Round 57: The Last Temptation of Homer vs. Itchy & Scratchy & Marge

Round 57: 1F07 vs. 7F09.

1F07: “The Last Temptation of Homer” (Season 5 / December 9, 1993)
Written by Frank Mula
Directed by Carlos Baeza
Showrunner: David Mirkin

Your infatuation is based on a physical attraction. Talk to the woman and you'll realize you have nothing in common.

This is an example of sitcom writing at its very best. The script is perfectly structured, from a first act full of crazy, one-off jokes and situations that still manages to set up all the necessary plot complications, followed by a true, emotionally invested arc for Homer and the final conclusion that is not the least bit forced but absolutely organic to the character we know and love. And a whole lot of funny along the way.

  • -“Pick me, teacher, I’m ever so smart!”
  • -“Get back to work, Stewart!”
  • Even if he just shows up for one line, Phil Hartman makes everything better.
  • Wonderful work by the animators and actors. Particularly Dan Castellaneta and guest star Michelle Pfeiffer get to shine.

7F09: “Itchy & Scratchy & Marge” (Season 2 / December 20, 1990)
Written by John Swartzwelder
Directed by Jim Reardon
Showrunners: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon

Homer and Marge Simpson admiring Michelangelo's Statue David

Michelangelo’s “Dave”

Solid, smart episode. The shot-for-shot “Psycho” recreation is incredible, especially given that you couldn’t just pull a clip off of YouTube for reference back then. Alex Rocco is one of my favorite recurring Simpsons guest actors. And that the children discover nature-montage? Amazing.

  • -“Well, I always knew you’d change the world… for the better.”

The winner: 1F07, “The Last Temptation of Homer.”