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"Marge on the Lam"
The Simpsons episode
Marge On The Lam.jpg
Marge and Ruth being pursued by police in the style of the infamous end of the movie Thelma & Louise.
Episode no. 87
Prod. code 1F03
Orig. airdate November 4, 1993
Show runner(s) David Mirkin
Written by Bill Canterbury
Directed by Mark Kirkland
Couch gag The family run towards the couch and crash through the wall.[1]
Guest star(s) Phil Hartman as Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure
Pamela Reed as Ruth Powers
George Fenneman as the narrator
DVD
commentary
Matt Groening
David Mirkin
Mark Kirkland
David Silverman

"Marge on the Lam" is the sixth episode of The Simpsons' fifth season, which originally aired on November 4, 1993 on Fox.[2] When Marge invites her neighbor, Ruth Powers to attend the ballet with her, the two become friends and begin to go out, making Homer jealous as he wants Marge to spend time with him. Ruth and Marge agree to remain friends but not go out together after a large police pursuit with Chief Wiggum.[2] It was written by Bill Canterbury and directed by Mark Kirkland. Phil Hartman, Pamela Reed and George Fenneman guest star.[1]

Contents

Plot

After donating money to public television, Marge receives ballet tickets. She asks Homer to accompany her, to which he says yes, confusing ballet with a circus. While at work, he inadvertently gets his arm stuck in a vending machine while trying to steal a can of soda from it, which makes him unable to attend. In disbelief about Homer's story, Marge invites her neighbor, Ruth Powers to attend with her. They both enjoy themselves and arrange to go out again the next night. Marge and Ruth going out again annoys Homer, as he feels Marge should spend time with him instead. However, ignoring his protests, Marge and Ruth visit bars and clubs in Springfield, and Ruth later shows Marge how to use a pistol.

Homer, attempting to prove to himself he can have a fun time on his own, leaves Bart, Maggie, and Lisa under the supervision of Lionel Hutz. He goes to the hilltop where he used to take Marge prior to their marriage. Unknown to him, Marge has also taken Ruth there to finish the night, but they leave just before Homer arrives. Chief Wiggum finds Homer depressed and, sympathetically, offers him a ride home, which Homer accepts. As Ruth and Marge are driving home, Chief Wiggum, with Homer as a passenger in his patrol car, claims that one tail light on Ruth's car is smaller than the other. He decides to pull them over. Reluctant to stop, Ruth tells Marge that she stole the car from her ex-husband when he refused to pay child support. Homer realizes it is Marge in the car, and believes she is leaving him after discovering she can have a better time on her own. Ruth successfully evades Wiggum by turning off her headlights, which leads him to believe her car is a ghost car. After seeing Marge and Ruth again while cooking breakfast on his car engine, Wiggum continues his chase of the two, aided by several other Springfield Police vehicles. After noticing a cliff ahead, Homer believes that Marge and Ruth are attempting suicide because of him and, using the police megaphone, apologizes to Marge for all the mistakes he has made in their marriage and urges them not to drive into the chasm. Ruth, who had not noticed the chasm, slams on the brakes and stops in time; however, Homer and Wiggum fail to stop and fly over the edge of the cliff à la Thelma and Louise, only to crash into a landfill. The very end of the episode ends in a Dragnet-like sequence (including the music), telling the fates of each of the characters involved in the episode.[3]

Production

The scene when Homer is in Moe's Tavern is emulated from Thelma & Louise.[4] Quimby dancing in a night club is in reference to the Kennedys.[4] When Marge gets hit on in the bar, the guy who does not talk is a caricature of show runner David Mirkin.[5] The old man that comes out when Marge is shooting his cans is a parody of Walter Brennan.[5] Dan Castellaneta actually used a bullhorn to record his part when Homer was talking on one.[4] The sunset shown when Marge and Ruth are at the cafe was airbrushed in, although the episode was done before computer animation was put into practice.[4]

Cultural references

Much of the plot, including Ruth's blue convertible and Homer and Wiggum's fall over the chasm, is a parody of the Ridley Scott film Thelma & Louise.[5] Crystal Buzz Cola is a reference to the fad drink Crystal Pepsi.[4] The comedian who performs at the telethon whom Homer does not find funny is a parody of Garrison Keillor.[6][7] Ruth mistakenly inserts Lesley Gore's song "Sunshine, Lollipops & 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] The episode's closing sequence is a reference to Dragnet. George Fenneman recorded the ending in the same fashion as he did on Dragnet.[4]

Reception

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]

References

  1. ^ a b c d Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "Marge on the Lam". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/simpsons/episodeguide/season5/page5.shtml. Retrieved 2008-01-22.  
  2. ^ a b "Marge on the Lam". The Simpsons.com. http://www.thesimpsons.com/episode_guide/0506.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-22.  
  3. ^ Plot synopsis information for the episode "Marge on the Lam". [DVD]. 20th Century Fox. 1993.  
  4. ^ 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.  
  5. ^ 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.  
  6. ^ Groening, Matt. (2004). The Simpsons The Complete Fifth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Marge on the Lam". [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.  
  7. ^ Richmond, Ray; Antonia Coffman (1997). The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to our Favorite Family. Harper Collins Publishers. p. 126. ISBN 0-00-638898-1.  
  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. http://www.avclub.com/content/node/47756/2. Retrieved 2008-08-02.  

External links

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