A Streetcar Named Marge

A Streetcar Named Marge                                  Written by Jeff Martin
                                                         Directed by Rich Moore

TV Guide synopsis

Marge Simpson plays Blanche to Ned Flanders' bare-chested Stanley in
a musical version of ``A Streetcar Named Desire.''

Otto the bus driver, police chief Wiggum and convenience-store owner Apu
are also in the cast.  The director, insolent Llewelyn Sinclair (voice
of Jon Lovitz), has three plays---and three heart attacks---to his credit,
``and I care so much, I'm planning a fourth.''  Until the opening, Maggie
is sent to Springfield's ``only day-care center not currently under
investigation.''  It's run by Sinclair's sister, who confiscates pacifiers.
Maggie and her peers retrieve them in a manner reminiscent of ``The Great

Title sequence


        {My name is not ``Dr. Death''.}
        {My name is not ``Dr. De} at cutoff.

Lisa's solo



        Homer yells, ``D'oh!'' when Lisa scoots past.
        Homer yells, ``Aargh!'' when the car closes in on him.
        Dave Hall says that he yelled, ``Wooh!''


        The couch turns into a tentacled brown monster.

Quotes and scene summary


   Live from beautiful Laughlin, Nevada, it's the Miss American Girl Pageant!
   Brought to you my Meryl Streep's Versatility:  Smell like Streep for Cheep!
   I'm your host, Troy McClure!
   -- Another silly beauty pageant, ``A Streetcar Named Marge''
 Homer and the kids watch at home.  (Lisa keeps score on a notepad.)
 Marge leaves the family microwave dinners while she tries out for a part
 in a local musical production of ``A Streetcar Named Desire''.  No one
 pays any attention.
   If you ask me, they're all winners!
   We'll be cutting our first 40 contestants right after this.
   -- Troy McClure hosts the Miss American Girl Pageant,
      ``A Streetcar Named Marge''
 Troy introduces the judges, and everyone watches with rapt attention,
   Marge: I thought it would be a good chance to meet some other adults.
   Homer: [eyes fixed on the television set]  Sounds interesting.
   Marge: You know, I spend all day home with Maggie.  Sometimes it's
          like I don't even exist.
   Homer: [eyes fixed on the television set]  Sounds interesting.
   -- Sounds interesting, ``A Streetcar Named Marge''
 Homer adds his commentary to the selection of the five finalists, while
 Marge warms up her voice by the piano.
   Tonight, my reign as Miss American Girl comes to an end, and I'd like to
   apologize one last time for my unfortunate remarks at the United Nations.
   -- Debra Jo Smallwood, ``A Streetcar Named Marge''
 Maggie's musical rendition of Tchaikovsky's Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies
 on the toy xylophone is greeted with a ``Maggie, cut that racket!'' from

 Homer asks Marge where she's going, insisting that this is the first he's
 heard of her plans to audition.  The kids back him up.

 At the Springfield Community Center, the prospective performers in ``Oh!
 Streetcar!'' warm up.  Among the auditioners are Chief Wiggum, Jasper,
 and Ned Flanders, who mentions that he has once already performed in
 ``A Streetcar Named Desire''---as Blanche DuBois.  (That's what happens
 when you go to an all-male school.)

 Enter Llewelyn Sinclair.
   I have directed three plays in my career, and I have had three heart attacks.
   That's how much I care, I'm planning a fourth.
   -- Llewelyn Sinclair, ``A Streetcar Named Marge''
   Marge:  Maybe I should've a nice calligraphy class.
   Wiggum: Oh, forget about it.  That Mr. Takahashi's a lunatic!
   -- ``A Streetcar Named Marge''
   I am not an easy man to work for.  While directing ``Hats off to Channukah'',
   I reduced more than one cast member to tears.  Did I expect too much from
   fourth-graders?  The review [holds up a school newspaper] ``Play enjoyed by
   all'' speaks for itself.
   -- Llewelyn Sinclair, ``A Streetcar Named Marge''
 First order of business is for all men auditioning for the part of Stanley
 to remove their shirts.  Mr. Sinclair rejects most of the auditioners
 out of hand, leaving Ned's muscular physique as the winning candidate.

