Round 115: Trilogy of Error vs. The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show

Round 115: CABF14 vs. 4F12.

CABF14: “Trilogy of Error” (Season 12 / April 29, 2001)
Written by Matt Selman
Directed by Mike B. Anderson
Showrunner: Mike Scully

Martin Prince holding a plasma globe on the school bus

Oh, hey, I remember this episode. This is where they tell the same story from three different point-of-views, each filling in more and more details, right? That sounds kinda fun.

(Watches the first act.)

Homer gets hit in the head with a skateboard (in the opening credits). Homer gets his thumb cut off by a kitchen knife, with gruesome amounts of blood splattering everywhere. Homer drinks himself to the point of passing out and violently slamming his head on the bar, only to be woken up by being forced to gulp down a pot of scolding hot coffee.

You know: fun.


4F12: “The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show” (Season 8 / February 9, 1997)
Written by David S. Cohen
Directed by Steven Dean Moore
Showrunners: Bill Oakley & Josh Weinstein

Hey, it's David Silverman and his beloved Tuba!

Hey, it’s David Silverman and his beloved Tuba!

Love how they make fun of obsessive nerds who go on the Internet to complain about the countless hours of entertainment they’ve been given free of charge. Ha! In your face, nerds!

  • -Homer: “Is this episode going on the air live?”
    -June Bellamy: “No, Homer. Very few cartoons are broadcast live. It’s a terrible strain on the animators’ wrists.”

The winner: 4F12, “The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show.”

Round 48: Homer’s Phobia vs. Future-Drama

Now that the Season 16 DVD box set has arrived, I can finally do the rounds I skipped, starting with…

Round 48: 4F11 vs. GABF12.

4F11: “Homer’s Phobia” (Season 8 / February 16, 1997)
Written by Ron Hauge
Directed by Mike B. Anderson
Showrunners: Bill Oakley & Josh Weinstein

Homer, Barney, Bart, and Moe going hunting

Nice touch that their clothes are modeled after those from “The Deer Hunter.”

I like the idea behind this episode better than I like the actual episode. Similar to Frank Grimes, John, brilliantly voiced by John Waters, comes upon the Simpsons as somebody from “the real world” (Baltimore, presumably), and the ensuing culture clash is a fun and interesting one.

For a season 8 episode, “Homer’s Phobia” feels strangely season 14-ish at times. (A better way of saying that is that certain moments feels more like they’re from an Al Jean episode than from an Oakley & Weinstein episode.) Especially Homer’s behavior is annoying to me – although I do recognize that they had to amp up his lesser qualities to make the final redemption work.

  • “Force majeure!”

GABF12: “Future-Drama” (Season 16 / April 17, 2005)
Written by Matt Selman
Directed by Mike B. Anderson
Showrunner: Al Jean

Slightly older Mrs. Krabappel, Ms. Hoover, Homer and Bart Simpson

Where did Ms. Hoover go? Where did her glass go? Where did Homer go?

I laughed a few times.

Not during the actual episode, unfortunately, but during the DVD commentary.

Oh, well.

The winner: 4F11, “Homer’s Phobia.”

Round 63: Two Dozen and One Greyhounds vs. Behind the Laughter

Round 63: 2F18 vs. BABF19.

2F18: “Two Dozen and One Greyhounds” (Season 6 / April 9, 1995)
Written by Mike Scully
Directed by Bob Anderson
Showrunner: David Mirkin

Santa's Little Helper in a parody of The Lady and the Tramp

I don’t even know what to write.

Perfect.

Next?


BABF19: “Behind the Laughter” (Season 11 / May 21, 2000)
Written by Tim Long, George Meyer, Mike Scully, Matt Selman
Directed by Mark Kirkland
Showrunner: Mike Scully

Homer Simpson in black-and-white

“Mama Mia!”

I actually like this one. The immersion into the “Behind the Music” format works quite well, and I enjoyed all the visualizations of those overwrought phrases: “The Simpsons’ TV show started out on a wing and a prayer… but now the wing was on fire and the prayer had been answered by Satan.

  • -“This will be our last season.”

The winner: 2F18, “Two Dozen and One Greyhounds.”

