- "Tonight has nothing to do with 'nice'."
- ―Ruth Powers
"Marge on the Lam" is the sixth episode of season 5. It originally aired on November 4, 1993. The episode was written by Bill Canterbury and directed by Mark Kirkland. Pamela Reed and George Fenneman guest starred.
When a vending-machine mishap forces Homer to cancel his plans with Marge, she has a girls' night out with their neighbor Ruth Powers. It turns out that Ruth is somewhat of a wanted criminal, having stolen her ex-husband's car. In a story in the style of Thelma and Louise, Marge and Ruth lead Chief Wiggum, Homer and a large number of police on a high-speed long-distance car chase. Meanwhile, Lionel Hutz babysits the children and takes the opportunity to assume a new identity.
Promo image for the episode
Marge wins a pair of ballet tickets after donating 30 dollars to a telethon that is trying to raise money for public television. Homer promises to go with her, thinking a ballet is a bear driving in a small car. When Homer learns what a ballet is, he regrets his decision but can't back out of it. At the Nuclear Power Plant, Homer tries to sneak a cola out of a vending machine but his arm gets stuck after he grabs onto the can. As he tries to get help, he sticks his hand in another vending machine, getting both arms stuck. He calls Marge to tell her what happened but she doesn't believe him. Ruth Powers drops by to return a power tool, and Marge decides to take her to the ballet.
Homer is told that they would have to saw his arms off, but before they do he is told to let go of the can and he comes free. Marge and Ruth go to a coffee shop instead of going home, and they talk about their relationships. When Marge comes home, she informs Homer that she's going out again next night to the disapproval of Homer. Homer is ridiculed by Bart and Lisa, and decides to have a night out of his own. He can't find anyone though, and goes out on his own. He gets Lionel Hutz to babysit his kids, despite his lack of experience. Homer isn't able to have much fun, while Marge has the night of her life. She and Ruth go line dancing at a country bar called Shotkickers, shoot up a farmer's collection of antique cans, and go up to the Springfield sign, which causes Marge to remember when she and Homer went out. They leave and Homer arrives, only making himself more depressed. He meets up with Chief Wiggum, who offers him a ride.
They run into Ruth and Marge, and Wiggum attempts to pull them over because they have a busted tail light. Ruth doesn't comply, though, because the car is stolen and it belongs to her ex-husband. Homer thinks Marge has become a criminal because of his not going to the ballet. Ruth turns off the lights of the car which causes Chief Wiggum and Homer to think it's a ghost car and stop. Ruth drops Marge off at a cafe, but she decides to stick with Ruth in her run from the law. Chief Wiggum and Homer catch up with them again. They are cornered by police cars two miles from the state line, but drive off road to a canyon. Homer takes a mega-phone and apologizes to Marge and warns her of the canyon, which makes them stop though Homer and Wiggum drive into it, but are saved by a pile of garbage, as the canyon is being used as a landfill.
In a summary at the end of the episode, it is revealed that:
- The auto theft charges against Ruth Powers were dismissed, and her ex-husband was ordered by the judge to "pay all back child support".
- Lionel Hutz was glad to get his money after a long night of babysitting.
- For shooting the farmer's cans, Marge Simpson was fined fifty cents to replace the cans, plus an additional $2000 for punitive damages and mental anguish.
- Homer Simpson was sent to a military camp for more experimental testing (this being a reference to his alleged military testing to get out of Patty and Selma's visit), much to his delight.