"The Simpsons" The Way We Was (TV Episode 1991) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • Marge and Homer tell the children how they first met - as high school students in 1974. Homer tried to impress Marge by pretending to be a French student to take her to the prom but she chose Artie Zif as her escort instead. However after Artie has made a nuisance of himself Marge rejects him and returns to the man she will marry.

  • Homer and Marge tell the story of how they met and fell in love in high school.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Opening Credits:

    Blackboard joke: I will not get very far with this attitude.

    Couch gag: The family runs in and sits on the couch. The floor underneath the couch gives way and the family falls through the hole.

    Act One:

    In the living room Homer yells at Bart and Lisa for sitting to close to the TV. The whole family is watching a Siskel and Ebert type movie review program. The two critics discuss the newest McBain action movie. A clip from the movie is shown, and in the clip, McBain, a cop, punches his sergeant, causing the sergeant to stumble backwards through a window and splash in a fountain several stories below. Suddenly, the TV goes on the fritz and the picture starts to frizzle out. Homer attempts to fix the TV by pounding the top of it with his fist, but he only makes it worse. Homer and the kids are devastated over the TV. Marge tries to console everyone by telling them that before she and Homer were married they never used to watch TV. She begins reminiscing about life with Homer before the kids; Lisa becomes interested and asks Marge to tell the story of how Homer proposed to her.

    In her head, Marge flashes back to about ten years ago; Homer and Marge are in Dr. Hibberts office as he explains why Marge has been feeling sick in the morning. Marge flashes foward to the present, and decides not to tell that story, but rather the story of how her and Homer fell in love. Marge begins the story by telling the kids that she and Homer were seniors in high school, but had never even met before.

    Flash back to Springfield 1974, as a teenage Homer drives to school in a beat up green muscle car and sings along to The Joker by The Steve Miller Band on the radio. At school, Homer meets up with Barney and together they head into the school. The camera follows the two friends through the crowded hallways and stops on Marge, who is at her locker, talking with a friend about the inequality of womans rights. The two of them head to class, and as they walk by the boys bathroom, Marge sniffs the air and smells smoke. She comments that the wood shop kids must be smoking again. Inside the bathroom, Barney and Homer each smoke a cigarette, when suddenly Principal Dondalinger walks in and catches them in the act. He sentences both them to detention after school. Later, out in front of the school, a crowd gathers as Marge, with bullhorn in hand, preaches about womans rights. And then, in an act of defiance she burns her bra. Principal Dondalinger happens upon her little demonstration, and sentences her to detention after school.

    In detention, Barney asks a girl to the prom and she quickly declines, repulsed at the sight of him. He and Homer discuss the struggles of finding a date for the upcoming prom, when suddenly, Marge, who has never been to detention before, enters the room. Homer is awestruck by her beauty, while Marge doesnt even notice him. She sits down in the seat next to Homer and when Barney leans over to ask her to the prom, Homer quickly covers Barneys mouth and shoves him away, exclaiming, Shes mine!

    Act Two:

    Later on in detention, Homer finally works up the nerve to introduce himself to Marge. However, in the process, the teacher leading detention sends Homer to the back of the room for talking, and Marge isnt really impressed with Homer. Flash forward to the living room, Homer tells the kids that meeting Marge was the easy part, but that making her notice him would be a bit more difficult. Returning to the flashback, Homer sits down for dinner with his dad, and tells him about the dilemma in getting Marge to notice him. Grandpa doesnt offer Homer much in the way of advice though, as he tells him to aim lower in life and not go for the pretty girl.

    The next day at school, Homer visits a guidance counselor for advice on getting Marge to notice him. The counselor takes pity on Homer and tells him that he should try to share the same interests that she has. He tells Homer that Marge is on the forensics team and that they meet in room 209. Homer is in a hurry to head over to the forensics team in room 209, when the counselor stops Homer and asks him about his plans for after graduation. Homer tells the counselor, Im gonna drink a lot of beer and stay up all night! The counselor hands Homer a brochure and suggests that Homer apply to the nuclear power plant that will be opening soon, because it doesnt require a college education. On the way to meet up with the forensics team, Homer laughs at the idea of him working in a nuclear power plant and throws the brochure in the trash.

    In room 209, Marge is speaking in front of the class, as Homer walks in. Marge receives applause for her speech and praise from a boy named Artie. She sits down as Homer walks up to the front of the class and asks if there is an opening on the team that he can sign up for. The teacher, Mrs. Bloominstein, offers Homer a spot on the debate team and he takes it. She tells him that the topic for this years debate team is the possibility of the government lowering the national speed limit to 55 mph. Later at home, Homer passionately studies the pros and cons of the 55 mph speed limit for the debate team. The next day during a forensics team meeting, Artie and Homer hold a mock debate over the possible changing of the speed limit. During the debate it is apparent that Artie and Homer do not like each other. Artie, who is very intelligent, and a bit of a nerd, talks down to Homer; Homer grows more and more angry with each taunt from Artie. When Mrs. Bloominstein offers Homer the chance for a rebuttal, Homer misunderstands and pulls down his pants, mooning Artie. The entire class cringes as they shake their heads.

