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The 20 Most Cromulent Simpsons Episodes of All-Time: #9 Thursday, June 7, 2007

Posted by SA in SA, the simpsons, total cromulence, TV.
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“Money is not required to buy one necessity of the soul.”-Henry David Thoreau

“One certainly has a soul; but how it came to allow itself to be enclosed in a body is more than I can imagine. I only know if once mine gets out, I’ll have a bit of a tussle before I let it get in again to that of any other.” -Lord Byron

Why did I start out the 9th most cromulent episode of the Simpsons with some quotes? Because I think they are appropriate for this episode. And because you can never, ever have enough advice given to you about the human soul. It is a precious thing and once you lose it, as witness here, your life can quickly turn into hell.

So let’s go back into the Simpsons archives and learn a lesson about our souls and why you should be a selfish little bastard and keep that sucker.

Oh, and 50 more days until “The Simpsons Movie” is in theaters. It’s right around the corner people.


Bart Sells His Soul

Written by Greg Daniels
Directed by Wesley Archer

Season 7, Episode 4
Originally aired October 8, 1995

20. Homer At The Bat
19. Hurricane Neddy
18. Homer Goes to College
17. Homer’s Enemy
16. The Cartridge Family
15. 22 Short Films About Springfield
14. Treehouse of Horror II
13. El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer
12. Mr. Plow
11. Kamp Krusty
10. Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk
9. Bart Sells His Soul

Episode Synopsis

When Bart is caught having pulled a prank at church, he and Milhouse get into a discussion about the soul. Bart then sells his to Milhouse for $5 after which his life goes to hell. Meanwhile, Moe decides to turn the bar into a family restaurant which leads to disastrous results.

Why This Episode Is Particularly Cromulent

The opening skit is great. The two storylines are great. Lisa tormenting Bart is great. The Uncle Moe’s Family Feedbag commercial is great. Moe freaking out at the kid is great. Bart slowly losing his mind is great. The emotional and sweet ending is great. Bart’s dream sequence about the rowboats is great. And personally, this is yet another episode in my top 5. So there.

Notes and Observations

  • The idea for the episode came from the writer Greg Daniels’ childhood. He got a bully to sell his soul to Daniels for 50 cents and then convinced the neighborhood kids to tell the bully that Daniels could own him forever. The bully came crying back to Daniels and he then sold the soul back for higher than he bought it. Daniels continued to do this to make some money until he thought about the Devil doing the same thing and it scared him.
  • The opening skit is probably my second favorite musical piece on the Simpsons. The song, “In the Garden of Eden” is written by “I. Ron Butterfly.” As we all know, the song is “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” by the band Iron Butterfly.
  • The song on the show last the same amount of time (due to time delay) as it does on the original album-17 minutes.
  • Calling the writer “I. Ron Butterfly” was probably a nod to Nancy Cartwright, who is a member of the Church of Scientology.
  • The song originally intended to be used in that sequence was “Stairway to Heaven,” by Led Zeppelin.
  • During Bart’s dream, Sherri and Terri sing their version of the song “Miss Susie” (or “Miss Lucy” if you remember that way).
  • Also is Bart’s dream, heaven looks like the The Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz.
  • When Moe deep fries everything on a plate, it’s a reference to a Ren and Stimpy skit called “Beef Tallow Boy” where the main character deep fries everyday items and serve them as food.
  • While this episode tells us that Bart doesn’t believe in a soul (at first), there were other times throughout the show’s history where Bart did believe in one: During a skit on The Tracey Ullman Show titled “The Pagans,” “Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment,” “Bart Gets Famous,” and “Lisa’s Rival.”

Memorable Quotes

Bart: Hymns, here! I got hymns, here. Get ’em while they’re holy. Fresh from God’s brain to your mouth.

Lovejoy: And now, please rise for our opening hymn, uh…”In the Garden of Eden,” by I. Ron Butterfly.

Homer: [quietly] Hey Marge, remember when we used to make out to this hymn?

Lovejoy: I know one of you is responsible for this. So repeat after me: If I withhold the truth, may I go straight to Hell where I will eat naught but burning hot coals and drink naught but burning hot cola —
[all the kids recite in unison]
Ralph: [scared] …where fiery demons will punch me in the back,
Bart: [bored] …where my soul will be chopped into confetti and be strewn upon a parade of murderers and single mothers,
Milhouse: …where my tongue will be torn out by ravenous birds.
[a crow outside looks right at him an squawks]
Bart did it! That Bart right there!
Bart: [angry] Milhouse!
Lovejoy: Milhouse, you did the right thing. Bart, come with me for punishment. [goes back for Milhouse] You too, snitchy.

