We now look at series creator Matt Groening’s one of four episodes he wrote, Colonel Homer, originally broadcasted on March 26, 1992 and directed by Mark Kirkland.
After his behavior at the movie theater embarrasses Marge, Homer and Marge have a large argument, causing Homer to head to a redneck bar where he meets a beautiful barmaid named Lurleen Lumpkin (voiced by Beverly D’Angelo) with a talent for singing. Homer becomes her manager and does everything he can to make Lurleen famous, but it takes a very long time for him to notice Lurleen has fallen in love with him. With Marge already upset and thinking Homer’s the one with the roving eyes, it is time for him to decide on his romantic future.
A lot of the episode takes from the story of Colonel Tom Parker, the man who best known as the manager of Elvis Presley, and also Coal Miner’s Daughter, the story about Loretta Lynn.
This is a very good, very solid episode that takes you completely by surprise and thankfully, doesn’t resort to stupid clichés, like some of the ones I just talked about such as the liar revealed or the breakup.
In terms of stories revolving around Homer and Marge facing relationship problems, this is one of the strongest ones and quite frankly, it works because there’s a reasonable excuse why Homer & Marge are in this situation. Homer knows that he’s a married man and is not interested in Lurleen sexually and is only helping her because of her singing, there’s no double entendre in this situation and the episode never gives us the idea that Homer is interested in Lurleen in such a way except to give her a chance to make it big.
And the episode does a great job of not forcing something completely unrealistic and stupid for why Homer & Marge are in this relationship slump much like they did in last season’s lazy The War Of The Simpsons or in Some Enchanted Evening. Here, there’s an actual good reason to why something like this would put both Homer & Marge in such a situation.
On top of that, Beverly D’Angelo gives a great performance as Lurleen both as the voice and a singing voice. You would never guess that Ellen Griswold was such a good singer but this episode proved me wrong. Lurleen did return for several episodes in brief appearances throughout the course of the series such as Marge Vs. The Monorail, Krusty Gets Kancelled, and Team Homer either in a non speaking role or a role voiced by Doris Grau, the voice of Lunchlady Doris. Beverly D’Angelo did return as Lurleen in Papa Don’t Leech and…we’ll get to that later but let me just tell you right now, that episode sucks.
For now though, if you want to see a great Homer-Marge relationship trouble episode, Colonel Homer is one of the definitive episodes in that category. It’s an episode that doesn’t resort to cliché knowledge but instead creates a good story that gets us involved in Homer’s dilemma and makes us wonder what’s going to happen with this at the end. It’s an episode that’s definitely worth the time to check out.
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