 Mr. Sinclair cuts off all the auditions for the r\^ole of Blanche before
 any of the women can complete their first phrase.  (Marge is interrupted
 in the middle of her first word.)  While he fumes that no one is qualified
 for the part, Marge is on the pay phone, conceding, ``You were right.
 Outside interests are stupid.''  Sinclair overhears the conversation and
 he makes his choice.  He grabs the phone and yells into the receiver,
 ``Stop bothering my Blanche!''

 [End of Act One.  Time: 5:09]

 At the breakfast table, Marge relates the good news.
   Wow!  My mother the actress.  I feel like Lucy Arnaz-Luckinbill.
   -- Lisa, ``A Streetcar Named Marge''
   Bart:  Are there any jive-talking robots in this play?
   Marge: Mm, I don't think so.
   Homer: Bart, don't ask stupid questions.
          [to Marge]  Is there any frontal nudity?
   -- How about nude jive-talking robots?  ``A Streetcar Named Marge''
 At the first rehearsal, the players introduce themselves.  Helen Lovejoy
 plays Stella, Apu as Steve, Otto as Pablo...
   Lionel Hutz, Attorney at Law.  I'm filing a class-action suit against the
   director on behalf of everyone who was cut from the play.  I also play Mitch!
   -- Rehearsal of fortune, ``A Streetcar Named Marge''
 Marge has a tray of peanut-butter brownies for all.

 Ned and Marge rehearse a scene where Stanley attempts to ravish Blanche.
 During the scene, Maggie grabs Ned's glasses and peers through them.
 The scene is adorable.  Notes Ned, ``Isn't that cute.  Me without a camera.''
 Annoyed by the interruption, Sinclair gives Marge the address of a day-care
 center run by his sister.

 At the Ayn Rand School for Tots, Marge summarizes Maggie's needs, but
 Ms. Sinclair has her own strict views on how babies should be treated.
 (``Our aim here is to develop the bottle within.'')
   Mrs. Simpson, I don't like to toot my own horn, but we're the only day-care
   in town that is not currently under investigation by the state.
   -- Ms. Sinclair, administrator of the Ayn Rand School for Tots,
      ``A Streetcar Named Marge''
 Marge leaves Maggie in Ms. Sinclair's care, and the first order of business
 is to confiscate the pacifier.  Maggie watches glumly as her pacifier is
 played inside a locker.

 At rehearsal, Marge can't muster the raw hatred needed for the broken bottle
 scene.  (Indeed, she can't even break the bottle.)  Sinclair gives up in

 Homer plays a hand-held Bowling 2000 video game but manages to get a 7-10
 split.  He is hardly willing to help Marge run her lines.

 At the day-care, Maggie looks up longingly at the locker.  She sits down
 and sucks her thumb.  Not satisfied, she tries various other nearby objects,
 including a crayon, a block, and a Bart Simpson doll.

 Nap time.  Maggie crawls beneath the cots, tapping each baby as she goes
 by as an invitation to join her.  On her cue, they stack all the toys
 in the room, which indeed reach to the locker, and although Maggie can
 squeeze her tiny arm through the slats, the pacifier itself won't fit.
 The scaffolding collapses, leaving Maggie suspended in air, the pacifier
 in her mouth her only support.  Eventually, she falls.  Alerted by the
 noise, Ms. Sinclair comes in and finds Maggie out of her cot.  ``We have
 a place for babies like you:  The box!''  As Maggie is carted away, one
 of her fellow co-conspirators tosses her a ball.