Bart: You shank! How could you tell on me?
Milhouse: Well I don’t want hungry birds pecking my soul forever.
Bart: Soul? Come on, Milhouse, there is no such thing as a soul. It’s just something they made up to scare kids, like the bogeyman, or Michael Jackson.
Milhouse: But every religion says there’s a soul, Bart. Why would they lie? What would they have to gain?

Bart: Well, if your soul is real, where is it?
Milhouse: [motions to his chest] It’s kind of in here. And when you sneeze, that’s your soul trying to escape. Saying “God bless you” crams it back in! [gestures up his nose] And when you die, it squirms out and flies away.
Bart: Uh huh. What if you die in a submarine at the bottom of the ocean?
Milhouse: Oh, it can swim. It’s even got wheels in case you die in the desert and it has to drive to the cemetery.
Bart: [sighs] Oh, how can someone with glasses that thick be so stupid? Listen: you don’t have a soul, I don’t have a soul, there’s no such thing as a soul!
Milhouse: [smug] Fine. If you’re so sure about that, why don’t you sell your soul to me?
Bart: [pause] How much you got?
Milhouse: Five bucks.
Bart: Deal.
[writes “Bart Simpson’s Soul” on a piece of paper]
There you go: one soul.
Milhouse: [sly] Pleasure doing business with you.
Bart: Any time, chum…p.

Barney: Aah! Natural light! Get it off me…get it off me!
Hibbert: Oh, I’m sorry: I thought this was a family restaurant.
Moe: Oh, it is…it is. Just uh, uh, pull them stools up to the pool table.
Kid: Daddy, this place smells like tinkle.

Moe: Oh, everybody is going to family restaurants these days, tsk. Seems nobody wants to hang out in a dank pit no more.
Carl: You ain’t thinking of getting rid of the dank, are you, Moe?
Moe: Ehh, maybe I am.
Carl: Oh, but Moe: the dank. The dank!

Lisa: Bart, your soul is the only part of you that lasts forever. For five dollars, Milhouse could own you for a zillion years!
Bart: Well, if you think he got such a good deal, I’ll sell you my conscience for $4.50.
[Lisa starts to walk off]
I’ll throw in my sense of decency too. It’s a Bart sales event! Everything about me must go!

Moe: So, come on: I need a name that says friendly, All-American cooking.
Homer: How about, “Chairman Moe’s Magic Wok”?
Barney: I like it!
Moe: Mmm, nah. I want something that says people can have a nice relaxing time.
Homer: [pounds fist] I got it! “Madman Moe’s Pressure Cooker”!
Barney: I like it!
Moe: Hey! How about, “Uncle Moe’s Family Feedbag”?
Barney: I hate it.

Bart: I know that’s funny, but I’m just not laughing. [taps head]
Lisa: Hmm. Pablo Neruda said, “Laughter is the language of the soul.”
Bart: I am familiar with the works of Pablo Neruda.

Moe: If you like good food, good fun, and a whole lot of…crazy crap on the walls, then come on down to Uncle Moe’s Family Feedbag.
Announcer: At Moe’s, we serve good old-fashioned home cooking deep fried to perfection.
[Moe submerges a whole tray covered with food, utensils, etc., in the deep fryer]
[he takes the fried tray to a couple, who break off pieces and give him the thumbs-up]
Moe: Now that’s Moe like it! So bring the whole family. Mom, Dad, kids — er, no old people. They’re not covered by our insurance. It’s fun! And remember our guarantee: if I’m not smiling when your check comes, your meal’s on me. Uncle Moe’s!
[smiles right into the camera]
Singers: Come to Uncle Moe’s for family fun, it’s good, good, good, good, good good-good!

[Ralph squirts Moe with a squirt gun and laughs]
Moe: Hey, what the hell are you doing, you little freak?
[Ralph starts bawling]
Moe: [apologetic] Ooh, sorry, kid, sorry. I’m not used to the laughter of children. It cuts through me like a dentist drill. But no, no, that was funny, that was funny taking away my dignity like that, ha ha ha.

Child: Unky Moe?
Moe: [trying hard for control] Whaaat…is it, sweetheart?
Child: My sodie is too cold. My teef hurt!
Moe: [mock sympathy] Oh, your “teef” hurt, huh? Your “teef” hurt? Well that’s too freaking bad! You hear me? I’ll tell you where you can put your freaking sodie too!

