Original air date: 1/22/1995 (produced in 1994)
Production code: 2F10
During one of Marge's self-imposed, weekly family hours, the Simpsons are looking through the photo album. The kids notice that the album doesn't contain any pictures of Maggie, which prompts a Whole Episode Flashback about the events leading up to the youngest Simpson's birth.
Some time in the last two years, Homer has finally saved up enough money working at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant to quit; he does so grandly, mocking Mr. Burns and even burning up a wooden bridge as he drives from the building. He then gets his "dream job" at Barney's uncle's bowling alley, explaining to Marge that he's worked out a budget that will allow the family to get by so long as nothing unexpected happens. To celebrate, Homer and Marge have a romantic evening together...
In a few weeks, Marge is suffering from morning sickness, and a visit to Dr. Hibbert reveals that she is pregnant. While she quickly tells her children, she's much more reluctant to share the news with Homer, especially after he thanks God for his life being perfect just as it is. Instead, Marge turns to her sisters, who are delighted to hear the news—and even more delighted to learn that Homer would be devastated if he found out about the pregnancy. Marge makes Patty and Selma promise not to tell Homer; instead, they call up the biggest gossips in Springfield, who are quick to spread the word. The Bouviers then arrange a baby shower for Marge right before Homer gets home from work. He finally pieces together what's happening, and throws a screaming fit.
Later that evening, Marge and Homer discuss the future: Homer knows that he can't possibly support a third child on his bowling alley paycheck. Marge suggests that he ask for a raise, and while his boss is willing to give it, the alley isn't making enough money to provide for one. Homer then tries to drum up business by wildly firing a gun outside the building and shouting at passersby. This plan fails and also costs him his dream job. A reluctant Homer knows that there is only one place where he can find work and goes back to the power plant. Mr. Burns decides to humiliate Homer even further by installing a bleak plaque above his old workstation: "DON'T FORGET: YOU'RE HERE FOREVER." Devastated, Homer returns home and complains to Marge, who tells him that she's begun having contractions.
At the hospital, Dr. Hibbert works to deliver the baby as Homer, still depressed, comments on the miracle of "another mouth." Even the child's birth can't rouse his spirits...until a tiny hand reaches out and grabs his thumb. He looks down at Maggie and immediately loves her, taking her into his arms and declaring her "the most beautiful baby girl in the whole world." While he and Marge kiss, Maggie, feeling neglected while mimicking them kissing, reaches off-screen and discovers a familiar pacifier.
Back in the present, Lisa is thrilled to hear that the story has a happy ending, but Bart is confused: Homer still hasn't told them why there aren't any pictures of Maggie in the family album. Homer explains that there are plenty of pictures and that he keeps them "where he needs the most cheering up": his workstation, where the walls are plastered with dozens of photos of Maggie—covering some letters of the plaque the letters to form a new message: "DO IT FOR HER."
This episode contains examples of:
- Actually Quite Catchy: When Homer quits and decides to play Burns's bald head like a bongo drum.Burns: Oh, I should be resisting this, but I'm paralyzed with rage. ...And island rhythms!
- And This Is for...: Played for Laughs when Homer quits his job at the power plant, he proceeds to literally do whatever he wants to Mr. Burns. Upon leaving, he remarks: "That's for employing me for eight years!"
- Babies Make Everything Better: Marge's third pregnancy ruined Homer's plans for a dream job and future happiness, forcing him to take up work at the power plant again, and he made it no secret that he was miserable about the whole thing. What brought him out of his depression? Maggie's birth. The episode kicks off with Bart and Lisa noticing that Maggie has no baby pictures. At the end, Homer explains that they are where he needs them the most. Cut to his station at the power plant, decorated with pictures of Maggie. Mr. Burns put up a plaque reading "Don't Forget - You're Here Forever" when Homer was re-hired. The photos block out bits and pieces of this sign so it reads, "Do It For Her." This trope was also averted when we see how Homer lost his hair: whenever Marge announced that she was pregnant, Homer would rip out a handful of hair from his scalp and run upstairs screaming.
