The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons
"The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons" is the seventh episode of The Simpsons' ninth season, that originally aired on November 16, 1997. It was written by Richard Appel and directed by Steven Dean Moore. The episode sees Apu Nahasapeemapetilon marry Manjula, and incorporates several aspects of Hindu wedding ceremonies, which the writers researched during the episode's production. Appel pitched the episode several years before season nine but the idea was not used until Mike Scully became showrunner. The title is a parody of the 1947 Humphrey Bogart film The Two Mrs. Carrolls. The episode's subplot, which sees Homer stay at the Springfield Retirement Castle, was initially conceived as a separate episode, but could not be developed in enough detail. The episode received mixed critical reviews.
At a bachelor auction to raise money for the Springfield fire department, the available bachelors on display are deemed undesirable, and the auction makes no money at all. Marge then nominates Apu, who is deemed a success by the women at the auction and is sold for $926. He goes out on dates with many of the town's women, and begins to enjoy his bachelor lifestyle. One day, he receives a letter from his mother in India, reminding him of his arranged marriage to Manjula, the daughter of a family friend. Not wanting to get married, Apu asks Homer for advice. Homer suggests Apu tell his mother that he is already married. Days later, Apu thinks that he has escaped the marriage until he sees his mother walking towards the Kwik-E-Mart. To cover him, Homer tells Apu to pretend that Marge is his wife.
At the Simpson residence, Marge disapproves of the plan, but decides to do it for Apu's sake. Apu's mother is displeased with his choice of bride, and shocked to learn that she has grandchildren. While the plan is under way Homer decides to stay in the Springfield Retirement Castle with his father, posing as resident Cornelius Talmidge. That is, until the real Cornelius returns, at which point he flees. He returns home and gets into bed with Marge. Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilon enters to say goodbye, but is shocked to see Marge in bed with another man, and Apu on the floor. Tired of the whole charade, Marge forces Apu to tell his mother the truth, who declares that the arranged marriage will proceed as planned.
The wedding is held in the Simpsons' back yard, but Apu still has second thoughts about it. However, when he sees Manjula for the first time in years, he realizes how beautiful she really is and feels a little less reluctant. Apu asks about her favorite food, book and movie; the answer to all three questions is Fried Green Tomatoes. The pair decide that perhaps the marriage can work after all, and they can get a divorce if it does not. Homer, poorly disguised as Ganesha, tries to stop the wedding, but Apu and Manjula marry anyway.
Writer Richard Appel pitched "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons" at a story retreat several years before the ninth season, but it could not be fitted into a season at that point. Mike Scully liked the idea and so decided to use it in his first season as showrunner. Homer's sub plot at the Retirement Castle was an idea that Scully had for a long time. The plot could not be sustained for a whole episode, so it was fitted into this one. The bachelor auction was created solely to provide more evidence that Apu is the best bachelor in Springfield, Appel found that the scene "wrote itself", as every other man in Springfield is essentially a loser compared to Apu. The scene acted as the episode's opening set piece, a concept that Scully liked to use in every episode. The montage of Apu getting several different hair styles originally included three more, but they ended up being cut for time. The shot in which Apu's mother falls to the ground, a joke that the staff love, was inspired by an incident when Moore saw a man fall in much the same way. The joke was only inserted to buy Apu and Homer more time to come up with a lie. Before the wedding, Bart fuels a "sacred fire" with pages from a hymn book. Originally he used pages from The Bible, but after the scene had been animated Scully found the joke "horrible" and changed the book title to "Hymns".
Andrea Martin provided the voice of Apu's mother, recording her part in New York. She wanted to get the voice perfect, so in between takes she listened to tapes of Hank Azaria reading lines for Apu, to make sure her voice could realistically be Apu's mother's. During the flashback to Apu's childhood, the animators made sure not to show Manjula, as they wished to reveal her at the end of the episode.
