While speaking at the ATX Television Festival over the weekend, The Simpsons showrunner Al Jean said that in next season’s premiere, “it’s discovered after all the years, Homer has narcolepsy, and it’s an incredible strain on the marriage.” So much so that “Homer and Marge legally separate, and Homer falls in love with his pharmacist, who’s voiced by Lena Dunham.”
Obviously the separation will stick — this is the same show where Homer is a famous opera singer one episode, and a tow-truck driver the next — but c’mon, Marge. Get out of there! She deserves so much better than Homer, who’s a good husband only when he wants to be.
The rest of the time? He’s a monster. Here are seven episodes since “Secrets of a Successful Marriage” that probably should have ended with divorce.
“The Cartridge Family”
After soccer hooligans steal the family goldfish we’ve never seen before, Marge asks Homer to install a home security system. Instead, he buys a gun. This being Homer and all, he begins to use his piece for everything, including shooting balls off the roof and turning off lights (good thing no modern super animals, like an electric eel, got in his way). Marge fears for the kids’ lives, and she demands that Homer get rid of the gun. He can’t bear to, and he hides the firearm in the vegetable crisper, where Bart and Milhouse surprisingly find it. Marge takes the children to the Sleep-Eazy Motel to get away from Homer, who tries to reconcile by telling her he’s finally, for real, ditched the gun. He hasn’t. After he foils a robbery, Homer instructs Marge to “get rid of it because I know I’ll just lie to you again and again.” Too little, too late, Homeboy.
“Viva Ned Flanders”/”Brawl in the Family”
In Season 10’s “Viva Ned Flanders,” Ned and Homer get drunk, and in typical sitcom fashion, get hitched to two floozies. Amber and Ginger are mostly forgotten, until “Brawl in the Family” in Season 13. The women show up in Springfield and explain everything to Marge. Homer tries to get a divorce, but because the marriage took place in Las Vegas, where bigamy is apparently legal, they remain together. Marge is furious, understandably so, and throws Homer out of the house for the 47th time. They eventually come up with a scheme to get rid of Amber, but the episode ends without an emotional resolution. Marge’s still pissed, Homer’s still a jerkass.
“A Tale of Two Springfields”
Springfield is split into two area codes: 636 for the wealthy, 939 for the lower- and middle-class, including the Simpsons. This infuriates and confuses Homer to such a degree that at a town meeting to discuss the change, Homer has Bart wire a bomb and detonates it in City Hall. This being a weapon made by Homer and Bart, though, the thing doesn’t work, with Homer sarcastically telling his son, “Nice wiring, Bart.” Still, HOMER WAS GOING TO KILL EVERYONE OVER AN AREA CODE CHANGE. That’s probably grounds for divorce.
This is the worst thing Homer’s ever done to Marge, and that he nearly cheated on her with Mindy. Marge starts drinking with Homer after they go on a winery tour of California. She successfully cuts herself off, until they go to Oktoberfest, and Marge matches her husband drink-for-drink. On the ride back home, a clearly drunk Homer gets into a car accident, and rather than be held accountable for his own dangerous stupidity, he makes it look like Marge was driving at the time. She’s arrested and later enters a rehab center. Homer nearly destroys Marge’s life, but after eventually confessing, she forgives him. Why?
“The Bonfire of the Manatees”
Homer should know better than to get involved with the mafia after the events of “The Twisted World of Marge Simpson.” But he gets in trouble with Fat Tony again in “The Bonfire of the Manatees” over gambling debts. The mob boss makes Homer a deal: All will be forgiven, if he can shoot the adult film Lemony Lick-It’s A Series of Horny Events at the Simpsons’ house. Homer agrees to the terms. On the day of the shoot, he gets Marge and the kids to go to Santa’s Village, but they return home earlier than expected and, once again, Marge temporarily leaves her husband. Then, a bunch of stuff with manatees and Alec Baldwin happens.
“Million Dollar Maybe”
In “Marge on the Lam,” Homer isn’t able to go to the ballet with Marge because he thinks he’s stuck in a vending machine. Still, he made the effort to do something his wife wanted to. In “Million Dollar Maybe,” Homer and Marge are rehearsing a singing toast for Cousin Valerie’s wedding (who’s Cousin Valerie? Don’t worry about it). Marge is nervous, but Homer reassures her that everything will be fine. It’s his lucky day, after all; a fortune cookie told him so. That fortune inspires him to buy a lottery ticket on Valerie’s big day, but the line’s so long, he doesn’t get to the wedding until it’s over. Poor Marge had to do the toast herself. Gamblor strikes again.
“Specs and the City”
Mr. Burns gives the employees of the Nuclear Plant “Oogle Goggles,” which he can use to spy on them. Homer becomes obsessed with wearing the glasses, but after pissing off Marge, offers them to her. She wears them everywhere, including to the therapist’s office, which Homer realizes when he spies on her in Mr. Burns’ office. So, to reiterate: Homer eavesdrops to Marge’s private session with a man she pays to listen to her because Homer is such a terrible husband. Rather than turn himself into someone worthy of Marge’s love, Homer does nothing, because Marge is always in a better mood the day after she talks to the therapist. She’d be happier with Artie Ziff.