- Bait-and-Switch: A lot of examples:
- After Homer quits his job and starts looking forward to his "dream job in paradise", we cut to Homer in what appears to be a tropical setting, complete with steel drum music. Then, he declares, "And now, the final phase of my plan," and it is revealed that he's actually at the bowling alley.
- To celebrate Homer's new job, he and Marge go out for a romantic evening, with their first activity being dinner and dancing. We see a shot of a high-end restaurant and dance club district, implying that this is where they will spend their evening. Then the camera pans across town to a nearby Krusty Burger, where Homer and Marge are sitting in the drive-thru dancing to the radio.
- As Homer and Marge share a romantic moment on the beach, we're briefly led to believe that this is where Maggie will be conceived. However, they're almost immediately uncomfortable with the sand in their clothes and head home to finish the job in bed.
- When Patty and Selma decide to call people to tell them about Marge's pregnancy, they open a phone book and start making calls to someone named "A. Aaronson"; the scene fades to the phone book now on its last page, and the tired-looking sisters saying goodbye to "Mr. Zowkowski," which implies that they've called everyone from A to Z. Patty then remarks that "Aaronson and Zowkowski are the biggest gossips in town," meaning that they only contacted two people.
- When Homer defends how upset he was during Marge's pregnancy by describing the unborn Maggie as a "ticking time bomb, threatening to blow the family eight ways from Sunday," Bart and Lisa start to walk out in apparent disgust. It turns out they're not offended by this discussion of their sister, but uninterested enough to treat Homer's rant as the equivalent of the ad break so they can grab snacks and go to the bathroom.Bart: Dad, you can't expect a person to sit for 30 minutes straight.
- When Homer decides to get a raise at the bowling alley:Homer: That's it, I'm going to march right up to Al and say —
(Cut to Homer at the alley)
Homer: Steve! I mean, Al!
- When Homer tries to come up with an idea to attract more customers to Bowl-A-Rama, he's sitting over a table, reading books about marketing, and staring at a bowling ball until he finally seems to come up with a working idea: cue Jump Cut to Homer wildly firing a shotgun into the air in front of the bowling alley while yelling at people to "get their bowling here", as described below.
- Baldness Mockery: When Homer spectacularly quits after paying off his debts, he calls Mr. Burns "bongo head", proceeds to bang his head as such, and drives out of the Nuclear Plant still playing away before ultimately dumping him and burning a bridge.
- Bittersweet Ending: Homer ends the story with having to quit his dream job and go back to working at the plant with Burns putting up a plaque stating "Don't Forget, You're Here Forever" to crush what's left of his spirit. But when inquired why there are no baby pictures of Maggie, he states there are, just where he needs them most. And we see that they're in his office, strategically covering the plaque such that the words now read "Do it for her".
- Bond Gun Barrel: In the couch gag, Homer reenacts the James Bond gun barrel sequence, albeit in a bit bloody manner.
- Bowling for Ratings: Homer quits his job at the Nuclear Power Plant to pursue his dream job at Barney's Bowlarama. Thanks to Maggie, it doesn't last long.
- Captain Oblivious: Homer towards Marge's pregnancy. First, while Homer is returning home from the bowling alley, Chief Wiggum drives by and compliments him for his "nice work", which is vague enough for Homer to think he is talking about his new job. Then Apu congratulates Homer for the "little bundle of joy", which Homer surmises to be his salary. Next, Moe tells Homer in no uncertain terms that he got Marge pregnant, but Homer believes this is an abstract way of talking about his enjoyment of his job. When he reaches his home, he notices the neighbors have gathered there with presents. He infers that they're showering Marge with "little, tiny, baby-sized gifts", yet he still blows it all off. It isn't until Maude Flanders congratulates Homer on his new job that he finally realizes that Marge is pregnant with a third child.
- Comically Missing the Point: Homer when the townspeople congratulate him for the new baby, which gets increasingly obvious.Moe: Hey, Homer! Way to get Marge pregnant. (laughs)
Homer: This is getting very abstract, but thank you. I do enjoy working at the bowling alley.
