Season 4 Marathon: 22 Episode, 22 Beers, 8h:25m:44s


“Well, well, look who it is.  Mister ‘I don’t need alcohol to enjoy life’.” – Moe

Good morning everyone and welcome to the third Simpsons-Beer marathon!  The mob has spoken and has acclaimed Season 4 as its champion.  I am looking forward, at 2:30ish this afternoon, to watching Homer struggle with his drinking problem after I’ve downed 16 beers alone.  Click here for an explanation of how this all works, and let’s get started.  Beer and Simpsons, hurrah!

1. Kamp Krusty

  • It was years after I first saw this episode that I got Bart’s 36-24-36 locker combination joke.
  • Homer is such an awesomely terrible father in this episode, what with the hard work/lottery speech and, of course, having Bart reach for the roller skate in the running lawnmower. 
  • “Spare me your euphemisms, it’s fat camp for daddy’s chubby little secret.”
  • Can you actually bake jelly beans?  Google Image search says you can.
  • I love Homer’s picnic hat. 
  • Rather than say this same thing over and over all day, I’ll just say it now.  It remains amazing just how many jokes they manage in each line.  Even lines that are basically plot points, Bart’s rant against Krusty, Mr. Black yelling at the bullies, everything has jokes.  There is nary a wasted word. 

2. A Streetcar Named Marge

  • Gotta give it up for Meryl Streep, they made that joke about her fragrance “Versatility” in 1992, and she’s just kept it up for twenty more years.
  • “Tonight, my reign as Miss American Girl comes to an end, and I’d like to apologize one last time for my unfortunate remarks at the United Nations.”
  • Oh how I adore the Ayn Rand School for Tots.  “Helping Is Futile” always gets me.  I’m still too sober to be able to blot Zombie Simpsons from my mind, but compare this to that execrable and bizarre speech they had Maggie give a couple of years ago.  This is satire, that was hapless. 
  • The bloody bandage on Ned’s chest is just another example of how much thought and care they put into everything.  We never see Marge draw blood, but we don’t need to.  It works much better by just alluding to the violence.
  • The music from “The Great Escape” is perfect here. 
  • This episode is exquisitely plotted, Marge and Homer’s troubles are neatly done through Blanche and Stanley.  Even the resolution, where they make it explicit, never feels heavy handed. 

3. Homer the Heretic

  • Lovejoy’s line about the badly damaged card table was written by someone with a lot of familiarity with church bulletins.  
  • For all our non-American readers out there, the little “D” on the (1991!) penny Homer finds means that the penny was made at the mint in Denver.
  • This episode is Exhibit A for why religious people should never praise this show.  The Simpsons had unlimited respect for faith, but did nothing but brutally mock organized religion. 
  • I love Ned’s resigned “Okay”, after Homer bounces back into the house.  It’s such a great moment for his character, he’s instantly both unhappy and determined to continue. 
  • “Hindu.  There are seven hundred million of us.”  “Aw, that’s super.”
  • I also love that Jimi Hendrix is in heaven.  Choke on that, hidebound religious people. 

4. Lisa the Beauty Queen

  • Skinner’s repressed badass, nice. 
  • They were really on about beauty pageants this year, and that’s good because the sooner those things are ridiculed into oblivion the better. 
  • Homer’s awful parenting works because it comes from well meaning stupidity.  He doesn’t realize that what he’s doing is terrible.
  • “Eyelash implants.”  “I thought those were illegal.”  “Not in Paraguay.”
  • When I was a kid I thought Jack Nicholson and Jack Nicklaus were the same guy.  I was amazed that a man that acted that well was also a pro golfer.
  • Sigh.  I miss Doris Grau.  Not just for Lunchlady Doris, but because if there’s one thing Zombie Simpsons needs, it’s a good script supervisor.

5. Treehouse of Horror III

  • Exhibit B: “You see, there are some crybabies out there, religious types mostly, who might be offended.”
  • The sharpened teeth on the evil Krusty doll are a nice touch.
  • “Grampa, why don’t you tell us a story.  You’ve led an interesting life.”  “That’s a lie and you know it!”
  • You don’t really notice it, but it’s better that the “King Kong” segment is in black and white.  And this was before the latest mediocre remake.
  • The thrown ashtray, when Marge is trying to serve fruit, is exactly how every kid feels when something other than candy is on offer on Halloween.
  • The “Thriller” album cover on Bart’s head is another one of those understated touches that lets you know this is genius.  No comedy opportunity is left unexplored. 
  • In the “Maybe The Simpsons does pervert the youth” category, I did learn an awful lot of condom brands from this episode.  Granted, I didn’t get it until after I hit puberty, but still.
  • And, for good measure, we close on a joke about television. 

6. Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie

  • The doll with the knife for a neck is a nice callback to “Kamp Krusty”.
  • It would be awesome if Earl Warren really was a stripper.
  • I wonder if more people under the age of about 30 have seen “Steamboat Willie” or “Steamboat Itchy”. 
  • “Homer, we’d like to talk to you.”  “But then I won’t be watching teevee, you can see the bind I’m in.”
  • The barber college joke takes, what, about half a second?  Wall to wall jokes, every episode.

7. Marge Gets a Job

  • I use “Hand me my patching trowel, boy” all the time.  It works both when you need a tool and when you have no idea what to do.
  • Again, the implications of terrible things often work better than the things themselves.  Here it’s a picture of the White House on fire and Brockman saying that the Vice President is in charge.  By the way, this episode was two years before that nutjob crashed that Cessna on the south lawn
  • Citizen Kane has so many iconic scenes that they could reference it in about five different episodes without repeating anything.
  • Another nice callback, with the photo of Burns and Elvis on the wall in Smithers’ office.
  • There are three Tibor jokes in this episode and each one builds on the last.
  • This is a perfect example of nicely complementary A & B plots.
  • The Tom Jones guest appearance is the way celebrities playing themselves should be done.  It makes sense in context, isn’t overdone, and isn’t unadulterated self promotion.
  • Burns’ imagining of Homer is fantastic.  It’s everything that Homer, a man he’s met multiple times, isn’t.
  • “Care to join me in a belt of scotch?”  “It’s nine-thirty in the morning.”  “Yeah, but I haven’t slept in days.”
  • For the record, it’s only 11:30 here.

8. The New Kid on the Block

  • I’ve said this before, but even for all its accolades the show still doesn’t get enough credit for stepping over lines that, at the time, were pretty hard and fast on network television.  This is a scene with an interracial couple and a gay real estate agent, and none of the jokes are about who they are.  The jokes are about a young couple’s naivete and the frustrations of selling real estate.  It’s presented as completely normal life, which it is, but which you wouldn’t have known from teevee at the time.
    New Kid on the Block4
  • “My upbringing was painfully strict, ma’am.”  “That’s sweet.”
  • I watched this episode with my nieces and nephews at a family thing three years ago.  When the zookeeper stage whispers to Homer than the monkeys are having sex they all burst into laughter.  I’ve never been more proud.
  • Even when Laura is gushing over Jimbo there’s a joke or more in every line.  The body is “behind the mayor’s house” and all Jimbo did was poke him with a stick.
  • Yes, the court is in session at night.  No, no one cares because this is hilarious and works story-wise.
  • I love Moe’s lasciviously violet hip waggle as he anticipates his vengeance when he gets to the window.

9. Mr. Plow

  • Guh, Battle of the Network Stars was so, so horrible.
  • My dad loves the joke with the model repelling the dumb guys asking if she comes with the car.  He used to go to auto and trade shows all the time and he’s described that scene as eerily accurate.
  • Speaking of great celebrity cameos: Adam West. 
  • Hey look, it’s a President Bush.  Haven’t seen that in a while.
  • Lovejoy’s Christian goons are great.
  • The Flogging Song!
  • Linda Ronstadt has a long and glorious history with cartoons.
  • “You know those radio ads where two people with annoying voices yammer back and forth?  I invented those.”  A format that has haunted humanity to this very day.
  • Even when god is melting things there are jokes. 

10. Lisa’s First Word

  • The stickball arcade game is great, but it’s made even better by the fact that there are two more of them.
  • It’s typical of the show’s a) relentless humor and b) excellent storytelling how the sweetness of Grampa helping them buy the house is used as a set up for shipping him off to the old folks home. 
  • Oh Webster, you were the worst show ever.
  • $44 Million was a lot more in 1984 dollars.
  • Hibbert’s past haircuts are always fantastic.

11. Homer’s Triple Bypass

  • “You know that feeling you get when a thousand knives of fire are stabbing you in the heart?  I got that right now.”
  • The Poe house bursting into flames as it goes off the cliff is yet another example of how much funnier over-the-top, batshit crazy stuff is when you don’t beat it into the audience’s face.
  • Eighteen years later, and health care in America is still all fucked up.  God, I love this country.
  • I wonder if there really is anything different about “Sweatin’ to the Oldies Vol. 3”. 
  • This is a television episode where the main character is undergoing life threatening surgery.  But it never gets serious and doesn’t go more than five seconds between gags.  Despite that it never turns into a Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker parody thing where nothing matters.  That is not easy to do.  

