|"I Married Marge"|
|The Simpsons episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3|
|Directed by||Jeffrey Lynch|
|Written by||Jeff Martin|
|Original air date||December 26, 1991|
|Chalkboard gag||"I will not torment the emotionally frail".|
|Couch gag||The family (except Maggie) cartwheel into place and strikes a pose. Maggie hops onto the couch and joins them, striking the same pose.|
James L. Brooks
"I Married Marge" is the twelfth episode of The Simpsons' third season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on December 26, 1991. In the episode, Marge worries that she may be pregnant again and visits Dr. Hibbert's office. While anxiously waiting at home, Homer tells Bart, Lisa, and Maggie the story of his and Marge's marriage and Bart's birth. The episode was written by Jeff Martin and directed by Jeffrey Lynch.
"I Married Marge" was the second flashback episode of The Simpsons after season two's "The Way We Was". It features cultural references to The Empire Strikes Back, Charlie's Angels, and Ms. Pac-Man. The title of the episode is a play on the American television series I Married Joan. Since airing, "I Married Marge" has received mostly positive reviews from television critics. It acquired a Nielsen rating of 11.9 and was the highest-rated show on Fox the week it aired.
The episode was the first of three about the births of the Simpsons children, this one covering Bart's birth, with Lisa's covered in "Lisa's First Word" in the fourth season, and Maggie's covered in the sixth-season episode "And Maggie Makes Three". The episode also expands upon the family's origins as a result of Marge falling pregnant with Bart, briefly referred to in "The Way We Was", and introduces key moments, such as Bart's conception at a Mini-Golf course, which would ultimately become a major part of the series' canon.
Marge worries she may be pregnant again after a home pregnancy test is inconclusive, so she drives to Dr. Hibbert's office to take another test. While she is gone, Homer tells Bart, Lisa and Maggie the story of their marriage and Bart's birth.
In 1980, Homer worked at a mini-golf course while dating Marge. Marge's mother Jacqueline and twin sisters Patty and Selma disapproved of Homer's lack of prospects and unattractive physical appearance. One night, Marge and Homer saw The Empire Strikes Back (whose twist ending Homer inadvertently ruined for the next audience) and made out inside a golf course castle. A few days later, Marge felt sick and told Homer she might be pregnant. Homer was not thrilled when Dr. Hibbert confirmed this. Since he loved Marge, he proposed marriage to her and she accepted.
They married in a seedy wedding chapel across the state line and spent their wedding night on the living room couch at Marge's family's house. Homer's wages from the golf course were insufficient to support his growing family, so he applied for a job at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. He was rejected because Smithers favored two other applicants who were members of his college fraternity. When Homer and Marge's newly purchased baby supplies and Marge's wedding ring were repossessed, Homer left to find steady work, hoping to return once able to support his family. Marge was devastated when she read his farewell note.
Patty and Selma spotted Homer working at a Gulp 'n' Blow fast food restaurant. Seeing how unhappy Marge was without him, Selma reluctantly told her where to find him. Marge tried to persuade Homer to come home with her.
Homer applied for a job at the power plant again, telling Mr. Burns he would be the perfect employee due to his unwavering subservience. Burns was so impressed that he hired Homer on the spot. Homer returned home to learn Marge was in labor at the hospital. He found Marge with Selma and an angry Patty, who berated him. Fed up with her disrespect, Homer angrily told Patty and her family to show him some respect since he now had a well-paying job – news which delighted Marge right before she gave birth to Bart.
"I Married Marge" was written by Jeff Martin and directed by Jeffrey Lynch. It was the second flashback episode of The Simpsons and a sequel to the previous one, "The Way We Was", which tells the story of how Homer and Marge met in high school. Executive producer Sam Simon was concerned that the writers were being "inefficient" with the episode; he thought the three plots of Homer and Marge's marriage, the birth of Bart, and Homer getting his job should have been extended into three episodes instead of one.
The staff were concerned over the animation of the characters' eyes in the episode, as the pupils were larger than normal, making the characters look "stoned", and the eyeballs were "too round" and large. The animation artists at the animation studio in South Korea, where much of the animation process takes place, had begun stenciling the eyes with a template, which according to Lynch resulted in "strangely round eyes which look a little too big sometimes and much too perfect. Which is very un-Simpsons like." Marge was designed with shorter hair in the flashback sequences to make her appear younger. Lynch thought it was nice to see Marge in a "younger, more attractive mode, and sort of watching her progress through pregnancy."
The title of the episode is a reference to the American television series I Married Joan. Marge and Homer sing along to "You Light Up My Life" by Debby Boone in the car. When Marge is suspected to be pregnant, Bart wants to name the baby after rapper Kool Moe Dee, while Lisa wants to name her after Ariel, from The Little Mermaid. At the beginning of his story, Homer mentions the band Supertramp, and their popularity in the time period. While exiting the movie theater, Homer spoils the ending of The Empire Strikes Back for dozens of moviegoers awaiting the next show. He also compares Marge's good looks to Princess Leia and her intelligence to Yoda, two characters from the film.
