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Secrets of a Successful Marriage script

Homer gets a job to teaching an adult education course about how to build a successful marriage, but can't help spilling personal secrets.

Episode 1F20, Season 5
First aired May 19, 1994
Written by Greg Daniels
Directed by Carlos Baeza

ACT ONE

Homer is playing poker at Lenny's house. Also present are Moe, Barney and Carl.

MOE
All right, I raise a quarter.

LENNY
I'm out.

CARL
I'm out.

BARNEY
I'm out. Whoa!

He passes out and falls off his chair.

MOE
Homer, do you want any cards? Homer!

Homer is choking on something. Moe slaps him on the back, and he coughs up a chip.

HOMER
Whoo! Don't try to eat these so-called 'chips'.

LENNY
You want another card or not?

HOMER
Huh? Oh, okay, I'll take three.

Moe hands Homer three cards in succession.

HOMER
D'oh! D'oh! D'oh! Uh, I mean, woohoo.

MOE
I'm in. Let's see your cards.

HOMER
Oh, I was bluffing.

MOE
Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Come to papa! I... wait a minute. Homer, you have a straight flush! Oh, you do this every time, you... oh god, I'm choking on my own rage here!

CARL
Hey, don't yell at Homer, just because he's a little slow.

Homer gasps. The shot then pans up to his brain.

HOMER'S BRAIN
Something was said, not good. What was it? Don't yell at Homer? Nah, that's okay. What was it... slow! They called you slow!

HOMER
(standing up and pointing) How dare you call me that! I--

We see that it is now night-time. Lenny is in his dressing gown, raiding the fridge.

LENNY
Hey Homer, are you still here? Boy, you are slow.

Homer gasps. His brain speaks again.

HOMER'S BRAIN
Something said, not good.

LENNY
Get the Hell out of here!

He kicks Homer out.

The next morning. The Simpsons family are eating breakfast.

HOMER
So anyhoo, last night we were playing poker, right. As usual I'm winning and not realizing it. And Lenny says that I'm... get this... he he... a little slow! (he roars with laughter, then stops) How come you're not laughing? Do you think I'm slow?

BART
(quietly) Buh.

LISA
(quietly) Nah.

MARGE
We don't think you're slow. But on the other hand, it's not like you go to museums, or read books or anything.

HOMER
You think I don't want to? It's those TV networks, Marge, they won't let me. One quality show after another, each one fresher ad more brilliant than the last. If they only stumbled once, just gave us thirty minutes to ourselves! But they won't! They won't let me live! (He sobs.)

Later, in the bedroom.

HOMER
Oh, who am I kidding? I am slow.

MARGE
Oh, Homie, if you feel bad about yourself, there's always things you can do to feel better.

HOMER
Take another bath in malt liquor?

MARGE
There's that. Or you could take an Adult Education Course!

HOMER
Oh. And how is 'education' supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Remember when I took that home wine-making course and I forgot how to drive?

MARGE
That's because you were drunk!

HOMER
And how.

Homer turns up at the Adult Education Annex. A sign reads: "We take the 'dolt' out of a-dolt education". Homer walks past several classrooms. The first class is "How To Turn A Man Into Putty In Your Hands", taught by Patty & Selma.

PATTY
One way to drive your man wild is to wear tight, revealing clothes.

Selma walks out from behind a screen, wearing a tight dress.

CLASS
Eww!

PATTY
At this point I'd like to remind you there are no refunds.

In the next room, Moe is teaching a class called "Funk Dancing For Self Defense".

MOE
All right, here's the four-one-one, folks. Say some gangster is dissing your fly-girl. You just give him one of these.

He plays some funk music and dances. Suddenly, he pulls out a shotgun and shoots into the air.

MOE
Ooh! Ah! Ooh!

Homer walks on.

Next, Lenny is teaching "How To Chew Tobacco". He spits some tobacco into the spittoon.

LENNY
See, that 'ping' sound means the spit was on target. Now you try.

The class try, but don't have much luck. Abe Simpson's teeth fall out.

ABE SIMPSON
Oh...

LENNY
Gettin' better.

HOMER
Wait a minute, even Lenny is teaching a class. Look at the way they admire and adore him. That's it! If he can teach a class, HE can teach a class! I mean I can teach a class!

Homer is being interviewed by the manager.

MANAGER
What is your area of expertise?

HOMER
Well, I can tell the difference between butter and 'I Can't Believe It's Not Butter'.

MANAGER
No you can't, Mr. Simpson, no-one can!

HOMER
Oh, I failed again! Everybody can teach a class but me! I'm an idiot! What am I going to tell my wife and kids?

