The concept of time on The Simpsons has always been an interesting topic for fans like myself. The characters don’t age and yet the world around them has changed quite significantly. This same formula also applies to many of the relationships on the show. No where is this truer than in the Homer/Marge relationship. To use the phrase, it has quite literally withstood the test of time. They’ve managed to go through every obstacle you can think of and yet I’m Dancing deals with a very 2019 dilemma: binging a show without your significant other.
The episode opens when Marge’s aunt Eunice dies. Homer’s self-absorbed reactions are classic husband material and Marge settles on going alone. However, she does everything to make her leave of absence easier on Homer. She bakes a loaf of peanut butter and jelly bread that only has to be cut to be served fully prepared, sets the robo-sweeper on superfast and only gives Homer one edict; He is not to watch “Odder Stuff,” the Netflix series the two have bonded over. As Marge puts it, watching the show “…is our thing – and we don’t have a lot of things.”
Homer resists the urge to break down and binge for a long time. He endures the water cooler crowd, his own children’s taunts and Lenny’s “Odder Stuff” fan fiction in an attempt to stay true. Then we get an odd but kinda funny cameo from Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos who appears within the streaming service. He somehow knows about the deal with Marge but goads Homer into watching Odder Stuff.
On her return Marge finds out that Homer watched the show without her and is naturally upset. She commands that Homer not take his customary doghouse post on the sofa but orders him to sleep next to her in their bed – so he can “feel the bitter rays of ice coming from my frozen soul.”
But Netflix isn’t all that bad. Ted reappears and tells Homer that Marge loves watching dancing shows and that to win her back he must learn to dance. He takes the advice and goes to a local dance studio aptly called ‘Some of That Jazz’. Homer of course is a terrible dancer but the lively instructor vows to never give up and she takes him on as a personal challenge. This sequence was cute and funny with loads of physical humor. The best bit here being when Homer breaks the mirrored wall, twice.
Homer eventually wins Marge back with a romantic dancing sequence as the episode ends on a happy note. We’ve seen this type of storyline before but somehow the show continually makes it feel fresh and genuine. I didn’t think, however, that the final dancing scene needed Lisa’s editorializing. The scene was sweet on its own and her comments added nothing in my opinion.
All in all this was a good episode. It wasn’t laugh out loud funny but it had its moments. Did Marge overreact? Probably, but it was worth seeing her frustrations laid bare. She puts up with a lot and doesn’t ask for much in return so when she asked Homer not to do a simple task she, I think, naturally snapped. Homer may be dumb but he’s not unfeeling and so his efforts to win Marge back are actually romantic. There was a B storyline with Bart trying to win Krusty’s contest but it wasn’t great and not fully developed so it was neither here nor there.
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