[1F20] Secrets of a Successful Marriage

Secrets of a Successful Marriage                        Written by Greg Daniels
                                                       Directed by Carlos Baeza
Production code: 1F20                       Original airdate in N.A.: 19-May-94
                                                  Capsule revision E, 10-Aug-96

Title sequence

Blackboard :- Five days is not too long to wait for a gun.
              Five days is not too long to wait fo/ at cutoff.

Lisa's Solo:- None due to shortened intro.

Couch      :- The members of the family run in, collide, and explode.
              Maggie's pacifier falls to the floor of the blackened
              living room.  Recycled from 9F21.

Did you notice...

Dave Hall:
    ... Lenny wears a hair cap to bed?
    ... someone in the family burping during breakfast?
    ... Homer's hair strands are drawn in silhouette?
    ... the administrator has a mouse hole in his office?
    ... the family is eating green stuff?
    ... Smithers still wears his ID card in Homer's class?
    ... the glee in Smithers' face in hearing Burns' voice in his
        fantasy flashback?
    ... Jasper and Abe attend Hans Moleman's "orange eating" class?
    ... Chief Wiggum and the two cops don't have their guns out yet they
        knelt beside their cars?
    ... Wiggum shouts through a megaphone yet he stood directly behind
        Homer's car?
    ... Marge buys eggs and a soft drink at the Kwik-E-Mart?
    ... Marge doesn't wait for Apu to give her change back?
    ... Marge has an elbow fetish, whereas her sisters have foot
        fetishes?  (cf. 8F14, 8F21) {dy}
    ... the grass stains on Homer's underwear?
    ... Rev. Lovejoy refers to the Bible as "this thing"?
    ... Homer loses his shoes?
    ... the comb poking out of Moe's suit pocket?
    ... Marge actually pulls Moe into the house by his arm?

Tony Hill:
    ... the jazz sax version of the theme as the card scene begins?
    ... everyone is surprised to learn Marge dyes her hair?
    ... Homer & Marge don't rotate their mattress?

Matthew Kurth:
    ... it's a felony in Springfield to "tease the order box" at a fast-
        food restaurant?
    ... Otto has lice?

Don Del Grande:
    ... Carl and Lenny are smoking cigars?
    ... this episode is yet another that features "people going through
        windows" (in this case, Moe)?

Voice credits

- Starring
    - Dan Castellaneta (Barney, Homer, Abe, Willy, Hans Moleman,
      Sideshow Mel)
    - Julie Kavner (Marge, Patty)
    - Nancy Cartwright (Bart)
    - Yeardley Smith (Lisa)
    - Hank Azaria (Moe, Carl, Administrator, drive-thru kid, Apu, Wiggum
    - Harry Shearer (Lenny, Flanders, Skinner, Otto, Smithers, Burns,
      Rev. Lovejoy)
- Special Guest Voice
    - Phil Hartman (Lionel Hutz)
    - Marcie Wallace (Mrs. Krabappel)
- Also Starring
    - Pamela Hayden (Milhouse)
    - Maggie Roswell (Ms.  Hoover, Mrs. Lovejoy)

Movie (and other) references

  + "Family Ties" {rl}
    - Homer hums the last line of its theme song, "Sha na na na"
  + "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"
    - Smithers' marriage
  + "A Streetcar Named Desire"
    - Burns calling "Smithers!"  (instead of "Stella!")
  + "...And Justice For All" {ddg}
    - Homer: "You're out of order!"
  + "A Few Good Men"
    - Homer: "You can't handle the truth!"
  + "Patton" {ddg}
    - Homer: "When you reach over and put your hand into a pile of goo
      that was your best friend's face, you'll know what to do"
  + "Chinatown" {aw}
    - Homer: "Forget it, Marge, it's Chinatown."
    "Robocop" {cm}
    - Homer talking to Marge in car sounds exactly the same as Murphy
      remembering his wife

Previous episode references

- [7F10] Marge throws Homer out of the house {rl}
- [8F06] Bart and Lisa say "Buh" and "Snap" the way Homer did when Marge
  tried to make him promise not to buy a pony {ddg}
- [8F24] Burps heard during breakfast {rl}
- [9F14] people jumping through windows {rl}

