Yeah, we got Jon Lovitz’s Artie Ziff back. Hooray?
In reality, this episode was more about toxic masculinity. That’s an important topic, and it shows how Marge and Lisa deal with it in different ways. For Marge, it’s the unwelcome return of her old suitor Artie. For Lisa, it’s her smile. I don’t know that I found the episode all that funny, but the topic is important so I’ll let that slide.
It starts when some random old man tells Lisa she’d be pretty if she smiled.
Yeah, he went there. Lisa doesn’t get it, but it turns out Lisa needs braces.
Again. Yes, she asks about that, but before, she got braces from a rogue periodontist. Those guys suck.
There’s just one hitch: the braces force Lisa to smile, and somehow this makes her popular at school. Everyone assumes she’s happy, and people start to listen to her. Even Bart does a double take before he realizes whom he’s talking to.
While all that is going on, Homer and Marge get invited to Artie’s wedding. Yes, Artie got out of jail, and he’s rich again. Sure, the bride’s identity is a bit of a mystery, and her side of the wedding has no people in it. Heck, Homer marches the mystery woman down the aisle as a favor. He gets very emotional about that.
Marge gets a different kind of emotional when the veil comes off to reveal the bride looks and sounds exactly like Marge. She and Homer storm out.
So, how does all this end? For Marge, she feels bad and goes to apologize to the bride the next day, only to learn Artie built her. She’s a robot, one of many, all part of some kind of half-assed scheme to win Marge over. I’m not sure how that works, but Marge makes some nice points about doing good for people, and Artie uses that idea to use the robo-Marges to do good deeds for people around the world. And none of them will date Artie even when asked.
They do have insect wings for some reason.
Lisa, meanwhile, runs for class president against one of Cletus’s many sons, losing because the rest of the braces go in and force her to frown. She makes the same points, but now no one likes her. Ralph says she sounds like she’s nagging.
The episode ends with Marge offering some comforting words to her sad daughter, saying the world is getting better all the time, and Lisa can still make a difference, as the closing credits show a montage of Future Lisa, mostly not smiling but still making a difference. But that comes after that old man returns to chastise Lisa again for not smiling.
Marge then sprouts some insect wings and carries him away.
I guess that’s the end of him.