A standard Marge storyline deals with the idea that she is indispensable to the Simpson household, and the lose of her can cause untold havoc with Homer forced to take charge.
Sometimes the whole town of Springfield has to learn that lesson.
A flu epidemic hits Springfield, in the form of visible clouds of germs popping out of juicers shipped from Japan. I should have known Dr. Nick Riviera would be the temporary downfall of civilization!
With the rest of the family sick, Marge is at her usual wits end to an unusual degree because her demanding children and husband are being even more demanding. OK, Grandpa isn’t sick, but when Marge has to make a run to the store, his demand for bourbon is probably why Marge pockets a bottle and tries to leave without paying for it. Anyone could see it is an accident, but Apu and his occasionally seen brother/co-worker Sanjay won’t let something like that slide and prosecute Marge to the fullest extent of the law. It may be company policy for the Kwik-E-Mart, but they don’t have to celebrate it quite so excitedly.
The Simpsons then hire Lionel Hutz, who seems to hit new lows in incompetence. That may be what happens when you’re a recovering alcoholic with David Crosby as your sponsor. Hutz even forgets his pants at one point. Marge should have hired the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer. Our modern ways may confuse and frighten him, but he gets results, dammit!
Yes, both of those lawyers were played by Phil Hartman.
Unsurprisingly, Marge gets 30 days in jail. Somewhat surprisingly, she seems to do OK in there. It’s almost like a vacation, and the other inmates treat her well. The rest of the family has problems, since none of them know much of anything about housekeeping. I don’t know where the alligator came from, but that thing ate Grandpa’s teeth. Homer is even wearing Halloween costumes in lieu of doing laundry. That or Evil Homer took his place.
But see, without Marge, the town’s bake sale doesn’t raise enough money for a statue of Abraham Lincoln. They had to get Jimmy Carter instead. Everyone knows he’s history’s greatest monster, and Americans love hyperbole. Riots break out, and the town learns to appreciate Marge.
And, in a sign of the times, Mayor Quimby gave away the twist to The Crying Game.