This The Simpsons review contains spoilers.
The Simpsons: Season 30 Episode 7
Sacrebleu, the women of Springfield, all the good ones are either married or Homer. And his wife, Marge, may be the top of the line in town. All she needs are a few brotherly and otherly sisters to bring out the real her, buried under the self-and outwardly-imposed her, to find the confidence which only comes with a pseudonym. But how many licks does it get to the fierce center of a tootsie rolled? “Werking Mom,” The Simpsons season 30 episode 7, labors to learn.
Marge finds herself adding to the family pot as a working mom and works it like a mother. She becomes an independent operator, selling Tubberware, the vacuum packed plastic which I imagine lets out a belching seal sound when encasing all the nutritional goodness inside a bell-shaped container. At first Marge is less than a perfect fit. Her usual ubermom exuberance gets doors politely slammed in her face, and her shoes don’t have the chutzpah it takes to be a door-stop. This is because the feet they cover are attached to what everyone sees as a doormat. Perfect for wiping your feet, but not interesting enough for a dinner party.
The episode is redundantly narrated by a man with a French accent because Lisa is following a fabulous destiny, much like Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain, better known as Amélie. Lisa is a bright girl in a dull school. But she makes the world is magical for Jasper Beadsley, who finds a chunk of his childhood anger melted by an old toy, and brings magic back to the Van Houten family, and makes Kirk think dying his nose hair really pays off.
Marge breaks out of her own personal La Cage aux Folles into fabulousness. Her beak is wetted by her hair dresser, voiced by Hank Azaria, who had a big part in the American remake, The Birdcage. It is also lipsticked heavily, and her shy shoes are replaced by pumps which turns Marge’s rump becomes a booty. Whatever is going on back there pays off as she is liberated by the overdone makeup of the true believer, faithful there’s nothing Marge C-A-Next-Tuesday do. Marge helps herself to double entendre portions, assures the assembled the lids match he tubs, and puts tops on bottoms and they agree she is even more fun than dancing.
So, do you tell someone people think they’re beautiful in drag? It’s the kind of thing that can erode self-confidence. But it can also embolden someone as they realize they can be as real as a cross-dressed version of themselves. Marge fronts as a man performing as a woman, but underneath it, she is a lady. It’s Victor/Victoria without Julie Andrews’ vocal range. But it is also why you forget about an Adam’s Apple or a nose when Lady Gaga sings in French at a drag club in the A Star Is Born remake.
Drag is liberating, and it’s very effective in the work place. All the top Tubberweare salespeople are drag queens. Once Marge allows herself to be unveiled she joins the inner circle, which includes the Mysterious Waylon, and those in the know about Sideshow Mel’s true comic talent. He gets off the best rim-shot of the night by explaining he tapes his bone between his legs for a more contoured flow.
Homer comes across as very supporting in the episode. When she first brings up the idea of getting a job, he scoffs at old notions that women shouldn’t work, and he even confirms the existence of leftover lasagna. He gets goaded into drunken action at Moe’s bar because the guys razz him about his wife’s double life. But they were only trying to make him feel bad about her being able to pass for a guy passing as a woman. Even as he says it out loud he realizes it doesn’t sound so bad, he comes to fully realize it and appreciate the implications readily.
Poor Homer, a day late and a dollar short are both underestimated when he shows up in a room. Like a glamazon princess, Marge overreacts and once again on The Simpsons, their marriage is on the line. She doesn’t know if she can live with him after his public gaffe, and it triggers all her microaggressions. If it seems a little out of character for Homer to get so in touch with his feminine side, remember it’s in his DNA. Abe Simpson donned fishnets during the war. Homer also appreciated himself heavily with a blue wig imagining life without Marge. Although, he didn’t cut quite the dashing figure mowing lawns in Marge’s wedding dress as stupid Flanders did.
The episode belongs to Marge, whose arc is as high as the blue of her beehived coif. But Lisa also learns a valuable lesson. The problem of playing god is people forget how horribly wrong go things go with the real god. Her completely altruistic success goes to her head.
“Werking Mom” is a sweet episode, not unlike mille-feuille pastry. Everyone gets what they want. Lisa finds a place to eat her lunch. Marge is reassured. Homer both regains the will to drink and a place to store his pot. Such is the power of dinner party salespersonship and inclusion, at least when set to an exciting beat. The jokes work playfully but softly without subversive rancor or larger social commentary. It is a family episode in other people’s homes.
“Werking Mom” was written by Carolyn Omine and Robin Sayers, and directed by Michael Polcino.
The Simpsons stars Dan Castellaneta as Homer and Abe Simpson, Julie Kavner as Marge Simpson, Nancy Cartwright as Bart Simpson, Yeardley Smith as Lisa Simpson. Hank Azaria plays Kirk Van Houten, Chief Wiggum, Professor John I.Q. Nerdelbaum Frink Jr., and Moe. Harry Shearer is Seymour Skinner, Kent Brockman, C. Montgomery Burns and Waylon Smithers. Guest stars: Raja Gemini as himself, RuPaul as Queen Chante, and Scott Thompson as Grady.
The Simpsons‘ ” Werking Mom” aired Sunday, November 18 at 8:00 p.m. on Fox.
Culture Editor Tony Sokol cut his teeth on the wire services and also wrote and produced New York City’s Vampyr Theatre and the rock opera AssassiNation: We Killed JFK. Read more of his work here or find him on Twitter @tsokol.