(S06E13) This episode, in which we learn how Maggie joined the Simpson clan, is one of my favorites. It manages to be both incredibly funny and incredibly touching, both signs of a great Simpsons episode. Let's jump in:
The plot in a nutshell is that Marge demands the family spend some quality time together, so they look at the family photo album. The kids notice there are no pictures of Maggie, so Homer tells them the story of how Marge's pregnancy changed the course of their lives. Homer starts off by telling his kids that he was at work at the nuclear power plant when a group of freelance terrorists took over, and he defeated each of them in hand to hand combat. Then Marge yells at him to tell the story correctly.
There were no "freelance terrorists," but Homer did terrorize Mr. Burns by quitting his job and riding away on a golf cart while he played Burns' head like a bongo. He also literally burns a bridge as he drives away ("That's for employing me for eight years!"). Homer figures now that he's out of debt he can finally do what he's always dreamed of: work at the bowling alley. Being a "pin monkey" is the highlight of Homer's life, and he doesn't want anything to change it. He even prays to God to freeze everything the way it is, and if He agrees, to "give me absolutely no sign." Leave it to Homer to find a loophole in prayer.
What Homer doesn't realize because he's so enamored with his new carefree life of serving drinks to bowlers and replacing urinal cakes is that Marge is pregnant again, despite the fact she's suddenly throwing up every morning. Marge tries to hide it from him, but her sisters start the rumor around town, and soon everyone is congratulating Homer, who still doesn't get it and thinks they're congratulating him on his new job:
Moe: Hey, Homer, way to get Marge pregnant!
Homer: This is getting very abstract, but thank you, I do enjoy working at the bowling alley!
Even when Homer walks in on a surprise baby shower for Marge, he still doesn't figure it out. Finally, Maude Flanders congratulates him on his new job, to which he replies, "Marge is pregnant??? Noooooooo!!!" A classic moment, I must say.
Like I said, the episode has some great gags in it, but the emotion is very real, too. Homer is not thrilled with the idea of having a baby, and the episode does a wonderful job of showing the dark side of having another mouth to feed. After trying to increase business at the bowling alley by firing a rifle into the air outside, he's forced to crawl back to Mr. Burns and beg for his job back. As punishment, Burns places a plaque in Homer's work space that reads: "Don't Forget: You're Here Forever." Homer covers the plaque with pictures of Maggie so instead it reads: "Do It For Her."
Moments I liked:
- The family watching an episode of "Night Boat" in which Night Boat chases after a group of starfish poachers. Luckily, there's a canal.
- Homer's calender at work has days marked "Dick Clark on Leno;" "Dick Clark's Birthday;" and "Harass Dick Clark."
- Homer tossing a bowling ball in the air like Mary Tyler Moore tossing her hat, and the ball crashing through the floor.