Warning; this review contains spoilers.
Pop culture seems to be in a Mars crazed frenzy ever since the release of movies such as The Martian, ah The Martian and well not really but this episode of The Simpsons was Mars based. Season twenty-seven is now four episodes deep into its second half after a one month break in January and it is shaping up very nicely. Unlike the previous half, these episodes are full of new and fresh ideas and the humour is yet to falter. The Marge-ian Chronicles is more than enough proof of that fact and this week’s episode was enthralling from beginning to end like a compilation of the best Arnold Schwarzenegger quotes. So keep reading to find out more of my thoughts on this twenty-two minutes of great television or you can GET YOUR ASS TO MARS!
The Marge-ian Chronicles
Six months after Flanders gets egg laying hens Homer is instantly drawn to claim what is rightfully not his and takes Bart along with him to pass on his knowledge of egg larceny. Unfamiliar of the title, previous to watching the episode there was not a chance in hell that I could have predicted where the plot was heading and I was pleasantly surprised to find that this story was on its way to Mars. Not literally of course but rather Lisa is as drawn to this maiden voyage to the red planet as Homer was to his mission to the forbidden orange yolk. Unhappy with her daughter’s decision to abandon her family in the name of science, Marge sets about sharing Lisa’s dream in a thinly veiled, reverse psychology attempt.
For the first time in a long while I was 100% entertained with this episode of The Simpsons. All of the contents fit together beautifully to build a story that was both hilarious and intriguing. While it may be a little obvious that of course Marge and Lisa would never really leave for Mars but every other twist and turn along the way shot out like a beautifully view around each corner of an exciting road trip. There was no secondary plot to drag the main story down and each member of the family was present for more of the journey than any other episode of the season. It wasn’t really until the fifteen minute mark that the focus shifted to Marge and Lisa alone which was the best possible duo since as I mentioned last week, it’s much more interesting to see stories revolving around the underutilized members of the cast.
“How can idiots say there’s no God when a species that evolved from dinosaurs feeds us their unfertilized babies?”; a line from Homer, serves as the best quote of the episode and sets itself as a fine example of the humor of the episode. The jokes had the best hit rate of any episode this season and when the jokes became a little lacking to make way for the dazzling drama, it wasn’t long before they kicked back into full gear. Only one thread of humour felt a little tired, when it came to The Simpsons’ love of the gender roles. This was the one and only small flaw I could find throughout the entire twenty-two minutes and considering I was prepared for a few outdated lines from an 90s sitcom, it didn’t tarnish the episode overall one bit.
Along with the fascination with Mars, The Marge-ian Chronicles turned up the satire in another aspect of society. The two heads of Exploration Incorporated, the company that planned the trip to Mars are a hilarious example of the corporate and commercial side of space travel that has cropped up over the past few years. Tom Scharpling and Jon Wurster do a wonderful job of portraying Paul and Barry respectively and capture that business focused, yet faux liberal and bulls**t filled hipster perfectly.
Brian Kelley, the writer of this episode deserves very high praise and it comes as no surprise to me that he has also written for Futurama, namely Love’s Labours Lost In Space, the episode that introduced Zapp Brannigan. After all of my heaps of praise, there is still that chance that I too, am fascinated with the idea of a journey to the fourth rock from the sun but if that is so than the production team on The Simpsons knew exactly the right time to drop this episode. I am wary to hope for any more episodes this season to keep up to this standard but ever since the break I haven’t really been disappointed. It seems almost impossible to hope for anything to top this and I can say honestly that I enjoyed this episode as much as any episode of a show that I watch for my own personal enjoyment and I maybe even return to it in years to come. So once I can pull my head out of the Martian clouds, I’ll be returning to mark this episode a 5 out of 5.