Shelf Love

Love & Marriage & The Simpsons: The Happily Ever After 10 Years with Joe Martucci

Short Description

Love & Marriage...and The Simpsons. Join me & my IRL love partner to celebrate what "ever after" looks like this Valentine's Day. We discuss how romantic love, infidelity, & marriage are portrayed in The Simpsons.


romance in pop culture, tv show discussion

Show Notes

Love & Marriage...and The Simpsons. Join me & my IRL love partner to celebrate what "ever after" looks like this Valentine's Day. We discuss how romantic love, infidelity, & marriage are portrayed in The Simpsons.

Reader...I married him and he DID eventually redo my website.

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Guest: Joe Martucci, romance podcaster husband


Andrea Martucci: [00:00:00] (to the tune of Frank Sinatra's Love and Marriage - Andrea singing and Joe making mouth noises on the beat) Love and marriage. Love and marriage. Du du, du, du, du, du, du, du, du,

du, du,

du, du, du.

Hello, and welcome to Shelf Love, a podcast and community that explores romantic love stories in fiction across media time and cultures. Shelf Love is for the curious and open-minded who joyfully question as they consume pop culture. I'm your host, Andrea Martucci. And I want to welcome you to a very special Valentine's Day episode of Shelf Love. Valentine's Day is understood as a time to celebrate romantic love. And I'm thrilled to have my own personal in real life, romantic partner here on the show today.

We recorded this episode back in August 2021 when we were celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary. We had a few kid-free days and celebrated our milestone anniversary by preparing a quiche, throwing it in the oven, and then sitting down to talk about formative media influences on our own ideas about romantic love, how we've navigated the cultural expectations for romantic love in our own real life relationship. And also the marriage of Marge and Homer in the Simpsons.

One thing that comes up a lot when discussing romance novels is the genre convention to end a story at happily ever after, or even happily for now, which often means that the ongoing relationship challenges of long-term romantic relationships are not explored on page. So how does The Simpsons, a serialized cartoon for children, sort of, explore the challenges, the mundanity and the negotiations of marriage with children?

And how does The Simpsons portray romantic love between Marge and Homer Simpson?

Joe Martucci: Hi, my name is Joe Martucci and I've been married to Andrea Martucci for 10 years.

And she just asked me to recite that verbatim and much like in our wedding I forgot it a number of times before saying it correctly,

Andrea Martucci: you forgot that you were married to me for 10 years

Joe Martucci: No. It's the particular wording. Don't you remember in our wedding?

Andrea Martucci: In our vows?

Joe Martucci: Yeah.

Andrea Martucci: We had like really complicated vows.

Joe Martucci: And there was a break and I was supposed to repeat what was said, and I just sort of

Andrea Martucci: It was like two phrases

Joe Martucci: stared into the distance. No, lovingly into your eyes.

Andrea Martucci: Yes. Which is much like staring into the distance.

Joe Martucci: They're so deep,

Andrea Martucci: deep pools of what? Deep pools of, finish the sentence.

Joe Martucci: Chocolate.

Andrea Martucci: Chocolate. And your eyes are deep crevasses of icy wonder.

What's it like being married to somebody who has a romance novel podcast?

Joe Martucci: There's a lot of times where I have to be quiet in the house.

I get to learn all new, exciting and interesting things about romance and romance genres and aliens.

Andrea Martucci: Have you ever read a romance novel?

Joe Martucci: I read [00:03:00] A Week to be Wicked.

Andrea Martucci: What'd you think?

Joe Martucci: It's good. That's entertaining.

Andrea Martucci: Do you know what all the fuss is about?

Joe Martucci: The fuss about romance novels or that book in particular

Andrea Martucci: Romance novels, based on your single experience .

Joe Martucci: From one data point?

Yeah, I can understand it.

Andrea Martucci: What media do you think informed your ideas of romantic love?

Joe Martucci: Motley Cru songs.

Andrea Martucci: Now what's a representative Motley Cru song.

Joe Martucci: Are you going to get the license for it?

Andrea Martucci: Pour some sugar on me?

Joe Martucci: That's Def Leppard, That's not Motley Cru. Girls, Girls, Girls, is the Motley Cru and I was mostly joking, but yeah, in terms of like romantic love and marriage you gave me a preview of this question. So I thought about it some more. There was definitely all of the, what's his name? Who are we talking about yesterday? The Wonder Years.

Andrea Martucci: Ben Savage.

