Scullyfied Simpsons: Season 9 Episode 9: Realty Bites

Airdate: December 7th, 1997

Truly brings new meaning to the term “open-air” house.

Synopsis: Tired of either being cooped up in the house all the time or dragged on one of Homer’s outings (such as a police auction), Marge decides to take a career as a realty agent. Working for Lionel Hutz’s Firm, Red Blazer Realty, Marge’s career instantly goes south due to her brutal honesty. Fearing that she may be sacked, she realizes she might have to lie, up to and including lying about haunted houses to the Flanders clan.

Meanwhile, at the aforementioned police auction, Homer buys a convertible, loving every second of it. However, the convertible belonged to career criminal Snake, who vows revenge.

Review: The bad news is that Homer is turned up to “Jerkass” through the first and last parts of this episode. The good news is that the A plot is pretty good… when it involves as little Homer as possible.

The plot of “Marge wants to take a second job” is tragically nothing really new; “Marge Gets a Job” did it first (duh) and did it best, taking on a critique of the relatively misogynistic workforce that still exists (to an extent) today. “Realty Bites” is not as relevant, but I can still get the critique of the real estate market; in the late 90s and early-mid 2000s, property owners would do anything to try and move homes, just to make profit. Of course, this wound up collapsing in 2008, causing the property/financial crisis in (among other nations) the US, Greece, and Ireland.

Phil Hartman produces a bittersweet role here as Lionel Hutz, who has taken a break from the legal arena to concentrate on property. It really fits his role as a snarmy, desperate man out for a quick buck despite being incompetent. The “bitter” part comes in here… this was Hutz’s final speaking appearance. Five months after this episode aired, Hartman was shot dead by his wife, who proceeded to commit suicide. It’s ironic that one of the funniest actors in the show died as the show was slipping in quality, yet it makes the circumstances of his death no less sad.

Anyway, back to the review.

This episode’s A-plot is almost good, if somewhat pedestrian and rehashed. The B-plot, tragically… isn’t. The reason? Homer.

He literally does nothing except act like a complete and utter maniacal idiot during the entire episode. He buys Snake’s car, drives on the sidewalk (amongst other things), and gets into a long, boring car chase with Snake (who manages to walk out of prison.) Crazy crap happens, and the car single-handedly destroys a house… by crashing into the front, not damaging anything that might be a support beam. Reality? What’s THAT??? Nobody is arrested, and you can take a guess at the person that suffers from it. Here’s a hint; it ain’t Homer.

In the end, it’s a watchable, somewhat funny episode, dogged down by Homer being far too annoying… which would not get any better anytime soon.

Favorite Moment: As Lionel is showing how house flaws can be spun by realtors into positive traits, he shows Marge one particular house.

Marge: “That one’s on fire!”

 Hutz: “Motivated seller!”

Least Favorite Moment: Am I the only one who didn’t care for Kirk Van Houten’s arm getting sliced off? The worst part? According to Scully, that scene, when suggested, caused mass laughter in the staff room due to how unexpected it was. It just seems unnecessarily dark and THOH-ish.

Jerkass Homer Meter: 3.Homer drives on the sidewalk while his family is in the car. Yeesh!

Zaniness Factor: 2.5. The car chase. All of it. It’s. Just. Stupid.

Score: 6.5

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