Freeze frame fun

    - We Take The "Dolt" Out Of A-Dolt Education
- Classes at the Annex and their teachers: {mk}
    - "Turn A Man Into Putty In Your Hands" - Patty & Selma
    - "Funk Dancing For Self-Defense" - Moe
    - "How To Chew Tobacco" - Lenny
    - "Secrets of a Successful Marriage" - Homer Simpson
- Students in Lenny's "How to Chew Tobacco" class: {ddg}
    - Otto, Willy, Jasper, Grampa, Captain McAllister, Hans Moleman, and
      the "Crazy Old Man"
- Ms.  Elizabeth Hoover's license plate reads `012111'.  {dh}
- Homer's class: {ddg}
    - Carl, his wife(?), Princess Kashmir, Apu, Sideshow Mel, Smithers,
      Principal Skinner, Mrs. Krabappel, Lionel Hutz, Willy, Otto,
      Barney, someone who might have been Mrs. Hibbert, and an "extra"
      (reminded me of an "adult Rod Flanders")
- Stores Marge passed in the car: {mk}
    - Broken Home Chimney Repair
    - Splitsville Icecream Sundaes
    - Painful Memories Party Supplies

Animation, continuity, and other goofs

In some scenes the beer bottles and mugs switch with a pitcher and
drinking glasses.  {dh}

Moe deals Homer dark colored cards, but close-ups depict hearts.  {dh}

When Homer asks for three cards, he's only holding three, and only gives
Moe two; in the next scene, he has two and receives three more.  {ddg}

Carl, not Lenny, said Homer was slow, contrary to what Homer tells the
family.  {th}

In the breakfast scene, Maggie appears to be pulling away from the table
when the shot closes in on Homer, as if Maggie was drawn separately from
the rest of the scene.  {ddg}

The family bowls with mush are empty in some scenes.  {dh}

Moe fires three shots out of the double-barreled shotgun without
reloading.  {gf}

Homer pulls the second jacket out of thin air.  {dh}

The cars clear the intersection between the time Homer runs the red
light and the time Miss Hoover does (unless she saw it and heard him say
"I'm a teacher" from a block away).  {ddg}

The cars at intersection are depicted wrong (e.g. cars were facing each
other).  {dh}

Patty's cigarette and lighter appears out of nowhere.  {dh}

Homer's chalk disappears.  {dh}

Smithers' ID card appears to be missing in some scenes.  {dh}

Homer pulls a second orange out of thin air.  {dh}

Where would Otto get an extra $10,000?  {th}

Either Homer used another Krusty Burger or the KB intercom was at a
different location.  {dh}

The door to Kwik-E is to Apu's left, but Marge exits to the right.  {th}

Moe says Marge's hair was Blue Dye #56 - how many different shades of
blue hair dye can there possibly be?  (Maybe the numbers apply to all
colors - i.e. there's no other #56; the other blue dye mentioned was
#52, but that doesn't necessarily mean that 53, 54, and 55 are blue.)

Princess Cashmere, Barney and Otto aren't shown when Homer's class was
in the dinning room.  {dh}

The treehouse shouldn't be visible from the kitchen window.  {dh}

Marge and the kids change positions around the kitchen table.  Note the
glasses of orange juice seem to disappear.  {dh}

The moon is full the night of the poker game and is still full during
the treehouse scene with Lisa which is more than several days later.

Marge slams the front door shut yet in the next scene it is open.  {dh}

There's no cement path from the sidewalk to the front door; the Lovejoys
had to walk across the grass to reach the existing path.  {ddg}

Marge is standing at the Hallway/front room entrance, yet the next scene
depicts Marge standing in the hallway.  {dh}

Moe's flowers don't show up on the table in some scenes.  {dh}

Homer says they were separated "for a day" ("and I'm as dirty as a
Frenchman"), but he spends two nights in the treehouse and comes back on
the third night.  {ddg}

Bart's report cards appear out of thin air.  {dh}

A scene from the commercial (Marge tells Patty and Selma that "the house
is less sticky since he left") never appears (nothing new about that).


Tony Hill: IMHO, this episode was a little flat.  The plot was strong,
    but the gags were few and seemed to be built mostly on obscure movie
    references.  The chewing tobacco was completely disgusting, and if
    I, a total OFF-head, thought of changing the channel, imagine what
    happened in channel-surfer land.  But Homer's idiocy was enough to
    salvage it.  I give it a B-.

