S1, E9: “Life on the Fast Lane”

“It’s not quite breakfast, not quite lunch, but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe at the end. ” – Jacques.

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Written by: John Swartzwelder.

See the full moon? The classic symbol of romance? It’s a bowling ball.

That’s you all you need to know about the level of detail that went into this hilarious and beautiful temptation episode, and the first to concentrate on what it must be like to be Marge Simpson. 

In the future, of course, we’ll get to the backstory of Homer & Marge’s marriage, but for now, all we need to know is that while Homer can be an uncaring, insensitive lout, she still loves him. And vice versa.

So while she’s tempted – so very tempted – by the smooth-talking, brunch-loving bowling instructor voiced by the incomparable Albert Brooks, of course she’s going to back out of actually having an affair.

That that Marge didn’t have an affair, and was reminded by the entire universe how much she treasured her family, her marriage, and yes, even Homer, went a long way towards telling us what kind of show The Simpsons was going to be when it was running on all cylinders. 

And in brilliant fashion, the episode distracted us from its otherwise rote-seeming happy ending by making it a parody of another well-known happy ending, topped by Homer’s triumphant “Tell him I’m going to the backseat of my car with the woman I love … and I won’t be back for 10 minutes!!”

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