The Wife Aquatic
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|"The Wife Aquatic"|
|The Simpsons episode|
|Directed by||Lance Kramer|
|Written by||Kevin Curran|
|Original air date||January 7, 2007|
|Couch gag||The couch and the Simpsons are pinned onto a bulletin board.|
The Wife Aquatic is the tenth episode of The Simpsons' eighteenth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 7, 2007. 13.9 million viewers watched this episode, making it the highest rated of seasons 17–20.
After watching Patty and Selma's old home movies of a trip to Barnacle Bay in New England during a town-wide outdoor movie night, Marge pines for the excitement she had in her youth. Moved by his wife's depression, Homer organizes a surprise trip to the island. However, on the family's arrival, Marge's hopes to relive her youth are dashed as Barnacle Bay has been devastated by overfishing of the Yum Yum Fish, the island's main attraction. Homer refuses to let Marge down and fixes the boardwalk and celebrates with a large fireworks show. The plan backfires and he accidentally starts a fire and the boardwalk burns down. In order to repay the townsfolk, Homer joins a fishing crew and sets out to rediscover the Yum Yum Fish.
Homer mistakenly beer batters and deep fries the fishing hooks, attracting a large haul of Yum Yum Fish. However, their celebrations are short-lived as Homer and the crew become trapped in a storm. Searching for a means of escape, they discover Bart has stowed away and removed the lifeboat in order to hide. The ship sinks and Marge and the rest of Barnacle Bay believe that all is lost. Much to everyone's relief, Homer, Bart and the rest of the crew manage to survive and are rescued by a Japanese fishing boat called "Iruka Koroshi Maru" (Dolphin Killer). The townsfolk recommence fishing, but Lisa warns them about the dangers of overfishing. Agreeing with her, the townsfolk decide to go into logging instead, and clear cut the island's trees, which are planned to be sent to a paper mill to be made into issues of Hustler and Barely Legal magazine.
This was the highest rated episode since season 16's Homer and Ned's Hail Mary Pass, which aired right after Super Bowl XXXIX. Barring that, the ratings were last this high in 2004, with "I, (Annoyed Grunt)-bot" which had 16 million viewers.
- The title of the episode is a reference to the film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
- The episode parodies The Perfect Storm, among other nautical movies. Elements from the 2000 movie include the fishermen's successful catch, a meteorologist saying that the elements are producing the most dangerous storm he's ever seen (based on the role Christopher McDonald played in the movie), calling it a "perfect storm", the subsequent storm (including the monster wave that wrecks the boat), and the funeral service where Homer and the others are memorialized after (apparently) being lost and killed at sea.
- When the family is driving to Barnacle Bay, Maggie is seen wearing a T-shirt with the slogan "Barnacle Bay or Bust!", a reference to the book "Tuva or Bust!" by Ralph Leighton.
- While Homer is clubbing the Yum Yum fish, At Last by Etta James is heard.
- The home movie with Marge and her sisters is a spoof of the same scene in Prince of Tides, with similar music. Similar scenes already appeared in the episodes "Selma's Choice" when Marge imagined spending summer at the lake with her sisters and Great Aunt Gladys, then realizes that her memory was really a scene from Prince of Tides, and in "Fear of Flying", when Marge accidentally refers to her psychiatrist, Dr. Zweig, as Dr. Löwenstein several times.
- The musical piece that is played throughout the episode is the Aquarium movement from Camille Saint-Saëns' The Carnival of the Animals.
- Homer makes a quick reference to Opposite Day.
- The scene in which Homer is strung up by the fishermen is a reference to the 1975 movie Jaws.
- According to Homer, the Roman god of the sea is Aquaman.
- In the final scene, Larry Flynt is mentioned, as the cut-down trees on the island will be used to make issues of Hustler and Barely Legal magazines.
- Lisa mentions that Barnacle Bay is "the most disgusting" place the family has been, "after Brazil". On the Brazilian Portuguese dub of this episode, the line was not translated and the scene that had the line being spoken was cut. This was a running gag about the problems the producers of the show had with Brazilian authorities, after the season thirteen episode "Blame It on Lisa".
- When Marge walks into Barnacle Bay, a statue of SpongeBob SquarePants is seen with a nameplate labeled "The Science of SpongeBob".
- Lytle, J Mark. "Simpsons get in sly dig at Japanese fishing practices". Retrieved 2008-10-28.
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