Glenn Burnham: I thought there were a few good gags.  My favorite was
    when Marge said Homer ruined his sports coat by putting on elbow
    patches, then Homer holds up another coat with the elbows cut out
    and says 'Nope, I ruined two.'  I *would* give it a B+, but like you
    said it was the season finale so...B-

Rakesh Agrawal: I would have to agree with all the negative comments on
    this one.  This episode was SOOOOO disappointing, especially
    considering it was the season finale.  No real laughter at this end.
    (The second episode was very good, making this one seem even worse.)

Don Del Grande: D - this was an absolute let-down for the end of the
    season.  The story was flat from the beginning, and the occasional
    joke was greeted with a reaction of "hahahaha - oh, back to the
    story".  Haven't there been enough "Homer does something to break up
    the marriage" episodes?  ("Jacques to be Wild" and "War of the
    Simpsons" come to mind.)

John J. Wood: Grade of B for "Secrets of a Successful Marriage", and it
    was certainly an improvement over the last two flat outings...

Tom Celentano {tc2}: I hate to say it, but the season finale was not
    very funny.  There was some good satire, as always, and a few good
    laughs, but this show seems to be in decline.  The repeat, about
    Grandpa Simpson, was hysterical even after I've seen it 4 times.
    Maybe those who want Conan O'Brien off late night are right.  He'd
    be better back on The Simpsons.

Matthew Kurth: This episode appeared to be attempting a
    touching/sentimental finale, but it somehow fell short.  As a
    character piece, it paints Homer caught between dual personalities -
    stupid/moronic and simple-but-well-meaning.  The marital crisis just
    didn't tug at my heartstrings like it should have.  Unmoving and
    uninspired. 6/10

Yours Truly: Uh oh.  This was the season finale?  It had Homer's
    engrossing stupidity and meanness from "Boy Scoutz" combined with
    the unrealism of Mindy's attraction to Homer in "Last Temptation".
    (Homer, the teacher?  Get real.)  Not many good laughs.  D.

Quotes and Scene Summary

[Syndication cuts are marked in curly braces "{}" and are courtesy of
Frederic Briere.]

It's poker night at Lenny's house.

   Moe: All right, I raise a quarter.
  Carl: I'm out.
 Lenny: I'm out.
Barney: I'm out.  Whoa -- [passes out; chair tips over]
   Moe: Homer, you want any cards?  [Homer gags] Homer!
         [hits Homer; he coughs up a blue chip]
 Homer: Whoo!  Don't try to eat these so-called "chips".
-- A special warning just because of him, "Secrets of a Successful

Lenny: You want another card or not?
Homer: Huh?  Oh, OK.  I'll take three.  [Moe deals them] D'oh!  D'oh!
       D'oh!  I mean...woo hoo.
  Moe: I'm in.  [tosses a chip into the pot] Let's see your cards.
Homer: Oh, I was bluffing.  [shows them]
  Moe: Ha ha.  Come to papa -- wait a minute!  You have a straight
       flush, Homer!  You do this every time, you -- oh, you -- oh!
       Gah!  I'm choking on my own rage here.
 Carl: Hey, don't yell at Homer.  Just 'cause he's a little slow...
Homer: [gasps] [thinks] Something was said...not good.  What was it?
       "Don't yell at Homer!"  No, that's OK.  What was it?  ...Slow!
       They called you slow!
        [stands up, yells] How dare you call me that!  I -- huh?
        [Lenny walks into empty kitchen wearing night cap]
Lenny: [opens fridge] Hey, Homer, you still here?  Boy, you _are_ slow.
Homer: [thinks] Something said...not good.
Lenny: Get the hell out of here!
-- All the power of his brain, "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

Lenny boots him out.

Homer tells the family about it at a meal the next day.

Homer: So anywho, last night we're playing poker, right?  As usual, I'm
       winning and not realizing it, and Lenny says that I'm, er --
       [laughs] -- get this -- [laughs] -- a little slow!  [laughs a
       lot] [stops] How come you're not laughing?  Do you think I'm
 Bart: Buh.  [looks away]
 Lisa: Sla.  [looks away]
        [Maggie sucks her pacifier]
Marge: {Uh, we don't think you're slow.  On the other hand, it's not
       like you go to museums or read books or anything.}
Homer: {You think I don't want to?  It's those TV networks, Marge: they
       won't let me.  One quality show after another, each one fresher
       and more brilliant than the last.  If they only stumbled once,
       just gave us thirty minutes to ourselves, [puts head on table,
       pounds fist] but they won't!  They won't let me live!  [sobs]}
-- Six hours of TV a day, "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

That night, Homer sits on the end of the bed and comes to a realization.

