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, and gets it after the director (voiced by Jon Lovitz) notices how beaten-down and depressed she is whenever Homer orders her around. Meanwhile, Maggie is put in a daycare center modeled after the teachings of Ayn Rand.

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:

  • Beauty Contest: The episode opens with the Simpsons watching one on TV.
  • Brainy Baby: Maggie organizes plans to get back the pacifiers. When her first attempt fails, she comes up with an even more elaborate plan that succeeds.
  • Brick Joke: During rehearsals, Marge attacks Ned with the bottle, but he struggles to overpower her. In his next scene, he has a bloody bandage on his chest.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Llewelyn Sinclair is obnoxious, hammy, and possibly crazy, but the play is a smash hit.
  • Chekhov'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 (which is about a plain girl singing about how the pretty girls in school had it so much better than her, but now their lives were worse).
    • Lampshaded and subverted. Homer tells Marge how he interpreted the play before admitting he has a history of missing the point of things. Marge tells him he got it right, though.
  • Cross-Cast Role: Ned mentions having been in a prior production of A Streetcar Named Desire as Blanche.
    "Just part of the fun of going to an all-male school."
  • Enforced Method Acting:[invoked] To get the bottle scene right, Marge pictures Ned as Homer. Marge gets so angry she is able to overpower Ned with berserk fury alone, and almost mauls him with the broken bottle.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The moment where the Simpsons sit down to watch the play Llewelyn's sister is briefly seen, all haggard from all the babies sucking their pacifiers.
  • Funny Background Event: As Llewelyn talks to Marge about Stanley crushing Blanche's fragile spirit, Homer struggles to get candy out of vending machine—ultimately screaming and ramming it.
  • 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.
  • Incoming Ham: Llewelyn's intro is bursting through the door shouting, "HELLO?!"
  • Jerkass:
    • Llewelyn Sinclair, he's also a bit of a Narcissist.
    • Homer is especially bad here, to better fit the comparisons to Stanley Kowalski. He's more of an ignorant Jerkass than Stanley though.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite the above, 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 Llewelyn 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.
  • Noodle Incident: Exactly what it was the previous year's Miss American Girl said at the UN is never revealed.
  • 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.
  • Prima Donna Director: Llewelyn Sinclair.
    "I am not an easy man to work for. While directing Hats Off to Hanukkah, I reduced more than one cast member to tears. Did I expect too much from fourth graders? [takes out review] The review 'Play enjoyed by all' speaks for itself."
  • Product Placement/Brand X: While Homer plays what is clearly an original Game Boy, the device's name is never said or seen.
  • Say My Name: To go with the Streetcar parallels. MAAAAAAAAARRGGEEEE! HEY, MAAAAAAARRGGEEEE!
  • 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.
    • The Birds is referenced when Homer goes to pick up Maggie and is surrounded by various babies with their pacifiers echoing in the room. A cartoon version of Alfred Hitchcock passes him by while walking his dog, echoing his actual cameo in the movie.
    • The theme that plays when Maggie is looking for the pacifiers of other babies is taken from The Great Escape.
  • Show Within a Show: Oh, Streetcar!
  • 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.
  • Tempting Fate: As Marge leaves to go rehearse with Ned, Homer asks she open his pudding can for her. Marge tells him to do it himself, but the minute she's gone Homer breaks the can.
    So I can open my own pudding, can I?
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: The audition scene in general, but especially the ladies of Springfield auditioning for the role of Blanche. Llewelyn is so unimpressed by the bunch that he almost cancels the entire play.
    Llewelyn Sinclair: You're all terrible! Forget it, just strike the sets! Clear the stage!
  • Whole Plot Reference: To A Streetcar Named Desire.