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


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 28: I Am Furious (Yellow) vs. The Call of the Simpsons

Round 28: DABF13 vs. 7G09.

DABF13: “I Am Furious (Yellow)” (Season 13 / April 28, 2002)
Written by John Swartzwelder
Directed by Chuck Sheetz
Showrunner: Al Jean

The Springfield Nuclear Power Plant.

Least unfunny frame I could find.

So sad.

Even before the episode really started, when Homer suffered through another violent couch gag, I wondered, Do they know they don’t have to torture Homer in every one of these?

And then it got so much worse. They have literally taken the two things I hate most about later-day Simpsons and built this episode around it. Homer is angry. Homer is subjected to gruesome violence. They even found time to slip in some of my third least favorite thing, Homer having back-and-forth, one-second-to-the-next mood swings. An all around winner, this one.

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

The Simpsons camping in the woods.

“There. Finished.”
“You are?”
“Well, it’s a quick job, but it’s shelter.”
“It is?”

Interestingly enough, when they recorded the commentary for this and the other first season episodes, they were in production of season 13, and they even point out that after all these years, John Swartzwelder was still cranking out scripts for the show.

But credited writer aside, these two episodes couldn’t be more different. “The Call of the Simpsons” already shows signs of the greatness that was to come while “I Am Furious (Yellow)” has only the slightest residue of it left.

More about this episode, which I quite liked, in the next phase of the tournament.

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