Homer: Oh, who am I kidding?  I _am_ slow.
Marge: Oh, Homey, if you feel so bad about yourself, there's always
       things you can do to feel better.
Homer: Take another bath in malt liquor?
Marge: There's that...or you could take an adult education course.
Homer: Oh, and how is "education" supposed to make me feel smarter?
       Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old
       stuff out of my brain.  Remember when I took that home wine-
       making course and I forgot how to drive?
Marge: That's because you were drunk!
Homer: And how.
-- Something to be really proud of, "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

So Homer decides to head down to the adult education center.  He walks
down the hall past the classrooms.  The first one features Patty and
Selma teaching how to melt their men.  "One way to drive your man wild
is to wear tight, revealing clothes," explains Patty.  Selma walks out
in red lingerie -- at which the women in the class gasp in horror.  "At
this point, I'd like to remind you there are no refunds," Patty
continues, lighting a cigarette.

{In the next class, Moe teaches gangsta rapper self-defense.  "All
right, here's the 4-1-1, folks.  Say some gangsta is dissin' your fly
girl.  You just give 'em one of these."  A rap beat begins and Moe
begins to break.  After a backflip, he grabs a shotgun at blasts three
rounds into the air -- much to the surprise and discomfort of his

In the next class, Lenny teaches tobacco spitting.  He horks a huge wad
at the spittoon where it lands with a resounding ping.  "See, that
'ping' sound means the spit was on target.  Now you try?"  Everybody
does, but most slobber instead.  Abe's false teeth fall out, but Lenny
is encouraging: "Getting better."

Homer: Wait a minute...even Lenny is teaching a class!  Look at the way
       they admire and adore him.
        [everyone drools 'baccy, dreamily watching Lenny]
       That's it.  If he can teach a class, _he_ can teach a class -- I
       mean, _I_ can teach a class!
        [in the Administrator's office]
Admin: What is your area of expertise?
Homer: Well, I can tell the difference between butter and "I Can't
       Believe It's Not Butter!"
Admin: No you can't, Mr. Simpson!  No one can.
Homer: Oh, I've failed again.  Everyone can teach a class but me.  I'm
       an idiot!  What am I going to tell my wife and kids?
Admin: Oh, you're married?
Homer: That depends...is there another way to get this job?  [blinks
Admin: No...Mr. Simpson, what I mean is, we may have a job for you after
       all.  We need someone to teach a course on how to build a
       successful marriage.
Homer: I'll do it.  _Anything_ to get me out of that house away from all
       that nagging, and noise...of a family of love.  Sha na na na...
-- Quickly backpedaling, "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

Homer brags to his family about his new job.

Homer: Look, everyone: now that I'm a teacher, I've sewed patches on my
       elbows!  [shows his elbow]
Marge: Homer, that's supposed to be _leather_ patches on a _tweed_
       blazer, not that other way around!  You've ruined a perfectly
       good jacket!
Homer: Ah -- incorrect, Marge.  _Two_ perfectly good jackets.
        [holds up jacket with patches cut out of the back]
-- At least he can add one and one, "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

Lisa offers her support and encouragement.

 Lisa: _I_ think it's great you're a teacher, Dad.  So, will be you
       lecturing from a standardized text or using the more socratic
       method of interactive class participation?
Homer: [pause]
        [condescending] Yes, Lisa.  Daddy's a teacher.
-- Slow?  Nah, "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

That night, Homer drives to his first class.

        [Homer drives to Flanders' house; rings doorbell]
   Ned: Well, Homer, what a pleasant --
 Homer: Can't talk now, Flanders.  _I've_ got a class to teach.
   Ned: Heh, but you rang my --
         [Homer speeds away.  He stops at a Krusty Burger Drive-Thru]
   Kid: Can I take your order?
 Homer: Nothing for me today.  _I've_ got a class to teach.
   Kid: Sir, it's a felony to tease the order box.
         [Homer speeds away.  Goes through a red light at an
        intersection; cars skid around him]
 Homer: It's all right!  I'm a teacher.
Hoover: I didn't know we could do that!  [speeds through light]
-- You can, but not legally, "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

In the classroom, Homer squeaks the chalk over everyone's protests as he
writes the name of the course on the blackboard.