Joe Martucci: No, not Ben. Fred.

Andrea Martucci: Fred Savage.

I should note for the listeners that you're slightly older than me.

Joe Martucci: Just slightly.

Andrea Martucci: The pop culture references it's like a Venn diagram. Sometimes they line up and sometimes they don't.

Joe Martucci: Fred Savage was also in The Princess Bride.

Andrea Martucci: I know, I know his face. I just couldn't remember the name,

Joe Martucci: But he has like a brother who's also, I think there is a Ben Savage.

Andrea Martucci: There is, I know. I can't keep them apart.

Joe Martucci: I don't think it did anything though.

Andrea Martucci: No, I think he was Boy Meets World.

Joe Martucci: All right. But that's, that's your Venn diagram.

Andrea Martucci: That's what I'm saying. Anyhow, another that's a very similar actually what's his name and Topanga in Boy Meets World and Winnie and what's his face in the Wonder Years, right? It was like a nascent young love, long-term relationship situation. How did that resolve in The Wonder Years? Cause in boy meets world. They like ended up getting married when they're like 18 and going to college.

Joe Martucci: Oh really?

Andrea Martucci: Yeah.

Joe Martucci: I don't remember.

Andrea Martucci: So it really made an impression.

Joe Martucci: I know, it did at the time, but I don't really, I honestly don't remember how it ended. The thing was back then, if you watch a TV show and then he didn't like see the end of it. That was it. It was gone forever.

They didn't really release them on VHS either. It was just like, that's it. It's gone. Wait for the reruns.

Andrea Martucci: What about that relationship though, stuck with you, resonated?

Joe Martucci: I was actually thinking more about like he was in The Princess Bride, which then also made me think of Robinhood, which is around that time.

Andrea Martucci: Wait, like actual Robin Hood or Robin Hood Men in Tights?

Joe Martucci: Actual Robin Hood.

Andrea Martucci: Okay. With Kevin Costner.

Joe Martucci: Yeah.

Andrea Martucci: And so what's the romance in that story.

Joe Martucci: They're all like these very dramatic male adventurers who fight and do whatever it takes to win back the women they love.

Andrea Martucci: Interesting. Okay. So do you think that having experienced those stories, do you think that influenced at all once you reached an age where you were considering romantic relationships for yourself? Do you think that influenced your ideas of what role you would play in a romantic relationship or what kind of partner you were looking for or how you imagined your relationship would go?

Joe Martucci: Like you'd be kidnapped at some point.

Andrea Martucci: So separate the plot elements from the deeper [00:06:00] theme there. So if a recurring theme was a helpless woman who can't do stuff for herself or save herself and the romantic hero in a heterosexual pairing is gonna like swoop in and solve things, make things better.

There's a very clear gender role dynamic going on there that I think that even if you don't imagine you have to rescue your romantic partner from the prince of Nottingham or Prince Humperdinck that there's still some takeaway there of it's up to the guy to drive the action.

Joe Martucci: No you're right. But it is, it's I think a lot of this stuff was very it's like the adventure novels, where it's focused on the man, where they have like a romantic relationship, there's like a woman involved that they fall in love with or that they need the rescue or that they want to finish their lives with in some way. But but it's more focused on what the man does. And

Andrea Martucci: his trials in order to earn the bride or the romance.

Joe Martucci: Yeah.

Andrea Martucci: And she's like more like the prize than a partner.

Joe Martucci: Yeah. Sometimes the characters become like Guinivere-esque

I think that's what I'm thinking of. Where Guinevere has been portrayed as a variety of different types of women, but it's just like princess in a castle kind of abstraction

Andrea Martucci: What do you think the secret to our strong decade long marriage is?

Joe Martucci: When I wasn't finished on my previous thought,

Andrea Martucci: oh my God. Okay. (Joe Laughs)

Joe Martucci: The secret is adaptability. No, I was going to say that after, as I got older, I started reading things. This one always stands out to me. Like For Whom The Bell Tolls, have you ever read this?

Andrea Martucci: No.

Joe Martucci: And I probably read it because like I heard the Metallica song and I was like, this must be cool if they wrote a song about it that's cool.

Andrea Martucci: Who wrote For Whom The Bell Tolls.

Joe Martucci: Ernest Hemingway.

Andrea Martucci: Yes. Okay. A master of romance.

