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Recap / The Simpsons S5E22 "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

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Original air date: 5/19/1994

Production code: 1F20

Worried that he may be slow, Homer gets a job as an adult education teacher at the Learning Annex, teaching losers in love how to keep their relationships together, but it goes awry when he shares intimate details of his relationship with Marge to keep his class interested.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Achievements in Ignorance: The episode begins with Homer getting a straight flush in poker while thinking he had a lousy hand the whole time.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When Marge is driving down the street and imagining hearing fond memories of his voice amongst her sadness, we learn it's actually Homer himself in the backseat of her car saying them with a toilet paper roll. She then promptly throws him out the car.
  • Bastardly Speech: Parodied when Homer tries to justify telling Marge's secrets to the marriage class he's teaching. (Unsurprisingly, unlike with the other examples here, she doesn't fall for his BS.) And of course, being Homer, it's more a collection of quotes from movies he saw.
    Marge: (angrily grabs Homer by the collar) HOMER, DON'T EVER TELL THEM PERSONAL STUFF ABOUT ME AGAIN!
    Homer: (meekly) Yes, ma'am...
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Marge gets angry enough to scare Homer when she finds out what he's done.
  • Brick Joke: Before his first class as a teacher, Homer stops by Krusty Burger's order box and says he wants nothing because he's "got a class to teach" and the employee warns him that "it's a felony to tease the order box". After class, he returns to Krusty Burger to tell the experience via order box only to find himself surrounded by cops with Chief Wiggum pointing out that Homer was warned against teasing the order box.
  • Broken Aesop: Invoked in the commentary, how Marge and Homer solve their problem isn't healthy, and it isn't meant to be.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • Homer is oblivious to Moe's reasons for being in his house. He nonchalantly says hi to a terrified Moe when he returns to try and urge Marge to leave him.
    • Otto, after Marge kicks Homer out: "Is any of this gonna be on the test? 'Cause... I wasn't paying attention."
  • Comically Small Bribe: When Lisa visits Homer in Bart’s treehouse (where he was living in after getting kicked out by Marge), he pleads for her to help him trick Marge into loving him again. Lisa chastises Homer for even asking such a thing as it is immoral. Homer then tries to bribe Lisa into doing it with $40, who retorts someone’s love can’t be bought. He then offers $30, to which a disappointed Lisa wishes him luck on getting Marge to love him again by himself.
  • Couch Gag: The family run in and explode on contact, with Maggie's pacifier falling onto the blackened crater.
  • Dance Battler: Moe teaches "Funk Dancing For Self-Defense" at the Learning Annex.
  • Delayed Reaction: By the time Homer realizes his poker buddies insulted him by calling him "a little slow," the game's over, it's the middle of the night, and Lenny is wondering what he's still doing in his house.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: During Smithers's flashback.
  • Description Cut: Homer sees Reverend Lovejoy approaching the house, and is confident the man will implore Marge to forgive him, "Or his god will punish him". Cut to Lovejoy telling Marge to divorce Homer.
  • Dramatic Shattering: "YOU LEAVE MR. BURNS OUT OF THIS!!!"
  • Drive-Thru Antics: Homer goes around town bragging about his new teaching job. One stop is Krusty Burger, where he doesn't order anything and simply tells the order box that he has a job. The cashier replies, "Sir, it's a felony to tease the order box". Later, he goes back there to talk again. When Chief Wiggum shows up, saying "All right, Simpson! You were warned about teasing the order box!", Homer high-tails it out of there, prompting the cashier to say "Hey, I need closure on that anecdote.".
  • Epic Fail:
    • Apparently, it takes only a day for Homer to fall to pieces without Marge to take care of him.
    • When he first becomes a teacher, Marge scolds him about putting tweed patches on the elbows of a leather jacket instead of the traditional other way around and that he ruined his jacket. Homer then corrects her and says that he ruined two perfectly good jackets whilst holding up the torn-up tweed jacket he cut the patches from.
  • Fan Disservice: Patty and Selma, once more. This time, they're teaching a class on how to attract a man. Selma reminds anyone who takes it there are no refunds.
  • Felony Misdemeanor:
    Employee on intercom: May I take your order?
    Homer: Nothing for me today! I've got a class to teach! (drives off)
    Employee on intercom: Sir, it's a felony to tease the order box.
  • Forced from Their Home: Marge kicks Homer out of the house after he betrays her trust for the last time. Homer lives in Bart's treehouse until Marge's anger dies down, after which he promises to never squander her trust again.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: "What the darn?"
  • Hope Spot: After he gets thrown out of the house by Marge, Homer spots the Lovejoys coming to visit her. He thought since they’re from the church, they’ll for sure convince Marge to forgive him and take him back. Cut to the meeting inside the house where the Lovejoys bluntly tell Marge to get a divorce.