 At rehearsal, Marge still can't muster the harted for the bottle scene.
   I just don't see why Blanche should shove a broken bottle in Stanley's face.
   Couldn't she just take his abuse with gentle good humor?
   -- Marge Simpson has difficulty getting into character,
      ``A Streetcar Named Marge''
 Homer arrives to pick up Marge, but Marge asks for a little while longer.
 Marge doesn't see what's so bad about Stanley, while Homer in the background
 performs a flying drop-kick of a recalcitrant candy vending machine.  Homer
 goes to the car and honks the horn.  ``Marge!  Move it or lose it!''  Marge's
 eyebrows furrow as she envisions Homer, not Ned, as her tormentor.  The
 hatred is there, and it takes Ned by surprise.  ``Ned, you're supposed to
 overpower her.''  ``I'm trying, I'm trying!''

 [End of Act Two.  Time: 10:46]

   Salt me.
   -- Homer, ``A Streetcar Named Marge''
 Marge passes the salt with a Southern accent, in preparation for the
 premi\`ere the following evening.  Lisa offers to help by speaking in
 a Southern accent of her own, and Bart joins in with a ``Bob's your
 uncle, Mate.''  Marge leaves to rehearse with Ned.
   Homer: What about dessert?
   Marge: For God's sakes, you can pull the lid off your own can of pudding!
   Homer: Fine!  I will!
   -- That'll show 'er, ``A Streetcar Named Marge''
 The pull-tab breaks off, leaving Homer's pudding trapped inside forever.
 Homer goes below Ned's window and shouts, ``Maaaaaaaarge!''

 Ned's chest is bandaged from a too-realistic-for-the-stage bottle scene,
 as Marge mutters, ``Keep yelling, you big ape.''  Marge angrily smashes
 a bottle and offers to rehears the bottle scene again.

 In bed, Homer asks when the play starts, not so much out of genuine
 interest, but rather familial duty.
   Marge: I'm sure you won't enjoy it.
          There's nothing about bowling in the play.
          Oh wait, there is.
   Homer: Probably not much of it.
   -- Enough to placate the special interests, ``A Streetcar Named Marge''
   Marge: Why can't you be more supportive?
   Homer: Because I don't care.
   -- Ask a question, ``A Streetcar Named Marge''
   Homer: I can't fake an interest in this, and I'm an expert at faking an
          interest in your kooky projects.
   Marge: What kooky projects?
   Homer: You know, the painting class, the first aid course,
          the whole Lamaze thing.
   -- ``A Streetcar Named Marge''
 When Marge asks why he never mentioned this before, Homer explains, ``You
 know I would never do anything to hurt your feelings,'' then promptly
 falls asleep.

 At the Ayn Rand School, Maggie leads another covert operation.  Through a
 series of ingenious and resourceful tricks too brilliant to describe, Maggie
 manages to sneak into Ms. Sinclair's office...
   If I break, buy a new one!
   -- The talking Krusty doll, ``A Streetcar Named Marge''
 ... grab the keys to the locker, then swing over to the locker and set
 free all of the pacifiers therein.  This kid has real talent.

 Homer brings Bart and Lisa along to pick up Maggie, but finds a room full
 of babies sucking on pacifiers in an otherwise eerie silence.  He locates
 Maggie and tiptoes out.

 Llewelyn Sinclair gives one last pep talk before the curtain rises.  Chief
 Wiggum introduces the opening number, and the musical proceeds.  The
 rhymes in the lyrics prove challenging.  Homer is bored until Marge's
 entrance, after which his attention remains fixed.  In a later scene,
 Marge floats in anguish around the stage surrounded by red fog and lasers.
   Cool, she can fly!
   -- Bart, ``A Streetcar Named Marge''
 Lisa explains that it's supposed to represent her descent into madness.
 Blanche's final line, ``I have always relied on the kindness of strangers,''
 is the cue for the cheery final number, which concludes with ``A stranger's
 just a friend you haven't met.''  The curtain calls are taken, but Marge's
 smile vanishes when she sees Homer's drooped head in the audience.

