Wait, another Marge-themed episode? There sure were a lot of them this season.
However, despite the fact that this episode is Marge-based, at least in the title, it opens with…Grampa! It seems that it is time for the Springfield Retirement Castle’s annual trip to the big shuffleboard championship against a rival home where the residents have money and are treated well. OK, I can go along with that especially since Grampa’s team wins and that’s that. But there’s an older woman in the stands who keeps staring nervously at Marge. When Marge goes to talk to the woman, well, the woman freaks out. It turns out she’s Marge’s old principal from middle school, when Marge got transferred to a rougher school, and Patty and Selma are more than happy to relate that Marge…pranked the hell out of this poor woman. The first time was an accident, but it made Marge popular, so she kept at it with the sort of stunts that would gain Bart’s approval, to the point where, for the first time ever, he returns a hug. Or, more accurately, starts one.
That leads to Marge and Bart bonding over pranks. Comic Book Guy is picking on his customers? Set him up so his drink splashes all over his inventory and drives him to close shop. Helen Lovejoy is being particularly snobby in the supermarket? Slip a bunch of embarrassing items into the bottom of her cart without price tags so the whole store can hear the price checks over the intercom. They even prank Homer by swapping out his emergency sausage with a dried-up dodgeball.
Oh, and Homer has his own thing going on. After seeing Bart’s realizing he takes after his mother, Homer figures none of his kids do because Lisa is the opposite of him in every way (as confirmed by everyone at Moe’s) and Maggie is a a Mama’s Girl because it says so on her bib. But then a vision in some beer foam prompts Homer to try to bond with Lisa over their shared love of food. Unfortunately, Lisa’s vegetarian cuisine is not to Homer’s liking, and he can only fake it but so long.
Then again, it turns out Marge isn’t happy about the pranking even if it is getting Bart’s love and approval.
Huh. It’s almost like the parents are trying too hard.
Things come to a head when Bart and Marge prank Mr. Burns for ignoring the needs of a fussy baby with an emergency case of the wiggles while he shops for gum and won’t let anyone else into the store. That prank ends with Burns’s getting hit by multiple cars and electrocuted on some power lines. Oh, he’s fine, but it did make him realize his own mortality, so he’ll have to squeeze more evil into every moment, starting by eating a single songbird’s egg. But then the two small bird parents pick him and drop him into a pond, so he might want to rethink that evil thing.
You know, there were a lot of decent jokes in this episode. Like how Marge’s attempt at therapy was handled by a passive aggressive woman who decided to cure Marge in the first session since Marge’s insurance sucked and this woman doesn’t want to see Marge again. All Marge needs to do is track down her old principal and apologize.
She and Bart prank the woman instead.
But then she dies of a heart attack.
Oh, wait, this was all an attempt to prank Bart and the principal was in on it to teach the boy a lesson.
Huh. Not bad.
The less said about Chief Wiggum’s zombie ideas, the better.
However, that was that for Marge’s pranking. Bart learned a lesson.
Oh, and as for Homer and Lisa, it turns out also bonded when it turns out they have the same allergies to just about everything, discovered when both found their tongues swelling after one of Lisa’s recipes didn’t get much past the taste test. Homer finally admitted he didn’t like her food, but Lisa did say at the doctor’s office that she also got Homer’s great heart. That prompts an allergic reaction from the allergy doctor who is allergic to treacle.
Look, treacle is to be expected in a Lisa plot. Get over it.