Joe Martucci: Yeah. But in that one, there's like a young American who goes to Spanish Civil War and falls in love with a young woman in Spain and, I don't know why. I remember this. There's a scene where they kissed for the first time and she can't figure out where their noses are supposed to go while they're kissing. That's the one remarkable part of the book. It's 900 pages or something, but in the end, I'm going to spoiler alert for anyone else to read this in the last

Andrea Martucci: they've had, what a hundred years,

Joe Martucci: maybe not maybe in the forties. 80 anyway. He's a dynamiter, a dynamitist, and he blows things up and he supposed to blow up a bridge and he's killed while doing it.

But then I went into started like reading, like American literature. I don't know this appealed to me in some way or something. I started reading like classic literature when I was like a teenager. And they never end well. There's no romance it's ever like that, that one in particular stands out because it's oh, he was in love.

He could have like the plot could have been, they could have fled Spain and I dunno died in World War II,

Andrea Martucci: Serious literature always tends towards the morose and like the worst possible outcome, because it's like a sign of meaning, I [00:09:00] guess. That's sad.

Marriage and romantic love have not always been linked together throughout time.

However, certainly in the age we grew up in it has.

I forgot my question.

Joe Martucci: I'm sure it was a good one.

Andrea Martucci: What do you think the secret is to our long and happy marriage? And would you characterize it as such?

Joe Martucci: When I characterize the marriage as such? I think so. Yes. What is the secret? Rephrasing rhetorical questions and let you answer them instead of me.

Andrea Martucci: Is that the secret? How did we negotiate the early days of our relationship? And what made you feel confident that it was a relationship that could last?

Joe Martucci: I think we've always been good at taking on things that come up and problem solving together.

Because as we were talking about recently, life is just a series of problems.

Andrea Martucci: It is. Yeah.

Joe Martucci: But it's nice to be able to solve them with someone else and trying to figure it out yourself.

Two heads are better than one.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah, totally.

Joe Martucci: If you were ever kidnapped in a castle, I would come get you just FYI.

Andrea Martucci: Oh thanks.

Joe Martucci: I just don't think it's gonna happen though.

Andrea Martucci: Probably not. What if I was stranded at a train station in a snowstorm?

Joe Martucci: Have you been? Is this a trick question. Is there like a time that..

Andrea Martucci: No, my memory is crap.

Joe Martucci: I drove you home in a snow storm one time.

Andrea Martucci: That's true.

Joe Martucci: You were allowed to sleep as a sweet princess in the passenger seat.

Andrea Martucci: I was, you were kind of angry about that though.

Joe Martucci: The sleeping?

Andrea Martucci: Yeah.

Joe Martucci: I wasn't angry so much as

Andrea Martucci: miffed

Joe Martucci: No. Miffed, isn't the right word. I've had to tell that story and now I feel like people don't believe me that there were like trees falling down around us and.

Andrea Martucci: There were trees sliding off the road. And I was just like sleeping soundly in the passenger seat. It was actually quite peaceful.

Joe Martucci: Gentle new snowfall.

Andrea Martucci: And it was like all kind of like a round, you like a

Joe Martucci: like a snow globe of death,

Andrea Martucci: it was sound muffling. Normally when you're on the highway, everything is so noisy, but it was so quiet.

Joe Martucci: You couldn't hear the other people's screams.

Andrea Martucci: Exactly. Anyways, you felt abandoned by me. I used to be able to sleep at the drop of a hat.

Joe Martucci: Yeah. It doesn't happen as much anymore.

Andrea Martucci: No, I think I'm just better rested. Period.

Joe Martucci: That's good.

Andrea Martucci: Were there any things that you had learned about love in pop culture that you had to unlearn or reevaluate and kind of question?

Joe Martucci: From pop culture?

Andrea Martucci: Yeah.

Joe Martucci: I think there's like a weird generational shift of, and like you see this represented in pop culture where TV shows would always show like the husband is like complaining about his wife, right? And I think the first job I had out of college, I was working with a bunch of, it was all guys. Cause it was in like a manufacturing plant and they were all baby boomers. Like they were all older and like you'd have lunch or like anytime you'd hear a conversation, it was just like complaining, like complaining about their wives and the lives they wished they had or something.

And I never understood that. It just never made any sense why you would end up in a relationship where you felt like I had to complain all the time or, [00:12:00] or like you felt like that was normal.

Andrea Martucci: What was the nature of their complaints usually?