- Couch Gag: The living room is seen through the barrel of a gun like the intro to James Bond. Homer walks in and fires at the screen, which "bleeds" red and falls.
- Crossing the Burnt Bridge: Homer literally drives across a wooden bridge and sets fire to it but later has to return to the Power Plant to get his job back after humiliating Burns on his way out.
- Delayed Reaction: Several people congratulate Homer because Marge had become pregnant with Maggie. Homer, himself unaware of the pregnancy, misinterprets these comments (even the ridiculously direct ones) as regarding his new job.note Then Maude congratulates him on the new job, prompting Homer to respond, "New job? MARGE IS PREGNANT!?"
- Deranged Animation: Homer's head inflating and exploding.◊
- Did Not Think This Through: Homer quits before he's certain he can get another job.
- "Die Hard" on an X: Parodied (bear in mind, this is something Homer is imagining in the spur of the moment to lie about why there are no pictures of Maggie):German Terrorist: Attention, American workers: your plant has been taken over by an all-star team of freelance terrorists.
Homer: Not on my shift! (jumps into an overhead vent, jumps out of another one and proceeds to kick terrorist ass singlehandedly while tied-up Lenny, Carl, and Burns swoon over him).
- The Ending Changes Everything: It isn't until the final few moments of the episode when the run-of-the-mill flashback episode, which shows Homer in a Jerkass light, turns into one of the most heartwarming episodes in the entire series.
- Epic Fail: Homer's attempt to market bowling.
- Everyone Has Standards: Lisa's well aware that her father's dumb, but his idea to attract customers to the Bowling Alley apparently sounds so dumb that she initially believes that he has to be embellishing the story.
- Evil Brit: One shows up in Homer's fantasy at the beginning.
- Evil is Petty: Burns forcing people coming to beg for their jobs to crawl through a tunnel infested with spiderwebs and dust (literally labeled "Supplicants") and bolting the "don't forget, you're here forever" plaque to the wall of Homer's station to "break what's left of your spirit".
- Exact Words: Patty and Selma promise not to tell Homer and don't—instead, they tell Springfield's worst gossips, who tell everyone else. To twist the knife further, Patty and Selma even arrange a surprise baby shower for Marge—just before Homer comes home from work.
- Failed a Spot Check: Homer doesn't get why Marge keeps vomiting every morning and doesn't even realize she's pregnant until Maude Flanders tells Homer, "Congratulations on your new job" (referring to his new job working at the bowling alley).
- Foregone Conclusion: The flashback portion of the episode opens with Homer, having finally settled his debts, quitting his job at the power plant in spectacular fashion, and taking a job he's wanted for some time. We know it won't last.
- Freak Out: Homer has one after realizing Marge is pregnant with Maggie, giving out a Big "NO!", yelling hysterically, and running upstairs. Marge reveals this isn't the first time this happened. When Bart was coming, he nearly tore off all his hair. When Lisa was on the way, he tore off the rest, both times ending with running upstairs while screaming.
- Gossipy Hens: Aaronson and Zukowski, the two biggest gossips in Springfield.
- Happiness in Minimum Wage: Homer cleared his debt from his house and first two kids, quit the power plant in grandiose fashion, and happily moved to a much lower-paying job at a bowling alley. Shortly afterward, he found out Marge was pregnant with Maggie, which forced him to beg for his old job back.
- Hope Spot: Homer's new boss doesn't have the money for a raise he'd otherwise be happy to give, and answers in the affirmative when Homer asks if he can make it happen by tripling the customer base. Unfortunately, his plan to do it just scares customers away.
- Hypocritical Humor:
- Homer celebrates quitting from the Power Plant and putting an end to "back-breaking labor" forever. He then gets a job at the bowling alley, which involves much more movement than his job at the plant ever did.
- When Marge forces the family to spend time together instead of watching Knightboat.Marge: Besides, that backtalking boat sets a bad example.
Bart: Sez you, woman.
- Incurable Cough of Death: Joey does one when Homer says goodbye to him, implying their plan to visit California one day will likely never happen.