MANAGER
Oh, you're married?

HOMER
(suggestively) That depends. Is there another way to get this job?

MANAGER
No, Mr. Simpson, what I mean is we may have a job for you after all. We need someone to teach a course on how to build a successful marriage.

HOMER
I'll do it! Anything to get me out of that house, away from all that nagging, and noise... uh, of a family of love. Tra-la-la-la!

At the Simpsons' home. Homer enters the kitchen.

HOMER
Look everyone! Now that I'm a teacher I've sewn patches on my elbows.

MARGE
Homer, that's supposed to be leather patches on a tweed blazer, not the other way around. You've ruined a perfectly good jacket.

HOMER
Ah, incorrect, Marge. Two perfectly good jackets.

He holds up a tweed blazer, with two patches cut from it.

LISA
I think it's great you're a teacher, Dad. So, will you be lecturing from a standardized text, or using the more socratic method of interactive class participation?

HOMER
(pause) Yes Lisa, Daddy's a teacher.

Homer is driving to his class. He stops outside Ned Flanders' house, gets out the car and rings his bell. Flanders answers the door.

FLANDERS
Well, Homer, what a pleasant--

HOMER
Can't talk now, I've got a class to teach!

FLANDERS
But you rang my--

Homer drive off. His next stop is at the Krusty Burger Drive-Thru.

TEENAGER
Can I take your order?

HOMER
Nothing for me today, I've got a class to teach!

He drives off.

TEENAGER
Sir, it's a felony to tease the order box.

Homer drives across an intersection which is on a red light.

HOMER
It's all right, I'm a teacher!

MISS HOOVER
(also waiting) I didn't know we could do that.

She drives across.

Homer begins his class by writing his name on the blackboard. He makes a terrible screeching noise. His class is attended by several Springfield residents, including Moe, Principal Skinner, Otto, Lenny, Carl, Apu, Mrs. Krebappel, Lionel Hutz, Groundskeeper Willy Waylon Smithers and Sideshow Mel.

HOMER
All right, the first thing they told me to do is make sure everyone here is in the right class.

Someone spits tobacco at him.

HOMER
Ew! Down the hall, room twelve.

A voice mumbles "Thank you", and spits more tobacco at him.

HOMER
Ew! Okay, let's get started. Uh... Um... Um... Um...

A woman whispers something to Carl.

HOMER
No talking! (he coughs) Um... Um... Oh! Um... Um...

Skinner raises his hand.

SKINNER
Um, how about if we tell you our problems with relationships?

HOMER
Yeah... yeah! That'll eat up some time. How about you... (scans the room) Otto?

OTTO
Well, my standards are just too high, y'know? I feel like nobody's good enough for me.

A flea drops off his head.

OTTO
Wow, you think you've got them all, but you forget about the eggs.

LIONEL HUTZ
My problem is I'm a real user of women. I move in right away, and stay until the money's gone.

MRS. KREBAPPEL
I'm a smart woman, but I make bad choices.

Lionel Hutz whispers to her, and she giggles.

MRS. KREBAPPEL
Okay, here's a set of house keys and my ATM card.

SMITHERS
Um, I was married once, but I just didn't know how to keep it together.

The scene dissolves into Smithers' black-and-white recollection. Smithers uses a crutch to walk, and pours himself a brandy. A woman is on his bed.

WOMAN
Come on, Waylon, make love to me the way you used to.

SMITHERS
No!

WOMAN
It's that horrible Mr. Burns, isn't it?

SMITHERS
(shouting) You leave Mr. Burns out of this!!

He smashes the bottles on the cabinet with his crutch. Mr. Burns calls from outside the room.

MR. BURNS
Smithers!

Smithers rushes out of the room. A half-naked Burns is at the bottom of the stairs.

MR. BURNS
Smithers!!

The scene dissolves back to the classroom. Homer is eating an orange.

SMITHERS
Mr. Simpson, are you listening? Simpson!

HOMER
Huh? Oh yeah, I was listening. Very funny.

MOE
Oh, you were not! You were just eating a damn orange!

HOMER
Yes, to the untrained eye, I'm eating an orange. But to the eye that has brains, I'm making a point about marriage. For you see, marriage is a lot like an orange. First, you have the skin. Then the sweet, sweet innards. Mmm...

Homer devours the orange.

APU
I don't understand.

WILLY
If I wanted to see a man eat an orange, I would have taken the orange-eating class!

Cut to another classroom. Hans Moleman is the teacher.

HANS MOLEMAN
The eating of an orange is a lot like a good marriage.

ABE SIMPSON
Just eat the damn oranges!

Back in Homer's class, the students get up and start to leave.