 Backstage, Lisa propels Bart across the stage in the rope rigging used in
 the madness scene.
   Hey, look at me!  I'm Blanche DuBois!
   -- Bart, ``A Streetcar Named Marge''
 At Marge's entrance, Lisa lets go of the rope, and Bart lands with a thud,
 no worse for the wear.  Homer sends the kids ahead into the car while he
 talks with Marge.  Marge is upset that Homer didn't even have the courtesy
 to keep his head upright through the performance, but Homer explains that
 he wasn't bored; he was sad.
   Homer: It really got to me how that lady, uh...  You know which one I mean.
          You played her.
   Marge: Blanche!
   Homer: Yeah.
   -- Interactive Cliff's Notes, ``A Streetcar Named Marge''
 He continues, ``The poor thing gets hauled to the nuthouse when all she
 needed was for that big slob to show her some respect.''  At least, that's
 his interpretation of events.

 Outside, Homer notes, ``Hey, I'm a lot like that guy.''  Marge concedes,
 ``Well, maybe just a little,'' and gives him a kiss.

 [End of Act Three.  Time: 20:23]

Voice Credits


    Dan Castellaneta        (Homer)
    Julie Kavner            (Marge)
    Nancy Cartwright        (Bart)
    Yeardley Smith          (Lisa, Maggie)
    Hank Azaria             (Wiggum, Apu)
    \:    and
    Harry Shearer           (nearly everybody else)

Also Starring

    Maggie Roswell          (Helen Lovejoy)
    Lona Williams           (Debra Jo Smallwood)

Special Guest Voice

    Phil Hartman            (Troy McClure, Lionel Hutz)

Special Guest Voice

    Jon Lovitz              (Llewelyn Sinclair, Ms. Sinclair)

Didja notice...

    ... Bart and Lisa playing ``footsie'' on the couch while Maggie plays
        the xylophone?
    ... Captain McAlister had a glass eye?

Dave Hall@{dh}:
    ... Mr. Sinclair wore something different each time we saw him?
        (Not true.)
    ... Chief Wiggum came to the audition in uniform?
    ... The old bullet wounds on Apu's body?
    ... Otto removed his shirt without disturbing his earphones?


Scott Amspoker@{sa}:  All in all, I thought the episode was average at first.
    However, today the episode is still with me for some strange reason.
    The more I think about it the more I like it. I'll have to watch it again.

J.D. Baldwin@{jdb}:  ``A is A.''  I thought I was gonna die.

John R. Donald@{jrd}:  I agree, references for their own sake add nothing to
    the show, like a meaningless guest appearance (Sting, Magic Johnson).
    However when a guest voice is incorporated into the plot well, and the
    references are not just references but are actually satire, then this
    device works - it wasn't funny because it was a reference to Ayn Rand,
    it was funny because it was an Ayn Rand Day Care Center - it wasn't
    funny because Marge was in 'Streetcar', it was funny because it was a
    musical version.  As far as the plot goes, it was great, back to the
    basics, back to simple family issues, which turn out to be funnier than
    plots that are too contrived.

John J. Wood@{jjw}:  With the exceptions of the Maggie subplot, and Homer
    at the candy machine, last night's episode was boringly mundane.

Movie (and other) References

      Oh! Calcutta!
        - The inspiration for the name, which infamy recalls as the
          first nude musical.  The reference is reinforced by the
          mentioning of full frontal nudity.
    * The Great Escape
        - Maggie being confined to `the box' and playing hand-ball.
        - The music during the various escapades.
    * The Birds
        - Homer tiptoeing through the room full of Babies.
        - ...and the several Babies perched on the shelves.
        - Hitchcock's walk-on cameo with two dogs on a leash,
          exactly the same cameo he used in ``The Birds''. @{bk2}
    * Citizen Kane
        - Homer blows on a theatre program torn into ribbons.
          Joseph Cotton does the same when forced to endure the
          horrible opera debut of Kane's wife.

