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"Marge Gamer" is the seventeenth episode of The Simpsons' eighteenth season, which was originally broadcast on April 22, 2007. It was written by J. Stewart Burns and featured a guest appearance from Brazilian soccer star Ronaldo. This episode was first broadcast three days after the twenty-year anniversary of the first ever appearance of The Simpsons on television, in The Tracey Ullman Show' short "Good Night".
Marge is embarrassed at a Parent-Teacher Association meeting because she does not have an e-mail address, and she decides to buy her own computer. She is quite taken by the Internet, and starts playing a Fantasy MMORPG called Earthland Realms after refreshing her e-mail and finding an advertisement for it. The game has her interacting with practically the whole town of Springfield, including Apu the gem trader, Seymour Skinner the turkey, Moe who looks like a troll but is not, Mrs. Krabappel the enchantress, Snake the Cobra King, Chief Wiggum the pig man, Smithers the Barbarian, Comic Book Guy the fully armored crusader-like warrior, and Sideshow Mel as a creature who looks surprisingly like a Tauren. Suddenly everyone hides and closes the windows of their shops and houses as a knight atop a black horse named "The Shadow Knight" appears. Apu grabs Marge and Skinner is flamed by the knight's flame sword. It turns out the Shadow Knight is the most powerful and deadly character in the game (as Moe remarks "He once beat me to death with my life bar!"). While off the game, Marge does the laundry and unintentionally hears Bart say "Another senseless killing by the Shadowknight", learning that he is the Shadowknight.
Meanwhile, Homer referees Lisa's soccer game and his subpar skills frustrate Lisa. Stung by her criticism, he learns the rules of soccer and becomes a better referee, briefly impressing Lisa. Lisa twice pretends to be fouled hoping that Homer would admit it. At first he does but when Ronaldo points out that Lisa is a "flopper", Homer gives Lisa a yellow card. Angry, she rips up the yellow card, which causes Homer to give her a red card for unsportsmanlike conduct and ejects her from the game.
Marge goes to the Shadowknight's castle and meets Milhouse, cursed to look like a female servant as a result of an evil spell. In the online game Marge constantly frets about Bart, who goes around causing carnage, and redecorates his "trophy room" with the Hello Kitty expansion pack. Bart smashes all of these decorations with his weapon and accidentally kills Marge's character in his fit of rage, severely disappointing Marge.
Homer and Bart go to Moe's Tavern to escape their troubles. Upon expressing their troubles Moe gives surprisingly good advice. Homer jokingly asks "What have you done with the real Moe?" and everyone laughs, before its revealed the real Moe is bound and gagged in the room next-door. Acting on Moe's advice, Bart makes up for killing his mother's character by reviving her with two-thirds of his life force. While "Elf Marge" tends to the Shadowknight, the other characters raid the castle to take advantage of his weakness and graphically kill him. Homer gives Lisa a BBC documentary produced in cooperation with Canal+ about "floppers", hoping that she will forgive him, but she realizes that she was at fault. So, instead of forgiving Homer, Lisa apologizes for her injustice against him. Marge refuses to come outside as the rest of the family plays soccer outside with Ronaldo. Feeling sorry for Bart, she becomes the new Shadowknight and avenges Bart by eliminating everyone who participated in killing him, first starting with Moe's character, while juggling his head like a soccer ball, making Moe wonder why he pays $14.95 a month to play the game.
Adam Finley of TV Squad felt "the Homer/Lisa story might have worked better as the main plot, but even that segment of the episode was hindered by a terrible guest voice in soccer player Ronaldo". He went on to say: "I hate it when non-actors do guest voices on The Simpsons" and that "bad voice acting becomes much more of a distraction". In 2007, Simon Crerar of The Times listed Ronaldo's performance as one of the thirty-three funniest cameos in the history of the show.
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