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

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Original air date: January 6, 2002

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.

It is the first episode since the end of season 4 to feature Al Jean as showrunner; he took over the position from Mike Scully, the showrunner for seasons 9-12. Jean has been showrunner ever since, making him the longest on the Simpsons staff to hold that position.

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Tropes featured:

  • 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 Grampa 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".
  • 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.
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  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: A lot of Simpsons fans have claimed this episode is an allegory of how Mike Scully's reign as Simpsons showrunner has ruined the show (represented by the Republican Party's decision to pollute the environment, causing acid rain to destroy the town and The Simpsons' fighting during a game of Monopoly) and Al Jean (represented as the allegedly angelic social worker) is brought in to fix the show's past mistakes (represented by the social worker observing the family's behavior and calling them out on their unhealthy actions and the Vegas wives from season 10's "Viva Ned Flanders" returning)note 
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  • For the Evulz: The Republican Party repeals environmental laws just because they love doing evil things.
  • 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.
  • 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 adventures?"
  • Magical Negro: Homer is convinced Gabriel is one, much to his annoyance.
  • Noodle Incident: Wiggum claims the fight was 'another' incident caused by Monopoly.
    When will those Parker Brothers learn?
  • "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.

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