The Simpsons: Homer Simpson, This is Your Wife
So, I have this thing I do whenever someone tells me a "knock knock" joke. Instead of saying "who's there?" I'll say something like "come in" or "hang on, I'll get it." It's worth it just to see the look of confusion on the person's face. Then last night I see this exchange between Marge and Charles, a character played by the episode's guest writer, Ricky Gervais:
Charles: Would you like to hear a joke?
Marge: As long as it's not a "knock knock" joke. I always ruin them by saying, "Come in!"
I mean seriously, why should Ricky Gervais get paid to write jokes I've been saying free for years? Just because he's hysterical and far more talented than I? That's the dumbest reason I've ever hea-- well, actually, that's a really good reason, so nevermind. Besides, we don't know if that particular exchange was written by Gervais or not, as scripts go through several rewrites with many writers tossing in gags. This became a kind of game for me as I watched the episode, trying to figure out which lines were Gervais' and which ones were not. Oh yeah, and as someone who has not seen a single episode of The Office, if there were any sly references to it, they went over my head.
Last night's episode centered around a wife swapping show called Mother Flippers which partners Marge with Gervais' Charles Heathbar, a sad, broken down cuckold who immediately falls for Marge when she shows him even a small amount of compassion. In the show's funniest moment, Charles serenades her with a song using the words "Di" (as in "Lady Di") and "die" as in "please don't die, Marge." The song turns out to be more of an explanation of the song itself. Despite the fact Marge has no romantic interest, the characters share a knack of belaboring the point and taking forever to say what they're trying to say. The aforementioned joke Charles tells Marge, which should take a few seconds to tell, is mined for every possible comic possibility, resulting in a hilarious exchange between the two over which jokes are good and bad, and the appropriateness of this particular joke. If Gervais and the show's writers have anything in common, it's that they know how to dig past a simple gag and uproot something bigger and funnier. I'm not saying they should hire Ricky Gervais, but I wouldn't be disappointed to see him take a crack at another episode, as he definitely seems in tune with The Simpsons aesthetic.