Original air date: 2/4/1996 (produced in 1995)
Production code: 3F11
While the Simpsons visit Ogdenville's Outlet Mall to buy a new TV (that looks just like the old one, because Status Quo Is God), Marge finds a fancy Chanel suit and begins wearing it around the house and around town so she can feel like she's a rich housewife — and an old friend from high school sets out to make Marge's wish of being high-class come true by inviting her to a country club.
This episode provides examples of...
- Acquired Situational Narcissism: Marge tries her best to fit in with the rich socialites and begins to ostracize her family, snapping at them to just be good (a.k.a. don't speak your mind, don't talk to anyone, etc). This includes even Maggie note . She only realizes what she's become once Homer sadly tells the kids "Now that [Marge]'s a better person, we can see how awful we really are".
- Act of True Love: Homer, of all people. He chooses Marge's happiness over humiliating his boss, Mr. Burns. He doesn't even reveal the truth to Marge.
- All Girls Like Ponies: Lisa is at first critical of the country club, but then she sees the horses and all objections fade away.
- Alpha Bitch: Susan, who hurls snobbish insults at Marge the whole episode. Subverted at the end, when Marge doesn't show up for her own initiation:Susan: I hope she didn't take my attempt to destroy her too seriously.
- An Aesop: Don't sacrifice your individuality or your family's well-being to win the rat race.
- Armor-Piercing Question: To keep Homer from blabbing about Mr. Burns being a terrible golfer, Smithers suggests Mr. Burns could support his application for club membership.Homer: I don't care about joining this stupid club.
Mr. Burns: But does your wife?
- Armor-Piercing Response: Homer's response to Marge's new hyper-criticizing personality:Homer: You kids should thank your mother. Now that she's a better person, we can see how awful we really are.
- Bad Liar: Smithers says the extra golf balls he used to help Mr. Burns cheat his way to victory were endangered reptile eggs. Homer calls his bluff by giving one of them a taste test.
- Bait-and-Switch: After Marge expresses a desire to go out to someplace special in her new Chanel suit, we see an Italian opera performance, suggesting that the Simpsons went out. Then static appears on screen and a vacuum cleaner blocks the view, and the camera pans out to reveal that the opera is being broadcasted on the Simpsons' new TV while Marge goes about her usual chores (while still wearing her suit).
- Believing Their Own Lies: Mr. Burns thinks he's a great golfer, and is just as astonished as Homer when he learns that Smithers has been rigging his games for him.
- Bizarre and Improbable Golf Game: Burns at first appears to be a great player despite his age, with every shot landing in the green. It is then revealed that Smithers had been secretly putting the balls there.
- Bland-Name Product: Lampshaded by Bart, who points out that all the TVs in the grey-market store are cheap knockoffs with names like Magnetbox, Panaphonics and Sorny, which Homer believes are real brands.
- Bratty Half-Pint: Kent Brockman's daughter appears, throwing a fit over not getting the type of sandwich she wanted.
- Butt-Monkey: Krusty the Clown, a rare instance. The first time around, Homer nearly runs him over with his car due to being lost by his own stupidity out on the green, the next time, Krusty is struck in the skull with a fever pitch drive from Homer that careens directly onto his head, knocking him out and robbing him of a golfing lesson from PGA professional Tom Kite. Lastly, Homer unknowingly walks onto Krusty's head, golf shoe spikes and all, as he sojourns in his slump after realizing that he can't leak out Burns and Smithers' unfair play.
- Cheaters Never Prosper: Subverted. Homer threatens to expose Smithers' cheating before Burns informs him that he can revoke his endorsement for Marge and the Simpson family.
- Cordon Bleugh Chef: Mr. Burns prepared a cake for Homer and his family as a welcoming gift. Smithers tries some, and is less than enthralled.Burns: I pickled the figs myself.
- Couch Gag: The living room is bathed in black light, with the Simpsons in fluorescent colors while a hard rock guitar riff plays until Homer turns the light on and the normal music plays.
- Damned by Faint Praise: After realizing how much she's changed by trying to impress the women at a posh club, Marge decides she doesn't like how she's turning out and that she likes Homer's in-your-face humanity, she likes the way Lisa always speaks her mind and she likes Bart's...Beat
Marge: ...I like Bart!
- Even Evil Has Standards: Zigzagged. Burns had no idea Smithers was cheating on his behalf, but he still forces Homer to keep quiet about it in exchange for supporting Marge's bid to get into the country club.
- Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Mr. Burns, when he finds out Smithers has been helping him cheat at golf ever since he started playing:Burns: Cheating? For me? Pfft! Good lord, Smithers, that's patiently unnecessary! I'm one of the world's finest golfers! In all the years you've been caddying me, I've never lost a...
- Gave Up Too Soon: After reconciling with her family, Marge decides not to attend the party as she thinks they would never accept them and instead go to Krusty Burger. Had the Simpsons gone to the party, they would have been accepted, with Marge being a club member and Homer being rewarded handsomely by Mr. Burns.
- Hidden Depths: Homer picks up golfing fairly quickly. In just a few days he went from not being able to put without hurting himself to successfully being able to chip balls into the toilets at the nuclear plant without missing.
- Insane Troll Logic: "What's the point of going out? We're just gonna wind up back here anyway."
- Is It Something You Eat?: When Homer is caught in a sand trap, Burns instructs him to use "an open-faced club, the sand wedge!"Homer: Mmmm... Open-faced club sandwich.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Evelyn and the other girls at the country club are definitely snobs, but they are quite welcoming of Marge and her family and were all too happy to welcome them into the country club.