  • Hypocrite: Marge's complaints about Homer telling people about their private affairs seems somewhat skewed, since multiple episodes have her lament over his antics in public.
  • I Have This Friend: Homer tries to pass a detail about himself and Marge as something about a friend and the friend's wife. Not only does he come up with obviously fake names like "X" and "Y", but he ruins it by having X call Y "Marge" and himself "Homer J. Simpson".
  • I Resemble That Remark!: During a card game at Lenny's, Carl calls Homer "slow." By the time he's processed the insult and opened his mouth to fire back, the table's empty and everybody but him has gone home.
  • Let No Crisis Go to Waste: Moe tries to make a move on Marge while Homer is gone.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Evidently, Marge to Homer.
    Homer: Marge, I need you more than anyone else on this entire planet could possibly ever need you. I need you to take care of me, to put up with me, and most of all I need you to love me, because I love you.
    Marge: But how do I know I can trust you?
    Homer: Marge, look at me. We've been separated for a day and I'm as dirty as a Frenchman. In another few hours I'll be dead! I can't afford to lose your trust again!
  • Manchild:
    • Homer apparently double-dared Bart to steal some mail and throw it down the drain.
    • Marge being the "parent" in Parenting the Husband really shows in this episode. After one day, Homer is an absolute mess because he doesn't know how to take care of himself.
  • Non-Answer:
    Lisa: I think it's great you're a teacher, dad. So, will you be lecturing from a standardized text or using the more Socratic method of interactive class participation?
    Homer: (confused) ...Yes, Lisa. Daddy's a teacher.
  • Noodle Incident: Homer contemplates taking another bath in malt liquor.
  • Not Helping Your Case:
    • When the night course administrator offers Homer a job teaching a course on a successful marriage:
    Homer: I'll take it! Anything to get me out of that house, away from all that nagging and noise... (backtracks) uh, of a family of love. Sha la la la…
    • Done later after Marge chastises Homer for sewing patches on the elbows of his coat.
    Marge: You've ruined a perfectly good coat!
    Homer: Correction, Marge... TWO perfectly good coats! (holds up a coat that he cut the patches out of)
    • And thirdly when Marge tells Homer that she can't trust him when he broke his promise not to reveal personal details of their lives to his class:
    Homer: But I've learned my lesson! It'll never happen again.
    Flanders: Hey Homer, what's the big brewhahaha?
    Homer: Ah, Marge is throwing me out for blabbing about her elbow thing.
    (Marge slams the door in Homer's face)
  • Oh, Crap!: Moe, when Homer (doesn't quite) catch him trying to woo Marge.
  • Overly-Long Gag: Homer's "um"s and "uh"s (plus an "oh!") on his first day of teaching.
  • Parenting the Husband: Referenced:
    Homer: Wait, Marge, that's it. That's the one thing I can give you that no one else can: complete and utter dependence!
    Marge: Homer, that's not a good thing.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Marge was already seething at Homer for bringing his entire class to his home to use the family as a live lesson. When Moe teasingly brings up that Homer should calm her down by nibbling on her elbow, Marge finally loses it and throws everyone out of the house, including Homer.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Marge, out in the car, sees several stores that just happen to remind her of Homer, like Broken Home Foundations.
  • Sanity Slippage: After two days away from Marge, Homer goes completely mad and tries to create a plant-based replacement of Marge.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: After Homer runs a red light, nearly causing a car accident:
    Homer: It's okay, I'm a teacher!
    Miss Hoover: (driving) I didn't know we could do that. (also purposefully runs a red light)
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Bart and Lisa angrily leave the dinner table, unable to take any more of the public humiliation of being a live case study for Homer's class.
  • Shockingly Expensive Bill: Homer's class. It's $10,000 for one course, and for some reason has a lab fee.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Special Guest: Phil Hartman as Lionel Hutz.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Not knowing what to teach his students, Homer started eating an orange and compared it to marriage. Not falling for that, Groundskeeper Willie commented that, if he wanted to see somebody eating an orange, he'd have enrolled at the orange-eating class. Cut to said class, where Hans Moleman was supposed to teach other old people how to eat oranges. He was instead comparing it to marriage.
    Abe: Just eat the damn orange!
  • Totally Radical: Moe does this where he's teaching self defense through funk dancing:
    Moe: Alright, here's the 411, folks: Say some gangsta is dissin' your fly just give ‘em one of these!
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After Marge kicks Homer out of the house, it's unknown what become of his class.


Video Example(s):


Homer's Movie Quotes Rant

When Marge tells Homer not to talk about their marriage with his night school class, he responds with a series of movie quotes that have nothing to do with anything.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / SpeaksInShoutOuts

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