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Marge Simpson

A character in the American animated sitcom The Simpsons.

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Perhaps the Least Popular Character But Still an Important Character in the Show

  • Aug 17, 2009
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What has always impressed me about The Simpsons is that each member of the Family is quite distinct and is important to the show as a whole.  Lisa is the intellectual who provides ratioal and reasonable thought.  Bart is America's Badboy who helps us to find a moral center in ourselves.  Homer is the oaf but still a good family man.  Yet Marge seems to be the balance of the entire family.  She is not so excessive in her moral tendencies as Lisa and not nearly as loose with these things as Homer.  She's a cautious and moderate woman.  Of all the characters in the show, Marge probably holds the family together better than any character in the show.

To give you a sense of Marge, one has to realize Marge's moral center.  She's proud of her little girl for being so smart, but is always willing to tell Lisa when she's overstepping things.  In the episode Lisa the Skeptic, it is Marge who presents to Lisa that perhaps people need to have faith for any reason whatsoever.  Yet as much as Marge nags, she hardly ever gets so involved in her children's business that she makes decisions for them.  She's there when Bart is being bad and there when Homer is making extreme choices that she doesn't like.  Her trademark on the show IS to nag, but there's another side of Marge that the show doesn't really comment on and merely shows.  Her ability to stand aside and let people make their own decisions. 

A good episode is where Mr. Burns loses his fortune and has Lisa help him out.  Burns, along with Lisa becomes more environmentally sound, until Burns learns that those plastic hoops that hole soda cans can catch and choke fish.  This makes Burns make the 'Lil Lisa Slurry.  Lisa is appauled.  Yet Mr. Burns gets his fortune back and offers Lisa ten percent of it.  That would be about 12 million dollars.  But Lisa--at her moral center--doesn't want the money knowing where it came from.  What should she do?  Marge simply tells her that she has to do what feels right.  She neither tells Lisa to keep the money nor toss it.  She leaves the decision up to Lisa.  In spite of her nagging, Marge still pushes independence.  Lisa decides to tear up the check and Marge tells her that Lisa has done the right thing.  What viewers may not realize is that Marge would've praised her daughter regardless of which decision she made. 

Another great episode showing how Marge does this is Lisa's Pony.  Homer gets two jobs to pay for Lisa's Pony.  Seeing the toll it takes on Homer, Marge brings to Lisa's attention how hard Homer has to work and how Homer is getting no sleep or anything because of having to pay for that Pony.  Marge never tells Lisa what to do, just presents the facts and then leaves the decision to Lisa. 

That's not to say Marge wouldn't be disappointed with some of her family's decisions.  In the episode "Duffless" after Homer takes a month of sobriety and immediately heads off to the bar, Marge isn't afraid to show her disappointment.  Of course, Homer is a very selfless man in his heart and gives into Marge. 

There's a side of Marge that wants her children to be moral, but also pushes her children and her family to be more independent.  Marge is a little more firm with Bart, but that comes from knowing her children.  She knows Lisa is capable of making her own decisions and that Bart needs a bit more guidance in life.  In many instances she pushes Bart only to find out that Bart knew what was moral all along. 

Through all this, however, Marge has shown that she keeps the family together.  In the episode "Homer Alone" we see that without Marge the family falls apart.  Homer isn't as good at taking care of Maggie.  Bart and Lisa have to stay with her sisters (the gruesome twosome, as Homer calls them).  And Maggie has an attachment to Marge.  So strongly that she runs away to "find her".  Marge knows what everyone in her family likes and takes care of everyone in a way that only a mother seems to be able to.  Without Marge the family actually loses something.  In another episode when Marge goes to jail, the house falls apart.  No one is there to make breakfast, keep the house clean or make sure that Bart and Lisa have good clothes. 

Yet with all this, Marge is among the least popular characters in the show.  She doesn't get that many episodes and whatnot.  Why is Marge not that popular?  It may be because she doesn't provide nearly as much humor as the rest of her family.  Even Lisa plays a bigger role in the humor than Marge.  Maybe it's her nagging that sometimes gets to people.  I personally think it's just because Marge is the least competitive character in the show.  She gets involved in the fewest confrontations and often doesn't have nearly as many "problems" as the rest of the cast.  Bart's mischief makes him amusing.  Homer is just an interesting character all around.  And Lisa loves contraversy.  Marge?  She's cautious.  As Lisa listens to a conservative talk radio host on the radio Marge is there to say to Lisa, "You know how I feel about controversy in this house!"  Marge's idea of excitement, as she admits in one episode, is making sloppy joes.  Yet in the episodes where Marge goes a little higher (such as the one where she wants to get into a snazzy country club) we see that Marge is quite a versatile character.  In short, she's not that popular because in part she doesn't get that many episodes she can call her own.  And she doesn't get that many episodes because she's not popular enough for it.  She's an integral part of the family but not exactly the character we all want to see all the time.  

On the other hand, Marge, like many other family members, has a good haul of great episodes.  Some of which are some of the best on the show.  Homer and Bart may provide good comedy, and Lisa may provide a good debate, but Marge serves to be the balance to all that.  When she has her problems they're usually pretty big episodes.  We're going to choose ten of Marge's best episodes right here and now. 