Joe Martucci: I think it was like, they didn't feel like they had free time to do something. I don't know what they would've done. Gone fishing or it was always like these very stereotypical like complaints of

Andrea Martucci: I just want to watch football and drink beer. And instead I have to

Joe Martucci: like work on my car, yeah. But instead I have to, I don't know, the wife planned something with friends or

Andrea Martucci: social activites? Okay. So wife as social planner. Was it also like wife as creating a list of things like wanting him to do?

Joe Martucci: Oh yeah. The honey-do list. Sure. I think people still say that, but it feels like a very baby boomer phrase.

Andrea Martucci: Let's actually talk about the Simpsons because you had brought this up as a show that you were surprised when you thought about it actually did make a mark in terms of marriage or, representations of romantic love and marriage. Did you watch the Simpsons, like from when it came out in 1990?

Joe Martucci: Yeah, I think so.

Andrea Martucci: And we were watching it last night and I was like, this is not a kid's show.

Joe Martucci: No, how old was I in 1990. I was eight. It was good enough for an eight year old. Wasn't it?

Andrea Martucci: There's totally innuendo. But then also, they're like rejoicing that they're like not going to have another baby.


Joe Martucci: we were watching, Centaur World with our six year old the other day and it has a suicide whale. So I don't know.

Andrea Martucci: Okay, fair enough when you put it that way.

So we watched three episodes of the Simpsons last night and I have watched the Simpsons, was not like a huge watcher of The Simpsons, but definitely not my first Simpsons episodes.

The first one was I Married Marge from 1993, which is an episode where Marge thinks she may be pregnant and Homer was reminiscing with their three children about how he met Marge and how their relationship and marriage was formed. Basically with an accidental pregnancy that resulted in them getting married and dealing with some early difficulties. And then the other two episodes were Life in the Fast Lane from season one in 1990, and The Last Temptation of Homer from season five in 1993. And both of those episodes dealt with Marge and then Homer, respectively, considering infidelity and choosing their marriage in those cases.

How would you describe the marriage between Marge and Homer Simpson? Like why do you think they love each other? Why do they stay together? How do they work as a couple?

Joe Martucci: I guess I, part of this is they have to stay together for plot reasons, but in what we were watching last night, it's interesting about Homer because he like has no real prospects in life. There's only so much you can do to say about like why they love each other in a 23 minute cartoon. But it's interesting from his perspective that he like leaves at one point but insists that he's going to try to make a man out of himself and send money for the child.

Andrea Martucci: So the conflict is that he marries her out of duty and he likes her and you think she's attractive. But when she first brings up a future together before she gets pregnant, he does not seem super interested in a future or thinking about the future .

They only get married because his hand is [00:15:00] forced because he knocks her up and his father says "you got to marry her. You'll never do better than her." And I think, my observation was that Marge has a lot of romantic ideas about Homer, where, because Homer takes her out and pays some amount of attention to her.

She kind of projects onto him romantic gestures. Like he is not romantic at all. And she imagines him to be a great romantic partner. And then he mostly feels obligation to support her and their child slash pride as a man. I wouldn't be a man if I could not support you, rather than wanting to do anything nice for her or their child,

Joe Martucci: yeah.

Andrea Martucci: So he feels guilty that he can't provide for them. All their possessions are repossessed and he goes off to go make money so that he can send money home and support her. And then she says, come home. And, he only comes back when he has finally gotten a job at the power plant, which of course is his job throughout the series, and can become a good provider.

So the success of their relationship is dependent on his ability to provide.

Joe Martucci: Yeah, I mean, it's interesting because it's, it's like a, it's a flashback episode. And in the future he talks about how happy he has to have

Andrea Martucci: his three children, three children just before he dumps them on the floor. When he finds out that Marge is not pregnant?

Joe Martucci: Well you have to make a joke somewhere. But I think they used to run that show back to back with Married with Children, which is like the very similar where they have. They have two kids, right? There's no Maggie in their relationship, but Al hates his kids pretty much.

Andrea Martucci: In the Simpsons, Homer's constantly saying he hates his son Bart because he's such a troublemaker. And as soon as Bart comes out of the womb, he lights Homer's tie on fire and Homer's like, he did that on purpose.

And Marge's like, he's 10 minutes old. And Bart of course did do it on purpose.

Joe Martucci: There's a lot of strangulation. And he strangled Bart fairly often in the show.

Andrea Martucci: that's terrible. It felt like a very gendered division of labor. Like her job is to kind of worry and try to push Homer to improve his prospects for the family.

