Round 125: In Marge We Trust vs. The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase

Round 125: 4F18 vs. 4F20.

4F18: “In Marge We Trust” (Season 8 / April 27, 1997)
Written by Donick Cary
Directed by Steven Dean Moore
Showrunners: Bill Oakley & Josh Weinstein

The Simpsons 4F18 In Marge We Trust

I liked the idea of giving Lovejoy a bit of a backstory, but the episode lost me somewhere on the way from there to crazy monkeys attacking Ned Flanders. The Mr. Sparkle thing had some fun bits, I guess.

4F20: “The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase” (Season 8 / May 11, 1997)
Written by David S. Cohen, Dan Greaney, Steve Tompkins. Story by: Ken Keeler
Directed by Neil Affleck
Showrunners: Bill Oakley & Josh Weinstein

Wiggum, P.I., and Skinner

This episode must feel so weird for anyone under 30.

I love all the different genre parodies and references. Of course this is a stand-out in the series, and comparing it to a regular story gets kinda tricky. But of the two episodes here, it’s my clear favorite.

The winner: 4F20, “The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase.”


Round 85: You Only Move Twice vs. Lisa the Skeptic

Round 85: 3F23 vs. 5F05.

3F23: “You Only Move Twice” (Season 8 / November 3, 1996)
Written by John Swartzwelder
Directed by Mike B. Anderson
Showrunners: Bill Oakley & Josh Weinstein

The Simpson family entering their new house in Cypress Creek

This is one of the three episodes I, before starting this tournament, would cite as my all-time favorites. It doesn’t get funnier than this.

  • On the commentary track, recorded four years after “Die Another Die” and before the release of “Casino Royale,” Ken Keeler feels the need to explain to the listener who James Bond is: “People will be listening to this at some point in time when, possibly, a significant fraction of the population won’t know who James Bond was.”
  • Josh Weinstein: “He was a secret agent… guy, who would often fight these… big villains.”
    Dan Castellaneta: “Parodied in the ‘Austin Powers’ movies. If you’ve seen those, that’s what that’s a take-of of.”

5F05: “Lisa the Skeptic” (Season 9 / November 23, 1997)
Written by David S. Cohen
Directed by Neil Affleck
Showrunners: Mike Scully

Springfield's school children working in the blistering sun

I don’t dislike this episode, but I feel that it could have been better. The whole science vs. faith thing doesn’t really go anywhere, and parts of the story are a little too outlandish for my taste. It’s an okay episode, it just doesn’t look that good compared to 3F23, I guess.

  • -“Now that’s interesting!”

The winner: 3F23, “You Only Move Twice.”

Round 29: This Little Wiggy vs. Fear of Flying

Round 29: 5F13 vs. 2F08.

5F13: “This Little Wiggy” (Season 9 / March 22, 1998)
Written by Dan Greaney
Directed by Neil Affleck
Showrunner: Mike Scully

Homer Simpson wohooing.

“Wohoo! Beer, beer, beer, bed, bed, bed…”

I kinda remember that there was some “controversy” with this episode and German television, where they wouldn’t show it in its usual kid-friendly time-slot (the channel never got the memo that The Simpsons isn’t a kids’ show) but instead could only be aired after 10 pm in front of that X-Files episode where they bury the baby alive… or something like that. I could look it up but why bother. Oh, and the thing they didn’t want to show was when Quimby gets nearly executed at the end, which I guess us not the most violent thing the show has done but I certainly didn’t need to see it.

  • I like over-stimulated Homer, and Bart cleaning his toys was great, too.
  • A total non-sequitur, but Homer and Marge recording a new outgoing phone message had me in stitches.
  • “The world is our toy store!” (I didn’t get that the first few times. Very funny.)

2F08: “Fear of Flying” (Season 6 / December 18, 1994)
Written by David Sacks
Directed by Mark Kirkland
Showrunner: David Mirkin

Marge Simpson repairing the roof in the middle of the night.

“Marge, it’s 3 a.m. Shouldn’t you be baking?”

Fun fact: I’m writing this on the train! On my phone, too, not on one of your fancy tablet computers! I’m on my way to a friend’s wedding,  but I watched the episode right before I left for the station.

A great episode, very Mirkin-esque. It’s heavy on the jokes, sometimes going into the absurd, especially in the first act. But once the Marge plot kicks in we get some nice emotional content, as well. Marge’s fear of flying rings very true to her character, and I love Homer’s obsessive worrying about the therapist blaming him for Marge’s problems. In fact we get a lot of hilarious Homer moments in this episode, with Dan firing on all cylinders. (“I wanna live, Marge! Why won’t you let me live!”)

Other favorite bits:
Homer’s search for a new bar.
The whole Lost in Space thing, especially Homer as Dr. Smith.
The flashbacks to Marge’s childhood. (The toy plane catching fire, the North by Northwest reference.)

The winner: 2F08, “Fear of Flying.”

Round 7: Viva Ned Flanders vs. Homer and Apu

Round 7: AABF06 vs. 1F10.

AABF06: “Viva Ned Flanders” (Season 10 / January 10, 1999)
Written by David M. Stern
Directed by Neil Affleck
Showrunner: Mike Scully

Homer Simpson and Ned Flanders get married in Las Vegas

In this episode of “Family Guy,” Peter and Mort travel to Las Vegas, where Peter behaves like a mean, drunken asshole and gets both of them into trouble when they wake up hungover and realize they got married to casino waitresses the night before.

It’s not very funny, either.

1F10: “Homer and Apu” (Season 5 / February 10, 1994)
Written by Greg Daniels
Directed by Mark Kirkland
Showrunner: David Mirkin

Homer and Apu ride on donkeys

In this episode of “Family Guy,” Peter behaves like a mean, selfish asshole and gets his friend fired from his job. Together they travel to an exotic location where Peter again acts selfish and stupid. Also, James Woods shows up.

  • Okay, maybe it’s not that bad, but it’s not what I want to see on “The Simpsons.”
  • James Woods is actually the best part of this episode. He seems like a natural at voice acting, and I do enjoy when he shows up on “Family Guy,” as well.
  • Bark, bark, bark, bark, bark…

The winner: 1F10: “Homer and Apu.”