- Indulgent Fantasy Segue: Homer's flashback begins with him sitting at his workstation and then suddenly the power cuts out.Evil British Voice: Attention American workers, your plant has been taken over by an all-star team of freelance terrorists.
Homer: Not on my shift!
- Insane Troll Logic: When Bart and Lisa are talking about what gender the new baby (Maggie) will turn out to be:Lisa: I hope it's a girl.
Bart: You know nothing about genetics, Lis: it goes boy note , girl note , boy note , girl.
- Interfaith Smoothie: Homer bizarrely starts a prayer with "Dear Lord, the gods have been good to me".
- Invisible Subtle Difference: When Marge looks through the family photo album:
- It's All About Me: Zig-zagged with Homer.Homer: Aw, I've never been so miserable in all my life. But I can't take it out on Marge and the kids — I've gotta carry the burden all by myself. [walks in] Hi, honey, how are you?
Marge: Well, actually —
Homer: Aw, I can't go on with this charade any longer! I hate my job, I hate my life, and ever since I found out about this baby, there's been nothing but bad luck.
Marge: My contractions started an hour ago.
Homer: It's just in one ear and out the other with you, isn't it, Marge?
- Kick the Dog:
- "Don't forget; you're here forever." Homer changes the plaque to "Do it for her."
- There's also Patty and Selma deliberately arranging for Homer to find out about Marge's pregnancy in the worst way possible; Marge even explicitly says that Homer learning from someone other than her would devastate him.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: Just when Homer's settled his debts, taken a lower-paying job he prefers, and sorted out the family's finances for the foreseeable future, one of his ineffectual sperm manages to stagger out from the herd and make it to Marge's egg.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
- As Homer begins the Whole Episode Flashback: "Listen carefully and my words will shape images as clear as any TV show."
- Before the end of the second act, Bart and Lisa get up to leave, with Bart remarking "Dad, you can't expect us to sit here for 30 minutes straight" and Lisa deciding to get a snack and maybe go to the bathroom. Marge stays on the couch but spends the break imagining all the products she'd like to buy.
- Licked by the Dog: As Homer does a bad job of putting up a good front at the hospital, he gives a mock thumbs up. All of a sudden, a tiny hand grabs his thumb, which melts his heart.Marge: Homie, I think someone is saying hello.
- Literal Metaphor: When Homer goes to the power plant to get his old job back, he's forced to crawl through a hole labeled "supplicants". He enters Mr. Burns's office on his hands and knees, dusty and coughing.Burns: So. Come crawling back, eh?
Homer: Seems like the classy thing to do would be not to call attention to it.
- A Mistake Is Born: Subverted as soon as Maggie is born, when it's love at first sight for Homer. (Marge was perfectly happy to be pregnant again but was concerned for Homer's sake.)
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Doctor Hibbert gets a very dark moment when Marge goes to him about her pregnancy and tells her that if the baby is unwanted, a healthy newborn can reach up to $50,000 on the black market... when Marge reacts in alarm, he covers himself by saying it was just a test.Hibbert: If you'd reacted any differently, you'd be in jail by now. Just a test! (he laughs nervously)
- My Secret Pregnancy: Marge, by this time sporting a pretty obvious bump, makes her sisters promise not to tell Homer, because she wants to be the one to tell him, and she's nervous about how he's going to take it. They promise not to tell Homer. (But not the two biggest gossips in Springfield.)
- Narrative Backpedaling: Marge does not let Homer get away with a single embellishment on the story:
- Homer begins his story with him thwarting a terrorist attack at the power plant, but Marge forces him to tell the story straight.
- When Homer insists his breakdown over Marge's pregnancy was a one-time thing, Marge halts the story to instigate flashbacks, showing he went nuts for all three pregnancies.
- Not only did Homer's head not explode randomly, but his bottom's a little bigger.
- A third instance of the trope was subverted when Homer told the family about his failed attempt to attract customers. Homer repeatedly fired a shotgun in the air while shouting "Bowling here!" Lisa asked Marge to make him "tell the story right" and Marge dejectedly explained "That's what really happened".