    At track and field practice, Marge runs over to the water fountain to grab a drink. Suddenly, Homer pops out of the bushes to talk to her. He asks her to go out with him, but she is reluctant, stating that she hardly knows him. He asks he to at least give him a chance, and he gives her some references, so she can hear from other people what he is really like. Marge pays a visit to Homers old shot put coach, his shop teacher and to Barney. In the lunchroom, Homer confronts Marge again, and even after all the references speak highly of Homer; Marge is still reluctant to go out with him, stating that she doesnt have time to date anyone. She says that she has a big forensics meet coming up the next day and she is busy as a French tutor. Homer gets an idea and lies to Marge, telling her that he needs some help in French class, and they set up a study meeting at his house for later. Flash forward to the living room, where Lisa is amazed with Homer slyness and Bart could care less, as he fiddles with the TV.

    At his house, Homer dims the lights and puts on some mood music in preparation for Marges arrival. When Marge arrives, she gets straight down to business and tells Homer to turn up the lights and shut the music off. Homer actually learns some French, and after 3 hours of studying, Marge says that it is time for her to go. Homer convinces her to stay longer, she agrees and they have a good time studying together. Much later, at one in the morning, Homer flatters Marge with compliments and asks her to the prom. Marge after having fun that night with Homer, says yes. Homer is giddy with excitement and decides to come clean with Marge about pretending to need tutoring for French class. When she hears that she has been duped and kept out to the late hours of the night, she slaps Homer in the face and storms out. As she slams the door she tells him that she hates him. Homer, a bit oblivious at what has just happened, calls Barney and brags that he has a date for the prom.

    Act Three:

    Lisa is on the edge of her seat listening to the story, while Bart continues to fiddle with the TV. Flash back to Marge, who delivers a sub par performance at the forensics meet due to her lack of sleep. Artie, with the first place trophy in his arms, approaches Marge after the meet and asks her to the prom. Marge is flattered by his offer, and says yes.

    Up in her room, Marge prepares for the prom with the help of her mother, when Homer pulls up in a limousine outside. Patty and Selma answer the door and are disgusted at the sight of Homer. He tells them that he is Marges date for the prom and not knowing who Marges real date is, they let him. He sits down on the couch and waits for Marge, who is shocked when she comes down the stairs and sees Homer waiting for her. She demands to know what he is doing, and he explains that even though she said that she hated him; he avoided her for 3 weeks so she wouldnt have the opportunity to tell him that she would no longer be going to the prom with him. Just then the doorbell rings and Patty and Selma open the door to reveal Artie. He introduces himself as Artie Ziff and explains that he is Marges prom date. A dejected Homer heads back to his limousine, as he walks away Marge looks as though she feels sorry for him. In the limo, Homer tells the driver he still wants his services, even without Marge as his date, and he heads to the prom alone.

    At the prom, Principal Dondalinger surveys the crowd and greets the students as they enter. While Marge and Artie get their picture taken, Marge is shocked to see Homer standing in the picture line alone. At his table, Homer sits alone and orders the two dinners he paid for. Suddenly, the crowd gasps and cheers as Barney steaks through the dance floor naked. Up on the stage, Principal Dondalinger announces Marge and Artie as King and Queen of the prom; Homer stands on his chair and cheers loudly for Marge. But, when Artie and Marge share the spotlight in a slow dance together, Homer cant bear to watch and steps out in the hallway alone.

    A crying Homer sits on some steps in the hallway, when the door to the prom opens and Marge walks out for some air. She notices Homer crying and takes a seat next to him. Homer bears his soul to Marge and tells her that she is the one thing in his life that he is sure about. But, Marge tells him that he must be wrong about this one, and heads back into the prom. A glum Homer heads out to his limo and tells the driver to take him to Inspiration Point, Springfields version of lovers lane. Later on, at Inspiration Point, the camera pans across a row of cars and zooms in on Arties parked car. Marge and Artie are in the backseat, and an aggressive Artie tries to put the moves on Marge. She tries to tell him to stop, but he wont listen. She finally slaps him across the face after he rips one of the straps to her dress. She orders Artie to take her home. Meanwhile, a few cars down, Homers limo driver tells him, itll cost him 45 bucks an hour to keep him any longer. Homer the driver that he can leave, and Homer walks home alone. On his way home, Marge and Artie pass by in Arties car. Marge notices Homer walking on the side of the road and a look of remorse comes over her face. After Artie drops her off, she decides to go back in her car, and pick Homer up from the side of the road.

    Homer is shocked to see Marge pull up in her car and offer him a ride. He gets in and Marge tells Homer that she should have gone to the prom with him in the first place, even though he lied to her, as she realized that Artie was a big sleazy jerk. Homer covers up Marges ripped strap with the corsage he bought for her and tells her that he has a problem. He says, Once you stop this car, Im gonna hug you, and kiss you. And then Ill never be able to let you go. Flash forward to the living room, where Homer and Marge embrace and kiss, as Homer says, And I never have. Lisa is awestruck by the story, while Bart makes gagging noises.

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