- Language Fluency Denial: When Evelyn tries to get Apu to pump her gas despite it being a self-service station, Apu pretends to not "speak English okay" even though she just heard him talking to Marge seconds earlier.
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: Evelyn's clique has shades of this, save Susan and she wasn't even being serious.
- Mock Millionaire: Marge never intended to pass herself off as rich with the Chanel dress, she just wanted to treat herself to a nice dress and feel like she was one of the upper crust. But once she got into the country club, she felt forced to keep up with the charade.
- Motor Mouth: Lisa, twice, when pestering Marge about ponies, and then later about how much her dress cost. Her constantly distracting and bothering her mother unintentionally leads to the original suit being ruined (though having already been altered, it was more or less on borrowed time).
- No Antagonist: While the women at the country club are snobs, none of them are actively malicious. Rather, it is the pressure Marge puts herself under to fit in with them that causes the conflict of the episode.
- Noodle Incident: Homer has an amusing yet vulgar anecdote that he once tried to say on the radio that got bleeped out.
- Office Golf: After taking up golf, Homer is seen at work chipping golf balls into the toilets while Lenny and Carl watch. Mr. Burns sees him on the security camera and challenges him to a golf match.
- Pet the Dog:
- Mr. Burns once let Richard Nixon win a golf game when he was in a funk about Watergate.Burns: Oh, he just looked so forlorn, Smithers, with his "ooh, I can't go to prison, Monty! They'll eat me alive!"
- Burns making Homer a cake, even if it is disgusting, is an astoundingly nice act from him. He also supported Marge's bid for membership in exchange for Homer keeping quiet about his lack of golf skills.
- Mr. Burns once let Richard Nixon win a golf game when he was in a funk about Watergate.
- Pretentious Pronunciation: All the women at the country club use pretentious pronunciations for their relatively common names. Elizabeth is Ely-zabeth, Susan is Sue-sin, and so forth.
- Product Displacement: According to the commentary, despite Marge being allowed to mention that she had on a Chanel dress, the actual Chanel name couldn't be shown (which was why it was covered by Marge's hand and by a tree). Mountain Dew would see a similar treatment in the later episode "The Great Money Caper".
- Scenery Censor: In a non-nudity example, every time the Chanel logo is shown half of it is covered by something. According to the DVD Commentary, it's a case of Clumsy Copyright Censorship; while Marge could say that she has a Chanel dress or bought one as a replacement, actually showing the label (or the storefront) was a no-no, which is why Marge's fingers covered the label and why there was a tree covering the storefront when she went to get the replacement dress.
- Shoddy Knockoff Product: Homer goes to a discount electronics store, which is billed as "Your grey-market superstore!":Homer: Look at these low, low prices on famous brand-name electronics!
Bart: Don't be a sap, Dad. These are just crappy knock-offs.
Homer: Hey, I know a genuine Panaphonics when I see it. And look, there's Magnetbox, and Sorny!
- Shout-Out: Homer wants to wear a short-sleeve shirt with a tie because Detective Sipowicz does it.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Grandpa only appears in the opening scene to break the family TV and is quickly forgotten after being dropped back at the retirement home, but by breaking the TV, he causes the Simpsons to go to Ogdenville to get a new one, which results in Marge getting the Chanel suit that kicks off the episode's main plot.
- Snobby Hobbies: Marge meets with an old high school classmate, who invites her and the Simpson family to the country club she's part of, and the Simpson family attempts to acclimate themselves. Even Lisa, who usually isn't impressed by the upper-class, finds herself intrigued because of its ponies.
- Spoiled Brat: Kent Brockman's daughter insulting the chef and throwing her sandwich back because it was bologna and she wanted abalone.
- Status Quo Is God: At the beginning of the episode, Abe kills the family TV. After traveling all the way to Ogdenville, the Simpsons get a new TV of the exact same make as their old one.
- Stopped Dead in Their Tracks: Marge, who throughout the episode was obsessed with hiding her family's "lower-class" nature in order to get in with the elite of Springfield, almost leaves her family behind her in an act of choosing class over them. However, she soon stops, hearing Homer say that now she's a better person, the family can see how awful they really are. She turns around and runs back to take her baby in her arms, choosing her family.
- Symbolic Distance: Marge, at her last straw, snaps at her family and storms away from them up the hill towards the elite club she so desperately wants to join. The camera pans to show the others staying behind as she looks back at them, symbolising the divide that has grown between them throughout the episode. Soon after, she runs back and takes Maggie in her arms, choosing her family over superficial status.
- Trivially Obvious: "Homer, I like your in-your-face humanity. I like the way Lisa speaks her mind. I like Bart's ... I like Bart." And that was enough for Bart.
- Upper-Class Equestrian: Lisa is cynical over Marge trying to join the country club at first (thanks to the spoilt brats she sees around her), but is quickly won over by the chance to ride horses.
- Upper-Class Twit: All the women at the country club, save Susan. They're not malicious, just extremely spoiled.
- Villainous Friendship: Burns and Richard Nixon were such good friends, Burns knowingly threw a golf game when he was torn up over Watergate.
- Writing Around Trademarks: On the audio DVD commentary, it's mentioned Marge was allowed to say that she had a Chanel dress (both the discounted suit and the second one she bought when the first one was ruined), but they couldn't show the actual name (which is why Marge's fingers covered the label and a tree covered the Chanel storefront).