The 20 Most Cromulent Simpsons Episodes of All-Time: #16 Tuesday, April 24, 2007Posted by cdnmoose in bloodbath and beyond, CDNMoose, the simpsons, total cromulence, TV, Vote Quimby!.
14 weeks until “The Simpsons Movie” and the tension in the air is almost palpable. Wait– that’s not tension, actually. That’s snow. And rain. And sleet. And wind.
Man, April sucks (the only thing worse is that damn Smarch weather).
But anyway, to cheer us (me) up, we’re at entry 16 in our countdown of the 20 bestest Simpsons episodes ever.
Entry #16 is a “message” episode (or as much as “The Simpsons” do messages), and it’s a pretty good example on how the gang behind the show try to show both sides of a topic, but in the end, it’s pretty easy to see which side of the fence they’re on.
So come on in and let’s talk “speed cockers” and debate if paella truly is the most refreshing sundry at a soccer match, why it’s “fudgesicle” (not “fudgicle”), why the waiting is the hardest part and why Portugal truly is the greatest nation on earth…
Written by John John Swartzwelder
Season 9, Episode 5
|20. Homer At The Bat
19. Hurricane Neddy
18. Homer Goes to College
17. Homer’s Enemy
16. The Cartridge Family
Violence at a soccer match causes Homer to go security-mad which (in his mind) means buying a gun to protect the family. Marge is rather…unimpresssed.
P.S. Vote Quimby!
Why This Episode Is Particularly Cromulent
I readily admit that a big reason why I love this episode so much is that this is the one I saw the cast do live in Montreal a few years back at the Just for Laughs festival. It was positively high-larious and ranks as one of my all-time favourite performances I’ve seen live (including music, comedy, medical procedures, donkey shows…).
But although that bumps it up the list for me personally, it still belongs in the Cromulent 20 on it’s own animated merits. It’s funny, it has wonderful visual gags and, as most of the best do, it has a little heart (lower-case “h”) thrown in for good measure.
Indeed, this is one of the episodes where they openly “debate” an issue. They usually do this by mocking both sides of the argument, but as much as they note on the DVD commentary that this is a balanced view, I can’t see how anyone could watch this episode and come out thinking the folks behind the show were anything but “anti-gun” (just because the NRA members think Homer is a dolt for his sloppy gun use, it doesn’t mean you’re portraying them in a positive light).
And yes, Homer’s stupidity is once again the best and worst parts of the episode. I am really not sure how I feel about this.
The episode is immensely quotable (ref: “Five days? But I’m mad now!“), and “Vote Quimby!” (and especially the callback “Vote Quimby!“) makes me chuckle every time.
Oh, and this episode also has my favourite store name gag of all-time:
Notes and Observations
- The referee at the start of the episode is modeled after Clemente, the janitor at Film Roman studios who taught Mike Scully everything he knows about soccer.
- John Swartzwelder wrote 59 Simpsons episodes to date (and has still never done a proper DVD commentary). So, in the commentary for this episode, they call him at home (it doesn’t even sound set up). He mumbles along and his basic contribution to the commentary track is “It’s a good episode, as I recall”. Indeed it is, John. Indeed it is.
- Tom Petty doesn’t clear many songs for television, but he cleared the use of “The Waiting” because he and his kids are big fans of the show.
- Brad Bird (the main man behind “The Iron Giant” (aka the best animated feature ever) and “The Incredibles“) gave the timing notes on the shot where the kids do their head shake when Homer goes to argue Marge’s “I think you’ll agree I’ve been very patient in this marriage” line. According to the commentary, Bird was known around the show for his visuals and timing cues, but not at all for his writing. Very interesting, indeed.
- Robert Crumb came by the show once and told them that he had a *huge* crush on Julie Kavner growing up. You know, this actually makes perfect sense to me.
- A lot of the notes in John Swartzwelder’s scripts contain the phrase “For some reason…” (presumably mostly noted right before Homer does something).
