[The long of it]
An old theory on relationships holds that opposites attract because
each partner can make up for the other's weaknesses. Marge, the
solid, responsible citizen, often protects reckless Homer from
himself. It's a workable relationship, if not what most couples
aspire to. "Co-Dependent's Day" examines what happens when this
dynamic gets thrown out of balance, and the results aren't pretty.
While touring Northern California's wine country, Homer and Marge both
get hooked on the local product. (Don't expect them to become
connoisseurs anytime soon, though. Marge says one wine "goes well
with the Jolly Rancher I'm sucking.") Now that they're both equally
tipsy, Homer and Marge can spend more time together going to Moe's,
drinking at athletic events, and seeing "Days of Wine and Roses"
together. Once, drunk, they even try imitating one another, Homer
raising (or trying to raise) his voice a few octaves, and Marge
saying, "I set the bed on fire. D'oh."
There's a downside to this new togetherness. Hung over the next
morning, Marge is disturbed by the sound of Ned combing his moustache
next door. More seriously, now no one can be the designated driver.
When the police close in on them after a drunken-driving escapade,
Homer sets his wife up to take the fall. Welcome back, Jerkass Homer!
Well, maybe that's a bit harsh. In his Jerkass days, Homer would
neither admit that he'd done wrong, or feel remorse for it. Here he
does both, eventually.
Marge has fallen victim to the demon alcohol in the past -- remember
the Long Island Iced Teas from "The Great Money Caper (CABF03)"? --
but Marge as a drunk just seems wrong, somehow. I couldn't help
recalling the scene from "You Only Move Twice (3F23)," where Marge
says she can't push herself into having one glass of wine a day. Past
occasions when she was drunk seemed to be funnier, probably because
they were short. Some of the individual scenes, like the mutual
imitation sequence, or her discourse about stilts as Homer carries her
away from an Octoberfest celebration are nice. They lose their impact
strung together, like seeing the same joke told several times.
"Co-Dependent's Day" covers some of the same ground as "Duffless
(9F14)," but that episode had a gravity that this one lacked. Homer's
struggle to go without beer for a month really grabbed the audience's
involvement. By the time Marge begged him not to go to Moe's at the
end of the 30-day dry period, we were really pulling for Homer not to
have that one beer. By contrast, Marge's stint in rehab was almost a
formality, and the ending kind of pat. I would have spent more time
on Marge's rehab, to build the audience's involvement. The story
might actually have worked better if the writers hadn't taken the time
to develop Marge into a lush. Instead, Homer could have framed her
the *one time* she happened to be loaded.
The shining moments of this episode came during the first act, and
weren't even part of the main story. Homer and the kids go to see the
latest installment of "Cosmic Wars," a "Star Wars" clone. The writers
pack in a ton of references to the venerable science-fiction franchise
from the obvious (spoofs of Jar-Jar and "may the force be with you")
to the subtle (digs at Lucas's focus on space politics).
"Co-Dependent's Day" was not flat-out bad, but I was hoping for more
than just seeing Marge wobble around after having a few. The people
who went to see "Cosmic Wars" thought it that it didn't live up to its
potential. It seems fitting, then, that we can say the same for the
episode that they are in.
[The short of it]
The premise has potential: What happens if Homer and Marge *both*
become the drinkers in the family? The result lacks fizz. There are
some cute scenes (Marge imitating Homer, or complaining about stilts),
but strung together they seem like the same joke told many times. I
was hoping for more than just seeing Marge wobble around after having
a few. Homer's behavior drifts uncomfortably close to Jerkass
territory. Marge's rehab gets too little screen time, so it doesn't
have the involvement that Homer's dry spell in "Duffless (9F14)" had.
The "Star Wars" spoof, on the other hand was solidly funny stuff. (C+)
... Ralph is in line dressed as an Ewok?
... in the front row of the theater, CBG squeezes aside the people
on either side of him?
... Randall Curtis uses a Microsoft-style ergonomic keyboard?
... Randall Curtis is about Lisa's height?
... with the exception of the Lizzie McGuire film, all the movies
Homer and Marge go to see have an alcoholism theme?
... come to think of it, Springfield has an awful lot of old movie
... at Octoberfest, Duff Man becomes Duff Mensch (which is German
(Yiddish, too, I think) for "man")?
... there's a guy passed out on the ground at Octoberfest?
