I’m going to start by making it clear, that while this episode is almost entirely about a love relationship between Bart and Mary Spuckler, I actually saved this last WDTCF post from this Mini-Event, because I love the building that the Springfield Opry House is based upon.
I think it is interesting the way we toss around the word, “Love.” We love our significant others, we love our kids, we love our country, we love our sports teams, and we love the concept of being in love. But we also love a whole bunch of inanimate objects that don’t really return our love, as much as we shower them with affection and obsession…to the point where the kind of deep, passionate, romantic love that is actually important (along with unconditional love for one another), is watered down, by our love for stuff. But, I digress…
But after all of that, I love the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. I mean it. It is a place that gives me far more pleasure and takes me to a state of awe, than loads of other places (especially the cheesy NEW Grand Ol’ Opry also in Nashville). Maybe it’s because it had such a weird start, as something completely different than the true birthplace of country music (a union hall and evangelical church)…but it is just as likely, that it is one of those places that is so perfect in design and function, that you can stand almost anywhere, and feel the history, and a sense of reverence for the talents that graced the stage there. It is truly unique. I could write a book on the topic…but instead, will just link you here, to the history of the place and the Opry.
I realize that there are countless places in the world that have this same sense of “Holyfreakinshirt…I can’t believe I’m standing here” across the globe. I’ve been to loads and loads of the world’s greatest landmarks…from Versailles to London’s cathedrals and Parliament…our own amazing government buildings…and cathedrals…and grand palaces of the rich (Biltmore Estate and Hearst Castle)…but none give me that same sense of simple, amazing perfection like the Ryman. I love it. Really.
But…this is about the Simpsons...and the building that looks a TON like the Ryman…and actually goes so far as to mimic the heyday of the Ryman when “The Grand Ole Opry” was broadcast nationwide from NBC affiliate, WSM.
And it is about Love...and Mary…and Bart, with the Springfield Opry House actually playing a pretty small role in the episode.
Bart and Mary run into one another at school, and their relationship sparks into something more than just admiration. However, Bart ends up going the route of many young suitors in the digital age, and doesn’t spend “real time” with Mary, but instead, plays too many video games.
Mary, an aspiring songwriter, writes a song for Bart, which he mostly ignores. She also uses this song in her attempt to win a “Hillbilly Talent Contest” (held at the Springfield Opry House). She doesn’t win, but is offered a record deal (and another chance at romance) by a Brazlian record producer. Mary ends up breaking up with Bart, before she leaves.
Meanwhile…in the “B Story” Homer and Bart get into a heated argument with Marge about how women never say what they really mean (duh!)…which results in the both of them being kicked out by marge, and then moving to Brokewood Apts. with a ton of other losers.
In the end…Homer wins back Marge with a “Big Gesture” (what’s new?) but Bart doesn’t win back Mary…a tough lesson is learned.
The last bit of dialogue is great…and actually some of the best, from an otherwise “tepid” episode.
Bart as Narrator: And that’s when I learned Cupid was just a fat, naked jerk with an arrow.
Woody Allen Character: But surely you didn’t give up on love after just one setback? Love is our only defense against the abyss in this meaningless universe.
Bart as Narrator: Love– what is it? What does it mean? How do you spell it? No one knows. Fortunately there is a cure.
Any video game ever made.
And perhaps that even includes TSTO!
But keep your phones in your pocket when you visit the Ryman. If you get distracted, you may miss the ghosts of some of the greatest Country artists who are rumored to roam the halls to this day.