Screenplay by Tim Long (created by Matt Groening).
The Devil Wears Nada is one of The Simpsons‘ episodes that draws from a previous work and satirises it. The show is considered the core of American popular culture, which processes how the world feels about a specific aspect of its entertainment and politics. It’s the end-point for anything successful, and in a period of the show criticised for declining quality, The Devil Wears Nada doesn’t really make any of the statements that made the show popular, nor does it add anything to itself. While Marge is dealing with the consequences of her nude calendar, and Homer’s away in a new position, it’s Bart’s minimal sub-plot that’s the most interesting.
When Carlson becomes the new Supervisor, he promotes Homer to his assistant, and this takes him around the world, away from Marge, which is an even bigger problem for her, since a recent charity calendar featuring her on every month has increased her sexual reputation, and the episode climaxes at near-encounter with Flanders.
Some people describe Homer as a scumbag, others describe him as a hero, but one of the best things about his character is that inside his exterior is someone who loves his wife. This has been the revelation of many episodes focusing on his marriage with Marge, so the sudden twist as he abandons his career isn’t anything new. The episode explores his marriage, but to no more depth than has been seen before. Do we really need a story about their marriage after the amount of episodes there are, especially after The Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire did that better than any of them?
The most interesting part of Marge’s subplot is a thing never investigated: the calendar. Upon seeing the finished products, she denies having posed in that manner, and this is believable. She just isn’t that kind of person. So where did those images come from? It’s brought-up in such as way as to draw significance to it, but the story never mentions it again.
So that makes what happens with Bartholomew the subplot that should have been the focus of the episode: the reaction to Marge’s calendar. Somehow, it makes it into Springfield Elementary School, and the students react entirely how you’d expect them to. The accuracy in their indecency is a sad truth, and pushes the show’s likeable rebel to the point of turning on his best friend. That was the most intriguing character moment, and the situation through the town gave us different reactions from different characters, but it was never developed, since Homer was separated from her around the world. And Lisa hardly got up to anything.
Really, the episode’s shallowness shows well. It must have been a slow writing day, prompting the writers to hint at something possible between Marge and Flanders, despite that not being something that’s ever actually there. The Simpsons is still a great show, it’s just that The Devil Wears Nada is one of the episodes leaking through that begin to make that seem no longer the case.
The Simpsons: the Devil Wears Nada – slow writing day, forgettable filler. 4/10