"Star Wars" (movie franchise)
- "Cosmic Wars" an obvious spoof. Particulars include:
- similar typeface used for the title
- fans waited for days in line to see the movie
- many of the people waiting in line are dressed as characters
from "Star Wars." I spotted an X-fighter pilot, a Jawa, a
hybrid of C-3PO and a centaur, an Ewok, the Death Star (who had
a dog with a Darth Vader mask), Boba Fett, Princess Leila, and a
Jedi Knight (Otto)
- Randall Curtis resembles "Star Wars" producer George Lucas
- "Cosmic Wars" uses opening title cards that appear to recede
into the distance
- "Cosmic Wars" spends a lot of its time dealing with tedious
interplanetary power politics; critics complained "Phantom
Menace" did too much of this, too
- Senate chamber a copy of the one seen in "Phantom Menace" and
"Attack of the Clones"
- the machine barging into the chamber to offer a procedural
amendment similar to an Imperial Walker
- Jim-Jam a clone of the beloved Jar-Jar Binks
- Lisa says the Jim-Jam character is a negative (ethnic)
stereotype, a charge many people leveled at Jar-Jar
- the gnome-like alien delivering the last line of the film is
Yoda with different skin color
- after the movie, there's a guy dressed like Chewbacca waiting to
see the next showing
- CBG says that even though this is the worst "Cosmic Wars" ever,
he'll see it three more times; fan complaints about "Phantom
Menace" didn't stop it from being one of the biggest movies of
- "May the power be on your side" is the Cosmic Wars equivalent of
"May the force be with you"
- Curtis, like Lucas, borrows plot elements from Westerns and
- Curtis rides off on a taun-taun [sic?]
(Yes, we had references to other things, too)
"Independence Day" (movie)
- title a spoof
F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald
"The Munsters" (TV series)
- Homer likens he and Marge to "Scott and Zelda Munster"
Gospel According to Luke
- after too much booze, Homer mentions the "Gospel According to
"28 Days" (movie -- and not the zombie movie "28 Days Later")
- Marge's stay at Quitters to last 28 days, just like in this
movie about a rehab center
[Previous Episode References]
[FABF08] Homer mentions movie called, "Teenage Sex Wager"
[7G04], [CABF03] Marge gets loaded on alky-hol
[9F21] Antiques not recognized to be valuable
[BABF14] Titular spoof of "Days of Wine and Roses"
* * * * * *
Ellen Burstyn Jim Broadbent
Beneath the Fox logo:
A DIVISION OF ORANGE JULIUS
Setting the scene for "The Gathering Shadow":
THE GATHERING SHADOW
It is a time of uncertainty. The
empire's ambiguous tariff statues
mandate close reexamination of
galactic export quotas. Interim
Princes Agoomba has co-chaired
a subcommittee to draft amendments
to existing trade policies.
Meanwhile, regulatory agencies
are being heavily lobbied by a
consortium of mercantile interest
groups and their suppliers to
streamline loading restrictions for
class C cargo vessels. The shipping
[cut off here]
And voice of jim-jam
Autograph on Jim-Jam picture:
COSMIC WARS RANCH
FORMERLY FRESNO, CALIFORNIA
The winery next door:
LUSH VALLEY WINERY
Memorabilia in Curtis's office:
Boba Fett helmet, one of those big lizards the Stormtroopers ride
on Tatooine, Imperial Walker model, Stormtrooper costume, picture
of the Death Star trench scene from "A New Hope", picture of R2-D2
Marge's laundry soap/wine cup:
Aged bottle of wine:
Movies for a drunken afternoon:
THE LOST WEEKEND DAYS OF WINE
Chimney sweep brochure:
| Z-99 |
| Sweeps |
ANDY DICK IS |IN|OUT|
["IN" is in green lettering, "OUT" in red]
Barney hands the chimney sweep brochure to Marge, but the close-up
shows that it's still in Barney's hand.
[Personal Comments & Observations]
>> Musical References
"[Something] County Lineman", by Glenn Campbell (I think) is the on-
hold music Homer sings along to.
Soon after, Homer sings "MacArthur Park" by Richard Harris (and,
later, Donna Summers) to stall Lisa's questioning.
>> Meta-reference corner
Right after Lisa complains Jar-Jar, er, Jim-Jam is a stereotyped
character, we see Luigi, the stereotypical Italian chef.
>> I'll have an order of dancing garlic bread, please
The Olive Garden is a chain of Italian restaurants popular in the US
(and probably Canada, too). One of their signature traits is that
they give you an unlimited servings of soft garlic breadsticks. The
folks at Creature Works must have been working on a future campaign,
since none of Olive Garden's current ads have dancing bread. (As of
this writing, their current slogan is, "When you're here, your
family." The chain is trying to position itself as a traditional
Italian family restaurant, even though its parent company is based in
>> Name Dropping
F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald -- Technically, Homer never properly
mentions their names. F. Scott Fitzgerald, a famous writer married
the unstable Zelda in the 20s. They were a notable party couple --
just like Homer and Marge -- during a time of what was then considered
to be slack morals. Perhaps ominously for Homer and Marge, their fast
lifestyle caught up with them and became their undoing.
Andy Dick -- Actor who has been in and out of rehab for substance
abuse problems. He's most famous for playing eccentric Matthew on
"NewsRadio" (which co-starred the late Phil Hartman). Now, he's on
"Almost Perfect," assuming that's not cancelled.
Reese Witherspoon -- Attractive actress. Among other things, she was
the star of both "Legally Blonde" movies.
Benjamin Robinson b...@freenet.tlh.fl.us
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