Episode Twenty Two, Season Eight of The Simpson’s is entitled In Marge We Trust. It originally aired on April 27th, 1997. I viewed this episode Tuesday March 23rd on a widescreen plasma TV at my Grandmother’s house. The couch gag for this episode is also a repeat. In this episode we start with Reverend Lovejoy giving a boring sermon on Constancy. The churchgoers are bored to tears and with Lovejoy’s stock diminishing Marge becomes a popular source of advice for the congregation. The Reverend sarcastically suggests that she should become an official member of the church and Marge calls his bluff, becoming the “Listen Lady” who dispenses advice to the parishioners.
Marge does a fantastic job and while at first Lovejoy is upset he soon discovers that Marge’s help has allowed him time to get more into his work. He even discovers a form of shame that has gone unused for hundreds of years. Everything goes awry when Ned Flanders calls Marge for advice in dealing with local bullies Dolph, Kearney, and Jimbo. She advises that he confront them and when he does they chase him all night and into the next day. Eventually he loses them by hiding in the baboon habitat at the Springfield Zoo. When Flanders is attacked by the deranged primates Lovejoy heroically steps in and saves Ned. His sermon that Sunday is a rousing tale of how he fought off the baboons and saved the most devout member of the flock.
The Simpsons is rarely delicate when dealing with the subject of religion and this is no exception. Lovejoy even describes his waning enthusiasm for his job, due mostly to the constant neediness of Ned Flanders, by saying “eventually I just stopped caring but by then it was the eighties and no one noticed.” This episode uses a similar technique as that used in Grade School Confidential. Here we are given great insight into the character of Tim Lovejoy through series mainstay, Marge. I never really noticed this before but it is the most effective way for the program to develop its second tier characters.
This episode also features a hilarious B story. When Homer finds a box of Japanese dish soap at the dump with what appears to be his face on it he goes on his own quest to discover how this came about. In the end he finds out that the face on the box is the combination of two corporate logos, one a fish and the other a light bulb. This episode is worth watching for the Japanese detergent commercial alone. Very funny, good character development, and a short, punchy subplot that is absolutely hilarious.
The Simpsons Season 8 Episode #22: In Marge We Trust
Rating: 5 out of 5