“The Rich Are Different From You and Me.” “Yes, They’re Better.”
A friend just sent me an email saying the following, presumably because I mentioned The New Yorker once too often:
Did you ever see that episode of the Simpsons where Marge makes a bunch of dresses out of one dress, and people assume she’s rich, so she joins a country club? One of the fancy ladies at the club says, “I get all my steaks from the New Yorker.” She reminds me of you.
OK, so, that episode, Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield, is amazing. Trivia time: “The episode was written by Jennifer Crittenden and directed by Susie Dietter. It was the first time a female writer and director were credited in the same episode.” It hails from the amazing Season 7, when Lisa became a vegetarian and we all incorporated “Yes, Ralph, I’m going to marry a carrot” into our sarcasm repertoires. Also “you don’t win friends with salad!” Confession time: I am SUCH a Lisa. Maybe that much is clear by now.
But the Chanel suit episode, which is how I think of “Class Struggle in Springfield,” has so much wisdom to impart about how we view money, and people who have it vs. people who don’t, and clothes as signifiers of status:
Lisa: Do I have to go? That country club is a hotbed of exclusionist snobs and status-seeking social climbers.
Marge: I’ve told you, I don’t like you using the word “hotbed.”
Bart: That place is weird. A man in the bathroom kept handing me towels until I paid him to stop.
Homer: [holding a stack of towels] Should have held out longer, boy.
Lisa: The rich are different from you and me.
Marge: Yes, they’re better.
Lisa [riding on a pony]: Mom, look, I found something more fun than complaining!
Marge: [thinking] Oh, we’ve got a winning hand, we can take the rest of the tricks [camera pans higher up] Oh, we’d better be careful. The purpose of this game is to make friends. You don’t make friends by winning. [camera pans higher up] Still, there’s nothing more popular than a gracious winner. [camera pans to the end of her hair] Don’t ask me, I’m just hair. Your head ended 18 inches ago.
Marge: Homer, what are you doing?
Homer: I’m driving up to the main building. They got valet parking.
Marge: We can’t drive this up there. They’ll see the dent. They’ll see the coat hanger antenna. Stop the car, we’re walking.
Homer: But Marge, valets! Maybe for once, someone will call me “sir” without adding, “You’re making a scene.”
Is there a better “Simpsons” episode about money than this one, or does this one get the crown?