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Recap / The Simpsons S 16 E 12 Goo Goo Gai Pan

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The Simpsons are going to China after Selma is diagnosed with menopause and turns to adoption to make her dream of being a mother come true. However, the Chinese government doesn't allow single women to adopt, so Selma pretends that Homer is her husband and Marge is a single, live-in nanny.


  • And Show It to You: One of the Shaolin monks who thrash Homer finishes up by pulling out Homer's heart. Fortunately, he puts it back.
    Homer: I hope you washed your hands first.
  • Artistic License – Law: No, you can't just find a notary in China as easily as you can in the United States (in this case, it was a soldier who popped up as a notary). For one, notaries are in the thousands in China vs millions in the United States; it is more difficult to be a notary in China because they have way more powers than in the United States.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When Homer wakes up in the hospital, he finds himself covered in needles and believes the doctor used acupuncture on him, but it turns out that a porcupine snuck into the room while he was sleeping.
    • Another example after Burns' car crash:
    Smithers: Sir! Oh, thank God the airbags deployed.
    Monty Burns: Those are my lungs!
  • Berserk Button: Lisa is less than amused by Madam Wu making wisecracks about Tibet.
    Lisa: I'm considered pretty smart.
    Madam Wu: Well, Tibet was considered pretty independent. How'd that work out?
    Lisa: [outraged] How dare you make light of that brutal-?!
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  • Big "NO!": Homer when he finds out he's going to pretend to be Selma's husband to help her adopt a baby.
  • Black Comedy Animal Cruelty: Homer gets bitten by a baby panda, causing him to strangle it while yelling "I'll endanger you!". He is, in turn, strangled by its mother.
  • Department of Child Disservices: The Adoption agency where Selma was about to adopt a baby allows Cletus to take the baby away from Selma. Despite the fact that Brandine clearly had Rabies.
  • Disappeared Dad: Madam Wu reveals to Selma and the Simpsons that when she was just a baby, her dad (a champion ping-pong player) had choked to death on a ping-pong ball the day before the Heimlich Maneuver was invented—as a result, Madam Wu's mother ended up raising her as a single parent.
  • Expy: As the host of the menopause video, Robert Wagner is obviously filling the shoes of Troy McClure.
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  • Eye Scream: Ling squeezes Homer's eyes with her hands. This later becomes a plot point, as this is how Homer recognizes her out of the nearly identical babies when breaking her out of the orphanage.
  • Global Ignorance: When Homer is introduced to some monks, he expects them not to move because he mistakes them for guards from Buckingham Palace.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: When Madam Wu tells Selma her adoption request has been approved, Selma cries "Finally, my life can begin!"...right in front of Bart and Lisa, who Wu is under the belief are her children.
  • Impact Silhouette: When Selma flies out of Mr. Burns' car and lands in the snow, the hot flashes from her menopause cause the snow beneath her to melt, creating a Selma-shaped hole in it.
  • In Name Only: Homer used this In-Universe about his and Selma's "Marriage."
  • Land of Dragons: The Simpsons (plus Selma) travel to China to meet the baby and Homer (on the influence of drugs) sees some Chinese dragons.
  • Mama Bear: A literal example: the mother panda whose cub Homer was trying to smuggle out of China takes exception to him strangling it like Bart.
  • Mangled Catchphrase: Near the end, a Chinese spy impersonating Bart says the phrase "Feast on my shorts, stupid father man."
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The white dragon who offers Homer a ride on his back in exchange for his peanuts is implied to be a hallucination at first, but he appears with two other dragons a couple more times, and they act as a Greek Chorus.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: When Selma claims that Homer is her husband, it Jump Cuts to Homer at work (during his lunch break) where he gets a terrible feeling.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Madame Wu. She acts like a Jerkass to Marge and the family, and takes Ling from Selma when she learns about how she is not married to Homer and even threatens to kill the family, kids included, when they try to leave the country with Ling. However, she eventually relents after revealing that her own mother had raised her as a single parent (as Madam Wu's father died when she was a baby), Selma herself can do the same with Ling.
  • Panda-ing to the Audience: Homer tries to smuggle a baby panda out of China. When the cub bites him, he starts strangling it, causing its mother to strangle him in return.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The midget trying to impersonate Bart. Homer sees through it. Lisa doesn't.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Despite Homer and Selma's mutual hatred, he helps her adopt her child from China.
    • Madame Wu ultimately lets Selma go through with the adoption because she herself was raised by a single mother.
  • Portrait Painting Peephole: Wu finds out that Homer isn't really Selma's husband by spying on them through a portrait of Mao — through his nostrils.
  • Special Guest: Lucy Liu as Madame Wu.
  • The Stinger: The credits roll with a live-action clip of David Silverman teaching the viewer how to draw Bart.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: When the Simpsons arrive in Tiananmen Square, there is a sign reading "On this site in 1989, nothing happened," a nod to the Chinese government's denial and secrecy over the massacre.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The final song sung by the dragons suggests that Homer not giving the white dragon his peanuts hurt their feelings so much that they plan to destroy the world (after they sleep for a thousand years).
  • Vacation Episode: The Simpsons (plus Marge's sister, Selma) visit China.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: In the menopause video, Robert Wagner jokes that the viewer should give menopause "men-applause", then turns to someone off-camera and saying "Men-applause? I'm not saying that."

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