In every news feed I’ve visited this morning, no matter what its focus or theme is, I’ve seen this headline: “HOMER AND MARGE ARE BREAKING UP IN THE NEXT SEASON OF THE SIMPSONS!!!” The actual article within, of course, is safe to point out “but everything will be back to normal in the next episode.” Too late, you clicked!
This isn’t the first time in recent years that The Simpsons has pulled a cheesy stunt to poke the public into reporting on its existence again, and it’s beginning to feel like all those comic books where they kill off a major superhero with a lot of noise and fanfare, just for the attention, then resurrect him one year later like nothing happened. I don’t believe Homer and Marge are going to permanently break up any more than I believe Sideshow Bob is going to kill Bart (and okay, he IS going to kill Bart, but only in a Treehouse of Horror segment).
Worse than the stunt is the reported reasoning behind it: “Homer gets narcolepsy and it puts a strain on the relationship.” Out of all the things Homer has done to Marge over the past who-knows-how-many-years, out of all the careless actions that actually would be grounds for divorce, the tipping point is a medical condition that Homer can’t do anything about? That makes Marge the jackass.
As a result Homer attempts a relationship with a pharmacist voiced by Lena Dunham, and other actresses from Girls are scheduled to voice characters in the episode as well, which probably means a lot of in-jokes that are only funny if you’ve seen that show. All in all I don’t mean to pre-judge, but it sounds like a terrible episode.
We saw Marge break up with Homer in The Simpsons Movie, which was one of the most moving scenes in the family’s history. Julie Kavner knocked out her performance as a weary wife who couldn’t take any more, and you really believed it could be the end. From that point Homer had to earn back his family’s trust. Compared to that, this will feel like a very very pale imitation, and completely unnecessary, except in terms of shocking the news media into reporting that The Simpsons is still on the air.