March had a job at the beginning, which, and then when she gets pregnant, for some reason she's not working anymore. And all of the responsibility of making money falls on Homer. And so it's like Marge's role is nag. I mean, Like she hasn't really nag nag, but be like, Hey, we don't have any money. Hey, we need to make some money. I'm worried about this. What are we going to do? And that creates guilt on Homer's part. But again, it feels very like gendered in terms of what those expectations are.

Joe Martucci: It does. I was going to say it probably says something about the background of the writers of the Simpsons that Homer makes an attempt to stay at all, right.

Because I feel like someone in Homer's position would in real life just,

Andrea Martucci: They're also painted into the corner in the sense that homer can't disappear at this point.

Joe Martucci: It's three seasons in. So obviously you stayed in some way.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah.

I guess it felt like that episode, there were so many moments where, Marge's sitting in her living room with her sisters [00:18:00] and her mother. And they're kind of making fun of Homer. This is when they were first dating and she's like, you just don't know him like I do. He sensitive and sweet and Homer is outside honking his horn, like Marge, come on, get in the car.

So every time Marge projects onto him a romantic ideal, he subverts that and shows that he doesn't actually do it, but she believes it of him, nonetheless, which I just find interesting because it feels like the entire marriage is based on Marge's romantic ideals around what romantic love are and whether Homer's actually doing them or not she superimposes them on top of him and their relationship.

And then all of Homer's expectations of their courtship are just like, he's doing that very like bachelor lifestyle, like girls, girls, girls, and Marge is just a girl. She's not anything special to him.

But then as soon as they get married, now he has an obligation to support her and their family. And so he moves from being a free agent and every woman is interchangeable to, Marge is not so much necessarily special to him. She's just his wife and he has to support her. And, he doesn't necessarily love Bart, but Bart's his son, he has to make sure he has a crib, Is that how you feel when you go to work at the doughnut factory?

Joe Martucci: Nuclear power plant?

Is that how I feel? Like I have to have to do this to provide for our child? No.

Andrea Martucci: So then the infidelity episodes, I feel like again, it's The Simpson's, so like they're funny, but I feel like in both of them they're tempted by another person who seems to fit their romantic ideal. So in Marge's case, this is tipped off after Homer forgot Marge's birthday, her 34th birthday. How old am I?

Joe Martucci: 34.

Andrea Martucci: Oh my God. He forgets her birthday and he goes out to buy her something. And Marge's talking to her sisters about how Homer always buys something for himself and says it's for her. And Marge is like, I'm sure he doesn't do it deliberately. But first of all, I thought it was interesting that the way you show love is by buying somebody something, but also it's not enough to buy something. You have to signal that you know them well enough to know what they would want, which I mean, true. If you're going to buy somebody something.

Joe Martucci: You should know what they want.

Andrea Martucci: So he ends up getting her a bowling ball with his name on it, fit to his fingers. And Marge actually gets fed up and it's like, no, you can't have this ball. I'm going to go learn how to bowl. And she goes to the bowling alley out of spite. And there's this guy he seems like a hustler really? Cause he charges her for the time they spend together to teach her bowling and Marge's so impressed that he gets her a glove that fits her hand has got her name on it, but he charges her for it.

Like it's all, it all seems like a hustle, but Marge is like so starved for somebody to like pay attention to her and notice her that she misinterpreted. I don't know. He, he does also seem to be trying [00:21:00] to get her to stray.

So like the conflict with Homer and Marge is homer does not remember. He only remembers because the children remembered that it was his wife's birthday and he tries to cover that fact by going out and getting a last minute gift. And he doesn't actually seem to know what Marge likes slash can't look past his own selfishness to get something she would like.

Joe Martucci: Why does she go back to him?

Andrea Martucci: What did you think of the scene? So she is tempted by this bowling instructor who invites her to his house. And she gets in the car and passes things along the way, and then literally gets to a crossroad. And one way is the power plant. And the other way is the apartment that the guy lives in and she literally like goes one way, backs up, goes the other way, backs up, et cetera, a few times.

But what were the things that she saw on the way there? Do you remember?

Joe Martucci: Yeah, it's like people going through stages of relationships, right? It's like somebody just coming out of a chapel being married, somebody in a park with their newborn, maybe, and then an older couple and then two grave plots next to each other and then two skeletons holding hands.

Andrea Martucci: So none of those reminders are how much she loves Homer. It's all just like societal and cultural expectations of how you're supposed to live your life and your marriage. And, go through life stages and die together.