WOMAN
This is terrible.

WILLY
Let's get out of here.

SKINNER
A terrible excuse for education.

HOMER
Oh, I told Marge this wouldn't work the other night in bed.

SKINNER
Bed?

MOE
So something wasn't working in bed, huh? Heh heh heh.

HOMER
No, that's not what I meant. Marge and I always talk things over in bed. Like the other night, we were having a fight about money.

SKINNER
Ooh, a fight!

MOE
Trouble in paradise, heh, heh, heh.

The class return to their places.

HOMER
I was telling Marge that we could save some money if she only died her hair once a month.

MRS. KREBAPPEL
Marge dies her hair?

HOMER
Oh yeah, she's been as gray as a mule since she was seventeen.

SIDESHOW MEL
Ooh, tell us more. Tell us about it.

Later that night.

HOMER
I went on for hours, and they were hanging on my every word. I really think I was born to teach.

The shot pans out, and we see that Homer is at the Krusty Burger Drive-Thru again. Several police cars arrive. Chief Wiggum points a megaphone at Homer, as if it were a gun.

WIGGUM
All right, Simpson, you were warned about teasing the box!

HOMER
Aah!

He drives off.

TEENAGER
Wait! I need closure on that anecdote!

 

ACT TWO

Marge is at the Kwik-E-Mart the next day. She reaches the checkout.

APU
Oh, Mrs. Simpson, it may interest you to know that we are having a sale on blue dye number fifty two. It is your hair color, I believe.

MARGE
Whatever do you mean, I don't dye my hair.

MOE
No, you got it wrong 'pu, she's blue fifty six.

MARGE
I don't know what you're talking about.

Marge leaves the store. Mrs. Krebappel calls after her.

MRS. KREBAPPEL
We just love you're husband's class!

MARGE
(from the car) That's nice!

Back at home.

MARGE
Homer, I really don't like you telling personal secrets in your class.

HOMER
Marge, I didn't tell 'em personal stuff.

MARGE
Today at the Kwik-E-Mart, everybody knew I dye my hair.

HOMER
Oh. You mean about you. Well, maybe I said some things, some personal things. But you should have seen them, Marge, they really wanted to hear what I had to say.

MARGE
Mmm, I'm happy about that. But I think you can still be a good teacher and not invade our privacy.

HOMER
Look Marge, you don't know what it's like - I'm the one out there every day putting his ass on the line. And I'm not out of order! You're out of order! The whole freaking system is out of order! You want the truth? You want the truth? You can't handle the truth! 'Cause when you reach over and put your hand into a pile of goo that was your best friend's face, you'll know what to do!! Forget it Marge, it's Chinatown!!!

MARGE
Homer, don't ever tell them personal stuff about me again!!

HOMER
(sheepishly) Yes ma'am.

Homer is teaching his class again.

HOMER
What is a wedding? Well, Webster's Dictionary defines a wedding as 'the process of removing weeds from one's garden'.

The class groan.

MOE
Tell us more about you and Marge!

HOMER
This is a place of learning, not a place of... hearing about things.

The class get up to leave.

WOMAN
I guess he's run out of stories.

SKINNER
What a rip-off.

OTTO
I can't believe I paid ten thousand dollars for this course! What the heck was that lab fee for?

HOMER
No wait! Uh, wait, yes! I do have a story about two other young married's.

The class sit back down.

HOMER
Now the wife of this couple has an interesting quirk in the bedroom. It seems she goes wild with desire if her husband nibbles on her elbow.

MRS. KREBAPPEL
We need names!

HOMER
Well, let's just call them... uh, 'Mr. X' and 'Mrs. Y'. So anyway, Mr. X would say, "Marge, if this doesn't get your motor running, my name isn't Homer J. Simpson!"

The class gasp.

At home, the next evening. The family are in the kitchen.

MARGE
Oh, Homer, don't you have to get to class?

HOMER
Not tonight, Marge. Tonight, we can eat a nice leisurely dinner at home.

MARGE
Well, that will be lovel-- Aah!

She walks into the dining room, and sees Homer's class standing around the table.

MARGE
What the darn?

HOMER
Marge, you'll never guess what! My whole class is here! They're going to observe the human peepshow that is our lives.

The whole family sits down to eat.

SIDESHOW MEL
(to another classmate) Apparently that disturbing odor was the food.

HOMER
So, little Lisa, apple of my eye, how were things down at the old school house?

LISA
I find this demeaning and embarrassing beyond my worst nightmares.

The class scribble on their notepads.

HOMER
(to Bart) And how's my little major-leaguer? Catch any June bugs today?