  Homer: All right.  The first thing they told me to do was to make sure
         everyone here is in the right class.  [gets tobacco spat on
         him] Down the hall, room twelve.
    Man: [mouth full] Thank you.
  Homer: [gets more spat on him] Ew.  OK, let's get started.
  Woman: [whispers to classmate]
  Homer: [pointing] No talking!  [clears throat] Uh...{hmm.  Hmm.
         Oh!...hmm...no.  Uh...hmm.}
Skinner: Um, how about if we tell you about our problems with
  Homer: Yeah...yeah!  That'll eat up some time.
-- Really earning his pay as a teacher, "Secrets of a Successful

Homer calls on Otto first.

    Otto: My standards are just too high, you know?  I feel like
          nobody's good enough for me.
           [a flea falls from his hair] Oh.  You think you got 'em all,
          but you forget about the eggs!
    Hutz: My problem is I'm a real user of women.  I move in right away
          and stay until the money's gone.
    Edna: Well I'm a smart woman, but I make bad choices.
           [Hutz whispers to her]
          Oh, ho ho ho.  OK, here's a set of house keys and my ATM card.
Smithers: Um, I was married once, but, er, I just didn't know how to
          keep it together.
           [black & white flashback to Southern Belle on a bed]
   Belle: Come on, Waylon.  Make love to me the way you used to!
Smithers: [pouring a drink] No!
   Belle: It's that horrible Mr. Burns, isn't it?
Smithers: [screaming] You leave Mr. Burns out of this!
           [sweeps drinks off table]
   Burns: [outside] Smithers!  [Smithers walks out joyfully] Smithers!
-- Many a Springfieldian skeleton, "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

Back in the present, Smithers isn't convinced he has Homer's undivided

Smithers: Mr. Simpson, are you listening?
           [Homer eats an orange]
   Homer: Huh?  Yeah, I was listening.  Very funny.
     Moe: Oh, you were not!  You were just eating a damn orange.
   Homer: Well, yes, yes, to the untrained eye, I'm eating an orange,
          But to the eye that has brains, I'm making a point about
          marriage!  For you see, marriage is a lot like an orange.
          First, you have the skin...then the sweet, sweet innards...
          [devours it]
     Apu: I don't understand...?
   Willy: {If I wanted to see a man eat an orange, I would have taken
          the orange-eating class!
           [in the orange-eating class]}
    Hans: {The eating of an orange is a lot like a good marriage.}
     Abe: {Just eat the damn oranges!}
-- Oranges and marriage: an unusual parallel, "Secrets of a Successful

Having had it with Homer's class, everyone gets up to leave, muttering
about the deplorable learning conditions.

  Homer: [seeing everyone leaving] Oh, I told Marge this wouldn't work
         the other night in bed!
          [everyone hears "bed", turns around, interested]
    Moe: So something wasn't working in bed, huh?  Heh heh heh.
  Homer: No, that's not what I meant!  Marge and I always talk things
         over in bed.  Like the other night we were fighting about
Skinner: Ooh, a fight!
    Moe: Trouble in paradise, huh?  Heh heh heh.
  Homer: I was telling Marge we could save some money if she only dyed
         her hair once a month.
   Edna: [gasps] Marge dyes her hair?
  Homer: Oh, yeah.  She's been as grey as a mule since she was
-- Her name wasn't Brian McGee, however, "Secrets of a Successful

Homer has everyone's attention now.  After class, he relates the story
to the Krusty Burger Drive-Thru kid.

 Homer: I went on for hours, and they were hanging on my every word!  I
        really think I was born to teach.
Wiggum: [pulls up, draws gun] All right, Simpson!  You were warned about
        teasing box.
 Homer: Aah!  [drives away]
   Kid: Wait!  I need closure on that anecdote.
-- "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

[End of Act One.  Time: 9:05]

Marge purchases a few items from Apu at the Kwik-E-Mart.

  Apu: Oh, Mrs. Simpson: it may interest to you to know we're having a
       sale on blue dye #52.  It is your hair color, I believe.
Marge: Whatever do you mean?  I don't die my hair.  [sheepish laughter]
  Moe: Naw, naw, you got it wrong, 'pu.  She's blue #56.
Marge: I don't know what you're talking about.  [walks off]
 Edna: We just love your husband's class.
Marge: [driving away] That's nice...
-- A fine cover-up, "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

That night, before bed, Marge decides to chat with Homer.