- Negative Continuity: The two times Homer reacted to Marge being pregnant with Bart and Lisa were vastly different than what was shown on "I Married Marge"note and "Lisa's First Word."note
- New Baby Episode: When Bart asks why there are no pictures of Maggie Homer tells the story of Maggie's birth. After paying off his debts, Homer quits his well-paying job at the power plant and gets his dream job as a pin-monkey, but after Marge reveals she's pregnant with Maggie, Homer tries, and fails, to ramp up business at the bowling alley to get a raise, and is devastated when he has to beg Mr. Burns for his old job to make ends meet. At the very end, Homer reveals that Maggie's pictures are in his workstation to serve as inspiration as to why he still works at the plant.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Barney succeeds in getting Homer a job at the bowling alley but gets instantly fired so Homer can take his place.
- Noodle Incident: Al tells Homer to bring a spare pair of pants to work. When Homer asks why, Al says "When it happens, you'll know".
- "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Homer trying to attract customers by firing a shotgun into the air while yelling "Bowling! Get your bowling here!" actually happened, despite being outlandish enough for Lisa to consider it an embellishment of the story. Considering he tried to do it earlier, you can't blame her for thinking that.Lisa: (After hearing the part about the shotgun) Mom, make dad tell the story right!
Marge: (Resigned tone) That's what really happened.
Lisa: (Disappointed) Oh.
- Partially-Concealed-Label Gag: Homer quits his job at the power plant to work at a bowling alley, but he has to return to the power plant eventually because he makes more money working there and he needs to support Maggie. When he returns, Mr. Burns puts a plaque over his desk that reads "Don't forget, you're here forever." In the present day, Homer has now put pictures of Maggie over the plaque, making it read "Do it for her."
- Pet the Dog: When Homer has to quit his job at the bowling alley, his boss Al Grumble and the rest of the people there wish him farewell and thank him for doing a great job in the place, even giving him a bowling jacket as a going away gift.
- Plot Tailored to the Party: Parodied, as the family watch Knight Boat, who's chasing a set of starfish poachers. As they reach land, the boat points out a convenient nearby canal, much to Bart and Lisa's annoyance.Lisa: Oh, every week, there's a canal.
Bart: Or a fjord.
Lisa: On an inlet.
Homer: QUIET! I will not hear another word against the boat!
- Pretentious Pronunciation:Mr. Burns: According to company policy, it is now customary to give you the plague.
Smithers: Uh, actually, sir, it's pronounced "plaque."
- Punch a Wall: Because he'll earn a smaller salary at the bowling alley, Homer has to make some adjustments to the family's spending. Bart has this reaction when he announces that they're switching to regular toilet paper instead of "that fancy quilted kind."
- Pursue the Dream Job: Homer quit the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant to become a pin-monkey at the local bowling alley as soon as he got out of debt. Once he learned that Marge was pregnant with Maggie, however, he tried to get a raise by attracting more customers but was ultimately forced to give up the job and go back to the power plant.
- Screams Like a Little Girl: (as described by Bart) Homer's reaction to Marge announcing each of her pregnancies.
- Series Continuity Error:
- Homer runs past a framed picture of Lisa on the stairs, despite both instances being set before Lisa was even born!
- Homer is shown working in his usual office at the power plant in the time before Maggie was born. However, Homer worked as a basic laborer/technician long after Maggie was born, and didn't get an office until he was made into the plant's safety inspector in "Homer's Odyssey."
- Marge and Homer are depicted as living in their house on Evergreen Terrace when Marge was pregnant with Bart even though "I Married Marge" and "Lisa's First Word" had respectively shown that the two were still living with Marge's mother when Bart was born and that they didn't move into Evergreen Terrace until shortly before Lisa's birth.
- Ruth Powers is one of the guests at Marge's baby shower, despite the fact that she didn't meet the Simpson family for the first time until she moved in near them, after Maggie's birth.
- There's still a picture of Maggie on the wall during the flashbacks even though she hasn't been born yet.
