1.9 Life on the Fast Lane
Homer forgets Marge’s birthday and hastily buys her a bowling ball, a gift that’s really for him. Marge takes up bowling out of spite, and begins to fall for a suave instructor.
Really funny stuff with Bart and Lisa making birthday breakfast in bed for Marge, and then with Homer racing to the mall to get a present. We’re already starting to depart from the Matthau-like Homer with a heart of gold from the pilot, but that’s fine. He keeps his soul for several seasons more; I just like it when Marge has a reason to be with the guy, even if that reason is dysfunctional. Anyway, the ball says “Homer” on it, which is super funny.
So Marge takes size 13 shoes. Yowza. I guess the leading lady with giant feet is another thing King of the Hill owes to The Simpsons.
I love it when Marge tells Jacques that “Homer” is merely her ball’s name. Sucks for Homer, but it’s some great nuance for Marge’s character, seeing her so attracted to this other guy. It happens in the most committed of relationships. Humans are attractive, what’re you gonna do.
He’s also a fucking tool, though, let’s just be clear. “Laugh out loud, you’ll lose weight?!” Charming. Marge would be taking up golf out of spite within a year.
Why male writers always choose to make the “other man” who threatens a monogamous relationship a total dink is an interesting question.
Also, great performance by Albert Brooks as Jacques. The acting on this show is highly underrated.
Marge getting lavish, treat-filled lunches for the kids out of guilt is some really nice stuff, too. It’s good to see Marge get so much depth here, as opposed to the one-dimensional “rolling her eyes at the Archie Bunker-like patriarch” treatment so many sitcom wives get. Lisa sees right through Marge’s ploy, and Bart denies that he’s in denial about his parent’s failing marriage.
Bart clues in later in the episode, and Lisa says, “I’d love to help you, but I’m mired in stage five, self pity.” Just like me, Lisa doesn’t emote without also commentating on her emotions. It’s great stuff.
Near-sap alert when Homer tries to speak to Marge and can only compliment her sandwich-making skills. Majorly sexist undertones in this scene kept the tears at bay, though Homer’s sentiment is very real.
It’s enough, too, as Marge decides to pass on what would have been a reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally good lay from Jacques and instead has a quickie with Homer in the back of the car. How exciting for her. Monogamy 1 – Dracula-like French guys 0.
Best Moment: The back of the car ending, which, I’m honestly not sure whether it’s supposed to be satirical or genuinely romantic. I choose to tell myself it’s the former.
Best Quote: “You’d love it. It’s not quite breakfast, it’s not quite lunch, but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe at the end.” -Jacques