Simpsons Did It!: “Manger Things”

Here we are.  The 700th episode of The Simpsons.  No big guest stars aside from Bill Plympton doing a nice, hand-drawn couch gag unless Maude Flanders counts.  And…it’s a Christmas episode?  In March?

Why?

Yeah, I have no explanation for the Christmas thing unless this was the show’s idea to link it to the first episode which was also a Christmas special.  Otherwise, it’s still March and we have a Christmas episode.

Then again, this episode didn’t seem to be very good.

Regardless, as the family decorates their Christmas tree, Lisa and Bart find a “Rod Flanders First Christmas” ornament.  Why do the Simpsons have that?

As many times as Homer has borrowed stuff from Flanders and never returned it, why is this a surprise?

However, there’s a story behind it, and it took place six years earlier.  This time around, Marge is vague about the year being one where there was a popular piece of entertainment, a politician got in trouble for saying something stupid, and Tom Brady won the Superbowl.  That works.  Point is, it was six years earlier, and Marge made Homer promise not to get drunk at the Plant’s annual Christmas party,  Homer always does stupid things when he does.  Homer reluctantly promises, but Lenny and Carl didn’t get that memo, so they opt to spike Homer’s soda.  Yes, Homer gets drunk, insults Mr. Burns through song, and the party ends.  Then Marge kicks Homer out of the house.

Grampa approves of that, but then no one told Grampa he is only living with the family temporarily.

Poor Grampa.

Homer ends up staying with the Flanders family, specifically in Ned’s Son of Man Cave.  Maude, however, is very pregnant with the second child, apparently Rod since I can’t keep track which Flanders boy is which.

This raises some questions for me.  How old are the Flanders’ sons?  I had thought the older one was, well, older than Bart and Lisa, seen here as precocious toddlers while the younger was Bart’s age, but here, Rod’s clearly two years younger than Lisa.  I am confused.

Regardless of questions that will never be answered, Maude was really being, well, not-very-Flanders-like in her insistence that Ned not let Homer stay with them because…well, it’s Homer.  He can and will eat the entire Christmas ham raw and in the wrapper if he gets hungry.  She eventually succeeds in getting Homer tossed out, but Moe knows there’s a hidden room above the Simpsons’ garage that Homer can stay in on the sly.  He can hear his kids, and Marge’s saying he can come back if he does one big thing that proves he’s worth it.

And then he ends up doing it by delivering Maude’s baby while Ned is out delivering Christmas turkeys for the poor.  There are unboxing videos for everything, and he has to pretend to be Ned in a convincing manner to make Maude feel better.  Oh, and Marge knew to come by and see this for some reason.

That is why Rod’s middle name is “Homer”.

Yeah, let us never speak of this episode again.

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