Simpsons Did It!: “The Way We Weren’t”

Yeah, here we go with another suspension of disbelief problem…

Bart has Milhouse and a couple girls in his treehouse for a game of Spin the Bottle.  It’s a bottle of Homer’s beer, but they managed to pour the beer out first and directly into Homer’s mouth as he napped on his hammock.  That wakes him up and, not realizing he already drank the beer, flips out on Bart over wasting the beer.  That has Marge call in Simpsons Family Court, an idea she got from a discredited parenting book.  With Lisa as the judge, it comes out that Bart has kissed more girls in his life than Homer has, but Homer admits he did kiss a different girl when he was ten.  He’d been sent off to camp for poor kids, where he was staying with the likes of Lenny and Carl, and Moe was a camp counselor (or, more accurately, a kid whose parents left him at camp two years ago and never came back).  Because the camp has no money, the boys have to do dishes for the girl’s camp across the river.  And there, Homer somehow manages to meet a little girl through a rubber curtain and even sets a date.  With help from the Sea Captain (the camp’s sailing instructor), Homer gets across the river wearing an eyepatch after an accident with a switchblade.  He meets the brown-haired girl, they kiss, and it’s magical for both. The girl, whose name Homer never learned, imagine it like flying around the solar system.  Homer pictures himself eating food with various old advertising mascots.

But there’s a twist!  That girl was Marge!  Why didn’t Homer come back for the second date?

See, Marge had accidentally burned some of her blue hair and so she took care of the rest to appear a brunette.  The camp she was at was for landing a man, and while the other girls, including Patty and Selma, taunt the unseen boy as saying he must have a common, lowbrow name like “Homer,” Homer overhears and gives the name “Elvis Jagger Abdul-Jabbar”.  And with the gift of a heart-shaped rock, Homer wins the affections of young Marge.  Why, then, didn’t he show up for a second date?

Well, after leaving his first date, he fell off a cliff and washed downstream, where he was taken in as an escapee from a fat camp that help the likes of young Comic Book Guy and Chief Wiggum.  He does manage to escape, but only gets back to the girls’ camp just seconds after Marge goes home early.  And Patty and Selma are, predictably, no help there at all.

So, really, anyone who knows Homer has to know this is the God’s Honest Truth.  Why, then, does Marge still feel mad at being stood up 30 years later, an incident that happened when she was ten?  Sorry, Simpsons, you lost me there.  It seemed like some extra drama to pad out an episode, or to give a sweet moment to that heart-shaped rock being put back together again.

There’s a common complaint that too many latter-day episodes of The Simpsons deal with Homer and Marge having marital problems that always get resolved.  This was one of them, and truthfully, I didn’t even find it a realistic problem when all was said and done.

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