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Recap / The Simpsons S 11 E 21 Its A Mad Mad Mad Mad Marge

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"USURPER! USURPER!"
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Otto breaks up with his fiancee Becky at the altar, leaving her to stay at the Simpson's house, where Marge fears Becky will replace her as a better wife and mother. Meanwhile, Principal Skinner assigns Bart's class into making a video (so long as it's not a parody or rip-off of The Blair Witch Project), which the school was able to afford by cutting geography lessons from their budget.

Tropes:

  • The Ace: Becky is a great cook, a painter, knows how to stage karate moves, killed competition at a talent contest and foiled a usurper.
  • Always Someone Better: Becky to Marge.
  • Artistic License – Ornithology: Lisa states that consumption of rice makes birds swell up and explode, which is actually a myth. Wild birds are capable of eating uncooked rice without ill effects, with some species like bobolinks actually feeding on paddy fields (hence their informal term "ricebirds").
  • Bait-and-Switch:
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    • A double when Marge learns her brakes have been cut; the window glass somehow manages to withstand the punishment, but not the largest speedbump.
    • At Marge's insanity hearing:
    Dr. Foster: Marge Simpson, you give us no choice but to declare you utterly-
    Marge: I'm not insane!
    Dr. Foster: You didn't let me finish. INSANE!
  • Bondage Is Bad: Marge comes back to the house with Becky to apparently ritualistically murder Homer, both of them in S&M gear. Subverted when it turns out they're making a video for Bart's project, although it at least seems to be the theme of Becky's video.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Marge takes a page out of Bart's book as she briefly strangles Becky.
    Marge: Why you little...
  • Comeback Tomorrow:
    Becky: And if you pick up some semolina, I can make couscous for Lisa.
    Lisa: It's my favorite!
    Marge: It is?
    Becky: Oh, yeah. You can learn a lot from your kids if you just listen to 'em.
    (moments later, while Marge is driving...)
    Marge: Why do I always think of the perfect thing to say when it's too late? "Shut up, Becky!" Oh, that would've been sweet.
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  • Contrived Coincidence: Played with. Ordinarily, Marge finding Becky giving mouth-to-mouth to Homer at the ice cream parlor just as Marge reached her breaking point would qualify as this, except this is Homer and ice cream related mishaps cannot be that uncommon for him. Marge arriving home to Bart's filming a music video with the family suggestively in peril is a more straightforward example.
  • Control Freak: The whole plot happens because Marge can't stop herself from meddling with a couple's love life when she was not asked to.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • If we assume Becky wasn't being sarcastic, she would have killed Marge and stolen her family for forcing her to split up with Otto (who wasn't that good a marriage prospect, to say the least).
    • At the ending, Homer fired the tranquilizer dart to knock out Marge just for being assigned to scrub and mop.
  • Foreshadowing: It was quickly apparent that Otto and Becky were not going to get married when Otto interrupts Becky's accepting of his marriage proposal... just so he could listen to the guitar solo in "Every Rose Has Its Thorn".
  • Halfway Plot Switch: The first act focuses on Otto and Becky's intended wedding, up until Marge gives her some advice, leading the two to break up at the altar. The rest of the episode focuses on Marge's brewing envy and jealousy with Becky.
  • Improvised Weapon: When Marge confronts Becky at the ice cream parlor:
    Marge: Don't mess with me! I've got jimmies!
    (throws a handful of them at one of the employees, which hit him in the eyes)
    Employee: I can only see a horrible rainbow!
  • Isn't It Ironic?: Otto proposes to Becky by playing the Poison song "Every Rose Has Its Thorn", which is actually a breakup song.
  • It's Been Done: Mentioned In-Universe with Skinner ordering the students to not do any videos resembling The Blair Witch Project.
  • Jerkass Realization: While explaining what Becky would do to her, Marge reminds Selma and Patty who’s their brother-in-law note , making the sisters react with Patty responding, "It’s an act of violence, not love."
  • The Lopsided Arm of the Law: Wiggum refuses to help Marge when she thinks Becky is trying to murder her, outright telling her (and everyone else, apparently) "the law is powerless to help you". When Marge attacks Becky, she is immediately arrested, and Wiggum smugly emphasizes the Exact Words of his previous statement ("powerless to help you, not punish you").
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Homer decides to lick the ice sculpture at the wedding and gets his tongue stuck to it. He soon resolves it by simply pulling it off and casually walking away while the tip of it is still left on the ice.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: Marge was convinced by her sisters Patty and Selma that Becky will attempt to seduce her husband Homer and kill her. When Marge claiming that she's planning to murder her, this leading to her being labeled insane. Subverted when turns out Becky was trying to kill Marge (if she wasn't being sarcastic that is).
  • Not What It Looks Like: Marge comes home, convinced Becky isn't a threat... and sees the rest of the family chained up in S&M gear as it looks like Becky is about to torture them all. It turns out Bart was filming his school project and complained about Marge entering his shot.
  • Off-Model: The character model used for Dr. Foster uses the younger version of the character when explaining how he treated Ned Flanders in "Hurricane Neddy", not the older (present) version with grey, balding hair and aging cheeks.
  • Properly Paranoid: Becky was planning to murder Marge, at least originally (unless she was being sarcastic). She had gotten to the part where she had been making plans to bury her, but after having too much trouble buying a shovel, she decided to scrap the whole idea.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Selma and Patty brought up the idea that Becky was going to kill Marge, which turns out to be almost true, had Becky not abandon the plan.
  • Rule of Three: Bart heard a rumor that Marge shows up to those who scream "Bloody Margie" three times.
  • Serial Killer: While on the run, the news implies Marge as one for... reasons. Averted with the following line.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The title is a play-on to the 60s film "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World".
    • The Mad Marge Dancers are a parody of the "Dancing [Judge] Itos" during the OJ Simpson trial.
    • Becky wears a Vampirella costume in the music video.
    • Patty and Selma reference The Hand That Rocks the Cradle as a 'documentary film' and example of what is Becky's plan for usurping Marge's family... this deviates from being a Whole Plot Reference because it turns out that Becky got tired of the plan because she couldn't decide which shovel to use.
  • Sudden Anatomy: At the beginning of the episode, Bart tries to film a camera up Lisa's nose. In the POV shot of the camera, a nostril appears on Lisa's nose as Bart closes in.
  • Stopped Reading Too Soon: Marge looks up old newspaper clippings at the library to try to find evidence that Becky's a criminal. Every time, Marge reads only part of the headline and gasps, but then reads the rest, which clears Becky of any wrongdoing.
  • Take That!: Of the Dramatic Irony variety: Otto mentions he met Becky during Woodstock '99, which he considered being "the Summer of Love".
  • Too Soon: Bart's In-Universe reaction to the "Mad Marge Dancers" sketch.
  • Wrong for the Right Reasons: Though Marge went a little overboard with her advice to Becky, she was trying to help Becky stand up for herself about her needs in her marriage with Otto. Ultimately Otto would always choose heavy metal music over his wife and, even though Becky went through the embarrassment of being jilted at her wedding, she may have been better off realizing that before she legally tied herself to Otto for the rest of her life.
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