128th-Final, Round 14: The Day the Violence Died vs. The Call of the Simpsons

128th-final, round 14: 3F16 vs. 7G09.

3F16: “The Day the Violence Died” (Season 7 / March 17, 1996)
Written by John Swartzwelder. Directed by Wesley Archer
Showrunners: Bill Oakley & Josh Weinstein

Bart and Lisa Simpson watching Itchy and Scratchy on TV

vs.

7G09: “The Call of the Simpsons” (Season 1 / February 18, 1990)
Written by John Swartzwelder. Directed by Wesley Archer
Showrunners: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon

Marge and Lisa Simpson at a camp fire in the woods

Two great Swartzwelder/Archer episodes in this round. While there are certainly many differences in the look and feel and even the characters between seasons 1 and 7, the writer and director have undeniably put their stamp on either episode. Swartwelder’s crazy one-liners and out-there references are present in both of these, as is Archer’s lovingly detailed and beautifully drawn animation.

Albert Brooks“The Day the Violence Died” has great voice performances from guests Kirk Douglas, Alex Rocco, and Phil Hartman (and singing from Jack Sheldon!), while in “The Call of the Simpsons” we get a wonderful scene with Albert Brooks as the sleazy RV-salesman, who kinda reminded me of Walton Goggins’ character in “The Hateful Eight” this time around.

I always think that Season 1 doesn’t really stand much of a chance in this tournament because it can be so different from what the show would become later, but watching these two back-to-back I have to say that I enjoyed 7G09 a lot more than I would have expected. So, in what might be considered kind of an upset, …

… the winner is: 7G09, “The Call of the Simpsons.”

Round 27: Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder vs. The Day the Violence Died

Round 27: BABF02 vs. 3F16.

BABF02: “Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder” (Season 11 / November 14, 1999)
Written by Al Jean
Directed by Mike B. Anderson
Showrunner: Mike Scully

Maggie Simpson pointing out a butterfly to Homer.

Maggie foreshadowing her Oscar nominated turn in “The Longest Daycare.”

When I was 18 years old, I thought this was a great episode. Now, this is most likely due to two things. First, I didn’t know any better. Second, this was a pretty funny episode. Was. As mentioned before, I used to watch Family Guy. I enjoyed the obscure pop culture references and crass humor. For 22 minutes, once a week, 24 weeks a year, I was more or less entertained by it. But aside from a few, rare exceptions, I never felt the urge to revisit an episode of Family Guy. It’s the same with much (not all!) of Mike Scully’s seasons of The Simpsons. It’s not terrible, but a) it can’t compete with earlier episodes, and b) there’s really no reason to re-watch any of it.

  • I caught this episode on German TV once. When Teller says “I’m not the first Teller,” the people translating the dialogue apparently didn’t know that was his name (or maybe they did and just didn’t care) and made him say, in German, “I’m not the first to tell you this.” Because of course they did.

3F16: “The Day the Violence Died” (Season 7 / March 17, 1996)
Written by John Swartzwelder
Directed by Wesley Archer
Showrunners: Bill Oakley & Josh Weinstein

Lionel Hutz talking to Bart Simpson and Chester J. Lampwick.

Another high-quality Oakley and Weinstein outing with three perfect guest voices from Alex Rocco, Phil Hartman and Kirk Douglas. The ending certainly is… something else. But not in a bad way.

  • Lisa: “It’s one of those campy ’70s throwback that appeals to Generation Xers.”
    Bart: “We need another Vietnam to thin out their ranks a little.”
    (This certainly reads in a whole new light now.)

The winner: 3F16: “The Day the Violence Died.”