- There was an alternate take of the final scene done purely as a joke for the writers where Marge looks down at the hotel bill and says “I don’t remember ordering a blowjob”. Apparently, it was fully animated and actually exists somewhere. Side note 1: The search term: “Simpsons blowjob” is now on file for me in one of Google’s huge data warehouses and will surely be used against me one day when I run for public office.
Side note 2: The only results you do get for that search term are for Jessica Simpson and, after 5.5 hours of very careful and forensic viewing, I can report that those videos are *totally* not her. Probably. You know what? I should check again. Be right back…
TV Announcer: The Continental Soccer Association is coming to Springfield! It’s all here: fast-kicking, low scoring…and ties? You bet!
TV Announcer: This match will determine once and for all which nation is the greatest on earth: Mexico or Portugal!
Marge: It’s hard to believe this used to be an internment camp…
Bart: Yo! Paella Man! Wing one up here!
Pele: Pele is king of the soccer field.
To be king of your kitchen, use Crestfield Wax Paper.
Brockman (bored): Halfback passes to the center. Back to the wing. Back to the center. Center holds it. Holds it. Holds it…
Mexican Announcer (wetting his pants): HALFBACK PASSES TO CENTER!! BACK TO WING!! BACK TO CENTER!! HOLDS IT!! HOLDS IT!! HOLDS IT!!!
Marge: Oh, my God! Homer, they’re right next door!
Homer: Relax, Marge. If someone tries to get in, my burglar alarm will let us know.
<a rustling is heard at the door>
Homer: Watch the fish, Marge…
<yoink! the fish is stolen through the mail slot>
Salesman: Looks like you called me just in time. This home isn’t secure at all.
<he pockets an ashtray, the TV remote>
Homer: What did I tell you, Marge?
Salesman: Intruders could come in down the chimney, through the mail slot, even hidden in your groceries.
Salesman: Did you change the locks when you moved in? Eh, I thought not. All the previous owners of this house could still be in here somewhere.
Salesman: And you can have it all for just five hundred dollars.
Homer: Five hundred dollars? Oh, forget it.
Salesman: But surely you can’t put a price on your family’s lives.
Homer: I wouldn’t have thought so either, but…here we are.
Gun Shop Owner: Well, you’ll probably want the accessory kit. Holster…
Homer: Oh, yeah.
Gun Shop Owner: …Bandoleer…
Gun Shop Owner: …Silencer….
Gun Shop Owner: …Loudener….
Gun Shop Owner: …Speed cocker…
Homer: Oooh, I like the sound of that!
Gun Shop Owner: …And this is for shooting down police helicopters.
Homer: Oh, I don’t need anything like that…yet.
Homer: Just give me my gun…
Gun Shop Owner: Sorry, the law requires a five-day waiting period. We’ve got to run a background check.
Homer: Five days? But I’m mad now!
The waiting…is the hardest part…
Homer: Now, I believe you have some sort of firearm for me.
Gun Shop Owner: Well, let’s see here. According to your background check, you’ve been in a mental institution…
Gun Shop Owner: …frequent problems with alcohol…
Homer: Heh heh heh…Yeah.
Gun Shop Owner: …beat up President Bush?
Homer: Former President Bush.
Homer: “Potentially dangerous”?!
Gun Shop Owner: Relax, that just limits you to three handguns or less.
Homer: Woo hoo!
Homer: Close your eyes, Marge. I’ve got a surprise for you!
Homer: Okay…open your eyes!
Homer: Hey! It’s a handgun! Isn’t it great? This is the trigger, this is the thing you point at whatever you want to die…
Marge: Homer, I don’t want guns in my house! Don’t you remember when Maggie shot Mr. Burns?
Homer: I thought Smithers did it.
Lisa: That would’ve made a lot more sense…
Bart: Hey Dad, can I borrow the gun tommorrow? I want to scare that old security guard at the bank.
