OSW Review | Life on the Fast Lane

Life on the Fast Lane


Season 1, Episode 9
March 18, 1990
Curtailed intro (no chalkboard or couch gag)

Plot: After a string of thoughtless birthday presents from her husband, out of spite, Marge decides to use her latest one (a bowling ball inscribed and sized for Homer) and becomes enamoured by Jacques, her new bowling ball coach.

• Homer’s selfishness is both funny but unfunny at the same time. When Marge incredulously asks “when have I ever bowled in my life?!” He cheekily responds “If you don’t want it, I know someone who does.” This humorous situation takes quite a serious turn as it causes a major quake in their marriage – Marge seriously considers cheating on her husband. She agrees to see Jacques at his apartment (The Fiesta Terrace!) Her choice is visibly shown by a fork in the road and perfectly verbalised by Marge’s line “homer…Is my ball’s name”.
• The kids get more thoughtful presents: Bart gets her a gallon of French perfume and Lisa makes a lovely macaroni portrait of Marge, emphasising Homer’s thoughtlessness.
• In this episode, Homer is extremely perceptive – he can absolutely sense Marge is emotionally pulling away, right from the beginning – after being asked to mind the kids again sets off alarm bells, and stops himself asking her a question. He resigns to the fate of Marge leaving him without a fight (presumably believing it’s his fault/he doesn’t deserve her)
• There’s an excellent touch on the show, where their physical positions show their emotions: After Marge’s first encounter with Jacques, she goes to sleep with her back turned to Homer, whilst he’s awake looking at her (i.e. she brushes off homer and he notices). After more dates, he goes to sleep with his back turned to her, as she lays flat, both wide awake with worried expressions (they’re both very aware their marriage is in big trouble)
• Jacques still makes Marge pay for her bowling lesson – $25 (but a $40 value!)
• I loved seeing Helen burn Marge, saying hello to her while she is out for brunch with Jacques.
• Bart and Lisa take a back seat in the episode, although Lisa is also extremely adept at reading the situation, realising that extra special lunches from Marge is ‘overcompensation as her marriage is failing’
• This storyline of infidelity has cropped up for both Marge and Homer since but this is the only episode it felt like she’d actually go ahead with it. She dreams about a date at his place. I’m really glad they didn’t show her kissing in her dream as it’d be unnecessary heel heat!
• A small point, who is minding Maggie when Marge leaves the house for her affair? It’s sometime during the work week!

Notable Quotables:
• Jacques “My mind says no, but my heart, and my hips, say proceed!”
• “Marge! What a lovely surprise! …You’re here to see me, right?”
• Bart “Once you gave me advice that really helped”
Homer “I gave you advice? Get outta here.”
Bart “If something’s wrong and you’re too dumb to know better, keep your fool mouth shut, so you can’t make things worse.”
Homer “Hmm. Good advice.”

Overall: An excellent storyline treated quite seriously, but with some timeless quotes thrown in. Quite enjoying seeing the Simpsons tackle more serious, character-based stories.



Release Date
September 4, 2014