The Simpsons has often been credited with creating a wide range of fully-developed supporting characters, many of whom can carry whole episodes by themselves. But I think there’s an argument to be made that Moe is the most fully realized of all the different characters outside the immediate Simpson family. Whether it comes from Hank Azaria’s wonderful performance in many episodes, or just that we’ve seen so many different sides to Moe, whether its the criminal sleaziness, the twisted desire to ignore his customers’ alcoholism, or just the depressing loneliness he goes through on a routine basis, he’s been a really deep character all things being equal.
So, let’s have an episode where he uses many of those attributes to bond with a baby.
The Sumatran Century Flower is due to bloom as it does once a century, and the entire city of Springfield is there to see it. Well, not quite. Moe isn’t there. He’s wondering where his customers/only friends are when he turns on the TV and sees them at the botanical garden and decides to go see what everyone else is seeing.
Things don’t go well for Moe, though. The botanical garden is at full capacity, and Chief Wiggum has to kick out one person. Preferring to make it someone who already is beaten down by life, he goes with Moe. Moe can leave quietly or be pushed down a muddy hill. He chooses the hill because it would mean some human contact for a change.
But Moe got off lucky. It seems that though the Sumatran Century Flower only blooms once a century, it also tends to give off a really bad stench that drives everybody away. And then while people are stuck in traffic on a bridge, Homer guns the engine when things break up only to have to slam on the brakes, which causes Maggie to fly out the sun roof and over the bridge.
What saves Maggie? Moe is about to jump himself and catches her just as she’s passing by. Maggie’s innocent smile just melts Moe’s heart.
Not long after that, Moe comes around the Simpsons house to check on Maggie. Marge gives the bartender a homemade sweater, and Maggie really takes a shine to Moe. Moe finds he loves the little gal and becomes a very Moe-like babysitter. How much of a Moe is that? Well, he recreates his bar with her toys and the couch cushions, rejects Alice in Wonderland in favor of retelling The Godfather, and makes her a Moe’s Tavern playset complete with classic Drunk Barney. Sure, the Homer figure talks, but that’s getting to be a bit much for Homer and Marge.
Then they learn Moe put his own baby monitor in Maggie’s room, and that’s when they tell him to leave.
But Maggie misses Moe, and then she notices Fat Tony (still Joe Mantegna) holding meetings below her window. And he does a Godfather bit which causes Maggie to crawl out and follow Fat Tony and the others to a mafia summit. And then the guns come out.
What will protect the youngest Simpson?
Moe. Duh. After the police with Marge and Homer raid Moe’s place and find only he’s cooking a ham, the cops leave (so like Wiggum there) and Moe figures out where Maggie went since mobsters frequently meet outside the Simpson house. Sometimes Marge serves them lemonade. Following the trail, Moe goes in to get Maggie since he has nobody to live for. And Moe manages to defuse the situation by asking all those hard men with guns to lay their eyes on a cute baby girl. That works. The mobsters start crying. Fat Tony hadn’t cried that hard since he paid to see The Godfather Part III.
So, Maggie is safe and Moe can hang out with her some more. Homer, who was worried none of his kids would see him as a father figure, just trades time with Maggie for time with Moe’s ham.
And that’s where we end season fourteen.