Round 119: Bart vs. Thanksgiving vs. Marge Gets a Job

Round 119: 7F07 vs. 9F05.

7F07: “Bart vs. Thanksgiving” (Season 2 / November 22, 1990)
Written by George Meyer
Directed by David Silverman
Showrunners: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon

Bart Simpson and his dog Santa's Little Helper outside the Simpsons' house

Written by George Meyer. Directed by David Silverman. Is there a more promising combination of words to ever appear in the opening credits of a TV show?

My notes for this episode are filled with the usual superlatives, about the story, the cinematic visuals, the jokes, the performances. These episodes from season 2 are just such a joy to watch, and so full of great stuff that they never seem to get old.

  • -Announcer: “And the Silverdome now ablaze with flashbulbs as Hooray For Everything leaves the field! Of course, the stadium’s much too big for flash pictures to work, but nobody seems to care!”

9F05: “Marge Gets a Job” (Season 4 / November 5, 1992)
Written by Bill Oakley & Josh Weinstein
Directed by Jeff Lynch
Showrunners: Al Jean & Mike Reiss

The Simpsons 9F05 Marge Gets a Job

Another great episode. Comparing it to the one from the second season you notice that there are a lot more crazy, non-sequitur gags and cutaways. The rubber-band reality is being stretched a bit further, but it’s all still grounded within a pretty straight-forward sitcom setup (wife gets job at husband’s place of work).

  • I think this was the first time I had heard the “Imperial March” outside of Star Wars.
  • The shot-for-shot “Citizen Kane” reference went way over my head even after I had seen the movie a couple of times. I just never thought to connect the two.
  • -Mr. Smithers: “Oh, I thought Muddy Waters wrote that song.”

The winner: 7F07, “Bart vs. Thanksgiving.”

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More early rough sketches and drafts from David Silverman

David Silverman’s Twitter feed is the gift that keeps on giving. Here are some more of his early Simpsons sketches he shared.

From 1987, a sketch from the Tracey Ullman Show short “House of Cards,” as well as some rough models for Maggie and Grampa:

Rough sketch of Bart, Lisa, and Maggie Simpson building a house of cards.

Rough model for Maggie Simpson by David Silverman Rough model for Abe Grampa Simpson

From the 1989 short “Maggie in Peril: Chapter One,” a background cell drawn by Eric Stefani, and an animation cycle:

sewer pipe background cell Maggie Simpson

Also from 1989, one of Silverman’s first sketches for the Simpsons title sequence:

Rough draft of Homer Simpson working at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant

Also from Eric Stefani, a draft of a cut scene from 1990’s “Bart vs. Thanksgiving”:

The Simpson family as pilgrims

Homer acting poses for the second season episode “Blood Feud” from 1991:

Homer Simpson Living in a World of Make Believe animation poses

Homer’s heart attack poses from 1992’s “Homer’s Triple Bypass“:

Homer Simpson having a heart attack

Sketches for Mr. Burns’ big number in “Two Dozen and One Greyhounds,” 1995:

Mr. Burns See My Vest Mr. Burns See My Vest

Finally, some sketches and color drawings from 1997’s “El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)”

Psychedelic Jasper, Nelson, Mrs. Krabappel, Barney Script pages and drawings Johnny Cash coyote sketch