Homer: Only if you clean your room.
Marge: No one’s using this gun. The TV said you’re fifty-eight percent more likely to shoot a family member than an intruder!
Homer: TV said that…? But I have to have a gun! It’s in the Constitution!
Lisa: Dad! The Second Amendment is just a remnant from revolutionary days. It has no meaning today!
Homer: You couldn’t be more wrong, Lisa. If I didn’t have this gun, the King of England could just walk in here any time he wants, and start shoving you around.
Homer: A gun is not a weapon, Marge. It’s a tool. Like a butcher knife, or a harpoon, or…uh, a…an alligator. You just need more education on the subject. Tell you what. You come with me to an N.R.A. meeting, and if you still don’t think guns are great…we can argue some more.
Lenny: Assault weapons have gotten a lot of bad press lately, but they’re manufactured for a reason: to take out today’s modern super animals, such as the flying squirrel, and the electric eel.
Moe: Uh, hi, I’m Moe S.
Crowd: Hi, Moe!
Moe: Yeah, so last night I was closing up the bar, when some young punk comes in and tries to stick me up. [the crowd gasps]
Sideshow Mel: Whatever did you do, Moe?
Moe: Well, it coulda been a real ugly situation, but, I managed to shoot him in the spine. Yeah. I guess the next place he robs better have a ramp!
Apu: Oh! Don’t shoot! Just take the money and get out!
Homer: What? Oh, Apu, I would never…or would I? I’ve already gone this far. I wonder what my life would be like if I robbed the Kwik-E-Mart…
Homer: I’ll do it. I’ll rob the Kwik-E-Mart. All right, put your…D’oh!
Marge: Homer, I told you this morning, no guns at the dinner table!
Homer: You said the breakfast table.
Marge: It’s the same table!
Homer: Listen, if it’ll make you feel any better, I’ll put the safety on.
<oops…shoots Marge’s picture on the wall>
Homer: Whoops. Guess it was already on.
<oops…shoots Marge’s picture on the wall…again>
Homer: Ah, I’d better just put it down.
<oops…shoots a pot, ricochets, hits a knife, the knife sticks into Marge’s picture>
Lisa: No offense, Mom, but that was pretty cool.
Milhouse: You said there’d be fudgeicles, Bart. Where’s the fudgeicles?
Bart: First, it’s fudgesicle. And I know they’re up here.
Bart: And the next marksman is: William Tell, Jr.!
Marge: [gasps] Bart!
Homer: Oh, I see Bart gets to have a gun.
Marge: You lied to me! You promised to get rid of this gun.
Homer: I put it in a safe place, Marge! I mean, what are the odds the boy would look in the vegetable crisper?
Marge: How could you? Of all the terrible things you’ve ever done in your life, this is the worst, the most despicable!
Homer: But Marge, I swear to you, I never thought you’d find out!
Marge: I’ve left Homer.
Selma: Thank God.
Marge: So we need a place to spend the night.
Selma: Try the Sleep-Easy motel. I woke up there once. It seemed nice.
Marge: Why can’t we stay here?
Selma: Aah…we have a gentleman caller.
TV Repair Man: Hey, this TV’s not broken, it’s just unplugged. What the?
Krusty: Hey, yutz! Guns aren’t toys. They’re for family protection, hunting dangerous or delicious animals, and keeping the King of England out of your face.
Quimby: Oh, uh, I’m sorry. Are you planning to stay the whole night?
Quimby: All right…
<leaves door, quickly reappears>
Quimby: Vote Quimby!
Homer: I’m sorry I lied to you, Marge. But this gun had a hold on me. I felt this incredible surge of power, like God must feel when He’s holding a gun.
It’s “messages” done right.
In fact, watching this episode makes me think that I know how God feels when He watches the most Cromulent Simpsons episodes of all-time (i.e. all tingly in his flowing robes)…