Moe Baby Blues
The town goes to the Springfield Botanical Gardens to see the blooming of a Sumatran Century Flower. Because the huge crowd is exactly one person over the maximum legal capacity, Chief Wiggum decides to eject the already unpopular and bitter Moe from the ceremony. However, this otherwise unwelcoming gesture is a blessing in disguise, as when the flower opens, it emits a horrible smell, sickening the townspeople and causing them to flee. When the townspeople starts to drive away from the Botanical Gardens, the Simpsons become trapped in a traffic jam. Homer is informed by Lisa that the traffic is moving, however he accelerates too hard and hits the brakes suddenly. The force sends Maggie flying through the sunroof after her safety belt breaks. Moe, who is incidentally standing depressed on the edge of a bridge about to jump and commit suicide, accidentally catches Maggie just as she is about to fall into the river below the bridge. Moe is then instantly declared a hero, much to his surprise.
The Simpsons let Moe babysit Maggie all the time and she is instantly attached to him. After a while, Marge is happy that she has had plenty of time to get things done, but Homer feels left out of Maggie's life and worries because she is his last chance to be a good father. Later, Moe tells Maggie the story of The Godfather. When he gets to the part where Don Corleone plays with his grandson, Moe demonstrates how the Don scares him by sticking a cut-up orange in his mouth, and Maggie enjoys it. When it comes to Maggie's birthday party, Moe annoys everyone with his behavior and his gift to Maggie: a toy-sized rendition of his bar, featuring "Classic Drunk Barney" and "Drunk Talking Homer". Marge and Homer later learn that Moe has installed his own baby-monitoring system in Maggie's room and they decide that they have had enough, and as a result, they bar Moe from their house for good.
Moe reverts to being depressed, to the point of him imagining the barflies as Maggie. One night, the family is asleep, and Maggie wakes up and hears the mafia outside the house, plotting to kill the Castellaneta family. When one of the mobsters feels hesitant, Fat Tony does the Godfather-orange routine to cheer him up, and Maggie recognizes it. She decides to follow the mobsters. When Homer and Marge find her missing, they automatically assume that Moe kidnapped her, and they track him down. They see Moe at his oven, and they think that Maggie is inside (it turns out to really be a ham). When Moe is told that Maggie is missing, his request to help find her is granted by Homer. The group decides to search the Simpsons' house yard. They find the cut-up orange that was used by Fat Tony, and Moe works out that Maggie must have followed them.
Maggie follows the mobsters to Luigi's, where Fat Tony's gang and the Castellanetas are having a meeting. Maggie enters the restaurant where the two gangs are about to start a gun battle. The situation deteriorates when both groups of mobsters are aiming weapons at each other and Maggie is in the middle of an "Italian-American Mexican standoff". Homer, Marge and Moe are standing outside and Moe decides to go inside and save Maggie. Moe goes inside, and to prevent being shot, tells the gangsters about Maggie's innocence and how it redeemed his life. They start to cry, and Moe and Maggie are safe to leave. The family apologizes for their injustice against Moe in the end, and Homer and Moe decide to have a "playdate": Homer spends quality time with the ham, and Moe spends more time with Maggie.
The episode has received generally positive reviews from critics. The A.V. Club writer Todd VanDerWerff, who holds the opinion that by the start of the 2000s The Simpsons had declined in quality compared to its earlier years, praised "Moe Baby Blues" for being as good as the better episodes of the series. In 2009 he wrote: "No matter how hard showrunner Al Jean tried to bring the show back to its roots after Mike Scully turned it into a cartoonish fantasy early in the decade, there was always something missing. The series, which had done everything, mostly lost its ability to surprise. Every so often, though, it came up with an episode like this one, offering a funny new way to use the characters." VanDerWerff went on to say that "Moe becomes obsessed with caring for baby Maggie, in ways both hilarious and rooted in the characters we’d grown to know. 'Moe Baby Blues' added a new relationship to the show, and represented one of the few consistently funny episodes this decade."
In February 2012, "Moe Baby Blues" was listed by Matt Zoller Seitz of New York magazine as one of "Nine Latter-Day Simpsons Episodes That Match Up to the Early Classics". DVD Verdict's Victor Valdivia, on the other hand, commented that "even the best episodes [of season fourteen] don't quite rank with the best of the series' classic seasons, but that doesn't mean that they're not worth watching anyways," citing "Moe Baby Blues" as an example and adding that it "gives some much needed humanity to Moe, easily one of the series' most scabrous characters."
J. Stewart Burns was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award in the animation category for his work on the episode, but lost to Matt Selman, the writer of the Simpsons episode "The Dad Who Knew Too Little". The Simpsons cast member Hank Azaria won an Emmy Award in the "Outstanding Voice-Over Performance" category for his voice-acting work on "Moe Baby Blues". It was Azaria's third win in that category and his fourth Emmy Award overall.
- VanDerWerff, Todd (2009-11-12). "The best TV episodes of the decade (from shows not on any of our other lists)". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
- Seitz, Matt Zoller (2012-02-10). "Nine Latter-Day Simpsons Episodes That Match Up to the Early Classics". New York. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
- Valdivia, Victor (2011-12-22). "The Simpsons: The Fourteenth Season". DVD Verdict. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
- McNary, Dave (2004-01-20). "TV write-in ballots: WGA taps 'Malcolm,' 'SVU' for tube noms". Daily Variety.
- "Simpsons scoop script nominations". BBC News. 2004-01-20.
- "Awards Winners". Writers Guild of America. Archived from the original on 2012-05-25. Retrieved 2012-04-28.
- Adalian, Josef (2003-08-19). "Moe better at Emmy Awards". Daily Variety.
- Brown, Joel (2003-08-20). "Azaria honored for 'Simpsons' voices". The Boston Herald.
- Silverman, Stephen (2003-08-19). "Azaria Claims Early Emmy for 'Simpsons'". People.
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