Joe Martucci: Yeah. It's interesting to think about like in, comedy, again, you have a very fixed period of time to work with here.

If romance is the thing that gets cut, because it's much harder to communicate, right? Like it's easier to make the joke of here's the stages of life in very like fast motion as she's driving down the street that she'd be missing out with Homer versus trying to fit in a joke about why she really loves him.

Andrea Martucci: Do you not think it's possible for her to love specific things about him and then have that be a joke, like whatever she loves about him, it's like weirdly specific and silly.

Joe Martucci: Yeah. I feel like it comes up at some point we didn't watch all 700 episodes or whatever.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah. These are like fairly early seasons in the scheme of things, given how the show is still going now until 2021.

Joe Martucci: Obviously part of what, why she loves him, it was like her concern for him. There's definitely like a concern level. Like you think about it, we watched the monorail episode too. He wants to go be a monorail conductor and she, yeah.

Andrea Martucci: Her child is also on the train.

Joe Martucci: Well sure but I think it's, nobody cares about Bart,

Andrea Martucci: So first of all, The alternative that she was offered is a guy who's sleazy. He pays attention to her, but it's not necessarily clear that he has any deep love and affection for her.

So what does she really leaving for? Just somebody else who is different, but not necessarily better.

Joe Martucci: Yeah. He's like a good mid nineties gag of what might be considered

Andrea Martucci: It's a little offensive. Cause he's like foreign. Like he has like a, sort of like a European accent of some kind

Joe Martucci: and he knows about brunch,

Andrea Martucci: right? He's playing the like ladies, man, sophisticate, but he's all very wrapped up in himself.

Joe Martucci: He lives in a bachelor's apartment.

Andrea Martucci: It's more about the conquest for him as opposed to like truly caring for Marge. So, I mean, It's like, it's not a better [00:24:00] alternative where it makes sense for her to blow up her marriage.

I feel like the idea is more like the novelty of, again, somebody paying attention to her and j ust different,

I think a lot of the excitement of infidelity is the difference. And also when you've been married to somebody for a while, and particularly in, in our situation, we were, were married like what, four years before we had Lorelei.

And now she's six and a half ish. Oh my God. And for the majority of our marriage, we've also had a baby in a small child and, and kids add stress. There's a lot of just practicalities that you have to deal with where if you can't manage those practicalities it's going to create strain on your marriage.

But even, like it just creates like mundane routine. And I think that the appeal of infidelity, particularly as it's represented in pop culture is just the excitement of something new. And the problem of course, is that if you blow up the thing that's really good for the appeal of the fun, new, exciting thing. What then you just go from fun, new, exciting thing to find new, exciting thing. Or do you settle down with a fun, new, exciting thing, and then just enter it back into sort of like the mundane reality of a long-term relationship?

Joe Martucci: Right? Yeah. I We're talking about this the other day. I think where life is like really about change.

You're going to change as you get older. And it's, it's like how people deal with change really is

Andrea Martucci: the key to success.

Some of it is how individuals deal with change, but how you can deal with change together.

Joe Martucci: Yeah. Right, in terms of a relationship, like obviously there's some amount of change you have to deal with on her own. But in terms of like the context of a relationship, it's like how you deal with change together. Do you change together or does someone change when someone doesn't or I think like infidelity is just like, it's like change has happened or they want change to happen. And it hasn't happened in like the they're not in the same page,

Andrea Martucci: This is mostly based on representations of like why people are tempted by infidelity. It feels like a lot of life is so mundane. I need something exciting. And so they're tempted by this, other new thing, because it's like, My wife's a drag. My partner is a drag.

This other person is so exciting and pays attention to me in a way that my partner hasn't paid attention to me in a long time. I deserve this validation and excitement, whatever. And it's like not realizing that that other person isn't different. They're just new. And I think it's like that inability to sort of settle into the routine of life.

Joe Martucci: I mean, it could be different. They could be better.

Andrea Martucci: It could be. There are bad marriages where people aren't great together and they would totally all be better served to either be alone or be with other people.

Joe Martucci: I think in that context that we were talking about, it's like somebody wants or expects things to change or life has changed and like they're not seeing it with their partner for whatever reason,

Andrea Martucci: I'm pro divorce. If people are like not happy, but sometimes I think that it's not that people are unhappy it's that they are having a [00:27:00] really hard time coping with being happy in a long-term relationship where things are not novel all the time and being able to manage that.