BART
Well, me and Milhouse took some mail from the mail truck and threw it down the sewer.

HOMER
Son, I know you meant well, but that wasn't the right thing to do.

BART
What the hell are you talking about? You're the one who double-dared us!

HOMER
Why you little...!

He reaches across the table and strangles Bart. The class continue to make notes.

MARGE
Homer!

BART
I'm out of here!

LISA
Me too!

HOMER
He he he. Well, now that the little ones have toddled off to bed--

MARGE
I want this to end now!

MOE
Hey Homer, why don't you just nibble her elbow? That always melts her butter, right? Heh, heh, heh.

MARGE
(gasp) All right! Okay! Everybody out!

APU
Ooh, she's gotta have it!

MARGE
Out! Get out, get out, get out out out out!!

She shoos them outside.

HOMER
All right, we're breaking early tonight, class. For tomorrow, you should read pages seven through eighteen in Lisa's diary.

MARGE
(to Homer) You too!

HOMER
Huh?

MARGE
Get out!

HOMER
But I'm not in the cla--

Marge pushes him to the ground and slams the door.

OTTO
Is any of this going to be in the test, because I wasn't paying attention.

 

ACT THREE

Homer is outside on the lawn.

HOMER
Come on, Marge, let me in! There's crickets out here!

Marge opens the door.

HOMER
Okay, Marge, things were said, mistakes were made. Let's end this madness and get on with our lives.

He tries to walk back in the house, but Marge blacks him off.

MARGE
You just don't get it, do ya Homer? You told personal things about our lives, even after you promised you wouldn't. I can't trust you any more.

HOMER
But I've learned my lesson. It'll never happen again.

Ned Flanders open his bedroom window next door.

FLANDERS
Hey Homer, what's the big brew-a-ha-ha?

HOMER
Aw, Marge is throwing me out for blabbing about her elbow thing.

Marge slams the door in his face.

HOMER
Honey, the door blew shut! (pause) Oh, fine. If that's what you want, you've got it. This scene is gettin' old, man. I'm hittin' the road! Maybe I'll drop you a line someday from wherever I end up in this crazy old world.

Homer ends up in the tree house. He looks down into the kitchen.

MARGE
Kids, your father and I are going through a really tough time right now, and I don't know what's going to happen. But just remember that both your Mom and your Dad love you very, very much. (She walks off.)

BART
Wow, I've never seen Mom so mad at Homer before.

LISA
I'll tell you a secret, Bart. Every time I'm worried about Mom and Dad, I go to the attic and add to my ball of string.

Cut to the attic, where a huge ball of string crushes Snowball II.

Bart and Milhouse play outside.

BART
Earthbase? This is commander Bart McCool. We are under attack by the Zornid Brain Changers! Quickly, into the safety dome, Milbot!

MILHOUSE
Affirmative, humanoid.

The boys climb into the tree house, where they see Homer washing his underpants.

BART & MILHOUSE
Eww!

HOMER
Don't mind me, boys, just scrubbing my undies.

MILHOUSE
Sorry, Bart. Your dad kind of blew the fantasy. I only like it when I'm pretend-scared.

HOMER
Keep up the roughhousing, son! Without a strong male presence in the house, you could turn sissy overnight! (in a sissy voice) Oh, these stubborn grass stains.

Homer sees Reverend Lovejoy coming to the Simpsons' home.

HOMER
Oh, good. Reverend Lovejoy will make Marge take me back! He has to push the sanctity of marriage, or his God will punish him.

REV. LOVEJOY
(inside) Get a divorce.

MRS. LOVEJOY
Mm-hmm.

MARGE
But isn't that a sin?

REV. LOVEJOY
Marge, just about everything is a sin. (holding up a bible) You ever sat down and read this thing?  Technically, we're not allowed to go to the bathroom.

Later that night. Marge is in bed. She reaches across to where Homer usually sleeps. We see that there is a huge dent in the bed. Up in the tree house, Homer holds a picture frame.

HOMER
Good night, Marge.

He turns around, revealing that the frame is empty.

HOMER
Oh, why didn't I take a picture? I had ten years to take a picture!

Marge is driving into town the next day.

MARGE
Funny the way everything reminds me of Homer.

She passes shops, named "Broken Home Chimney Repairs", "Splitsville Ice Cream Sundaes" and "Painful Memories Party Supplies". She then hear's Homer's voice in her head.

HOMER'S VOICE
I love you... Will you marry me, Marge?... You mean I'm going to be a daddy?... I hope we'll always be together... together... together...

She sees Homer in the back seat, talking through a cardboard tube.

HOMER
Together?

Marge skids the car, throwing him out onto the road.