Marge: Homer, I really don't like you telling personal secrets in your
Homer: Marge, I didn't tell 'em personal stuff.
Marge: Today at the Kwik-E-Mart everybody knew I dyed my hair!
Homer: Oh, you mean about you.  All right, maybe I said some things,
       some personal things.  But you should have seen them, Marge: they
       really wanted to hear what I had to say --
Marge: Mmm, I'm happy about that.  But I think you can be a good teacher
       and still respect our privacy.
Homer: Look, Marge, you don't know what it's like.  _I'm_ the one out
       there every day putting his ass on the line.  And I'm not out of
       order!  _You're_ out of order.  The whole freaking _system_ is
       out of order.  You want the truth?  You want the truth?!  You
       can't handle the truth!  'Cause when you reach over and put your
       hand into a pile of goo that was your best friend's face, you'll
       know what to do!  Forget it, Marge, it's Chinatown.
Marge: Homer, don't _ever_ tell them personal stuff about me again!
Homer: [meek] Yes ma'am.
-- High reference density, "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

Homer tries to abide by Marge's dictum the next evening.

  Homer: Now, what is a wedding?  Well, Webster's Dictionary describes a
         wedding as, "The process of removing weeds from one's garden."
          [everyone groans]
    Moe: Tell us more about you and Marge!
  Homer: This is a place of learning, not a house of...hearing about
          [everyone starts to leave]
  Woman: I guess he's run out of stories.
Skinner: What a rip-off.
   Otto: I can't believe I paid $10,000 for this course!  What the heck
         was that lab fee for?
-- The not-so-captive audience, "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

Homer thinks fast, entreating everyone to wait.

Homer: I _do_ have a story about two other young marrieds...
        [everyone turns back and sits down]
       Now, the wife of this couple has an interesting quirk in the
       bedroom.  It seems she goes wild with desire if her husband
       nibbles on her elbow.
 Edna: We need names!
Homer: Well, let's just call them, uh, Mr. X and Mrs. Y. So anyway, Mr.
       X would say, "Marge, if this doesn't get your motor running, my
       name isn't Homer J. Simpson."
        [everyone gasps delightedly]
-- Anonymity?  Hah!, "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

The next day, around dinner time, Marge is surprised Homer hasn't left

Marge: Oh, Homer, don't you have to get to class?
Homer: Not tonight, Marge.  Tonight, we can eat a nice leisurely dinner
       at home.
Marge: Oh, well that will be lov -- [gasps] What the darn --
Homer: Marge, you'll never guess what: my whole class is here!  They're
       going to observe the human peep-show that is our lives.
  Mel: Apparently, that disturbing odor _was_ the food.
-- Not boding well, exactly, "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

While Homer's class stands around with notepads, Homer tries to act
normal, but everyone else in the family scowls at him.

Homer: So, little Lisa, apple of my eye: how are things down at the old
 Lisa: I find this demeaning and embarrassing beyond my worst
Homer: [hearty laughter] And how's my little major-leaguer?  Catch any
       junebugs today?
 Bart: Oh, me and Milhouse took some mail from the mail truck and threw
       it down the sewer.
Homer: Son, I know you meant well, but that wasn't the right thing to
 Bart: What the hell are you talking about?  You're the one who double-
       dared us.
Homer: Why you little -- [strangles Bart]
-- Homer has his class over to observe dinner, "Secrets of a Successful

 Bart: I'm outta here!
 Lisa: Me too.  [they both leave]
Homer: Well, now that the little ones have toddled off to bed --
Marge: [slowly] I want this to end _now_!
  Moe: Hey Homer, why don't you just nibble her elbow?  That always
       melts her butter, right?  [mocking laughter]
Marge: [gasps] All right, OK.  Everybody out!
  Apu: Ooh, she's gotta have it!
Marge: Get out, get out, get out, get out, get out out out out --
       [rushes everyone to the door]
Homer: All right, we're breaking early tonight, class.  For tomorrow,
       you should read pages seven through eighteen in Lisa's diary.
Marge: You too.
Homer: Huh?
Marge: Get out!
Homer: But I'm not in the class --
        [Marge tosses Homer out and slams the door]
 Otto: Is any of this going to be on the test?  'Cause I wasn't paying
-- "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

[End of Act Two.  Time: 13:16]

Homer wails at the door for Marge.

