Marge Gets a Job
"Marge Gets a Job" is the seventh episode of The Simpsons' fourth season. It was first broadcast on November 5, 1992 on Fox. In this episode, Marge gets a job at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant to pay for foundation repair at the Simpson house. Mr. Burns develops a crush on Marge after seeing her at work and attempts to woo her. A subplot with Bart also takes place, paralleling the fable The Boy Who Cried Wolf. It was written by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein and directed by Jeffrey Lynch.
Homer and Marge discover their house sinking, and that it needs a foundation repair. Homer tries to repair the house himself, but is unsuccessful. Homer decides to call a foundation repairman and finds out that it will cost $8,500 for the repairs. Homer takes Marge to a party for the retirement of a Springfield Nuclear Power Plant employee, who refuses to retire. The retirement party entertainment praises Mr. Burns. With a new position open at the power plant, Marge decides to apply for it to get the money for the foundation repair. With the help of Lisa's résumé, Marge gets the job at the power plant. Homer is unenthusiastic about working in the same place as Marge.
Meanwhile at school, Bart does not want to take a test, so he fakes a stomach ache. Mrs. Krabappel asks if Bart has ever read The Boy Who Cried Wolf. From his office, Mr. Burns watches surveillance footage of his plant. When Marge appears, however, he is infatuated and attempts to win her affection. He begins to take her advice on ways to cheer everyone up around the plant by playing the music of Tom Jones over the plant's speakers, which further depresses the employees.
Bart returns to school, but when Mrs. Krabappel suggests that he take another test, he immediately procrastinates. Grampa comes to pick him up and on the way home, references The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Again, Bart is unfazed. When he returns to school again, he is forced to take the test without any exception. Bart protests, but Mrs. Krabappel ignores him. She places him alone outside the classroom, hands him the test, and leaves.
At Krustylu Studios, the taping of Krusty the Clown's latest show features a wildlife expert visiting, showing a hawk and a wolf, who warns that the latter is spooked by loud noises. Unfortunately for the wolf, Krusty declares "loud" being the secret word of the day. Celebration and noise ensue, causing the wolf, terrified, to panic and escape the studio.
The wolf runs to Springfield Elementary School, where it attacks Bart outside the classroom. He cries 'Wolf!' but Mrs. Krabappel ignores his pleas, despite his attempts to escape and the wolf shattering the door's window. Eventually, Groundskeeper Willie rescues Bart by fighting the wolf, telling Bart to return to his classroom. Since he feels that he will not be believed that he was attacked by a wolf, Bart decides to say that he made it up by showing a 'little honesty' to Mrs. Krabappel. He then passes out on the floor, where Mrs. Krabappel pokes him with a metre stick and realises that he was indeed telling the truth. Grampa takes him home, while Willie gives the wolf some alcohol and consoles it about losing.
Mr. Burns attempts to seduce Marge, but she tells him that she is married. He fires her, so she threatens a lawsuit and enlists the help of Lionel Hutz, who is completely unsuccessful and flees from Mr. Burns's army of real lawyers. Mr. Burns gives up after Homer defends Marge. The episode ends as Homer and Marge enjoy a private show performed by the captured Tom Jones, who secretly begs Marge to help him escape.
The idea for the show came from Conan O'Brien, who thought of Marge getting a job at the power plant and that Mr. Burns has a crush on her. The animators had trouble animating Marge with the suit and lipstick. Director Jeff Lynch said there were a few scenes where Marge "looks like a monster". All the jargon used by Troy McClure was accurately taken from a Time–Life foundation repair book. The original subplot for the episode was Mr. Burns telling Homer to dress up as Mister Atom and have him go to schools to talk to the children. The cast really liked Tom Jones as a guest star. They said he was fun to work with, and was really nice, and even offered to perform a concert after he was done recording lines. The scene on the Krusty the Klown show where they had guest animals is a parody of the guest animals on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
The animators had originally drawn three different versions of Bart after he was attacked by the wolf. They picked the version that looked the least scary, as they did not want Bart to look too "beaten up". An animation error during the dream sequence with Mr. Burns also caused issues when dealing with network censors, mistaking a "lump in his bed" which was supposed to be Mr. Smithers' knee as an erection.
