Milhouse of Sand and Fog
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"Milhouse of Sand and Fog" is the third episode of the seventeenth season of The Simpsons. The title of the episode is a reference to the book and adapted film, the House of Sand and Fog. It originally aired September 25, 2005.
The show starts in church. During Reverend Lovejoy's sermon, Maggie is caught scratching herself with a hymnal. Marge takes away the book, discouraged also by the fact that Homer is flossing his teeth with the bookmark string. Marge takes Maggie to the AME Church to see Dr. Hibbert, who diagnoses Maggie with chicken pox. Later at home, Maggie is given oven mitts to prevent her scratching; she cannot resist scratching herself and finds other objects with which to do so. Inspired by Flanders' suggestion of purposely exposing the boys to the chicken pox, Homer invites all the neighborhood kids over to the Simpson house for a "pox party" (at $15 a pop). He ends up catching it himself, by drinking from Maggie's milk bottle, having no childhood immunity ending up scratching himself with Bart and Lisa. One good thing comes of it, though: After having a few custom Margaritas, Milhouse's parents reconcile.
Milhouse feels neglected because his parents are not fawning over him as they once did, both competing for his love. Milhouse schemes to break up his parents again, and enlists both Bart and a plot borrowed from The O.C. The boys leave a bra conspicuously located in Kirk's bed—unfortunately, it has Marge's name on its tag. Luann thinks Marge is having an affair with her husband, and soon she has Homer questioning his wife's fidelity. An argument ensues, and Bart realizes he may have split up his own parents instead of Milhouse's.
Bart schemes to reunite them by pretending to fall off a cliff into a river, using a dummy—but, thanks to Milhouse breaking his glasses after hitting a tree, Bart ends up really taking the plunge. Homer leaps into the rapids and rescues Bart, and through a little trust, Marge saves them both from going over the falls. The Simpsons reconcile, once safely on the river bank. Milhouse, thinking Bart fell past the waterfall, attempts to commit suicide by jumping over the edge. The episode ends with Milhouse's fate unresolved.
- The title of the episode is a reference to the book House of Sand and Fog.
- In the scene parodying The O.C., in addition to the cheating scene, it also involves the O.C. gang going to Knott's Berry Farm (along with a person dressed as Snoopy), with The O.C.'s theme song "California" by Phantom Planet playing (Snoopy then forces the O.C. kids to take out money from an ATM at gunpoint). Ryan Atwood, a main character on the show, once played Snoopy in a school musical. California is also played over the end credits.
- The picture Homer receives with a traffic ticket in the mail shows him running a red light while eating a doughnut and reading Cat Fancy magazine.
- In one scene, Bart and Milhouse are acting out a song from the play Oklahoma!, "The Farmer and the Cowman".
- Milhouse exclaims in surprise, "Sweet Lizzie McGuire!" when witnessing his parents reconciling.
- Marge saves Bart and Homer from going over the falls the same way as Buster Keaton did with his girl friend in Our Hospitality.
- The Springfield parents' scheme of purposely exposing their kids to Maggie's chicken pox is a centuries-old (and medically controversial) technique known as pox parties. Doctors are actually against the idea of pox parties that was used in this episode, claiming people should get the chickenpox vaccine instead as a safer alternative.
- Bart describes the plan to split up Milhouse's parents as a "reverse Parent Trap".
- The scene at the A.M.E. church closely resembles the scene inside the Triple Rock Church in The Blues Brothers. In particular, the choir is wearing the same color robes, and the preacher looks, sounds, and sings like the Reverend Cleophus James.
- As punishment for being responsible for her and Homer's break-up, Marge threatened Bart that she will erase all the game saves on his PlayStation, and threatened to erase his custom ringtones on his mobile phone if he doesn't work on his spelling when he misspelled "Divorce".
- Our House by Crosby Stills and Nash is used as the soundtrack to Milhouse's fantasy sequence.
- There are 2 Shakespeare references in this episode: 1) In the opening scene, Flanders asks Homer to let Maggie infect his own kids so "that way there'll be a pox on both our houses!" 2) After ignoring Marge's denial's that she slept with Kirk forcing Marge to scream "NO NO NO!" Homer finally says, "Methinks the lady doth protest too much."
- When Bart is sitting on top of a floating Homer and paddling to avoid the rocks in the water, Homer begins to hum. This is what Dirk in the game Dragon's Lair does in the rapids level.
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