Homer: Come on, Marge, let me in!  There's crickets out here.
        [Marge opens the door, glares]
       OK, Marge.  Things were said, mistakes were made.  Let's end this
       madness and get on with our lives.
Marge: You just don't get it, do you, Homer?  You told personal things
       about our lives even after your promised you wouldn't.  I can't
       trust you any more.
Homer: But I learned my lesson!  It'll never happen again.
  Ned: [leaning from his window] Hey, Homer, what's the big brouhaha-ha?
Homer: Aw, Marge is throwing me out for blabbing about her elbow thing
        [Marge slams the door]
       Honey, the door blew shut...oh, fine.  If that's what you want,
       you've got it.  [walks off] This scene is gettin' old, man.  I'm
       hittin' the road!  Maybe I'll drop you a line someday from
       wherever I end up in this crazy old world.
-- Homer gets booted out once again, "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

Marge decides to explain things to the kids.

Marge: Kids, your father and I are going through a really tough time
       right now, and I don't know what's going to happen.  But just
       remember both your Mom and your Dad love you very, very much.
       [walks off]
 Bart: Wow, I've never seen Mom so mad at Homer before.
 Lisa: I'll tell you a secret, Bart: every time I'm worried about Mom
       and Dad, I go to the attic and add to my ball of string.
        [said ball is huge; it crushes Snowball II]
-- The radius of Lisa's worry, "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

Bart and Milhouse play outside the next day.

    Bart: Earthbase?  This is commander Bart McCool.  We are under
          attack by the Zornid Brain Changers!  Quickly, into the safety
          dome, Milbot!
Milhouse: [monotonic] Affirmative, humanoid.
           [the two climb up to Bart's treehouse]
Together: [seeing Homer] Ew!
   Homer: Don't mind me, boys, just scrubbing my undies.
Milhouse: Sorry, Bart.  Your dad kind of blew the fantasy.  I only like
          it when I'm pretend-scared.
   Homer: Keep up the roughhousing, son!  Without a strong male presence
          in the house, you could turn sissy overnight!  Oh, these
          stubborn grass stains.
-- Kind of like that, huh?, "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

Shortly thereafter, Homer sees Rev. Lovejoy and his wife walking towards
the door of the house.

       Homer: Oh, good.  Reverend Lovejoy will make Marge take me back!
              He _has_ to push the sanctity of marriage, or his God will
              punish him!
Rev. Lovejoy: Get a divorce.
Mrs. Lovejoy: Mmm hm.
       Marge: But isn't that a sin?
Rev. Lovejoy: Marge, _everything_ is a sin.  You ever sat down and read
              this thing?  [holds up a bible] Technically, we're not
              allowed to go to the bathroom.
-- Thou shalt not...pass water?, "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

That night in bed, Marge reaches over to put her arm around Homer, but
she only feels the form of his indentation in the mattress.  In the
treehouse, Homer kisses a picture frame of his beloved wife, lamenting
that he didn't use any of the ten years of his marriage to take a
photograph to put in the frame.

The next day, Marge drives down Main St. in the car, thinking about
Homer as she reads the names of the stores she passes.  She hears
Homer's ghostly voice in fragments..."I love you...Will you marry me
Marge?...You mean I'm going to be a daddy?...I hope we'll always be
together...together...together..." She sees Homer in the back seat
speaking to her through a cardboard roll, and the skids, throwing Homer

Lisa climbs the ladder to Bart's treehouse.

 Lisa: Here Dad, I brought you some nice -- aah!
        [sees Homer with a potted plant]
Homer: Good news, Lisa: I don't need your mother any more!  I've created
       a replacement for her that's superior in almost every way.
       [clips some branches]
 Lisa: Dad, that's just a plant.
Homer: [aghast] Lisa!  You will respect your new mother.  Now give her a
       kiss.  Kiss her!
        [drops plant; it smashes on the ground]
Homer: Omigod omigod omigod!  [pants] All right, let's get out story
       straight: she tripped, right?
 Lisa: [forced happiness] Look, I brought you some nice pudding!
Homer: Ah, your flesh mother used to bring me pudding.
-- Quick diversion of attention, "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

