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The Simpsons/Marge Gets a Job
Marge Gets a Job is the seventh episode of the fourth season of The Simpsons, and the sixty-sixth episode overall. The foundation of the Simpsons' home is sinking into the ground, so Marge gets a job at the power plant to help pay for the cost of fixing it.
The Simpson house has extensive foundation damage and is literally sinking into the ground at an angle. Homer tries to fix it himself with a how-to video starring Troy McClure but discovers that he has no idea what McClure is talking about and doesn't have any of the tools necessary, so they call in a professional. The repairman from Surly Joe's gives a quote of $8500. Marge offers to get a job of her own to help pay for the costs and the two set off for a retirement party to get their minds off what Bart calls "the slanty shanty."
In the party, Smithers performs a musical number that honors Mr. Burns instead of the retiring Jack Marley. When he asks that they not force him to retire, hired goons forcefully eject him from the train and Mr. Burns announces that there's an opening in Sector 7G. Marge decides to apply for that position and Lisa helps her out with padding her resume to make herself sound far more impressive than usual. She manages to get the position and Homer isn't happy about having his workplace invaded by his wife.
On her first day at work, Marge causes a burst of flames when she presses the wrong button on her console. Since the two parents are at work full-time, Grandpa is left in charge of the baby and winds up pulling Bart out of school when he fakes sick to get out of a test. While everyone else is goofing off at work, Mr. Burns sees Marge on the closed circuit security system and falls in love with her. He lavishes gifts on her and gives her a new office next to his. Meanwhile, Bart gets out of a second test and is questioned again about "The Boy Who Cried Wolf." When he's finally forced to take the test, a timberwolf escapes from Krusty's set and Bart literally "cries wolf." Mrs. Krabappel won't listen to him but he's saved at the last moment by Willie, who wrestles the wolf to the ground.
Mr. Burns arranges a private meeting with Marge at his estate and has Smithers kidnap Tom Jones for entertainment. Burns is crushed when she reveals that she has a husband and fires her. Marge decides to sue him for sexual harassment and discrimination, although she uses Lionel Hutz as her lawyer who is scared off by Mr. Burns' high priced lawyers. Homer demands that Burns apologize and this spurs him to set Homer and Marge up on the date he originally planned for her and himself.
- Blackboard: "I will not teach others to fly." The final line cuts off at "other."
- Couch Gag: The family jumps onto the couch but everyone has different heads on. They all switch heads and Maggie takes the pacifier away from Homer, whose head was on her body.
- What's New Pussycat? by Tom Jones: The song that plays over the loudspeaker during Funny Hat Day is "What's New Pussycat?," a song performed by Tom Jones for the film What's New Pussycat released in 1965. The film was notable for being the first film role for Woody Allen.
- It's Not Unusual by Tom Jones: During the concert at the end of the episode, the imprisoned Tom Jones sings "It's Not Unusual" to Homer and Marge. The single was Jones' first hit song, managing to rank at #1 in the UK and #10 in the United States. It's often considered to be his "signature" song and was also released in 1965.
- Orientation: If the west side of the house is sinking into the ground, as said by the repairman, then the Simpson home faces south.
Behind the Scenes
- Censorship: In the original broadcast of this episode, Bart feigned having Tourette's Syndrome by twitching and saying "Shove it, witch." This offended several viewers afflicted with Tourette's, who mailed in angry letters to voice their disappointment in the show. These letters, combined with some influence from network censors, caused the scene to be changed several times. In one rebroadcast, the line was changed and Bart's spasms were cut. In syndication, the "Tourette's" comment was left in, but the spasms were again cut. Finally, on the DVD, "rabies" is still the line, but the spasms are still there and Bart mutters "Tourette's Syndrome" under his breath while taking his test.
Allusions and References
- Spruce Goose: The name of the train, The Spruce Caboose, is a parody of a plane flown by Howard Hughes called the Spruce Goose. The plane was entirely built out of wood, as it was made in 1947 when metal was a rare commodity due to the war effort. However, it was actually built mainly out of birch and not spruce, as the name suggests.
- Citizen Kane: The musical number performed by Smithers in the train restaurant is a direct parody of a similar number about Charles Foster Kane in the movie Citizen Kane. Simpsons writers have often joked that devoted fans with a lot of time on their hands could probably stitch together the film in its entirety from parody clips in the show.
- Canadian Referendum: As Homer mentioned from the newspaper, a referendum was put up to a vote in Canada which would effectively give the nation an entirely new constitution. The vote took place a few weeks before the episode aired and went down in flames, failing miserably.
- Stolen Kisses: The scene where Homer takes the paperwork Marge was filling out and sends it through the pneumatic tube is a sly reference to the French film Stolen Kisses by François Truffaut. In the film, Truffaut's frequently recurring character Antoine mails a love letter to a woman and the camera follows the letter through the French tube system until it reaches its destination. The music for both sequences is also the same.