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Recap / The Simpsons S13 E7 "Brawl in the Family"

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Original air date: 1/6/2002 (produced in 2001)

Production code: DABF-01

During an acid rain storm, the Simpsons decide to play a game of Monopoly — only to end up arrested on domestic disturbance charges. While in jail, a social worker helps the family get back on track to being functional, which is put to the test when Homer's and Flanders' Vegas wives from "Viva Ned Flanders" return.

First episode (production-wise) under Al Jean's solo tenure.

No relation to the webcomic of the same name.

Tropes featured:

  • Artistic License – Law: It's stated by Judge Harm that Homer's marriage to Amber can't be annulled due to the fact that bigamy is legal in Nevada, when in actuality, it hasn't been legal in the state since 1911, nor is it legal anywhere else in the U.S. There's also the fact that video evidence shows that Homer was visibly too intoxicated to consent when the wedding took place (for that matter, so was Ned), and that, according to Homer, the marriage was never consummated.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The story of the Republican Party repealing all the town's environmental laws and institute new laws making protecting it illegal becomes this due to the lack of resolution.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Amber making Homer a sandwich in the treehouse sounds very sexual with Homer's reactions to it. Cut to Marge in her room overhearing and worrying...that Amber is making him a sandwich.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment:
    • When Gabriel claims to have earned his wings, Homer thinks Gabriel admitted he actually is an angel, but Gabriel means a CD titled "The Best of Wings".
    • When Grandpa asks if Amber wants to have sex with him again, he sounds like he wants but he turns out to be glad when she says "no".
  • Black Comedy Rape: What's implied to have happened between Amber and Grampa, given her being too intoxicated to consent. On the other hand, she was apparently the forceful party.
    Amber: Oh no. We didn't!
    Abe: Well, we almost didn't. But you wouldn't take "I can't" for an answer.
  • Breakfast in Bed: After Homer and Ned's "Vegas Wives" return, Ned, Rod, and Todd wake up Ginger in the morning with a breakfast in bed, but she finds the Flanders' extremely nice, religious, and pious outlook almost sickening, and she snaps at them in response.
  • Comically Missing the Point: One of the big running gags of the episode is Homer thinking Gabriel is an angel, explicitly referencing the film The Preacher's Wife. The fact that Gabriel does a couple of references to things that sound and look angelic (having an angelic choir as his pager ringtone, dressing up in an all-white suit, the mention of wings above and obviously having the name Gabriel to begin with) until he provides additional context doesn't helps the social worker any.
  • Continuity Nod: Marge states that Homer marrying the Vegas stripper was 'the worst thing you've ever done'. This was exactly what she'd said in the previous episode regarding his rocket destroying the church, with Homer at the time replying that she'd said it so much that it's lost all meaning.
  • Cultural Translation: The PBS allusion in the prologue is replaced in the European French dub by a hint to the network Canal+ and its satirical show, Les Guignols de l'Info.
  • For the Evulz: The Republican Party repeals environmental laws just because they love doing evil things.
  • Game Night Fight: The Simpsons play a game of Monopoly that ends with the family arguing and Homer choking Bart while Marge and Lisa try to pry them apart, bickering throughout. Maggie gets disturbed by their fighting and calls the police on them, leading to all of them being arrested.
  • Guilt by Association Gag: As stated above, the entire family gets arrested despite the fact that Marge and Lisa were trying to stop Homer choking Bart, and Maggie was the one who called the police in the first place.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: One of the starkest examples in a show already full of them. While both halves are tied together by a thread about the Simpsons learning to cooperate, the first half involves the family being arrested on a domestic disturbance charge and working with Gabriel, a social worker, in a plot reminiscent of Season 1's "There's No Disgrace Like Home." The second half serves as a sequel to Season 10's "Viva Ned Flanders" with Homer and Ned's Vegas wives returning to make trouble. Just to divide the two halves even further, Gabriel reacts to learning of Amber's existence by giving up on the family and heading out.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: Amber gets screwed by Homer by making her too drunk to remember marrying Grandpa Abe, just like she did with Homer in Las Vegas.
  • Hope Spot: The Simpsons seemingly have resolved their issues...Then Homer's Vegas wife shows up. Later, Homer says he'll get his second marriage annulled. The next scene shows Judge Harm ruling both marriages valid based on the fact that bigamy is legal in Nevada.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Subverted. Both Marge and the viewers are aware that Amber is making Homer a sandwich.
  • It Burns!: Groundskeeper Willie does a "Singing In The Rain" parody during a downpour of acid rain. The result:
    Willie: AGGH! It burns like a Glasgow bikini wax!
  • Karma Houdini: Nobody in the Republican Party faces any sort of comeuppance for repealing environmental laws and Nelson isn't punished for what he did to that spotted owl.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: As the Simpsons are going home, having seemingly settled their conflicts, Lisa wonders "Will this be the end of our series... of events?"
  • Magical Negro: Homer is convinced Gabriel is one, much to his annoyance.
  • Noodle Incident: Wiggum claims the fight was 'another' incident caused by Monopoly.
    Wiggum: How do those Parker Brothers sleep at night?
    • Edna Krabappel has her own themed version of Monopoly.
    • The Simpsons' phone has its own button for domestic violence incidents that's marked by a picture of Homer strangling Bart. It doesn't appear that they've used it before, unless the Monopoly incident was simply the last straw.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gabriel gives a very succinct, powerful one after telling Homer he has a lot of problems. It's also the only time he raises his voice:
    Homer: Which is society's fault because-
    Gabriel: It's your fault!
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • The social worker when he sees Homer's Vegas wife.
    • Homer's Vegas wife's reaction to her marriage to Grampa Abe, nullifying Homer's own Vegas marriage. Ned's Vegas wife does the same after she has had enough of the Flanders' wholesome nature.
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • Homer must stay inside his house to be safe from the acid rain but goes outside to rescue his TV antenna. Unable to withstand the rain long enough to reach it, Homer runs back inside and, once seeing the TV not working, tries to reach the antenna again. It goes on until Marge invites the family to play Monopoly.
    • Later, Homer won't leave his beer behind to save his life until he realizes it's not Duff.
  • Special Guest: Alongside Jane Kaczmarek returning as Judge Harm, there's also Delroy Lindo as Gabriel.
  • Take That!: Homer has no issue throwing away beer once he realizes it's Blatz.
  • Tempting Fate: The Simpsons cheer the success of their time with Gabriel the social worker, saying that their "bond has never been stronger" and even wondering if this might be the end of the "series...of events" that's characterized their lives up to this point. They come home to find the two women Homer and Ned married in Vegas in their driveway.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: Ironically more of an inversion ("too insipid for Yog Sototh"?) with Ned being too much of a wholesome nice guy for his Vegas wife to tolerate.
  • The Unsmile: Moe, when Carl uses him as an example of how a man with two knives is happier:
    Moe: Have to admit, this is pretty great.
  • Wham Line:
    Amber: Yeah, I'm looking for Homer Simpson.
    Homer: Oh! It's the woman I married in Vegas!
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The story opens with Springfield's Republican Party repealing all environmental laws, turning the town into an ecological nightmare and forcing the Simpsons to stay indoors during a shower of acid rain, a plot point that doesn't affect the rest of the episode.


Video Example(s):


Willie in the (Acid) Rain

Groundskeeper Willie's having fun dancing and singing in the rain, until he finds out it's ''acid'' rain.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / SpoofingInTheRain

Media sources: