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Recap / The Simpsons S13 E8 "Sweets and Sour Marge"

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Marge starts a protest to rid the town of sugar and sugar-laced foods after Springfield is named America's fattest town. In protest, Homer goes into sugar-smuggling.


This episode contains examples of: (YMMV Examples here)

  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: After the non-Simpsons abandon them aboard the Gone Fission, Burns angrily yells at Apu: "Stroke, stroke, stroke!" Apu tells Burns he's stroking as fast as he can, to which Burns clarifies that he meant he was actually having a stroke.
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  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: While burning most of the sugary sweets and food products in town, the police throw a pile of Butterfingers into the flames. The fire rejects the Butterfingers, causing Chief Wiggum to comment that the fire "doesn't even want them”. The Simpsons used to advertise Butterfingers (with Bart commenting "Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger!") and it's a well-known Urban Legend that this joke allegedly got Nestlé to get rid of the show as an advertisement venue.
  • Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them: Marge derides sugar for being harmful to your health because you could turn fat and sluggish from it, but also concludes a lifetime without sugar can also be detrimental.
  • Captain Ersatz: Count Fudgula, an obvious parody of Count Chocula
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The very concept of corporate ethics is completely alien to Garth Motherloving.
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  • Decoy Protagonist: Apparently the writers didn't realize that they ended up placing Marge as the protagonist for the first half and Homer for the second half of this episode.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Whichever one of the sugar smugglers wrote out the contract which said that they would give Homer and the others the sugar without getting paid.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The entire episode plays with the idea of sugar being equatable to a drug, especially during the scene where Homer, Mr. Burns, Apu, and Count Fudgula smuggle sugar into Springfield. The scene that best hammers this in is when Disco Stu sucks up lines of sugar through a straw in a manner akin to snorting cocaine (which is funny, considering a report in 2012 stated that sugar addiction is similar to cocaine addiction).
  • Driven to Suicide: An anonymous Springfield resident leaps off a building to commit suicide, only to land in the people ball that forms from Homer's people pyramid.
    Guy: Goodbye, Cruel World!. [He lands in the pile.] Hello ironic twist!
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  • Face–Heel Revolving Door: Despite testifying on Marge's behalf on how he got addicted to sugar, Count Fudgula is part of the conspiracy to smuggle sugar back into Springfield. Lampshaded by Homer:
    Homer: Count Fudgula? I thought you were trying to get off the stuff.
    Count Fudgula: I'm a monster; Don't look at me.
  • Fat and Proud: Most of Springfield is overjoyed when they're announced the world's fattest town. Only Marge is concerned that they're celebrating obesity.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Lisa doesn't initially believe that getting sugar back is worth Homer and Bart risking their lives. Until Marge announces she steamed limes for dessert, and Lisa shoves them out the door, saying "Godspeed."
  • Going Cold Turkey: The whole town goes weak and depraved from a complete sugar withdrawal thanks to Marge.
  • G-Rated Drug: What sugar comes off as.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Judge Snyder decides to overturn his previous decision to ban all sugar from Springfield. He started to miss sugar himself.
  • Jerkass: Garth Motherloving is a total jerk
  • Literal Metaphor: Homer's Not in My Contract line.
  • Meddling Parents: To get Bart and Lisa to cut down on sugar worried that they're getting to be as fat as their father, Marge enacts a sugar ban on the town of Springfield.
  • Mood Whiplash: When Marge wins her case against Motherloving, Homer tells Marge that he's so proud of her. Then Judge Snyder immediately bans sugar from Springfield based on Marge's evidence, prompting Homer to angrily state to her "Get in the car."
  • Never My Fault: Judge Snyder sides with Marge in enacting a sugar ban on the town claiming that it's the Motherloving Company's fault that he himself got so obese.
  • Noodle Incident: Apparently, Homer once suggested that he'd only go to Moe's whenever someone said the word 'tavern' (in this case, Lisa).
    Homer: She said 'tavern'! I'm going to Moe's!
    Marge: I never agreed to that rule!
  • Not in My Contract: Homer said that and fled when the sugar-smugglers tried to collect payment. Their leader then read the contract and realized Homer was right.
  • Not So Different: In spite of being a vegetarian and arguing in older episodes that vegetarianism can be a beneficial lifestyle, in this episode we see that Lisa doesn't really eat healthier than Bart or Homer because she also indulges in fudge-filled toaster pies.
    • Truth in Television: As many vegetarians who are starting out on their diets (like Lisa) often have unhealthy diets as they feel cutting out meat cancels out eating starches or sweets. Also those are the kind of foods that Lisa may feel she can indulge in with her family.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: Hans Moleman screams this when running from the ball of people.
  • Reality Ensues: Judge Snyder repeals the ban on sugar after realizing he didn't actually have the authority to enact it.
  • Reverse Psychology: Homer tries this on a toucan that steals his map to the sugar rendezvous point. It fails.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Viewers rewatching the episode might notice the "Obey Bad Guy" button in a scene from right after the non-Simpsons aboard the Gone Fission take a life boat.
  • Rule of Three: Readied in his diving gear, Homer falls backwards off the top of Burns' yacht, landing on the lower deck. He tries again, landing on the flat surface of a nearby whale. He quips "I'm only gonna do this one more time" before managing to land in the water.
  • Sarcasm Mode: Garth Motherloving "agreeing" to Marge's suggestions.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When the cops try to stop sugar from being smuggled into Springfield, Homer declares his team won't give up, only to see the team's non-Simpsons using a life boat to escape.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Homer refers to Marge throughout the second half of the episode as variations of Erin Brockovich (such as "Erin Chocosnitch").
      • The first time the comparison is made, Bart refers to Brockovich as "the prostitute with a heart of gold," obviously confusing Julia Roberts' role as Erin with her character in Pretty Woman.
    • One of the sweets burned in the fire is a promotional chocolate statuette of Johnny Depp from Chocolat.
    • The same remix of the "Axel F" theme used in Marge vs the Monorail and The Springfield Connection plays when Homer attends the sugar smuggling meeting with Apu.
    • Chief Wiggum's boat chase with Homer and Bart while they're trying to smuggle in the sugar is set to the Miami Vice theme.
    • Garth Motherloving bribes Homer into helping his plot by showing him a smoking Oompa-Loompa.
    • After Maggie gets splattered with fudge, she wipes it off in homage to Oliver Hardy.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Cletus, a stereotypical slack-jawed yokel, knows how to write in perfect cursive.
  • Suicide as Comedy: See Driven to Suicide.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Not only does Gil win his first case as a lawyer, but he also defeats the Blue-Haired Lawyer (whose only real courtroom defeat in the series up to this point was in The Day the Violence Died) in order to do so.
  • Unfortunate Names: Garth Motherloving previously went by the surname Hitler.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: Homer doesn't pay the sugar dealer because he claims it wasn't part of the deal. The guy double checks the contract, finds out it really wasn't, and demands to know which of his subordinates actually wrote it.
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