A recent episode of The Simpsons, “The Old Blue Mayor She Ain’t What She Used To Be,” retells the story of the November election with a twist ending.
Casting an undeserving victim of circumstance against a bigoted strawman…yeah, I see what they’re doing here…
While at a town hall meeting, Marge asks questions how the town handled a recent disaster concerning a monorail, a callback to a previous episode of The Simpsons where Marge saved the town, she is patronizingly told by Mayor Quimby to keep quiet, leave politics to the men, and give out cake to the patrons, all being talked down to. Proving to be the bigger person in the scenario, she gives out pieces of cake, anyway.
Motivated, Marge decides to take politics into her own hands and run for mayor. At the start of Marge’s campaign, a consultant, as portrayed by the recurring background character of Lindsey Naegle, tells her, when dealing with the population, “Tell them what they want to hear until you get 51% then you can govern like a far-right nut job.” In her first scene campaigning at the start of a montage, Marge talks to a hillbilly family, promising to take on “revenuers,” officials who enforced the ban of alcohol, mimicking their accent while doing it. The family soon praise her as the modern-day John Galt, the main character of Atlas Shrugged.
To further paint the family as “far-right nut jobs,” the family then asks Marge to take a picture with their scarecrow of Ayn Rand, both the book’s author and a figure mocked before on The Simpsons before. Ultimately, appealing to minor groups is painted as a tedious, humiliating act that politicians should not have to put up with. Clearly, it is hardly something politicians should be faulted for ignoring. Get the connection?
Eventually, Marge transforms into a pastiche of Hillary Clinton, with supporters crafting the slogan, “I’m with Hair,” a play of Clinton’s “I’m with Her” slogan.
You’d think the ‘Simpsons’/2016 parallels would end once Marge won..you’d think that…
Unlike Clinton, Marge’s campaign is slightly more successful, with her ending up the mayor. You could argue the parallels would end here, but she soon realizes she will be too much of a victim of circumstance to get anything done. Obviously, this is something that affects politicians on both sides of the spectrum, but the media usually points that out only when dealing with politicians they care about.
When trying to fulfill her first campaign promise, tearing down the town’s iconic burning pile of tires, she is stopped by a parody of a Jimmy Stewart who makes a living selling knick-knacks based on the tires. Attempts to peacefully purchase the small business also land in Marge getting labeled out-of-touch.
Eventually, her consultants convince her to save her image by making her husband, Homer, after he accidentally humiliates himself during a live-stream, easily putting the pressure off of her. As the consultants put it, “You’ve tapped into something that women and men can agree on. Husbands are idiots.” Because that is the best way to fight sexism, more stereotypes, and other double standards. What a lovely message.
Humiliating her husband does start to bother Marge, so she eventually relents, but it ends up costing her mayoral status. A time-skip gag implies that Marge was eventually impeached offscreen, meaning that the status-quo is retained, as the episode ends for the week.
Still, we all learned an important message. Politics is made up of completely moral, wholesome people who only make mistakes because they are at the mercy of evil strawmen and the idiotic populace, as well as those aforementioned strawmen. It’s lovely that things are so simple in reality.
Interestingly enough, in one scene, the show actually points out that fictional characters can only do so much in validating the political opinions of the populace. As Lisa points out, concerning a certain popular movie, “Wonder Woman showed that if you’re a goddess with superpowers, there’s no limit to what you can do.” It’s nice to know that fictional characters either can only do so much, or at least have them own up to it.