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Recap / The Simpsons S 3 E 15 Homer Alone

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Original air date: 2/6/1992

Production code: 8F14

After having a nervous breakdown that almost gets her time in jail, Marge goes to Rancho Relaxo while Homer watches Maggie and her sisters watch Bart and Lisa.

Tropes of this episode:

  • An Aesop: It's best to at least help out with some of the housework, if only one person is doing it, they'll inevitably become stressed out.
  • Big "NO!": Marge belts one out when she finally snaps.
  • Binomium ridiculus: In the opening scene, as a Shout-Out to Looney Tunes, Bart and Homer are respectively introduced as Brat'us Don'thaveacow'ous and Homo Neanderthal'us.
  • Cliché Storm: Invoked:
    Quimby: ...If I go down, you're gonna break my fall!
    Wiggum: Word to the wise, Quimby: don't write checks your butt can't cash.
    Quimby: Hear me loud and clear, Wiggum! You bite me, I'll bite back.
    Wiggum: You talk the talk, Quimby, but do you walk the walk?
  • Couch Gag: The family forms a human pyramid on the couch.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Downplayed somewhat, but this is one of the few episodes in the classic era to prominently feature Maggie, who is a background character most of the time.
  • Deranged Animation: Marge snapping while driving.
  • The Diaper Change: Early in the episode, Marge changes Maggie's diaper. In a later scene, when Homer is tasked with looking after Maggie, he changes her diaper, and uses a stapler gun to staple it shut.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Wiggum's smug tone of voice when saying Marge will be sent away "for a long time" indicates she would've been jailed for much longer than she deserved had Mayor Quimby not ordered her to be released.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: One of the many contributing factors to driving Marge over the edge is a radio show where recurring DJs Bill and Marty Prank Call a man and tell him that his wife is dead.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Marge is overworked with various errands and demands, and she finally snaps. She goes on a vacation to get a break, leaving Homer struggling to keep order at home, Bart and Lisa left in the care of Patty and Selma, and Maggie wandering the city looking for her. By the time Marge returns, they're all a wreck and plead with her to never leave home again. On her first night back, the kids refuse to sleep in a separate bed, and they all agree to help her out more often.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Wiggum successfully coaches Homer on what to say to Marge on the bridge. He also quite correctly points out the ways both Marge and Homer broke the law during the episode.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Bart, who is usually fascinated by gross stuff, evidently draws the line at blackhead guns.
  • Fan Disservice: Lampshaded, discussed in-universe when Bart laments sleeping over at Selma and Patty's and Lisa replies "You think you know fear? Well I've seen them naked!"
  • Get Out!: Marge gets quite annoyed by Bart and Lisa's antics while driving to school, to the point of telling them to get out in a deep, echoing voice.
  • Go-to-Sleep Ending: The episode ends with Marge and Homer Talking in Bed about the future division of labor between them before they're interrupted by Bart, with a wider shot revealing that the kids, thankful to be reunited with her, are also in bed with them.
    Bart: Mom, I think I speak for everyone in this bed when I say you have nothing to worry about. Now let's just try and get a little shut-eye, okay? (He flicks off the lamp.)
  • Holding Hands: Bart and Lisa grasp each others' hands under the table while having to spend time with Patty and Selma.
  • Hope Spot: After getting out of the house, Maggie goes looking for Marge. She sees what looks like her Beehive Hairdo on the other side of the fence, happily rushes over, and is crushed to see it's just a bush.
  • I Have This Friend: A variant. Whilst Marge is away on vacation, Maggie runs away. Marge calls home, and Homer takes the opportunity to find out what her reaction would be if the dog ran away. Marge is upset. Homer finds this discouraging.
  • Ironic Juxtaposition: When Marge returns from her trip, she holds up a picture of Homer, Bart, Lisa and Maggie where the four are smiling; when she lowers the photo, she sees the four in a morose, exhausted state due to her absence.
  • Isn't It Ironic?: The ironic hold music that Homer listens to (and still cries over) when calling the police to report Maggie being missing is "Baby Come Back" by Player, which is a breakup song about a man begging his lover for another chance.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Though his reasons are entirely selfish, Quimby is actually right that Marge being sent to jail would play badly with women voters. A female cop had told Marge in the preceding scene that all the women on the force sympathized with her and understood where she was coming from.
  • Jerkass Realization: Homer acts like a Jerkass, as usual, through Marge’s plight until she rolls down her window.
  • May It Never Happen Again: After recovering Maggie, Homer duct-tapes her to her baby seat so she doesn't run away while he picks up Bart and Lisa.
  • Mighty Roar: The bus driver from Shelbyville is scared off by this.
  • Mugshot Montage: Marge gets arrested after having a nervous breakdown and causing a pileup on the highway, and mugshots are taken of both her and her Beehive Hairdo.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Homer is understandably horrified when he gets up to feed Maggie in the morning and finds her gone, even saying to Barney that losing her is the worst thing he's ever done.