Homer: Oh, I miss Marge.  Lisa, you're smart; help me trick her into
       taking me back!
 Lisa: Dad, you can't trick somebody into loving you.  There's a reason
       two people come together and stay together: there's something
       they give each other that nobody else can give them.  If you want
       to get Mom back, you just have to remember what you give her that
       nobody else can.
Homer: [pause] I'll bet you $40 if you think of it for me.
 Lisa: No!
Homer: OK, thirty.
 Lisa: Good luck, Dad.  [leaves]
Homer: All right, Brain, it's all up to you.  If you don't think of what
       it is, we'll lose Marge forever.
Brain: {Eat the pudding eat the pudding eat the pudding eat the pudding
       eat the pudding eat the pudding eat the pudding eat the pudding}
Homer: {OK.  But then we gotta get to work.
        [pigs out]}
-- A literal one-track mind, "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

Marge still pines for Homer inside the house when the doorbell rings.

       [Marge answers the door]
  Moe: Oh, h -- hi, Marge.  I heard you and Homer broke up so I'm
       declaring my intentions to move in on his territory.  Here, I,
       uh...brung you some posies.
Marge: Oh, my!  I'm very flattered, but I'm not really interested.
  Moe: Jeez, I come here, get dressed up all nice-like, put my heart on
       the line and I make a fool of myself.  Oh, boy.  Aw, I'm gonna
       start bawling here.
Marge: Oh, why don't you come inside for a drink of water?
  Moe: [voice breaking] 'K.
-- More of Moe's tender side, "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

Moe sits on the couch admiring the house.

  Moe: Clean house, no silverfish.  Coulda been very happy here.
        [knock at door]
Homer: Moe!  What are you doing here?
  Moe: I, er, well, I -- I never touched her, Homer.  Homer, I swear I
       never touched her!
Marge: [entering] Here's your water, Moe.
  Moe: I didn't ask her for no water!  She's lying, Homer, she's lying.
       I -- she told me you were dead, that's the only reason I -- I
       didn't do nothing!  [runs out through kitchen window]
Homer: Bye Moe...
-- Moe loses his cool, "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

Marge can't believe Homer's state of dishevelment.

Marge: Homer, what happened to you?
Homer: Marge, I figured out what I can give you that no one else can: a
       bouquet of po -- [sees Moe's bouquet] oh, I give up.  I don't
       deserve to live with you.
        [walks off; coffee table catches on his pants, preventing him
       from leaving]
       Oh, my tattered rags are caught on your coffee table.
Marge: Oh, here, let me help you.
        [unhooks it; she and Homer look at each others]
Homer: Wait a minute...wait, that's it!  I know now what I can offer you
       that no one else can: complete and utter dependence!
Marge: Homer, that's not a good thing.
Homer: Are you kidding?  It's a wondrous, marvelous thing!  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, 'cause I love
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.
-- A compelling argument, "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

Marge thinks about it for a few seconds, then acquiesces and hugs the
old Kwijybo.

Marge: I must admit, you really do make a gal feel needed.
Homer: Wait till my class hears about this!  [quickly] Kidding.
-- The Simpsons get back together, "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

The next morning at breakfast, Homer expounds on his feelings.

Homer: [yawns] Oh, it's great to be indoors with my family.
 Lisa: I'm really glad you're back, Dad.  I knew you could do it.
       [quietly] Now don't screw it up.
 Bart: Look, Dad: I missed you so much that I couldn't concentrate in
       school and I got an F.
Homer: Hey, this is dated two weeks ago.
 Bart: Oh, sorry.  Here's a fresh one.
Marge: And I have a special present for you, but I'll give it to you
       later tonight.
Homer: Special present?  I don't want to wait!  I want it now.  I want
       the children to see.  Ooh -- oh, right.  Later.  Heh heh heh --
  Moe: [appears at kitchen window] So, Marge, are you _really_ happy?
Homer: Hey Moe.
  Moe: Aah!  [ducks]
-- Easy to terrify, "Secrets of a Successful Marriage"

[End of Act Three.  Time: 21:15]


   {ddg} Don Del Grande
   {gf}  Greg Franks
   {dh}  Dave Hall
   {th}  Tony Hill
   {rl}  Ricardo Lafaurie
   {cm}  Carl Mueller
   {aw}  Al Wesolowsky
This episode summary is Copyright 1996 by James A. Cherry.  Not to be
redistributed in a public forum without permission.  (The quotes
themselves, of course, remain the property of The Simpsons, and the
reproduced articles remain the property of the original authors.  I'm
just taking credit for the compilation.)