The staff researched into arranged Hindu marriages, learning about ideas such as the lotus flower being used as a message, but a majority of the information turned out "not to be as hilarious [as the writers] had hoped", and so was dropped. Steven Dean Moore, the episode's director, researched into the design of every aspect of Indian culture shown in the episode. The events of the wedding, as well as many of the items present, were all taken from traditional Hindu marriage ceremonies.
The Foreigner song "Hot Blooded" plays over Apu's bachelor binge, and he dances in a manner similar to Riverdance. Additionally, an Indian version of The Carpenters' song "(They Long to Be) Close to You" is sung at the wedding, an Indian vocal group was hired to sing, while Alf Clausen wrote the instrumental part. The scene where Moe walks on and off the stage without breaking his stride was loosely based on a moment that occurred during a stand up show of comedian Redd Foxx. During a show in Las Vegas, Foxx came on stage to the Sanford and Son theme song, only to find that there were very few people in the audience. Foxx reacted angrily refusing to do a show with such a small audience and walked off. The house orchestra, puzzled by Foxx's leave simply played him off with the Sanford and Son theme song again. This incident was also referenced in the later episode "Trash of the Titans", when Ray Patterson is reinstated, although the reference is more similar to the real event then.
In its original broadcast, "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons" finished 22nd in ratings for the week of November 10-16, 1997, with a Nielsen rating of 11.6, equivalent to approximately 11.4 million viewing households. It was the third highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, following The X-Files and King of the Hill.
Todd Gilchrist of IGN named the episode as one of his favorites of the ninth season in his review of the DVD boxset, and Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, the authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, called it "a good fun episode." Ian Jones and Steve Williams criticized the episode, calling it "a messy, unfocused lampooning" of arranged Hindu marriages. Homer writing "Where are the sticky buns" on a sheet of paper after Apu asks him for advice is one of Mike Scully's favorite jokes.
The episode has become study material for the sociology course "The Simpsons Global Mirror" at University of California Berkeley, where it is used to "examine issues of the production and reception of cultural objects, in this case, a satirical cartoon show", and to figure out what it is "trying to tell audiences about aspects primarily of American society, and, to a lesser extent, about other societies." Some questions asked in the courses include: "What aspects of American society are being addressed in the episode? What aspects of them are used to make the points? How is the satire conveyed: through language? Drawing? Music? Is the behavior of each character consistent with his/her character as developed over the years? Can we identify elements of the historical/political context that the writers are satirizing? What is the difference between satire and parody?"
- Warren Martyn; Adrian Wood (2000). ""The Two Mrs Nahasapeemapetilons"". BBC. Retrieved 2007-10-27.
- Gimple, Scott (1999). The Simpsons Forever!: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family ...Continued. Harper Collins Publishers. p. 16. ISBN 0-06-098763-4.
- Appel, Richard (2006). The Simpsons The Complete Ninth Season DVD commentary for the episode "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Scully, Mike (2006). The Simpsons The Complete Ninth Season DVD commentary for the episode "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Dean Moore, Steven (2006). The Simpsons The Complete Ninth Season DVD commentary for the episode "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Meyer, George; Scully, Mike; Maxtone-Graham, Ian; Groening Matt (2006). The Simpsons The Complete Ninth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Trash of the Titans" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Associated Press (November 20, 1997). "'Bella Mafia' leads CBS to no. 1". Sun-Sentinel. p. 4E.
- Gilchrist, Todd (2006-12-21). "The Simpsons — The Complete Ninth Season". IGN. Retrieved 2007-11-02.
- Ian Jones, Steve Williams. ""NOW LET US NEVER SPEAK OF IT AGAIN"". Off The Telly. Archived from the original on October 9, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-02.
- Thomas B. Gold (2008). "The Simpsons Global Mirror". University of California Berkeley. Archived from the original on 2009-04-07. Retrieved 2011-07-18.
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- "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons" at The Simpsons.com
- "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons" episode capsule at The Simpsons Archive
- "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons" at TV.com
- "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons" at the Internet Movie Database