Simpsons Did It!: “Labor Pains”

There’s a subplot to this episode where Lisa helps the exploited cheerleaders of the local pro football team unionize and get a raise out of team owner the Rich Texan.  It goes about how you think such a plot will go, so I will say no more about it.

On the other hand, the main plot had Homer bonding with a baby.  It wasn’t Maggie.  It was some other kid he called Ho-Ju, or Homer Junior.  That was the kid’s actual name, but it wasn’t his son by any stretch of the imagination.  While Homer was off playing poker at Carl’s, he got stuck in an elevator with a very pregnant woman and had to deliver the baby himself.  The baby’s father was nowhere to be seen, but we learn at the end he was in the military and didn’t even know his girlfriend was pregnant when he went on deployment.  If all this sounds funny, you and I are very different people.

See, the pregnant woman was voiced by Mad Men actress Elizabeth Moss.  Moss’ character, Gretchen, isn’t given much that is all that funny to do, so it was odd they got a guest star for the role.  Much of what comes down happens when Marge learns Homer has another family, though she is glad Homer isn’t literally the baby’s daddy, and then Homer eventually finding out his own kids don’t much care for the stranger’s kid, especially Maggie.  Homer may be imagining Homer Jr. when he plays with Maggie, but to be fair, she pictures Ned Flanders as her daddy.

But hey, everything works out when Homer Jr.’s father comes home and Homer goes back to his house to find Maggie offering him a baby doll.  Homer appreciates Maggie and Maggie replaces Ned in her imagination with Homer.

But what bothered me?  Well, “bothered” is probably the wrong word, but let’s just say that it was Moss.  Moss had a subplot on Mad Men where she was pregnant and unmarried, but you know where else we’ve seen a pregnant Moss?  The Handmaid’s Tale.  And that is not an association I wanted from The Simpsons, even though this episode aired years before The Handmaid’s Tale was even a TV show.

So, yeah, this one didn’t work because of things that happened since to a guest star.  It’s good for Moss.  It wasn’t good for The Simpsons.


Defender of the faith, contributing writer, debonair man-about-town.

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