Take My Wife, Sleaze

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"Take My Wife, Sleaze"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no. 234
Directed by Neil Affleck
Written by John Swartzwelder
Showrunner(s) Mike Scully
Production code BABF05
Original air date November 28, 1999
Chalkboard gag "I can't see dead people".[1]
Couch gag The Simpsons sit on the couch, but get sucked inside and come out on shredded paper.
Guest actors John Goodman as Meathook
Henry Winkler as Ramrod
Jay North as himself
NRBQ as themselves
Jan Hooks as Manjula
Commentary Mike Scully
George Meyer
Ian Maxtone-Graham
Julie Thacker
Dan Castellaneta
Neil Affleck

"Take My Wife, Sleaze" is the eighth episode of the eleventh season of the American animated sitcom The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 28, 1999. In the episode, Homer wins a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and starts his own outlaw motorcycle club, naming it "Hell's Satans". However, this attracts the real club called "Hell's Satans" to crash at their house. After a while, they begin to appreciate Marge, who takes care of them, and kidnap her. Homer tracks them down and scuffles with Meathook, the leader of the gang. The episode was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Neil Affleck, and features several guest appearances.

Plot[edit]

After viewing an advertisement on TV, the family visits the 1950s-themed Greasers Cafe where Homer and Marge win a dancing contest. Their prize is a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, awarded by "Wolfguy Jack" just 3 days before the restaurant goes out of business. After Bart educates Homer on riding a motorcycle (which Homer enjoys), he forms an outlaw motorcycle club named the Hell's Satans with Moe, Lenny, Carl, and even Ned Flanders, even though Ned rides a bicycle, Lenny rides a lawnmower, and Moe's motorcycle is old. They get in trouble all across Springfield, hassling Chief Wiggum and Apu who threatens them with a broom for loitering outside his store. Marge dislikes Homer's new hobby, especially after she finds out he took a picture of her in her underwear while asleep, and submitted it to a biker magazine. However, unknown to Homer, he has infringed on another outlaw motorcycle club named the Hell's Satans, which are based in Bakersfield.

One night, the true Hell's Satans arrive, plowing into the Simpson home and cornering Homer in the bedroom, where Meathook, the gangs leader, forces Homer to eat his Hell's Satans jacket, along with the various merchandise he has made with the groups name on it. Deciding to stick around for a while, the bikers decide to "crash" at the Simpsons house, being generally destructive and slovenly. When Homer attempts to call the police, Wiggum refuses to help him due to Homer mocking him earlier. Marge starts to clean up after the bikers, as well as doing laundry and cooking, something the bikers enjoy, since they dont often have access to mundane luxuries on the road. Homer eventually decides to stand up to the gang, only to find that they have left. While sitting down for dinner, the family realizes that Marge is missing, finding a note from Meathook telling them that they have taken Marge with them. Marge is at first worried they're going to take advantage of her; when they reveal none of them are sexually interested in her, she's both relieved and somewhat disappointed. During her time with the gang, Marge teaches them housekeeping skills, as well as telling them how to fit in with regular society again, including how to write a job resume. Meanwhile, Homer has been tracking the bikers, and eventually finds them at a campsite. After a fight with Meathook, Homer wins back Marge. The two of them say goodbye to the gang, who plan to take advice given to them by Marge and find normal jobs. Homer returns with Marge to a biker bar where he had earlier been repeatedly beaten up during his search, and steals a Duff keg.

Production[edit]

John Goodman voiced the character Meathook in the episode.

"Take My Wife, Sleaze" was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Neil Affleck as part of the eleventh season of The Simpsons (1999–2000).[2] Guest starring in the episode were John Goodman as Meathook, Henry Winkler as Ramrod, Jay North as himself, NRBQ as themselves, and Jan Hooks as Manjula.[2][3][4][5] NRBQ drummer Tom Ardolino said in an interview before "Take My Wife, Sleaze" aired that the band's appearance is "real quick. We're in a bar that Homer goes in looking for Marge. We're the band playing in the bar."[6] Bass player Joey Spampinato commented, "We got to sit around the table when they read the script and it was pretty funny stuff."[7] In addition to appearing in the episode, NRBQ performed the Simpsons theme music over the closing credits.[6] Executive producer Mike Scully considers NRBQ to be one of his favorite bands, and their songs had already been used in three episodes of the show that aired not long before this episode was produced.[8][9]