Homer's encounter with the doughnut delivery man is a reference to a scene in the film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Homer and his best friend Barney Gumble are watching Charlie's Angels when Marge tells the news of her pregnancy. A poster of Farrah Fawcett, a cast member of Charlie's Angels, hangs on the wall in Barney's apartment. Dolly Parton's 9 to 5 is heard when Homer looks for a new job. The sign outside the wedding chapel resembles Vegas Vic from the Pioneer Club in Las Vegas. When Homer returns to the power plant to apply for a job the second time, Mr. Burns is seen playing the arcade game Ms. Pac-Man. The episode marks the first appearance of Burns's assistant Smithers's first name, Waylon, which comes from the puppeteer Wayland Flowers. When Homer is working at the Gulp N' Blow, he is wearing an "I Shot J.R." T-Shirt, a reference to the Who Shot J.R.? storyline in Dallas in 1980, which would later provide inspiration for the two-part "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" episode in 1995.
In its original American broadcast on December 26, 1991, "I Married Marge" finished 27th in the ratings for the week of December 23–29, 1991, with a Nielsen rating of 11.9, equivalent to approximately 11 million viewing households. It was the highest-rated show on Fox that week. Marge's voice actor, Julie Kavner, received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in 1992 for her performance in the episode.
Since airing, the episode has received very positive reviews from television critics. Pete Oliva of North Texas Daily praised the writers for providing back stories that are "believable" and do not feel "contrived or hastily thought through". The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, thought it was a "moving" episode with "plenty of great setpieces".
DVD Movie Guide's Colin Jacobson described the episode as "sweet and funny" and a "nice piece of Simpsons history". Jacobson went on to say he enjoyed the flashback concept and that the episode develops the characters "nicely" and gives the viewers "a good sense for the era in which it takes place". Nate Meyers of Digitally Obsessed rated it a 5 (of 5), and highlighted the scenes with Marge's sisters Patty and Selma, "barraging Homer with insults", as the "funniest moments" of the episode. Meyers added: "The episode's climax is a great moment for Homer and fans of the show." Molly Griffin of The Observer said "I Married Marge" is one of the season three episodes that turned the show into "the cultural force it is today".
In his book Drawn to Television – Prime-time Animation from the Flintstones to Family Guy, Keith Booker wrote: "The episode details in a rather sentimental fashion the early struggles of the irresponsible Homer to support his new family [...] Such background episodes add an extra dimension to the portrayal of the animated Simpson family, making them seem oddly real and adding weight to their status as a family with a long history together."
- Lynch, Jeffrey (2003). The Simpsons season 3 DVD commentary for the episode "I Married Marge" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Jean, Al (2003). The Simpsons season 3 DVD commentary for the episode "I Married Marge" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Martin, Jeff (2003). The Simpsons season 3 DVD commentary for the episode "I Married Marge" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "I Married Marge". BBC. Retrieved 2009-06-07.
- Groening, Matt (1997). Richmond, Ray; Coffman, Antonia (eds.). The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family (1st ed.). New York: HarperPerennial. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-06-095252-5. LCCN 98141857. OCLC 37796735. OL 433519M.
- Groening, Matt (2003). The Simpsons season 3 DVD commentary for the episode "I Married Marge" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Chernoff, Scott (2007-07-24). "I Bent My Wookiee! Celebrating the Star Wars/Simpsons Connection". Star Wars.com. Archived from the original on July 24, 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-28.
- Reiss, Mike (2003). The Simpsons season 3 DVD commentary for the episode " I Married Marge" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- "Nielsen Ratings /Dec. 23-29". Long Beach Press-Telegram. January 1, 1992. p. D5.
- "Primetime Emmy Awards Advanced Search". Emmys.org. Archived from the original on July 15, 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-05.
- "Briefing–'Simpsons' score big in Prime-Time Emmys". Daily News of Los Angeles. August 3, 1992. p. L20.
- Olivia, Pete (August 29, 2003). "Simpsons' third box set charming, feature-filled". North Texas Daily. Retrieved 2009-07-02.[permanent dead link]
- Jacobson, Colin (August 21, 2003). "The Simpsons: The Complete Third Season (1991)". DVD Movie Guide. Retrieved 2009-06-06.
- Meyers, Nate (June 23, 2004). "The Simpsons: The Complete Third Season". Digitally Obsessed. Retrieved 2009-06-06.
- Griffin, Molly (January 21, 2004). "'Simpsons' DVD set delivers the goods". The Observer. Archived from the original on August 10, 2011. Retrieved 2009-07-03.
- Booker, Keith (2006). Drawn to Television - Prime-time Animation from the Flintstones to Family Guy. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-313-07615-2.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: I Married Marge|
- "I Married Marge" at The Simpsons.com
- "I Married Marge episode capsule". The Simpsons Archive.
- "I Married Marge" on IMDb
- "I Married Marge" at TV.com