HOMER
Ow! Ooh! Ah! Ow!

Lisa visits Homer in the tree house.

LISA
Look Dad, I brought you some-- Aaah!

She sees that Homer is clipping a potted plant to look exactly like Marge.

HOMER
Good news, Lisa! I don't need your mother anymore. I've created a replacement for her that's superior to her in almost every way!

LISA
Dad, that's just a plant.

HOMER
Lisa! You will respect your new mother! Now, give her a kiss. Kiss her!

Homer pushes the plant towards Lisa, but knocks it out of the tree house. It breaks on the ground.

HOMER
Aah! Oh my god oh my god oh my god! (calmly) All right, let's get our stories straight - she tripped, right?

LISA
Look, I brought you some nice pudding.

HOMER
Ah, your flesh mother used to bring me pudding. Oh, I miss Marge. Lisa you're smart, help me trick her into taking me back!

LISA
Dad, you can't trick somebody into loving you. There's a reason two people come together and stay together - there's something they give each other that nobody else can give them. If you wanna get Mom back, you'll just have to remember what you give her that no one else can.

HOMER
I'll pay you forty dollars if you think of it for me.

LISA
No.

HOMER
Okay... thirty.

LISA
Good luck, Dad.

She leaves the tree house.

HOMER
All right,, brain, it's all up to you. If you don't think of what it is, we'll lose Marge forever.

HOMER'S BRAIN
Eat the pudding eat the pudding eat the pudding eat the pudding eat the pudding eat the pudding eat the pudding eat the pudding eat the pudding.

HOMER
Okay. But then we gotta get to work.

Moe arrives at the Simpsons' home.

MOE
Oh, hi, Marge. I heard you and Homer broke up so I'm declaring my intentions to move in on his territory. Here, I uh, brung you some posies.

MARGE
Oh, my! I'm very flattered, but I'm not really interested.

MOE
Jeez, I come here, get dressed up all nice-like, put my heart on the line and I make a fool of myself. Oh, boy. Aw, I'm gonna start bawling here.

MARGE
Why don't you come inside for a drink of water?

MOE
'K.

Moe sits on the couch.

MOE
Clean house, no silver fish. Coulda been very happy here.

Homer enters the living room.

MOE
Homer!

HOMER
Moe! What are you doing here?

MOE
I, um, well, I... I never touched her, Homer. Homer, I swear I never touched her!

MARGE
Here's your water, Moe.

MOE
I didn't ask her for no water! She's lying Homer, she's lying. She told me you were dead. That's the only reason I-- I didn't do nothin'!! (He runs out of the room, and dives out of a window.) Aah!

HOMER
Bye, Moe.

MARGE
Homer, what happened to you?

HOMER
Marge, I finally figured out what I can give you that no one else can - a bouquet of po -- (sees Moe's bouquet) oh! I give up. I don't deserve to live with you.

He walks out of the room, but his rags get caught on the coffee table.

HOMER
Oh... my tattered rags are caught on your coffee table.

MARGE
Here, let me help you.

She frees Homer. As he leaves, he has a sudden brainwave.

HOMER
Wait a minute. Wait, that's it! I know now what I can offer you that no one else can - complete and utter dependence!!

MARGE
Homer, that's not a good thing.

HOMER
Are you kidding? It's a wondrous, marvelous thing. Marge, I need you more than anyone else on this entire planet could possibly ever need you! I need you to take care of me, to put up with me, and most of all I need you to love me, 'cause I love you.

MARGE
But how do I know I can trust you?

HOMER
Marge, look at me! We've been separated for a day, and I'm as dirty as a Frenchman. In another few hours I'll be dead! I can't afford to lose your trust again.

Marge looks into Homer's eyes, then smiles and hugs him.

MARGE
I must admit, you certainly do make a gal feel needed.

HOMER
Wait till my class hears about this! Kidding!

Later that day.

HOMER
Ah! Oh, it's great to be indoors with my family.

LISA
I'm really glad you're back, Dad, I knew you could do it. (quietly) Now don't screw it up.

BART
(showing him a piece of paper) Look Dad, I missed you so much I couldn't concentrate in school and I got an F.

HOMER
Hey, this is dated two weeks ago!

BART
Sorry. Here's a fresh one.

MARGE
(suggestively) And I have a special present for you, but I'll give it to you later tonight.

HOMER
Special present? I don't want to wait! I want it now, I want the children to see-- oh! Oh, right, later, he he.

Moe appears at the kitchen window.

MOE
So, Marge, are you really happy, really?

HOMER
Hey Moe.

MOE
Aah!

He runs off. Fade to credits.