Saturday Night Cartoons

“Our first night together as man and wife.” – Marge Simpson
“Hey, lovebirds, keep it down!” – Patty Bouvier

“I Married Marge” is a wonderful example of a process that’s not quite world building, but pretty close. We already know Homer and Marge get married, we know their oldest is Bart, we know Homer works at the nuclear plant. All of these elements have already been established. But in showing us how it happened, they deepen and expand both the characters and Springfield as a whole.

How does someone like Homer end up working at the plant? He marched into the boss’s office and made it clear that he would be a terrible employee, but that he would also be an obsequious one. It’s not hard to see how that combination would immediately appeal to Mr. Burns.

How does someone like Homer end up married to someone like Marge? He knocks her up. And, sure, that makes sense, but then we get the Simpsonization of it. Bart was conceived inside a supposedly “impregnable” mini-golf castle after a date that involved watching Empire Strikes Back and consuming a lot of cheap alcohol. And all this happens at a place where Homer manually turns windmill blades on his knees and his boss talks about the place like it’s a high honor to be, “the guy who hands out the putters”.

Everything about the Springfield of 1980 leads into the modern (well, 1991) Springfield. We see Marge’s family and how they can barely contain their contempt of Homer now that he’s wormed his way into Marge’s life. We see the rathole house Grampa is living in after his only son left him an empty-nester. We see the even worse rathole Barney and Homer share, dirty, nothing more than a couch and a crappy TV balanced on one of those discarded wooden spools that were so popular at the time. We see that Dr. Hibbert was always a man with a fashionable haircut.

Everybody is in character as not quite who they are yet, but pretty damn close. And all of this is done five years after “The Way We Was”, so it isn’t just a flashback, it’s actively continuing a story. Because of that, even the cheapest of jokes endear the characters to us.

“This is the most beautiful moment of my life.”

5 Responses to “Saturday Night Cartoons”

  1. 27 January 2019 at 3:47 am

    Nice to see articles like this back. And I completely agree with everything you said.

  2. 2 Ryan
    27 January 2019 at 10:42 pm

    This was a long ass quote of the day.

  3. 3 Anonymous
    28 January 2019 at 9:18 am

    *applauds* Great article, Charlie, I’m also glad to see you had the time to do one.

    I never really thought about it, but looking at this picture, I’m a bit surprised Marge is the one on the chair, while Homer is all comfy on the couch with a blanket and pillow. She’s the pregnant one. Maybe she was too warm, or maybe lying on her side would be too uncomfortable on a couch at that point, I dunno. I’m probably overthinking it.

    But Homer goes to such great lengths to prove how much he loves her in this episode, and they never forget the humor too. I enjoy watching all these flashback episodes together, it really paints a picture of how, despite his crude, lazy, buffoonish ways later in life, Homer was and still is a guy who really loves his family and is willing to make sacrifices for them. This is the heart of the show that has long since ceased to beat in Zombie Simpsons. Heart, humor, and wit were the soul of the series–ZS has none of these things.

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