The song performed for Mr. Burns at the retirement party is a reference to Citizen Kane. The photo of Mr. Burns meeting Elvis is very close to the photo of Richard Nixon meeting Elvis. While Mr. Burns is looking through the surveillance cameras, "The Imperial March" from the Star Wars films is being played in the background.
In its original broadcast, "Marge Gets a Job" finished 25th in ratings for the week of November 2-8, 1992, with a Nielsen rating of 13.6, equivalent to approximately 12.7 million viewing households. It was the highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, beating Beverly Hills, 90210 and The Simpsons episode "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie", which aired on Tuesday in the same week. Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, the authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide commented, "We like Bart's fantasy of the radioactive Marie and Pierre Curie, and Smithers' fantasy of his loved one flying through the window. A collection of wonderful set pieces rather than a story, which fizzles out without any real attempt at an ending." Empire placed the "Mister Burns" dance member as the show's fourth best film parody, "the pick of a big bunch" from the show's many Citizen Kane parodies, coming "replete with Wellesian camera angles and subtly altered lyrics".
In the original airing of this episode, Mrs. Krabappel names several different diseases Bart has faked in order to get out of taking his English test, one of which is Tourette's syndrome. After Bart claims that he is not over it, he begins barking and snarling and mutters, "Shove it, witch!" This scene garnered many complaints from people who thought it was tasteless of the writers to make fun of an actual condition and Joshua Smith, a boy in Renton, Washington began seeking legal action. Smith demanded that they "not repeat the episode and have Bart Simpson befriend somebody with Tourette's on the show" and include an apology from Bart at the end. Executive producer Mike Reiss replied with an apology saying "We kind of feel like we made a mistake this time. We felt bad about this." In a move that was unprecedented for the show, the producers agreed to remove the scene from future broadcasts. However, Smith's other requests went unfulfilled. In the version of the episode released on season four DVD boxset, the part with Bart demonstrating his supposed Tourette's syndrome to Mrs. Krabappel was kept intact, but Krabappel's line about Bart having "...that unfortunate bout of Tourette's syndrome" was replaced with "...that unfortunate bout of rabies."
Additionally, during Mr. Smithers' dream sequence with Mr. Burns, censors demanded the cutting of several seconds of animation that showed "Mr. Burns land[ing] in a particular position on Smithers anatomy".
- Oakley, Bill (2004). The Simpsons The Complete Fourth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Marge Gets a Job" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Lynch, Jeff (2004). The Simpsons The Complete Fourth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Marge Gets a Job" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- The Simpsons The Complete Fourth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Marge Gets a Job" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 2004.
- Weinstein, Josh (2005). The Simpsons season 7 DVD commentary for the episode "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Elber, Lynn (November 12, 1992). "Even without 'Roseanne,' ABC is no. 1". Sun-Sentinel. p. 4E.
- Martyn, Marren. Wood, Adrian. "Marge Gets a Job". BBC. Retrieved 2008-03-16.
- Colin Kennedy. "The Ten Best Movie Gags In The Simpsons", Empire, September 2004, p. 76
- C.R. Roberts (1993-01-12). "In the spirit of Bart Simpson, insulted 13 year old fights back". The News Tribune. p. B1.
- Mary Elizabeth Cronin (1993-02-01). "Tourette's isn't funny, Bart Simpson". The Seattle Times. p. C6.
- "'Simpsons' producer rebuffs plea for televised apology". The Seattle Times. 1993-02-20. p. A8.
- The Simpsons The Complete Fourth Season - episode "Marge Gets a Job" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 2004.
- Snierson, Dan (2011-03-27). "'Simpsons' exec producer Al Jean: 'I completely understand' if reruns with nuclear jokes are pulled". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2011-04-22.
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- "Marge Gets a Job" episode capsule at The Simpsons Archive