Themes[edit]

Authors Paul Broughton and Linda Walker analyzed the episode in their 2009 book Motorcycling and Leisure: Understanding the Recreational PTW Rider, writing: "This episode feeds on the stereotypical image of riders, for example, Homer says: 'Yeah, that's the life for me, Marge. Cruising and hassling shopkeepers.' The outlaw image is further reinforced within this episode when another group of bikers, also called the Hells Satans, take offence at Homer using the name. This gang act in a stereotypical gang manner, wrecking Homer's house and kidnapping his wife. The fact that an iconic cartoon series can use such stereotypical images of riders to good effect demonstrates how much the negative rider image is ingrained within society."[10]

Cultural references[edit]

The name of Homer's gang, the Hell's Satans, is a reference to the real-life motorcycle gang and organized crime syndicate Hells Angels.[11]

Other references to popular culture include to the 1938 film The Adventures of Robin Hood. Homer's motorcycle sword fight with Meathook parodies the ending sword fight between Robin and Guy of Gisbourne in the film.[1] Wolfguy Jack is a parody of radio host Wolfman Jack; his girlfriend resembles Debbie from the film American Graffiti.[1]

Reception[edit]

The episode originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 28, 1999.[5] On October 7, 2008, it was released on DVD as part of the box set The Simpsons – The Complete Eleventh Season. Staff members Mike Scully, George Meyer, Ian Maxtone-Graham, Julia Thacker, Dan Castellaneta, and Neil Affleck participated in the DVD audio commentary for the episode. Deleted scenes from the episode were also included on the box set.[4] While reviewing the eleventh season of The Simpsons, DVD Movie Guide's Colin Jacobson commented: "Should we blame ['Take My Wife, Sleaze'] for the movie Wild Hogs? Maybe not, but the episode doesn’t do a lot to rise above the level of that John Travolta mediocrity. I like guest stars Henry Winkler and John Goodman, so the episode’s not a loss, but it’s not a winner either."[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Bates, James W.; Gimple, Scott M.; McCann, Jesse L., Richmond, Ray; Seghers, Christine, ed. (2010). Simpsons World The Ultimate Episode Guide: Seasons 1–20 (1st ed.). Harper Collins Publishers. pp. 536–537. ISBN 978-0-00-738815-8. 
  2. ^ a b "Simpsons - Take My Wife, Sleaze". Yahoo!. Retrieved 2011-10-05. 
  3. ^ "The Simpsons Episode: 'Take My Wife, Sleaze'". TV Guide. Retrieved 2011-10-05. 
  4. ^ a b Jane, Ian (2008-11-01). "The Simpsons - The Complete Eleventh Season". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2011-10-02. 
  5. ^ a b c Jacobson, Colin (2008-11-19). "The Simpsons: The Complete Eleventh Season (1999)". DVD Movie Guide. Retrieved 2011-10-02. 
  6. ^ a b Wirt, John (1999-10-29). "NRBQ road warriors celebrate 30 years". The Advocate. 
  7. ^ McLennan, Scott (1999-10-07). "Quirky NRBQ defies definition and thrives on eccentricities". Worcester Telegram & Gazette. p. C5. 
  8. ^ "Cries & whispers too interesting to ignore". Union-News. 1999-12-09. p. A02. 
  9. ^ "Holmes: More than candy in store this week". Athens Banner-Herald. 1999-10-28. 
  10. ^ Broughton, Paul; Walker, Linda (2009). Motorcycling and Leisure: Understanding the Recreational PTW Rider. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 66–67. ISBN 978-0-7546-7501-3. 
  11. ^ Waltonen, Karma; Vernay, Denise Du (2010). The Simpsons in the Classroom: Embiggening the Learning Experience with the Wisdom of Springfield. McFarland. p. 256. ISBN 978-0-7864-4490-8. 

External links[edit]