Ned: Well, I expect that type of language at Denny’s, but not here!

Bart: Hello, Ralph.
Ralph: Aah! Um, hi, Bart. I know you from school.
Bart: Yes. A simple proposition, Ralph: how would you like to make a dollar?
Ralph: Uh…I don’t know.
Bart: All you have to do is sign a paper that says I can have your soul. [desperate] I need a soul, Ralph — any soul. Yours!

Milhouse: I’m really sorry…I kind of traded your soul to the guy at the comic book store. But look! I got some cool pogs: Alf pogs! Remember Alf? He’s back…in pog form.
Bart: [incredulous] You traded my soul for pogs?!

Comic Book Guy: If you are waiting for the Hi & Lois signing, it has been moved to the Springfield Coliseum.
Bart: Please, you have something of mine on a little piece of paper.
Comic Book Guy: Oh, so you’re Bart Simpson, eh? Well, since my breakfast burrito is congealing rapidly, I will be blunt: you’re too late. I sold your soul last night. Yes, yes: I found a buyer right away for that item.
Bart: Who?
Comic Book Guy: I am not at liberty to divulge the party, but they were most interested in having possession of Little Boy’s soul.
[Bart bangs his head]
Um, excuse me: no banging your head on the display case, please. It contains a very rare Mary Worth in which she has advised a friend to commit suicide. Thank you.

Bart: [plaintive] Are you there, God? It’s me, Bart Simpson. I know I never paid too much attention in church, but I could really use some of that good stuff now. I’m…afraid. I’m afraid some weirdo’s got my soul and I don’t know what they’re doing to it! I just want it back. Please? [starts to cry] I hope you can hear this.

Bart: Lisa? You bought this?
Lisa: With the change in my piggy bank.
Bart: There’s no change in your piggy bank.
Lisa: Not in any of the ones you know about.
Bart: Oh, Lis, thank you. [kisses her]
Lisa: Happy to do it. But you know, Bart, some philosophers believe that nobody is born with a soul — that you have to earn one [Bart eats the piece of paper] through suffering and thought and prayer, like you did last night.
Bart: Uh huh. [swallows]


I’ll let Dr. Laura Schlessinger sum it up for you:

“Never sell your soul.”


1. heyzeus - Thursday, June 7, 2007

Fantastic episode, a fine choice anywerhe in the top 10.

2. J.L. White - Thursday, June 7, 2007

#1 with a bullet, but I’ll settle for #9. This is the first episode I thought of, when it came to the Simpsons countdown. Still my favorite part, which gets me laughing every time, is the “soul test” Bart and Lisa do. Their serious tone, while Homer getrs stuck in the staircase, gets bitten by Santa’s Little Helper, is pure gold.

3. Ana - Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Meh. Not sure it’d be in my top ten, but I guess I haven’t seen it in a while.

(The baseball one wouldn’t be in my top ten either.
Why does everyone love that one so much? It’s funny but it’s not ‘zomg lyk put it at numba 1 alredy geeezzzz’)

4. JP - Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Just watched this one again last night. Bart’s prayer at the end of the episode is a Top 5 Simpsons scene and a truly touching moment.

5. jose - Saturday, July 28, 2007

COMIC BOOK GUY YAY. i think this was his first appearance.

6. Frinky - Thursday, September 27, 2007

Nope, Comic Book Guy appeared a little before season 7, in the 2nd season when Bart Milhouse and Martin split on the first issue of Radioactive Man.

7. markofando - Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Want to start your private office arms race right now?

I just got my own USB rocket launcher :-) Awsome thing.

Plug into your computer and you got a remote controlled office missile launcher with 360 degrees horizontal and 45 degree vertival rotation with a range of more than 6 meters – which gives you a coverage of 113 square meters round your workplace.
You can get the gadget here: http://tinyurl.com/2qul3c

Check out the video they have on the page.


Marko Fando

8. s - Monday, May 5, 2008

three men and a comic book
mother simpson
king size homer

these three eps-particularly the second-could be added to your list…

9. ASA2011: Win, Lose or Draw? « A (Budding) Sociologist’s Commonplace Book - Thursday, August 25, 2011

[…] The dank. Michigan, like most of the US, banned smoking in bars and restaurants. Vegas seems to have upped its game in response. Every establishment was permeated by the dank even when no one was actively smoking. […]

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