Round 55: Natural Born Kissers vs. Mr. Plow

Round 55: 5F18 vs. 9F07.

5F18: “Natural Born Kissers” (Season 9 / May 17, 1998)
Written by Matt Selman
Directed by Klay Hall
Showrunners: Mike Scully

Lenny, Carl, Homer and Marge.

-“How do you do, ma’am?”
-“I hope this evening finds you well.”
-“Oh, knock it off you perverts.”

Some funny lines, but overall I’m not a big fan of this episode. It’s very Matt Selman-y. His kind of jokes, from what I gathered from his episodes and commentary appearances, are much more suited to something like Family Guy. It’s not that they’re not funny, just that they aren’t anything that stands out.

Also, hearing Homer and Marge (attempting to) have sex is just not something I needed in my life.

  • “Folks, is your marriage stuck in a rut? Can you even remember the last time you felt the thrill of romance? Well, maybe you need… a divorce!”

9F07: “Mr. Plow” (Season 4 / November 19, 1992)
Written by Jon Vitti
Directed by Jim Reardon
Showrunners: Al Jean & Mike Reiss

Homer Simpson buying a car from a sleazy salesman.

-“What country is this car from?”
-“It no longer exists.”

Like “Kamp Krusty” this is a beloved episode that is beloved for a reason: it’s really good.

Maybe it’s the direct contrast to later episodes, but both “Kamp” and “Mr. Plow” felt very slowly paced to me. Not in a bad way, but it is something that kinda dates them.

  • -“Now, before I give you the check, one more question. Uh, this place, Moe’s, you left just before the accident, this is a business of some kind?”
    -“Don’t tell him you were at a bar. But what else is open at night? — It’s a pornography store. I was buying pornography. — Heh-heh-heh. I would have never thought of that.

The winner: 9F07, “Mr. Plow.”

Round 6: The Trouble with Trillions vs. Simpsons Bible Stories

Round 6: 5F14 vs. AABF14.

5F14: “The Trouble with Trillions” (Season 9 / April 5, 1998)
Written by Ian Maxtone-Graham
Directed by Swinton O. Scott III
Showrunner: Mike Scully

Homer Simpson filling out his tax returns.

“Marge, if anyone asks, you require 24-hour nursing care, Lisa’s a clergyman, Maggie is seven people, and Bart was wounded in Vietnam.”

Did you file your taxes yet? The idea of starting the episode on New Year’s Eve, have Ned file his returns the next morning (“8:45? Here I am yapping away like it’s 8:35!”) and then fast-forwarding to April 15 is a great one. From there it’s a long way to Burns, Smithers and Homer on a raft returning from Cuba, but the episode gets there in a semi-believable way, so that’s okay.

  • This episode marks the first time in this tournament (but not in the series) that the Charles Nelson Reilly noise is employed (without the collar yank, though). Last month I asked Simpsons writer Matt Selman how they represent the Charles Nelson Reilly noise in the scripts. Answer: “[Charles Nelson Reilly noise].” Those crazy writers and their technical terms!
  • – “Daddy, what do taxes pay for?”
    – “Oh, why, everything! Policeman, trees, sunshine. And let’s not forget the folks who just don’t feel like working, God bless ’em.”
  • I would have never noticed it without Ian Maxtone-Graham pointing it out in the commentary, but ever since then Homer’s package magically turning into a ball of string makes me laugh every time I see it.
  • When Homer asks the guys in the bar to talk about crimes being committed, they specifically reference things he did in past episodes: running moonshine out of his basement, a telemarketing scam, and the time he beat up George Bush.

AABF14: “Simpsons Bible Stories” (Season 10 / April 4, 1999)
Written by Tim Long, Larry Doyle, Matt Selman
Directed by Nancy Kruse
Showrunner: Mike Scully

Reverend Lovejoy and a melting, chocolate Easter bunny.

Huh. I kinda remember at the very least not actively disliking this episode, and maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood today, but the thing is: watching it again, I didn’t laugh once. In fact, all that my notes say about “Bible Stories” is “didn’t laugh once” and “oh, look, it’s the Orb of Isis from ‘Lost Our Lisa.’ That was great episode.”

The winner: 5F14: “The Trouble with Trillions.”