Freeze Frame Fun

The beauty pageant

Contestants' costumes @{rc}

    * Kentucky
        - Dressed as a jockey, ``mounted'' atop a faux horse.
    * Vermont
        - Wears a ``pitcher of syrup being poured atop a huge
          stack of pancakes'' hat.
    * Maine
        - Dressed as a lobster, complete with claws.
    * Alaska
        - Dressed in a parka and boots, with a pipeline coiled around her body,
          emptying into a can of oil (clearly labelled ``oil'')
          balanced atop her head.  Oddly, she is wearing a miniskirt.
    * Idaho
        - Still just a potatoe.
    * Texas
        - Dressed in cowboy boots and a barrel, with a gushing oil well
          for a hat.
    * Illinois
        - Dressed as Abe Lincoln, complete with stovepipe hat and beard.
    * Kansas
        - Her hat depicts a swirling tornado, topped with a house and a witch.
          (No sign of Toto.)
    * S. Dakota
        - Mt. Rushmore, her face taking the place of Teddy Roosevelt.
    * N. Carolina
        - A Southern belle impaled on a huge lit cigarette.
    * Indiana
        - Cars race around her neck on a tiny track.

The judges

    * Skin care consultant Roweena,
    * Syndicated columnist William F. George,
        (A cross between William F. Buckley and George Will.)
    * Token black panelist Dreaderick Tatum, and
    * Mr. Boswell, the man behind those infamous ``Worst-Dressed'' lists.

The Ayn Rand School for Tots

    * Posters (the quotation marks are actually on the posters)
        - ``A is A''
        - ``Helping is Futile''
    * Ms. Sinclair can be seen reading ``The Fountainhead Diet''

Oh! Streetcar! -- A Musical


    * Directed by Llewelyn Sinclair
    * Helen Lovejoy  as  Stella
    * Apu            as  Steve
    * Lionel Hutz    as  Mitch
    * Otto           as  Pablo  (replaced at the last minute)
    * Marge Simpson  as  Blanche
    * Ned Flanders   as  Stanley
    * Herman         as  a sailor (chorus)
    * Jasper                      (chorus)
    * Chief Wiggum                (chorus)
    * Barney and Moe as stage managers (during Marge's descent into madness)
    * A guy in a bear suit and several trapeze artists, seen during the
      curtain call. @{rlg}
    * No jive-talking robots.

Audience @{dh}

    * Grampa, Patty and Selma
    * Sanjay (?)
    * Homer and the kids
    * Ms. Sinclair.  Note Maggie's reaction.
    * The two cops

Pep talk

Perhaps we're all a little mad, we who don cap and bells, and tread
beneath the proscenium arch, but, tonight, you will all be transformed
from dead-eyed suburbanites into white hot grease fires of pure


With assistance from Ron Carter.

Blanche/Stanley number

    Stanley: You're a dame and I'm a fella...
    Blanche: Stop it, Stanley or I'll tell Stella...
    Stanley: All I want is one embrace...
    Blanche: I'll twist this bottle <in your face>!

    | The second time through, Marge's line is ``Stanley, stop'' instead
      of ``Stop it, Stanley''.

The opening number

    . Long before the Superdome,
    . Where the Saints of football play,
    . There's a city where the damned call home,
    . Hear their hellish rondelet:
    . New Orleans!
    . Home of pirates, drunks, and whores...
    . New Orleans!
    . Tacky, overpriced souvenir stores...
    . If you want to go to hell, you should take a trip
    . To the Sodom and Gomorrah of the Mississip':
    . New Orleans!
    . Stinking, rotten, vomiting, vile...
    . New Orleans!
    . Putrid, brackish, maggotty, foul...
    . New Orleans!
    . Crummy, lousy, rancid and rank...
    . New Orleans!
    . ...

Blanche's introduction

   . I thought my life, would be a Mardi Gras...
   . A never-ending party... (pause) Ha!
   . I'm a faded Southern dame without a dime...

Steve (Apu) and Blanche

    Steve: [spoken] I'm collecting for the Evening Star.
    Blanche: [sexily] Come here...  I want to kiss you, just once.
       		Softly, and sweetly... on your <mouth>...
    Steve: [sings]
	   I am just a simple paperboy, no romance do I seek.
	   I just wanted forty cents, for my deliveries last week.
	   Will this bewitching floozy
	   Seduce this humble newsie?
	   Oh, what's a paperboy to... doooooo?
    Blanche: [kisses Steve]
    Steve: Woo-hoo!