1. Life in the Fast Lane
One of the earliest Simpsons episodes was actually centered on Marge's birthday.  In this Episode Homer insensitively gives Marge a Bowling Ball.  He does even worse by actually putting his name on the bowling ball.  It's a sad sad thing.  But Marge decides she's going to use it.  And when she does go to the alley, she meets a man named Jacques.  And he teachers Marge how to bowl.  And pretty soon it becomes quite clear that this man loves her.  The kids (Lisa especially) fear that Marge might be leaving their father.  Homer is also scared.  In the episodes best moment, she decies to meet Jacques at his apartment.  On her way there she comes to a fork in the road.  One road leads to the power plant and the other leads to Jacques apartment.  Was Marge in love with Jacques?  Well, yes.  She even has a fantasy about him.  But one thing Marge has made clear is that she chose Homer and that she'll stick by him.  She chooses to go to the plant. 

2. A Streetcar Named Marge
Within the family Marge is also pretty underappreciated.  This is actually a reoccuring theme in the show.  Here, Marge wants to be part of a play: A Streetcar Named Desire, but doesn't have Homer's support.  Homer blatantly comes out and says, "I don't care."  Marge at first doesn't get the part.  Until the director realizes that Marge's personal life is exactly what he needs for someone to play Blanche.  So she gets the part.  Homer goes around not really caring while Marge works.  There's also a neat subplot with Maggie... but we'll get to that when we discuss Maggie herself.  We see that sometimes Marge is indeed upset with Homer.  She uses this to channel her rage when she needs it.  In the end, however, Homer comes to understand Marge and Marge realizes that Homer actually is a sensitive man who does enjoy the things his wife does for him.  

3. $pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)
No, really, that's the title of the episode.  That long title.  This is one of my favorite Marge Simpson episodes.  A casino comes to Springfield, built by Mr. Burns.  Marge disapproves at first but then ends up going there and she gets addicted to gambling.  So much so that she neglects her children and her husband.  Homer, when working the casino eventually tries to convince her to come home... but then Marge tells him to go away because he's bad luck.  It doesn't sink in until Homer tells Marge that she broke a promise to her daughter.  She neglected to help Lisa with her costume because she was too busy gambling.  "Lisa cried.  Then I cried.  And Maggie laughed.  She's such a little trooper!" Homer says.  And, of course, Homer is excited because for once it's Marge who has a problem and not him.  But she's at least able to face it with the help of her family. 

4. Itchy and Scratchy and Marge
This is my personal favorite Marge episode.  After Maggie decides to bash Homer on the head with a mallet due to something she sees on Itchy and Scratchy, Marge decides to take it to them.  She begins protesting the show.  At first the creators think that one "screwball" can't make a difference.  But soon Marge proves to be an enormous force and eventually does get the show to change.  But without the violence it's a show that turns out to be boring.  The benefits are that children actually go outside and play.  Marge made a difference.  But even Marge has to learn lessons.  And when the statue of Michaelangelo's David comes... people think it's smut and ask Marge to help them fight it.  Marge says she won't because she likes it and thinks everyone should see it.  Dr. Marvin Monroe finally points out to Marge that why would you want to ban something just for not liking it?  Marge finally concedes and realizes that she can't get something banned just because she doesn't like it.  This is perhaps one of the best episodes of the show as a whole.  It speaks volumes.  And Marge is at the center of it all.  

5. Marge in Chains
This is another great episode.  Not only is Marge one who holds the family together, but she can hold Springfield together too.  Despite being unpopular, Marge is a part of Springfield and holds things together.  She accidently steals from the Kwik-E-Mart.  Yet the town looks at her very differently for it, and she gets put in jail after her lawyer (Lionel Hutz who has some awesome moments in the show) doesn't do such a good job defending her.  So she goes to jail.  And yet, things do get a little hectic.  At the bake sale they are short because of what Marge pulls in (which causes them to only be able to afford a statue of Jimmy Carter...).  But more than that the family really falls apart.  The kids don't have clothes, the dishes pile up and the house becomes a mess.  When Marge finally returns people are ecstactic.  Amazingly so.  Despite not being very popular in town, Marge is still among the most appreciated in Springfield.

6. Scenes From the Class Struggle
This is one of Marge's more interesting episodes.  Where she puts aside her balance and decides to go all out on a nice outfit.  When she does she gets the attention of an old friend from high school, who loves the suit and invites her to a country club.  So she goes and some of the people happen to like her.  Her children are skeptical at first but slowly begin to like it.  Her husband finally gets to get involved with Mr. Burns (and for once he knows his name!).  But Marge seems quite embarassed by her family.  Homer's "in your face attitude" and Lisa's brain are two things Marge believes could keep them out.  When Homer utters "Thanks to your mother we can see how horrible we really are..." Marge comes to her senses and goes back to her family.

