The Simpsons, Season Seven, Episode 11, “Marge Be Not Proud”
Original airdate December 17, 1995
It’s Lisa, back again with a recap of the Simpsons episode “Marge Be Not Proud!”
“Marge Be Not Proud” is widely considered by fans to be the last (and in some cases, only) classic Christmas episode from the show’s run. “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” will be always held up as a standard bearer, but its roughness has just as many detractors; “Miracle on Evergreen Terrace” and “Grift of the Magi” were signs of bad things to come. Everything would crash in with the infamous “Homer versus Dignity”; when it comes to Simpsons Christmas episodes things could only get better after treating the audience to the sight of Homer being sexually assaulted by a panda and then raining buckets of gore over the heads of horrified onlookers. The “Days of Future Passed” universe has stepped in to try to fix things, only to be met with critical acclaim.
But “Marge Be Not Proud” is still so fondly remembered not because it’s the best part of a series that has only a finite number of good Christmas episodes; it’s because it’s a beautiful testament to Marge and Bart’s relationship.
Throughout the series’ run, Marge has always been her “Special Little Guy’s” biggest advocate, even as he’s made her life as difficult as humanly possible. In turn, whenever Bart feels too demonic or too outlandishly evil, his connection to Marge humanizes him, makes us realize he’s just barely hit double-digits and is a kid.
The plot of “Marge Be Not Proud” is simple, touching, and instantly emotionally literate to anyone who’s worried about disappointing a parent. It’s Christmas, and Bart is enamored of the new video game “Bonestorm,” which every kid in the neighborhood covets. Pea green with envy and unable to convince Marge to buy it for him for Christmas after she notes how violent it is, Bart’s pushed over the edge into thievery to get what he wants, but is immediately discovered and read the riot act by the man in charge of the store’s security. He’s ordered not to return to the Try-n-Save, but is forced to when Marge brings the family by to get a family Christmas portrait done. Publically shamed for his crime, Bart cannot deal with the family’s cold shoulder treatment and strives to make to make good in his mom’s eyes.
This is one of those episodes that’s nearly guaranteed to bring a tear to one’s eyes; there’s a lot of beautiful material here, and a lot of funny comedy too. Besides the immortal Thrillhouse moment there’s the sight of Bart actually playing the gift that Marge brings him because the woman at the store told her “all of the kids wanted it” – a Lee Trevino golf game that even Ned Flanders would find bland.
In short, the episode has everything you need to bring on those classic sitcom warm fuzzies.