Stanley's torment

   Stella!  STELLLAAAA!  Can't you hear me YELLA!
   You're puttin' me through HELLA!  Stella...  STELLLAAAA!

The closing number

    Blanche: Whoever you are,
	     I have always depended on the kindness of strangers...
    [begin song]
	   You can always depend on the kindness of strangers
	   To pluck up your spirits, and shield you from dangers.
	   Now here's a tip from Blanche you won't regret.
	   A stranger's just a friend you haven't met.
	   You ha-ven't met...

Animation and continuity goofs

All observed by Dave Hall @{dh}.

    - The VCR on top of the TV wasn't shown in the close-ups.
    - During the pageant, Maggie only appears for that one scene with the
      toy xylophone.
    - Marge was carrying a purse when she walked across the den, but not in
      later scenes.
    - As seen from the front of the stage, Ned is standing beside Otto;
      but from behind, there's nobody near Otto.
    - It was nighttime when Homer went to pick up Maggie, but inside the
      daycare the windows depicted a day view.  [I disagree. --rjc]
    - The salt-shaker vanished from the dinner table.
    - The ventilation duct crossed the path of the window.  (So much for
      Frank Lloyd-Wright...)

Comments and other observations

References from the obvious to the obscure

Previous episodes

   [8F01] Roweena; Skin care consultant.
   [8F06] Apu's bullet wounds.
   [8F08] Dreaderick Tatum.
   [8F14] Maggie's allergy to strained peas. [Sorry, that was pears. --rjc]

Slender Vittles

Marge's low-cal microwaveable dinner is Krusty Brand Slender Vittles, a
pun on the American cat food Tender Vittles.  (With perhaps additional
help from Simpsons producer Jon ``Tender'' Vitti.)

At Seventeen

The beauty pageant contestants sing the first two lines of Janis Ian's
``At Seventeen'':
    I learned the truth at seventeen,
    That love was meant for beauty queens
They conveniently omit the remainder of the lyrics, graciously provided
here by Leila Johannesen @{lj} and (ah.pbl@forsythe.stanford.edu):
    And high school girls with clear skin smiles
    Who married young and then retired.

    We all play the game, and when we dare,
    We cheat ourselves at solitaire,
    Inventing lovers on the phone, repenting of the lies untold (?),
    who call to say come dance with me, and murmur strange obscenities.
    At seventeen...
Bucky Whaley@{bw}: calls the song ``one of the most painfully
confessional hymns to female teen-aged angst ever recorded.''

Mr. Blackwell

Blackwell comes out with an annual worst-dressed list.  As if it's
bad enough to appear on the list, each unfortunate victim also earns
a brief insult from Blackwell.  Like anybody cares any more.

Ayn Rand

J. D. Baldwin@{jdb} explains, for those illiterates among us:
Ayn Rand was a ``philosopher'' who claimed that a complex
system of epistemology, aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics and politics
could be derived from the simple, ``self-evident'' proposition that ``A = A''.
Her philosophical system is widely regarded as ``right-wing'', whatever
that means.

Adam Trotter@{ast} adds that the school's architecture is in the
style of Frank Lloyd Wright, who was the model for Howard Roark, the
protagonist of ``The Fountainhead''.


One of the signal toys during Maggie's escapades was a pop-up book
starring a certain rabbit.

Bart complains of ``A pain in me Gulliver'', cf. A Clockwork Orange.

Some claim references to the Peanuts comic strip: A kid with a blue
security blanket and a toy piano can be seen.  (I challenge you to
find any day-care that <doesn't> have a toy piano.)


The day after the episode's first airing, the producers were compelled to
issue a formal apology to the city of New Orleans.  Apparently, some cities
can't take a joke...

Boring distribution restrictions

Blah blah Chris Baird blah blah Dave Hall blah blah Raymond Chen blah blah.

HTML conversion by
Howard Jones(ha.jones@ic.ac.uk) on Sat 10 Sept 1994