7. Homer Alone
Some might argue that this is a Homer episode... or even a Maggie one.  Well, sure, I concur.  But at the heart of it all is Marge.  This episode centers on Marge who is so stressed out that she ends up needing a vacation by herself.  And when she does we see, just like before, that things without her fall apart.  But unlike Marge in Chains it isn't just the whole town.  Homer realizes he's not much for taking care of Maggie and Bart and Lisa must go stay with Patty and Selma.  Tsk tsk, right?  Pretty soon Marge comes back and they all believe she should never leave again.  The most unique of these things is Maggie who takes it upon herself to try to find Marge and doesn't quite succeed.  Yet it's goes to show that no one holds the family together quite like Marge.

8. The Twisted World of Marge Simpson
When it comes to The Simpsons, Marge's occupation is as a home maker.  There are times when she gets out there and does something more.  The Twisted World of Marge Simpson isn't the best Episode to showcase this, but I put it here because it's actually very hilarious and because it's one of the few episodes where Marge takes center stage... even though Homer comes in there at some point as well.  But Marge enters the pretzel business and can't get it off the ground.  At a baseball game they start throwing them on the field after an upset and eventually knock out Whitey Ford.  "You could call them Whitey Whackers," Homer suggests.  Feeling he's got little else to turn to, Homer decides to get the mob involved and they help take care of it.  It isn't an episode that quite shows Marge's strengths as a character, but it is a very entertaining episode in and of itself.  Of course, there are other episodes where Marge gets a job that it gets shown in too...

9. Brush With Greatness
This, along with the gambling episode is probably the BEST Marge Simpson episode.  Mr. Burns wants a portrait of him which honors him but can't find anyone to paint it.  Meanwhile, the family discovers that Marge can paint after they discover Ringo Starr paintings in the attic.  We discover that Marge sent one of those paintings off to Ringo Starr, but he never replied.  Her family encourages her to paint again.  And she does, and she gets into an art class that does her a brilliant service.  When she takes home first prize in a art competition, Burns decides he wants Marge to paint him.  Except everything Marge does isn't that grand.  There's a subplot with Homer losing weight, and when Mr. Burns insults him, Marge decides she can finish the painting herself... and then realizes she can't make him beautiful.  Suddenly, she gets a reply from Ringo Starr who loves her painting.  This gives Marge some new encouragement.  She stays up all night trying to paint something and comes up with an idea.  That idea is to paint Mr. Burns... naked.  When it is unveiled Marge explains that the reason she did it was because deep down behind the evilness of Mr. Burns, there's just a fragile old man... not much left for the world.  It's not a hilarious episode but it comes from a time when The Simpsons could really say a lot.  And this episode does.  It's one of Marge's best.

10. Marge on the Lam
Here's a really fun episode that seems to never get played at all.  Marge gets tickets to the ballet and unfortunately, he gets it confused with a circus.  Homer actually ends up not going because he gets his arms stuck in vending machines, in one of the Simpsons best bits where they attempt to cut off his arms and then discover he's actually just holding on to the cans.  Except the damage is done.  Marge runs off with Ruth Powers and in that time the two go on a long road trip.  What Marge soon discovers is that the car they're in is one Ruth stole from her ex-husband.  And worse is that the cops are on their trail.  Homer gets the wrong message and believes that Marge is leaving him.  The episode takes a lot of its comedic goods from Thelma and Louise.  But it works really well, and has a lot of heart.  More so than it appears upon first viewing.  Homer and Marge's relationship has always been a little rough, but in these episodes where Homer tries to do right by Marge, they're pretty fun.  This is one of Marge's best episodes in the series.  It's a shame the show doesn't play it more often.

So there you have it.  Marge's ten best episodes.  There are quite a few for her too.  Let me know some of your favorites in the comments section if you want.  And join me next time as we explore the littlest Simpson, Maggie and do her ten best episodes.  And perhaps we can dig into some of the other supporting characters such as Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner and more.  There are dozens of interesting characters on The Simpsons, but let's take care of the main cast first.

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Quick Tip by . August 20, 2009
I love marge! Especially when they showed her with long hair that went down instead of up when she and Homer first met. :)
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Sean A. Rhodes ()
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I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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Marjorie "Marge" Simpson (née Bouvier) is a fictional main character in the animated television series The Simpsons and part of the eponymous family. She is voiced by actress Julie Kavner and first appeared on television in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Marge was created and designed by cartoonist Matt Groening while he was waiting in the lobby of James L. Brooks' office. Groening had been called to pitch a series of shorts based on Life in Hell but instead decided to create a new set of characters. He named the character after his mother Margaret Groening. After appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show for three years, the Simpson family received their own series on Fox, which debuted December 17, 1989.

Marge is the well-meaning and extremely patient mother of the Simpson family. With her husband Homer, she has three children: Bart, Lisa and Maggie. Marge is the moralistic force in her family and often provides a grounding voice in the midst of her family's antics by trying to maintain order in the Simpson household. She is often portrayed as a stereotypical television mother and is often included on lists of top "TV moms". She has appeared in other media relating to The Simpsons—including video games, The Simpsons Movie, The Simpsons Ride, commercials, and comic books—and inspired an entire line of merchandise.

Marge's distinctive blue beehive hairstyle was inspired by a combination of The Bride of...
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