Round 26: The Twisted World of Marge Simpson vs. The Front

Round 26: 4F08 vs. 9F16.

4F08: “The Twisted World of Marge Simpson” (Season 8 / January 19, 1997)
Written by Jennifer Crittenden
Directed by Chuck Sheetz
Showrunners: Bill Oakley & Josh Weinstein

Homer Simpson, Official Pretzel Inspector

The best thing about this episode is obviously the guest appearance by Jack Lemmon. Thank God the show got to him early enough (in two ways: before his death and also before the time most celebrities doing the Simpsons just get to play themselves in a cameo that serves little to no story purposes).

Other favorite moments here are Marge setting up her business with the family happily helping her (the ticker tape parade!) and pretty much every single scene between Homer and Fat Tony. The ending is pretty absurd, but that’s okay.

  • – “Homer, did you tell the Mafia they could eliminate my competitors with savage beatings and attempted murder?”
    – “In those words? Yes.”

9F16: “The Front” (Season 4 / April 15, 1993)
Written by Adam I. Lapidus
Directed by Rich Moore
Showrunners: Al Jean & Mike Reiss

The Itchy and Scratchy Show writers room.

Left to right: John Swartzwelder, George Meyer, Jeff Martin, Al Jean, Mike Reiss

A weird thing is happening as I watch episodes of season 4, which I always named the show’s best, as part of this tournament. I know they are great. I have watched them countless times, listened to the commentaries repeatedly. Yet, somehow, when it comes to comparing them to other episodes, they underwhelm.

A lot of it has to do with the non-sequitur cut-aways and one-off jokes. Long before Seth MacFarlane made a living with these they were a welcome addition to “The Simpsons,” and most of them are still very funny and memorable, but they are not (in my opinion) the show at its best.

  • All that said, there are still many great moments here. The Itchy & Scratchy cartoons are all very good, Roger Meyers, Jr. (sadly not voiced by Alex Rocco in this episode) is fun, as are the jabs at the Simpsons’ writers, which of course get enhanced a thousand-fold when you “know” them through the commentaries.
  • – “Cartoons have writers?”
    – “Eh, sort of.”

The winner: 9F16: “The Front.”