Find exciting things to do together, or like figure out like your happiness is not so much dependent on another person. It's like, how are you coping with your life yourself? How you relate to other people? Because you know, obviously, caveats aside for abusive relationships and things like that but like most relationships it's if the people are like willing to own up to how they're playing a part in the relationship dynamic, like you almost always have the ability to like make a change. And if all the partners in this relationship are willing to communicate and if they can come to an agreement about this is the way we want our lives to be, and this is what we're going to do, and they can follow through on that. That's great.

If they want different things, then you'd be able to communicate about that and come to realize I'm either okay with you doing your own thing and me doing my own thing. And we accept that that's the way the relationship is, and we're not going to chafe at that and agree to it, but then want another thing to actually happen.

Have you communicated? Have you actually understood and accepted that this is the way things are, or are you constantly expecting something that you haven't communicated or something that's the opposite of what you've communicated to happen?

Joe Martucci: Yeah. Now turn that into like a three-second visual gag.

Andrea Martucci: They, again, they had like 8 million episodes to do this in,

Joe Martucci: Well we didn't watch all the eight million. No I know what you're saying.

We get excited about mundane things.

Andrea Martucci: Like what

Joe Martucci: We bought exciting new pens yesterday.

Andrea Martucci: Oh, I love pens,

The one with Homer I'm not going to go into too much detail cause I want eat the quiche that we've made together. Constant negotiation in creating that quiche, by the way, because I was like, put the bacon in the oven and you're like, I'm going to make it in the pan.

And I was like, why? And you were like, cause then I'm going to fry the onions and the spinach. And I was like, good idea. I endorse that idea. You know what I mean? There was lots of back and forth communication there.

So the deal with Homer's infidelity episode is there's a woman at work who is into all the things he's into and she's like hot and attracted to him. She really likes watching TV and drinking beer and donuts. They share the same interests. And I was thinking about, do we share the same interests?

Joe Martucci: Besides pens?

Andrea Martucci: Besides pens,

Joe Martucci: which share some interests,

Andrea Martucci: which ones, what's one example of an interest we share?

Joe Martucci: I feel like when it comes to just I'm going to do something on the weekend, like we have similar ideas, what we want to do.

It's not like we're off doing our own thing on the weekends.

Andrea Martucci: So we'll do house projects together or I think something we'd like to do is who we like to hang out at home. Where we're not necessarily doing the same thing, but we're like cool with being at home and not expecting the other person to come out and do something that the other one doesn't want to do.

But like we both like to read, but do we read the same books?

Joe Martucci: Sometimes?

Andrea Martucci: Sometimes. Honestly I like it when you read a book and then you'd tell me what it was [00:30:00] about

Joe Martucci: Cliff Notes.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah.

Joe Martucci: If we each read our own books and tell the other person what they're about, we can read twice as many books.

Andrea Martucci: Exactly. That's like a true partnership, but I don't play video games. I have no interest and I've tried and I just don't like it, it makes me stressed out.

Joe Martucci: That's why we had to have a child. So someone would play with me.

Andrea Martucci: Yes, exactly. I'm still trying to get Lorelei to podcast with me.

Homer imagines that his marriage would be perfect if Marge was into all the same things that he was into.

Joe Martucci: He also imagines that Marge's life would be perfect if, oh

Andrea Martucci: yeah, he hits his head and he imagines what their lives would be like if they were not together. And if he was with this other woman and if Marge was not with him and what did he imagine?

Joe Martucci: He and Mindy live in some mansion and they're playing tennis out in the backyard. And then Marge's president.

Andrea Martucci: Yes. So basically he's holding Marge back and for, I don't know how he would be a millionaire with Mindy given that they both have the same job at the nuclear power plant.

But anyways but the Marge part is interesting.

Joe Martucci: Why president?

Andrea Martucci: What do you think the episode's point of view is on if it's a positive thing to like, share the same interests as your partner?

Joe Martucci: They don't really go into it. I think it's more interesting or funny that he tries to take like signs from the universe. Like the bar napkin that Barney has, I forget the exact phrase that was like, you're only interested in her for her physical beauty, if you actually talked to her, you'll find you have nothing in common.

