Season 31, Episode 17

One of my few gripes from last season (an otherwise good quality season by modern Simpsons standards) was that the show never committed to giving Marge something meaningful to do. They teased, more than once, a venture, that she’s good at, but never allowed her to continue it.

This season has so far been very light on Marge and the one episode where she features prominently also has her undertake a new venture only for it to be taken away. Which leads us to Highway to Well which follows the this same unfortunate Marge tradition.

With all of that said, the episode itself is pretty good. Marge lucks her way into working for Drederick Tatum’s CBD/THC store Well+Good. She essentially becomes the face of the franchise due to her mothering nature and because Tatum’s face tattoo is copyrighted by the designer. Otto meanwhile laments the legalization of weed (in this state, as the episode says more than once) and that he craves the more clandestine nature of purchasing weed. Homer seeing an opportunity turns Moe’s unused back room into a parody of a stoner’s dream: He’s the dealer dressed like a “cool toddler,” unused hand weights, an exotic pet, and Lenny as “the weird friend who never acknowledges you,” sullenly playing “a Goldeneye on a N64.”

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The conflict arises when both businesses get very lucrative. Tatum unveils plans to open a cannabis spa and resort and wants Marge to inaugurate the opening. The only problem is Homer and his competing business compromises Marge’s and by extension Tatum’s clean brand image. She accepts a plan to rat Homer out to the Health Department for serving food at his place without a permit (a backdoor measure since weed is legal in this state).

This all comes to a head at the inauguration which Homer crashes by saying he’s Kevin Smith’s father. Drunk, he reveals that Marge herself has never had cannabis which shocks everyone there. Marge, defiantly takes a drop of oil which makes her feel high and unfortunately, both the chicken pot pie and napkin she attempts to clear her palate with are both heavily weed-infused. Seeing how scared Marge is Homer apologizes for effectively ruining her career and the two wait out the effects of the cannabis.

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The best sections were Marge at the shop and Homer in the backroom. The shop was very much Apple inspired and I liked the way the show poked fun at the gentrification of this industry. No where was this funnier than when Otto tried to buy some weed only to be met by a sales associate promoting oils, tinctures, lotions and edibles. The backroom at Moe’s was equally funny for Homer’s commitment to the bit, “put the money in the band-aid box.”

But my earlier criticisms still stand and I don’t know why the show continues to prop Marge up only to bring her back down. As this episode went on Marge’s coworkers and Tatum developed a level of respect and trust for Marge that is seldom seen. When Marge puts her mind to it she is very competent and has proven this on many occasions. As to when, if ever, she will get a chance to truly shine is anyone’s guess.

The Simpsons is going on hiatus for a few weeks but make sure to keep it locked on TGON for all your nerdy news, review and analysis.