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: (YMMV Examples here)

  • Beauty Contest: The episode opens with the Simpsons watching one on TV.
  • 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).
  • 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:
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Show Within a Show: Oh, Streetcar!
  • Shout-Out:
    • A few to A Streetcar Named Desire.
    • 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.
    • The theme that plays when Maggie is looking for the pacifiers of other babies is taken from The Great Escape.
  • 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.
  • 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!