  • Nervous Wreck: Marge, when the stress of errands gets to her — while driving.
  • Noble Demon: Mayor Quimby pulls some strings to get Marge off the hook for blocking the bridge. Granted, he didn't do it out of sympathy for Marge's stress, but because he knew he risked losing the women's vote if she went to jail.
  • Not Helping Your Case: When Patty and Selma express doubts that Homer can take care of Maggie on his own ("He'll probably trade her for a beer and a nudie magazine"):
    Homer: For your information, I can take care of my- (Maggie slides to the ground) AAAH!! (picks her up) See? Got her on the first bounce.
  • Odd Name Out: The three movies available on Rancho Relaxo's pay-per-view service include Thelma & Louise, The Happy Little Elves Meet Fuzzy Snuggleduck... and The Erotic Awakening of S.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Homer, Lenny and Carl are watching the traffic report on TV during their break. They all laugh at first, then when they see that Marge is the cause of the traffic jam, Homer says "D'oh!" while Lenny and Carl notably cringe.
    • Maggie when she sees she's about to be handed over to Patty and Selma. She grabs onto the side of the doorway, and Homer has trouble prying her off. Bart's and Lisa's mutual reaction on seeing it is a shared Why Didn't I Think of That?
  • Parental Neglect: Homer when he's looking after Maggie, but in his defense, he did try to care for her and no one saw her running off to find Marge and as soon as he knew, he looked all over for her and called the police.
  • Police Are Useless:
    • Though he has grounds to have her in jail, Wiggum had to let Marge go due to pressure from Mayor Quimby and he doesn’t notice the mobster with a body in the car who’s held up.
    • Wiggum goes to arrest Homer for criminal neglect after finding Maggie and returning her home, but bashfully lets Homer off with a warning after Homer kisses him and thanks him for finding his baby daughter.
  • Pop-Culture Pun Episode Title: The episode's title (and Homer's both-hands-on-cheeks-and-screaming while looking at the camera pose upon discovering Maggie's disappearance) are references to Home Alone.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: The reason Quimby pulls strings for Marge is to keep women voters happy.
  • Prank Call: Bill and Marty call a man and tell him his wife is dead. The cruel prank is so nasty that it provides the tipping point that sends Marge round the bend.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Marge, when telling Bart and Lisa to get out when she drops them off at school.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Maggie spilling her milk on Homer's newly-ironed shirt and on Marge while she's driving.
  • Recycled Animation: The clip where Homer calls the Department of Missing Babies is the same clip from "Saturdays of Thunder" when he calls the National Fatherhood Institute.
  • Reveal Shot: At the end, Homer and Marge are talking in bed. You think it's just those two, but then Bart starts talking, and it's revealed that the whole family is sharing the same bed.
  • Sanity Slippage: Various irritations chip away at Marge's stability until she locks herself in the car on a bridge.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Quimby orders Marge to be freed without charges because it could cost him the women’s vote if he allows the law to go the way it’s set.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The beginning parodies the Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner cartoons.
    • Marge's reaction to the bus driver giving her attitude is the MGM roar.
    • Marge watches Thelma & Louise on TV.
    • The Erotic Awakening of S is a parody of The Story of O.
    • The music that plays at the end of the hotel promotional video hosted by Troy McClure that Marge watches is taken from an old Disney Channel Feature Presentation station bumper.
  • Skewed Priorities: While Homer's fretting about losing Maggie, Barney is more concerned about making omelets.
  • Slasher Smile: Patty and Selma gave Maggie a terrifying one, had the younger Simpson not grabbed onto the entrance door to stay with her dad.
  • Straying Baby: After Homer tries to put Maggie to bed, Maggie runs away from the house to find Marge. He is horrified to find her missing the next morning and does everything he can to find her before Marge returns. When Chief Wiggum returns Maggie to him, Homer duct-tapes her to her car seat so she can't run away again.
  • Suspect Is Hatless: When Wiggum visits the Simpsons house to enquire about the report Homer made about his missing baby, Homer's description doesn't get further then him saying that Maggie is small and a girl before Wiggum whips her out.
  • Train-Station Goodbye: Homer chases the train as Marge leaves for her vacation:
    Marge: Goodbye, Homie.
    Homer: "Goodbye"?! Where's my clean underwear?
    Marge: Check the dryer!
    Homer: How often should I change Maggie?
    Marge: Whenever she needs it!
    Homer: Marge! Marge! How do I use the pressure cooker?
    Marge: Don't!
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Maggie fiddling with her bottle and spilling the milk all over the car (including Homer's freshly-laundered bowling shirt) is what finally pushes Marge over the edge, resulting in her snapping on the bridge.
  • Visual Pun: As Marge relaxes in a hot bath with a sundae while watching TV, she blissfully lowers herself into the water and emerges with her hair straight and wet, meaning she's finally relaxed enough to "let her hair down".
  • You Need to Get Laid: When the power plant employees watch the news report of a stressed and underappreciated housewife who's parked her car on the bridge, Homer quips, "Hey, sweetheart, what's the matter? Not getting enough of the good stuff at home?" Said sweetheart, of course, turns out to be his wife.