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Recap: The Simpsons S 4 E 2 A Streetcar Named Marge
Episode - 8F18
First Aired - 10/1/1992

Marge auditions for the role of Blanche in the local community theater's production of Oh, Streetcar!, a musical version of A Streetcar Named Desire. The overbearing director Llewelyn Sinclair first turns her down, but quickly changes his mind when he hears her on the phone being completely submissive to Homer's typical demands. Unfortunately, she then has trouble tapping into the inner rage of the character, but this is also fixed when she milieu imagines Homer in Stanley's place...perhaps a little too well for poor Ned, who's playing Stanley.

The play is a smash success, largely due to Marge's passionate performance, and Homer is unexpectedly moved by the ending. Afterwards, he admits that he sees himself in Stanley, and tells Marge how great she was.

In the B-plot, Maggie is put into a daycare center modeled after the teachings of Ayn Rand, and leads the babies in a rebellion to get their pacifiers back.

This episode was the last one (in terms of airdates) to have Klasky-Csupo as an animation company. From "Homer the Heretic" on, the show would be handled by Film Roman.

This episode contains examples of: (YMMV Examples here)

  • Beauty Contest: The episode opens with the Simpsons watching one on TV.
  • Chekov's Gun: A vending machine can be seen in the background of several scenes at the rehearsals, Homer tries to get candy from it in a Funny Background Event, eventually resorting to ramming it.
  • Comically Missing the Point: The final song of "Oh, Streetcar!" is a bright, peppy tune about how you should always trust strangers, making a mess of the original play's point.
    • Earlier in the episode, a beauty pageant on TV begins with the contestants singing "At Seventeen" ("I learned the truth at seventeen/that love was meant for beauty queens"), completely oblivious to what the song is actually about.
  • Creator Breakdown: Sinclair introduces himself by saying he's had a heart attack during each of his previous plays, and is planning for another this time.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Jon Lovitz plays both Llewelyn and Llewelyn's sister.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The sound of dozens of babies sucking on pacifiers, echoed through an auditorium, is quite eerie. "Ohhhh, babies."
  • Hypocritical Humor: Lionel Hutz, despite having a role in the play, is suing the producers on behalf of people who didn't get roles.
  • Jerkass: Lewelyn Sinclair, he's also a bit of a Narcissist.
    • Homer is especially bad here, to better fit the comparisons to Stanley Kowalski.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite this, by the end of the play, when Marge sees what she is convinced is an utterly bored uncaring expression, Homer has in fact been left rather solemn and touched by the play's story, even seeing himself in Stanley.
  • Large Ham: Jon Lovitz as Lewelyn Sinclair. The commentary notes that his bombastic introductory speech is actually the "smallest" take Lovitz did.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Ned Flanders plays Stanley Kowalski, due entirely to his impressive physique.
  • The Parody: Maggie's rebellion at first places her in Steve McQueen's role in The Great Escape, complete with the movie's actual theme song. Once Homer arrives at the daycare center it turns into The Birds, including Hitchcock walking two dogs afterward.
  • Product Placement/Brand X: While Homer plays what is clearly an original Game Boy, the device's name is never said or seen.
  • Serendipity Writes the Plot: The original idea was to simply have Marge in a production of Streetcar itself. When getting the rights to the play turned out to be prohibitively expensive, a lawyer advised them that they could write songs based on the story and not have to pay anyone. Of course, the songs are the best remembered part of the episode.
  • Show Within a Show: Oh, Streetcar!
  • Shout-Out: Homer blowing on a piece of paper out of boredom during the play is a reference to a similar scene in Citizen Kane.
  • Special Guest: Phil Hartman as Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure; Jon Lovitz as Llewellyn Sinclair and Ms. Sinclair (Llewellyn's sister)
  • Take That: The Ayn Rand-based daycare that Maggie rebels against.
  • Too Soon and Missing Episode: Thanks to Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans song that trashes the city as a hellhole (which actually was a point of contention years before Hurricane Katrina came along) is now in worse taste than it was when it premiered. Over in the UK, the episode aired alongside news reports of Katrina's destruction, leading to viewer complaints, a public apology from the BBC, and the BBC banning this episode from ever airing.
Kamp KrustyRecap/THESIMPSONSHomer the Heretic

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