Love is a Many-Splintered Thing
"Love is a Many-Splintered Thing" is an episode of The Simpsons. It is the twelfth episode of the 24th season and the 520th episode overall. It aired on February 10, 2013, as a Valentine's Day themed episode.
Narrating the episode, Bart looks back upon his failures with girls, particularly Mary Spuckler. At Springfield Elementary School, Bart realizes that Mary has returned to Springfield and has been welcomed back to her family after the events in her last episode. Though they pursue a relationship, Bart fails to pay enough attention to Mary and is instead focused on video games. Despite Lisa's warnings, Bart continues to take Mary for granted until she tells him that they should take a break, to which Bart recognizes the expression as a warning sign for a potential breakup. Additionally, she starts showing interest in a prosperous boy from Brazil. Eventually, it becomes clear to Bart that Mary has broken up with him, after she sings a breakup-themed song to him via telephone.
During an argument between Homer and Marge, Bart takes Homer's side, arguing that men cannot be expected to understand women when women never come out and say what they are thinking. In response, Marge tells Homer exactly what she thinks of him, leading to both Bart and Homer being kicked out of the house. The two promptly settle into Breakwood Apartments, an apartment for failed husbands who were kicked out by their wives. Bart and Homer initially become accustomed to their new situation, but the two, along with all of the other husbands, soon realize that they have to win their loves back, which they learn to do by watching British rom-com movies. Taking this into play, Bart, Homer, and the husbands invite Mary, Marge, and the other wives over to the apartment and sing to the tune of The Ode to Joy. It wins the hearts of every women except for Mary, who has started dating the Brazilian boy. The episode ends with Lisa informing Bart that women should not be taken for granted, and afterwards, Bart visits a social media site, where he sees Mary's relationship status change to "single", and he sends a message to her reading, "I miss you." In a post-credits scene, he receives a video call from Mary (newly widowed), but the exact nature of her response is left unrevealed.
Benedict Cumberbatch was cast for his role after having a meeting at the same studio where The Simpsons record their voice-overs. After hearing that there was an uncast role, he commented: "I said, 'I hate to muscle in here, guys, but could I record it?' Next thing, I'm standing in a room with all those famous voices: Bart, Marge, Homer, Lisa." His two small roles in the episode were not Sherlock-related; instead, he portrayed "a sinister accountant" and "a snake-like character." It has since been revealed he will play The British prime minister and Severus Snape.
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The episode's title is a line from the song "Ribbons" by British gothic rock band The Sisters of Mercy on their 1990 album Vision Thing. This line is itself a reference to the song "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing", making it the second episode to be titled so, after the Season 22 episode "Love Is a Many Strangled Thing". The opening credits and Bart's narration are also meant to parody the distinctive style of Woody Allen movies (the opening monologue is based on the famous opening from Annie Hall). Woody Allen himself appears as a character, portrayed by an unknown impersonator, and tries to advise Bart about women, using the names of some of his movies as metaphors. Lisa appears in Bart's final narration wearing the same clothes worn by Diane Keaton's character in Annie Hall. The film Love Indubitably is a reference to a fictional movie of the same name in the episode "Mr. F" of Arrested Development, which itself was a reference to Love Actually, the 2004 British comedy film. The TARDIS makes an appearance in the mock film from Doctor Who from which Alfred Hitchcock appears and does a short breakdance. There is also a brief parody of The Full Monty as well as an appearance by Severus Snape (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch). Bart and Mary watch the 1939 French film La règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game) at the Springfield Moviehouse, and a brief excerpt of the actual film is seen. Redneck comic Larry the Cable Guy is parodied as "Barry the Satellite TV Guy." Marvin the Martian appears in the episode as a character in a fighting video game. Max Weinberg appears in a dream-sequence because "Springsteen [was] not available."
The episode received 2.0 in the 18-49 demographic and was watched by a total of 4.19 million people. This made it the second most watched show on Fox's Animation Domination line up that night Beating Bob's Burgers, American Dad, The Cleveland Show but was beaten by Family Guy with 4.71 million.
The episode was met with mostly negative reviews, with Robert David Sullivan of The A.V. Club giving it a D+, saying, "This is an unusually focused story for The Simpsons, but it's padded out by self-deprecating cameos and perfunctory, Family Guy-style celebrity impressions." Rob H. Dawson of TV Equals said, "I just found 'Love is a Many Splintered Thing' to be completely boring and unsatisfying, is all." John Blabber of Bubbleblabber praised the Woody Allen caricature and gave the episode a 9/10.
- Sherlock meets The Simpsons
- Fowler, Tara. "'The Simpsons': Watch Benedict Cumberbatch | Inside TV | EW.com". Insidetv.ew.com. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
- Daily Preliminary Broadcast Cable Finals Broadcast Finals. "Sunday Final Ratings: 'Family Guy' & 'The Cleveland Show' Adjusted Up; 'The Simpsons', '60 Minutes' & 'Revenge for Real' Adjusted Down - Ratings | TVbytheNumbers". Tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
- David, Robert. "“Love is A Many Splintered Thing” | The Simpsons | TV Club | TV". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
- "The Simpsons Season 24 Review "Love is a Many Splintered Thing"". TV Equals. Retrieved 2013-02-13.