- Sexy Discretion Shot: Subverted in this scene after Homer and Marge spent a romantic evening celebrating their new life:Homer: [sighs] I love you, Marge.
Marge: I love you too, Homey.
Homer: Everything in our lives is finally perfectly balanced. I hope things stay exactly like this forever.
[cut to several sperm with Homer's head racing to an egg, then to Homer demonstrating how they swim]
Marge: Did you have to be so graphic?
Homer: It's OK, Marge: they pave the way for this kind of filth in school.
- Shoe Shine, Mister?: Homer works with a shoeshine boy called Joey in the bowling alley.
- Homer's fantasy in the beginning parodies Die Hard, complete with an Evil Brit villain who sounds like Alan Rickman.
- Knight Boat, the show the family's watching, is obviously patterned after Knight Rider.
- Homer's happiness at the bowling alley culminates in him throwing a bowling ball into the air, in the same manner as the opening of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
- The montage of the bowling pins is set to Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse", best known for its use in Warner Bros. Cartoons like Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies.
- When Harry Met Sally... is playing at the Aztec cinema.
- Soul-Crushing Desk Job: Homer is well-established as hating his job as a safety inspector at the Nuclear Plant. He wants to work in a bowling alley. Funny that Homer happily trades his cushy job with a place where he has to work manually or deal with dirty shoes. Homer ecstatically quits, making sure Mr. Burns, the owner of the plant, knows how much Homer hated it. Then Marge realizes she's pregnant and Homer has to beg for his old, higher-paying job back. Mr. Burns re-hires him but has a plaque mounted in Homer's small office that reads "Don't forget: You're here forever." Homer uses pictures of Maggie to cover letters in such a way that the plaque now reads: "Do it for her."
- Sperm as People: Maggie's conception is depicted with a bunch of clumsy, Homer-headed sperm cells. Once one hits the ovum, we cut out of the flashback to Homer pantomiming a wriggling sperm as the others chew him out for the pointless gross detail.
- Status Quo Is God: After finally earning enough money to pay off his bills, Homer quits his job at the Nuclear Plant and pursues his dream job at Barney's Bowlarama. Thanks to Maggie, Homer is forced to quit his dream job and get his old job at the Nuclear Plant back.
- Stealth Pun: After reading about marketing, Homer tries to promote the bowling alley by randomly firing a shotgun into the air in front of it - his understanding of the phrase "shotgun marketing".
- Swiss-Cheese Security: Nobody at the plant stop Homer from driving Mr. Burns around while playing his head like a bongo drum.
- Tempting Fate: Marge is worried about Homer quitting his cushy job at the nuclear plant to go and work at the bowling alley. To reassure her, he shows her a budget he's done, which will allow him to support the family comfortably "as long as nothing changes." Then Marge finds out she's pregnant again...
- Tranquil Fury: Jokingly turned up to eleven when Homer plays Mr. Burns's head like a bongo drum:Burns: (Calmly) Oh, I should be resisting this but I'm paralysed with rage...and island rhythms!
- Trees into Toothpicks: Homer wonders what happens to bowling pins after they get swept away. It turns out an automated assembly line throws out the used pins and makes new ones out of one fully-grown tree each.
- Unreliable Narrator:
- Homer begins the story with him singlehandedly taking down a terrorist raid on the plant before Marge intervenes and makes him tell the real story.
- Bart hijacks the story and causes Homer's head to explode. Homer takes over and has to be corrected about his missing head and gut size.
- Lisa accuses Homer of this when he tells them about his brilliant marketing strategy involving randomly firing a shotgun into the air. Marge laments that's what really happened.
- Villainous Demotivator: Burns puts a literal one on the wall of Homer's workstation.
- Visual Pun: After quitting the Power Plant, Homer sets fire to a bridge as he leaves.
- Weird Weather: Homer is going back to the Nuclear Plant to get his old job back, having to give up his dream job of working in a bowling alley, in order to support his now five-member family. When he left the bowling alley, they gave him a satin jacket as a souvenir. As he trudges towards the plant, an acid rain shower hits him, disintegrating the jacket but leaving everything else untouched.