on in the rest of the episode, they could deftly deliver both believably sweet moments and ones that packed real punch.  The same show that has Marge finally snap at Bart’s selfishness and yell that he ruined Thanksgiving could also put Homer in a job he hates staring at his “Do It For Her” wall of Maggie pictures, miserable and happy at the same time.

Even small moments that aren’t pivotal to the plot play well, like Bart thanking his mom for sticking up for him as he runs off with his BB gun to Milhouse’s, or when Lisa and Marge quickly and silently bond over keeping Marge’s cash safe from Homer’s idiotic desire to burn it at Krusty’s stand up performance.  Neither are big, emotional moments that define the story, but they’re still given that little flourish, partly because it makes the scene flow better, partly because that’s just who the characters are, and partly just because it can be funny.

As with so many other things, Zombie Simpsons is utterly tone deaf with small emotional moments.  And since it always repeats something from The Simpsons, it’s easy to see how they can take the same emotion between the same two characters and make it much shabbier.  In the case of “The Winter of His Content”, it’s a scene wherein Marge hesitantly confesses that she’s starting to become less enamored of her husband.

It’s a weak scene in a weak episode, with Marge confiding to Patty & Selma (or at least trying to) about Homer acting like an old man.  The scene, in its entirety, consists of Marge describing things Homer does while we see him do them, then Patty asks her to say she’s no longer attracted to him, to which Marge simply replies “Maybe”.  It’s played as sad, and, as is standard with Zombie Simpsons, it has basically no connection to the rest of the episode.  It’s the first time we see Marge act with real worry and it’s the last time we see Marge at all until the very last scene after everything has worked itself out.

It’s just a quick little emotional moment.  But in addition to being left awkwardly unsupported by the rest of the episode, it also trivializes one of the core elements of the show: Marge’s loving but completely irrational attraction of Homer.  At this point, Homer acting like an old man barely rates a 3.0 on the Captain Wacky Scale and they’ve not only got Marge acting like he’s jeopardizing everything, but they also drop the subject for literally the rest of the plot.  It’s the emotional equivalent of telling someone that you have six months to live and then neither of you asking or offering any more on the subject.  It’s just weird.

Mild Concern

You can tell it’s serious because Marge takes up only a small part of the shot and looks slightly gassy.

Compare that to the same sentiment in “King-Size Homer”, when Marge makes it perfectly clear that she’s not playing around by saying: “Con, I’m finding myself less attracted to you physically.”  It’s a much more personal and appropriate line than “Maybe” because it’s the exact kind of thing Marge would say (stern but phased as gently as possible) and it fits with the gravity of what’s being portrayed.

Besides being a much better line, it’s also tied into the rest of the episode, both before and after.  The first time they bring it up is when Homer reveals to Marge his plan to get fat enough for disability and promptly blows off her objections, still too enamored of his plan to listen:

Marge: Have you thought about your health, or your appearance?
Homer: Oh, so that’s it, isn’t it, Marge?  Looks.  I didn’t know you were so shallow.
Marge: Oh, please, I would love you if you weighed one thousand pounds!
Homer: Beautiful!  Good night.

When she brings it up again at her pro and con session in the kitchen, the groundwork for a quick but sincere emotional moment has been done.  She raises the stakes by telling him quite seriously that she’s losing it for him and Homer ups them further by acting defiant instead of feigning ignorance.

King Size Homer15

Up close and personal, we can see the real doubt and pain on her face.  Shit is getting real.

That buildup works so well that the final time this serious emotion is raised, it doesn’t require a single word of dialogue between the two.  The main plot is fat Homer saving the plant from his own lazy stupidity, and when that’s over and Burns asks if there’s anything Homer wants, Homer and Marge need only share a look.

King Size Homer16

Even just drawn with simple lines, her face says it all.

In neither episode is this vital emotional risk the key to the story.  But Zombie Simpsons treats it like a single scene afterthought where – wham! – Homer and Marge are back and happy because that’s just how things were always going to go.  The Simpsons, on the other hand, made that risk an important part of the ending without even uttering a word.  It’s the kind of thing you can only do if you take it seriously enough to weave it into the entire episode instead of just tossing it off in a scene that didn’t even need to be there.


14 Responses to “Compare & Contrast: Marge Becomes Less Attracted to Homer”


  1. 1 FireFlower
    21 March 2014 at 9:41 am

    Those screenshots prove that the show’s current animation is as stale and lifeless as the scripts.

  2. 3 ShaLaLaCarla
    21 March 2014 at 10:34 am

    Marge, what’s wrong? Are you hungry? Sleepy? Gassy? Is it gas? It’s gas, isn’t it.

  3. 4 Stan
    21 March 2014 at 10:48 am

    The way you describe it, that one scene kinda sounds typically Asperger’s. Out of the blue, say an awkward phrase and then shut up. Why? What for? Even they don’t know.
    And it’s not a small thing someone could overlook. In fact, scenes like these are one of the key reasons I stopped watching ZS. Sure, having Homer’s obnoxious jerkassness hit the ceiling is somewhat frustrating and surely makes the show unwatchable. But this one thing, when they send out a plot element and smash it against a brick wall like these only because the preview supposedly said “oh, and also, Marge finds Homer less attractive”… Well, if the scene doesn’t go anywhere, it ends up angering the shit out of me also.

  4. 21 March 2014 at 12:19 pm

    All the ZS episodes seem to blend together at this point so I could be wrong. Hasn’t ZS recycled the Marge becomes less attracted to Homer plotline at least half a dozen times?

    • 9 Joe H
      21 March 2014 at 1:28 pm

      I always thought those were “Marge is too distracted to be in the mood for sex” ZS moments, which seems to happen every other episode these days. Even the last Sideshow Bob episode had that moment–which again was quickly resolved in a typically stupid ZS way

      • 10 Stan
        21 March 2014 at 2:18 pm

        Worse part is: they now treat sax like some taboo. When I use to watch FG 3-4 years ago these guys could really do silly but funny sex ref jokes and get away with it. No need to show Bart’s penis or anything. ZS… They treat sex like zombies. Ignore it.

  5. 13 FireFlower
    21 March 2014 at 1:25 pm

    I don’t they reused Marge being less attracted too often…but Homer and Marge fighting and Bart getting a girlfriend have been done about 159330462605 times each.


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