When Marge throws a dinner party, Homer gets drunk and makes a fool of himself (even going as far as tricking Maude Flanders into digging for nuts so he can ogle her cleavage) and Marge forces Homer to explain to Bart what he did and go on a marriage retreat (which Homer wants to abandon so he can go after a legendary catfish). Meanwhile, after their regular babysitter freaks out over memories of Bart trying to run her over with the family car, Grampa Simpson steps in to care for the kids — and Bart and Lisa take advantage of the old man by making him do whatever they want (eat ice cream instead of dinner, smoke cigars, drink coffee, and have a wild party).
- Absolute Cleavage: Maude Flanders sports good-looking cleavage in her red dress. Indeed, a drunk Homer tricks her into digging for nuts so he can ogle her cleavage. The next day, in church, when Maude sees Homer looking for Marge, she hastily checks to make sure her blouse is fully buttoned.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: When Marge and Homer go to couples counseling, another couple is shown bickering, and throwing mean, petty insults at eachother. Then Lovejoy asks them to look into each others' eyes...
- The Bore: Even if she obviously was given free reign to say whatever she needed to say (to Tim Lovejoy's eventual regret), Marge still managed to drive everybody to boredom by just not stopping for a whole afternoon with her rant of what she hates of Homer.
- Comically Missing the Point:Marge: (trying to lift a drunk Homer off the floor) I've never been so embarrassed in all my life!
Homer: Why? Whatcha do?
(Drops Homer in annoyance, who then pass out)
- Compressed Vice: Homer's obsession with fishing pretty much begins and ends in this episode.
- Double Standard: Homer says one very minor thing he dislikes about Marge and Marge gets angry, and she belts out a Long List of things she hates about Homer that takes the whole afternoon, and she only stops because she can't recall any more things at the moment. There is truth that Homer is being a crappy husband and human being, but it also goes to show who has placed who on a pedestal in this marriage.
- Expy: The feuding couple at the marriage retreat are caricatures of George and Martha from Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.
- Fishing Episode: Homer wants to skip the retreat to go fishing, hoping to land the legendary General Sherman. He agrees not to, but as he holds a fishing pole a kid left behind, General Sherman snags the line and drags Homer into a boat and onto the middle of the lake. Homer ends up catching General Sherman after a long struggle, but when facing an angry Marge upon his return, he lets the fish go and begs for forgiveness.
- Fly in the Soup: Homer puts a fake ice cube with a fly inside on Dr. Hibbert's drink. Hibbert lectures Homer on the dangerous chemicals in the plastic cube, noting that a real fly would have been safer. Though Homer doesn't listen because he's too busy laughing at how much he fooled Dr. Hibbert.
- Harping on About Harpies: The husband of the feuding couple at the marriage retreat repeatedly refers to his wife as the Queen of the Harpies.
- Hypocrite: Marge gets annoyed at Homer for mentioning a single, minor thing about her that he doesn't like, but has no problem lauching into a list of things she hates about him several hours long.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Marge is right to be mad at Homer for his idiocy. She rightfully explains why he's a terrible husband.
- Lampshade Wearing: Homer briefly wears a lampshade at the party.
- Long List: Homer and Marge go to Reverend Lovejoy's marriage counseling retreat, and Marge is asked to share with the group her husband's flaws.Marge: Well... I-It's not that I don't love the guy. I'm always sticking up for him. It's just that he's so self-centered.
Homer: (gasps) Wait! Oh!
Rev. Lovejoy: Now, Homer...
Marge: He forgets birthdays, anniversaries, holidays both religious and secular, he chews with his mouth open, he gambles, he hangs out at a seedy bar with bums and lowlifes.
Homer: (sobs) It's true! It's all true!
Rev. Lovejoy: Homer don't interrupt.
Marge: He blows his nose on the towels and puts 'em back in the middle!
Homer: I only did that a couple of times!
(following a cut to another scene with the kids taking advantage of Abe, we cut back to the retreat hours later; Marge is still ranting)
Marge: (hoarsely) He drinks out of the carton. He never changes the baby. When he goes to sleep, he makes chewing noises, and when he wakes up, he makes honking noises. Oh, oh, and he scratches himself with his keys. I guess that's it. Oh no, wait, he kicks me in his sleep and his toenails are too long and yellow. That's all I can think of right now. I guess you're all tired, and I want to thank you for letting me get some things off my chest.
- Noodle Incident: A drunken Homer tells Bart to do that "cute thing". Bart doesn't know what that is, so he tells him to go to his room.
- Off-Model: This episode contains the infamous animation error where Ned's nose disappears, his shirt collar overlaps his neck, and part of his neck disappears◊.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: During the babysitter's flashback of baby Bart nearly running her over.
- Refuse to Rescue the Disliked: Discussed. When Dr. Hibbert leaves the party, he notices the position Homer is laying down and tells Marge how to change it if she wants him to live. Dr. Hibbert then reiterates that he means "if".
- Shrouded in Myth: Homer becomes a local legend for almost catching General Sherman, and starts getting this treatment.
- Shout-Out: Homer's battle with General Sherman is similar to The Old Man and the Sea.Homer: (punching General Sherman) I love you! But I must kill you!
- Signature Laugh: Arguably the first usage of Nelson's iconic "ha ha!", though it's a little bit different here.
- Signs of Disrepair: Bart rearranges the finger sandwich platter Marge laid out for the party, which are arranged to read "Enjoy our party snacks", so that it now reads "Boy, our party sucks."
- Stealth Insult: Bart's response to Homer explaining his drunken behaviour of the previous night.Homer: I'm sorry it happened, and I just hope you didn't lose a lot of respect for me.
Bart: Dad, I have as much respect for you as I ever did or ever will.
Homer: Awww. (pats Bart's head)
- Therapy Backfire: Reverend Lovejoy invites Homer and Marge to a couples' retreat to try to help with their marriage. Homer is completely disinterested in getting help, and Marge wastes an entire day of the retreat giving off the absurdly Long List of things that bother her about Homer (and Lovejoy, before telling people to go to bed, can just say that it's the first time he's agreed 100% with only one member of the couple, that being Marge).
- What the Hell, Hero?: Marge wakes up to find him sneaking to go fishing. She gets angry and berates him, telling him they're trying to save their marriage. Then she calls him out for still thinking about fishing even when she's talking to him.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Grampa finally gets the kids to behave and clean up their mess by pretending to cry so that they'll feel sorry for him.