And then the fortune cookie that's like you'll find a new love. And, and they, they say they ran out of those and stay with your wife, open up the state with your wife barrel.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah. But then when he talks to her, they have everything in common,

Joe Martucci: right.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah. So the signs from the universe are like, If you have things in common with her, like this is a good thing, again, it's a joke, but what I think is interesting is that Homer and Mindy kiss multiple times in this episode, which is actually scandalous and there's never any- it's a 23 minute long comedy -and there's never any repercussions beyond an episode.

So like, you can't actually have Homer and Marge, like in marriage counseling because Homer kissed another woman. But when you stop and think about it, it's actually kind of like, oh wow. That's like a big deal. And it's not like he tells Marge, right? Kissed another woman.

What would happen to our marriage if you kissed another woman? (Joe laughs)

Joe Martucci: I don't know. It hasn't happened.

Andrea Martucci: What do you think I would do?

Joe Martucci: What would a woman that's exactly like me be like?.

Andrea Martucci: I don't know. I don't know who you are, especially if you kiss another woman, I don't even know who you are anymore.

Joe Martucci: Seems like something worth mentioning, talking about, at least. They do just gloss over it in the show.

Andrea Martucci: What do you think is wrong with kissing other person? does that damage his relationship with Marge, if you really sit and think about it?

Joe Martucci: I think it's in that context, right? He's both attracted to, but also I think emotionally invested, interested in this other woman, which I think is the part that is never really they show that with the kiss, but it's never [00:33:00] really brought up with Marge again.

They don't really resolve that inner conflict.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah.

Anyways, I think we cracked this nut wide open. Anything else?

Joe Martucci: Did we?

Andrea Martucci: No. Anything else you'd like to say? We have to go eat our quiche and then we have to go get our child, go sit in the car. What are we going to talk about in the car?

Joe Martucci: I don't know. Do you want to bring the microphone just to record more?

(makes a car thumping down road noise) The whole time? Or you can just fall asleep and I'll narrate.

Andrea Martucci: Stop it. I haven't fallen asleep in a long time.

Joe Martucci: I don't think it's going to snow today. Hopefully

Andrea Martucci: it is August in New England. So probably not.

Where can people find you online? And when are you going to fix my website?

Joe Martucci: I did. Didn't I fix your website.

Andrea Martucci: I still can't embed things anywhere, but all my blog section.

Joe Martucci: I can probably fix the rest. We have to redesign it now?

Andrea Martucci: Yeah.

Joe Martucci: How much do I get paid for it? For your website work.

Andrea Martucci: My eternal love and devotion.

Joe Martucci: Will I still receive that if I didn't work on your website?

Andrea Martucci: No. (both laugh)

Yes, but you'll have even more...

Joe Martucci: that was like a thing our child does that you just did, (what?) but you'll have even more! With the big eyes. Like I can't explain this, but if I just say it dramatically

Andrea Martucci: Is our child more like you were me? She's got your chin.

Joe Martucci: She's a little bit of both.

Andrea Martucci: When is she most like me?

Joe Martucci: When you ask her questions, she just yells and runs away.

Andrea Martucci: When is she most like you?

Joe Martucci: I don't know if there's like a vicious feedback loop now, but every once in a while, like something will happen. I'll do that, like that noise. And she does that. And like now I do it and every time I do it, I'm like, am I doing it because she does it or she do it cause I do it.

It's like they learned from us somehow.

Andrea Martucci: So many influences that make us who we are. Media, family, (with contempt) children at school.

Joe Martucci: What important lessons about love will she learn from Centaur World?

Andrea Martucci: Found family, community.

Joe Martucci: I think that shows much better. Yeah. That show's much better about talking about like your emotions

Andrea Martucci: Discussing mental health, it's definitely not about romantic love,

Joe Martucci: There's platonic love though.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah,

Joe Martucci: Horse and Rider. Is that the right one? Platonic

Andrea Martucci: Or something. I don't know. I don't know anything about love.

Want to go eat a quiche?

Joe Martucci: I love quiche.

Andrea Martucci: Thank you so much for spending time with me today. If you enjoyed today's episode, please subscribe, rate, or review on your favorite podcast app or tell a friend. Check out ShelfLovePodcast.Com for transcripts and other resources.

If you want to join the conversation about the topics that we discuss on Shelf Love, I'd encourage you to check out Shelf Love's Patreon at Thank you to Shelf Love's $20 a month supporters: Gail, Copper Dog Books, Frederick Smith, and John Jacobson.

See your name listed as a Patreon supporter on the Shelf Love website if you join at any level. That's's all for today. Thanks so much. Bye.