And Maggie Makes Three
"And Maggie Makes Three" is the thirteenth episode of The Simpsons' sixth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 22, 1995. In the episode, Homer recounts the story of Maggie's birth when the kids ask why there are no photos of her in the family album.
The episode was written by Jennifer Crittenden, and directed by Swinton O. Scott III. This was both Crittenden and Scott's first episode on The Simpsons. It features cultural references to television series such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Knight Rider. Since airing, the episode has received many positive reviews from fans and television critics, and has been called "a touching look at fatherhood" by Kevin Wong of PopMatters. It acquired a Nielsen rating of 10.3, and was the fourth highest rated show on the Fox network the week it aired.
While browsing through the family photo album, Lisa notices that there are no baby pictures of Maggie. Homer explains by recounting the story of Maggie's birth. In 1993, Homer hated working at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, and had a dream of working at a bowling alley. After he received a paycheck that cleared him of all his debts, he quit his job at the power plant, and got a job at the local bowling alley.
When Homer and Marge "snuggled" to celebrate this development, she became pregnant. Homer was not happy when he found out about Marge's pregnancy, and was completely unenthusiastic about the impending birth. Because of the financial problems caused by the pregnancy, Homer was forced to make a sacrifice and go back to the power plant. However, Mr. Burns made Homer beg for his job back, and placed a large plaque in front of Homer's desk reading: "Don't forget: you're here forever". Homer was once again unhappy at his work, but when Maggie was born, Homer instantly fell in love with her. Back in the present, Bart and Lisa still do not understand what that has to do with Maggie's photos. Homer merely mentions that they are in the place where he needs them the most. The scene then cuts to his workplace where all of the photos of Maggie are positioned on the plaque on the wall, which now reads: "Do it for her".
The episode was written by Jennifer Crittenden, and directed by Swinton O. Scott III. This was the first episode Scott directed for the show. Crittenden also made her debut as a writer for The Simpsons in this episode. Crittenden was taking a beginners' writing program at 20th Century Fox when former The Simpsons showrunner David Mirkin hired her on the show. Crittenden's only writing experience before that had been as an intern on the Late Show with David Letterman. 20th Century Fox introduced Crittenden to Mirkin, and Mirkin read a script of hers that he liked. When Mirkin first talked to Crittenden, he thought she was a really nice woman who was very mature. Crittenden was only 23 years old at the time, but Mirkin liked her and he hired her.
After Homer quits his job at the power plant, he violently tosses his old boss Mr. Burns out of the cart he is driving. Homer then drives across a wooden bridge and tosses a match onto it; the whole bridge is instantly engulfed in flames. Mirkin came up with the joke, and said that "the thing with animation is that you can stage almost anything and time it perfectly, something you would not be able to do in live action". As a live-action director, Mirkin said he enjoys the amount of control they have in animation.
In the episode, Mr. Burns places a "de-motivational plaque" in Homer's station that reads "Don't forget: you're here forever". Homer then places photos of Maggie around the plaque to alter it into saying "Do it for her". The Simpsons writer George Meyer, who enjoys writing jokes that involve anagrams or any other forms of word play, came up with the idea for this particular joke. The joke is also an homage to Al Jaffee's Fold-in features in the Mad magazine.
The couch gag is a reference to the James Bond gun barrel sequence. Dr. Hibbert's flashback hairstyle is modeled after Arsenio Hall's. The family watches Knight Boat, a parody of Knight Rider. Homer spinning around with a bowling ball in his hand before throwing it into the air and exclaiming "I'm gonna make it after all" is reminiscent of the opening of The Mary Tyler Moore Show where Mary throws her hat into the air.
In its original broadcast, "And Maggie Makes Three" finished 47th in the ratings for the week of January 16 to January 22, 1995, with a Nielsen rating of 10.3. The episode was the fourth highest rated show on the Fox network that week, beaten only by Melrose Place, Beverly Hills, 90210, and the Rock 'n' Roll Skating Championship.
Since airing, the episode has received many positive reviews from fans and television critics. One-time The Simpsons writer and comedian Ricky Gervais named it his second favorite episode, and said: "Mr. Burns gives [Homer] this terrible plaque above his desk that says, 'Don't forget: You're here forever.' It's about how sometimes things don't go the way you planned, which is pretty amazing in a cartoon. Homer then puts up all the pictures of Maggie he's ever taken to strategically cover this horrible thing so it now reads, 'Do it for her.' It gives me a lump in the throat thinking about it." Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, the authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, said: "A surprisingly traditional episode. The flashback to 1993 seems a bit odd, but this is a good example of a story that doesn't overly rely on set pieces and confounded expectations for its success." In a review of the sixth season, Joshua Klein of the Chicago Tribune cited "And Maggie Makes Three", "Treehouse of Horror V", "Homer Badman", and "Lisa's Rival" among his favorite episodes of the season.
TV Squad's Adam Finley said the episode "manages to be both incredibly funny and incredibly touching, both signs of a great Simpsons episode". He added that "the episode has some great gags in it, but the emotion is very real, too. Homer is not thrilled with the idea of having a baby, and the episode does a wonderful job of showing the dark side of having another mouth to feed." Colin Jacobson at DVD Movie Guide said in a review of the sixth season DVD: "Flashback episodes of The Simpsons usually work well, and [this episode] is no exception to that rule. Actually, at this point it’s one of my favorites, but that’s partially because of overexposure to some of the other episodes. In any case, this one has many hilarious moments – such as the scene that explains Homer's hair loss." Kevin Wong at PopMatters said the episode is "a touching look at fatherhood".
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- Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "And Maggie Makes Three". BBC. Retrieved 2008-03-27.
- Scott, Swinton (2005). The Simpsons season 6 DVD commentary for the episode "And Maggie Makes Three" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
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- Snierson, Dan (March 24, 2006). "Best in D'oh". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 19 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-18.
- Klein, Joshua (September 9, 2005). "1994 vintage `Simpsons' sets a tough standard - Homer's head houses DVDs". Chicago Tribune. p. 7.
- Finley, Adam (2006-08-10). "The Simpsons: And Maggie Makes Three". TV Squad. Archived from the original on 19 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-01.
- Jacobson, Colin (2003). "The Simpsons: The Complete Sixth Season (1994)". DVD Movie Guide. Archived from the original on 12 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-08.
- Wong, Kevin (August 24, 2005). "The Simpsons: The Complete Sixth Season". PopMatters. Retrieved 2008-11-18.
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