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Marge on the Lam

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"Marge on the Lam"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no.Season 5
Episode 6
Directed byMark Kirkland
Written byBill Canterbury
Production code1F03
Original air dateNovember 4, 1993
Guest appearance(s)

Phil Hartman as Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure
Pamela Reed as Ruth Powers
George Fenneman as the narrator

Episode features
Couch gagThe family run towards the couch and crash through the wall.[1]
CommentaryMatt Groening
David Mirkin
Mark Kirkland
David Silverman
Episode chronology
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"Treehouse of Horror IV"
Next →
"Bart's Inner Child"
The Simpsons (season 5)
List of The Simpsons episodes

"Marge on the Lam" is the sixth episode of The Simpsons' fifth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 4, 1993.[2] After Marge invites her neighbor Ruth Powers to attend the ballet, they become friends. Homer grows jealous of their friendship and pursues them, resulting in a police chase led by Chief Wiggum that ends in near-disaster.[2]

The episode, which serves largely as a parody of the film Thelma & Louise and the Dragnet franchise, was written by Bill Canterbury and directed by Mark Kirkland. Phil Hartman, Pamela Reed and George Fenneman were the guest stars.[1]

Plot[edit]

After donating money to public television, Marge receives complimentary ballet tickets. Homer agrees to accompany her but gets both of his arms stuck in vending machines at work. Disappointed and doubting Homer's story, Marge invites her neighbor, Ruth Powers, to go with her instead. They enjoy themselves and continue spending time together visiting bars and clubs in Springfield. Ruth demonstrates how to use a pistol to Marge, and they use a forlorn farmer's "precious antique cans" for target practice.

To show he can have a good time without Marge, Homer hires Lionel Hutz to babysit Bart, Lisa and Maggie. Finding Moe's Tavern more depressing than usual, Homer visits the hilltop where he and Marge used to spend time before they got married. Homer tries bashing a weather station — which he used to do on their dates — but finds it is no fun without Marge.

While tending his moonshine still on the hill, Chief Wiggum spots Homer and offers him a ride. Wiggum tries to make a routine traffic stop, but Ruth leads him on a high-speed chase instead. Ruth reveals that she is driving her ex-husband's stolen car as revenge for his failure to pay child support. Still in Wiggum's backseat, Homer realizes Marge is in Ruth's car and suspects she is leaving him after discovering that she can have a better time without him. Ruth successfully evades Wiggum by turning off her headlights, making him think he is chasing a ghost car.

After seeing Marge and Ruth again the next morning, Wiggum continues his chase, joined by other police cars. Homer sees a cliff ahead and mistakenly thinks Marge and Ruth are attempting suicide. He uses a megaphone to apologize to Marge for all of his shortcomings and urges them not to drive into the Grand Chasm. Ruth, suddenly aware of the cliff, slams on the brakes and stops near its edge. Homer and Wiggum fail to stop in time, fly off the cliff's edge, and land in a mountain of landfill debris. They emerge slightly soiled from the garbage but otherwise unscathed.

A narrator describes the fates of the characters:

  • Ruth is accused of auto theft by her ex-husband, who is forced to pay the child support he owes her after his attorney, Hutz, botches the case.
  • Hutz gladly receives $8 for 32 hours of babysitting the Simpsons' children.
  • Marge is forced to pay $2000.50 in compensation to the farmer for destroying his cans.
  • Homer, whose baldness is implied to be the result of a US Army experiment he volunteered for as a human guinea pig to avoid visiting Patty and Selma, is remanded to their Neurological Research Center in Fort Meade, Maryland for further testing.

Production[edit]

Dan Castellaneta actually used a bullhorn to record his part when Homer was talking on one.[3] The sunset shown when Marge and Ruth are at the café was airbrushed in, although the episode was done before computer animation was put into practice.[3]

Cultural references[edit]

George Fenneman narrates the end of the episode, a parody of Dragnet

Much of the plot, including the scene when Homer is in Moe's Tavern, and the climax where Ruth's blue convertible and Homer and Wiggum's fall over the chasm, is a parody of the Ridley Scott film Thelma & Louise.[3][4] The music played during Homer's visualisation of the term ballet is Entrance of the Gladiators by Julius Fučík. Crystal Buzz Cola is a reference to the fad drink Crystal Pepsi,[3] and when Homer reaches into the vending machine, a can of Fresca is seen in a skeletal hand stuck there. The comedian who performs at the telethon who the Simpson family does not find funny is a parody of Garrison Keillor.[5][6] Ruth mistakenly inserts Lesley Gore's song "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows" into her car stereo before beginning her and Marge's wild night out; later, Chief Wiggum plays the song on his police cruiser's stereo as "appropriate" car chase music. After extracting the wrong tape, Ruth pops in "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses.[1] Quimby dancing in a night club is in reference to the Kennedys.[3] When Marge gets hit on in the bar, the guy who does not talk is a caricature of show runner David Mirkin.[4] The old man that comes out when Marge is shooting his cans is a parody of Walter Brennan.[4] The episode's closing sequence is a reference to Dragnet. George Fenneman recorded the ending in the same fashion as he did on Dragnet.[3]

Reception[edit]

In its original broadcast, "Marge on the Lam" finished 32nd in ratings for the week of November 1–7, 1993, with a Nielsen rating of 13.1, equivalent to approximately 12.2 million viewing households. It was the highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, beating Beverly Hills, 90210.[7]

The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, said "Marge getting to let her hair down is always a treat, and in Ruth Powers she seems to have a real friend. A pity we don't see more of her".[1]

The A.V. Club named Homer's line "Stupid TV! Be more funny!" as one of the quotes from The Simpsons that can be used in everyday situations.[8]

On their 2000 album And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out, indie rock band Yo La Tengo has a song entitled "Let's Save Tony Orlando's House"; the song is named after a telethon in Troy McClure's fictional CV seen in this episode.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "Marge on the Lam". BBC. Retrieved 2008-01-22.
  2. ^ a b "Marge on the Lam". The Simpsons.com. Retrieved 2011-09-17.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Kirkland, Mark (2004). The Simpsons The Complete Fifth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Marge on the Lam" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  4. ^ a b c Mirkin, David (2004). The Simpsons The Complete Fifth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Marge on the Lam" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  5. ^ Groening, Matt (2004). The Simpsons The Complete Fifth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Marge on the Lam" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  6. ^ Groening, Matt (1997). Richmond, Ray; Coffman, Antonia (eds.). The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family (1st ed.). New York: HarperPerennial. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-06-095252-5. LCCN 98141857. OCLC 37796735. OL 433519M..
  7. ^ Associated Press (November 11, 1993). "7 ABC shows make Nielsen's top 10". Sun-Sentinel. p. 4E.
  8. ^ Bahn, Christopher; Donna Bowman; Josh Modell; Noel Murray; Nathan Rabin; Tasha Robinson; Kyle Ryan & Scott Tobias (2006-04-26). "Beyond "D'oh!": Simpsons Quotes For Everyday Use". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2008-08-02.
  9. ^ Thompson, Stephen (March 2000). "Yo La Tengo: Tengo inside out". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2010-02-05.

External links[edit]