12. Marge vs. the Monorail

  • The squirrel with laser eyes is perhaps more difficult to describe than any other gag on the show. 
  • The Genghis Khan thing is much easier to quote out of context.
  • I’ve never seen “The Music Man”, in any incarnation.  I know some of the songs, and I like musicals, I’ve just never seen it.  I don’t think that ignorance takes anything away from the monorail song, though I could be wrong.
  • Lanley flattering Lisa out of her criticism is the eleventy billionth example of the precision with which this show was made.  Everyone is mocked for believing his crap.
  • As another example of the above, see Lanley’s apathy about who gets to be conductor.
  • “He’s cool, he’s sexy, he’s thirty-four years old!”  Has anyone mentioned that most of the cast of Glee are in their mid-20s?  That guy who was on that Zombie Simpsons episode is nearly 30!
  • I’m almost getting tired of mentioning these, but here’s another celebrity cameo that actually makes sense.  Tom Jones was roped in by a billionaire’s henchman, and Adam West and Leonard Nimoy appear as guys on the sad, down slope of fame.  No one is there just because, nor getting a free pass to hawk themselves. 
  • The Quimby-Wiggum argument is a parody of about eight million things and you still know exactly what it’s about.
  • “Hey, according to the charter, as chief constable I’m supposed to get a pig every month.  And two comely lasses of virtue true.”  “Keep the pig, how many broads do I get?”
  • Batman científico.
  • This whole ending with “how do we stop the train” is great.  It is never played for tension.

13. Selma’s Choice

  • Heh: “To be completed in 1994”.  Now it’s funny for a different reason.
  • Homer’s ultra dignified “please” when asked for another placemat is fantastic. 
  • Low Expectations Dating Service.  I need say no more.
  • I will never tire of the enforced racial harmony of Hooray for Everything.
  • “Put Your Sperm in Our Hands”
  • The sandwich!  Oh the sandwich!
  • I went to Disneyland in 2004 and saw the animatronic Abe Lincoln.  It was better than I was expecting, but did not rap or talk about beer. 
  • The Small World ride really was about this terrifying though.  Technically proficient without a shred of humanity.  It’s the Skynet of rides.

14. Brother From the Same Planet

  • This show really should’ve ended when Phil Hartman died.  It did so much with pompously idiotic characters that his loss went well beyond Hutz and McClure, and those two alone were huge. 
  • Bart’s vision of Homer’s melted, nose-less face remains kinda horrifying.
  • If you’re ever watching SNL and the first joke of skit dies, it’s time to mention the Big Ear Family.
  • Mocking those who would exploit your insecurities for fun and profit:
    Brother from the Same Planet3 So. Many. Stuffed. Animals.
  • Eight year military build up?  Ha.  Twenty years later and we have an honest-to-jebus Pain Ray. 
  • Speaking of the Pain Ray, the way Skinner goes about cutting his budget, resigned but with an enthusiasm for whatever horrors the system makes him perpetrate, is hilarious. 
  • Not only does Homer’s brain abandon him for saying “Revenge”, it was wrong to do so:
     Brother from the Same Planet4
  • Attention to detail #1729: Bart’s luxurious bathroom in Homer’s tale of his cruelty.
  • Kids, there really did used to be a phone number you could call that would recite the time over and over again.  There was a tone every ten seconds so you could set your clocks.  I would not be surprised if, someday in the future, we revamp the calendar so that it’s based on internet instead of carpentry.
  • “Dad, remember when Tom had you in that headlock and you screamed, ‘I’m a hemophiliac’, and when he let you go you kicked him in the back?”  “Heh, heh, heh, yeah?”  “Will you teach me how to do that?”

15. I Love Lisa

  • We are sure it’s not Bacon Day, right?
  • “Isn’t that just pointless busywork?”  “Bullseye.  Get cracking.”
  • I love Skinner’s “Some student, possibly Bart Simpson . . .” delivery.
  • Homer Simpson, the kind of man who would exploit a love struck second grader to re-tar his roof. 
  • Sideshow Raheem.
  • Question: the Caretaker Presidents song, responsible for more or less than 35% of America’s total knowledge about obscure presidents? 
  • Ladies and gentlemen, the Monster Mash.

16. Duffless

  • I once quoted Homer’s conversation with himself well.  There it is.
  • Tartar control Duff! 
  • I went to the Miller brewery tour in Milwaukee one time.  It ends in an old fashioned beer hall where they make you drink three beers in ten minutes so the next group can come through.  Then they’re like, “Drive home safe!” 
  • Yeah, it’s a Kubrick reference, but this is still an awfully sexually implicit image to put on network television:
  • It not shocking or anything, but it is still kinda remarkable how little beer ads have changed in eighteen years. 
  • Also, baseball is still boring as shit sober.
  • One look at those mumbling barflies, and I feel reassured about every terrible decision I’ve ever made.

17. Last Exit to Springfield

  • Three minutes into the episode and Burns has already laughed at the death of two men, the window washer and the guy who got walled up in the abandoned coke oven.
  • Dental Plan.
  • Lisa Needs Braces.
  • Dental Plan.
  • Lisa Needs Braces.
  • Dental Plan.
  • Lisa Needs Braces.
  • Dental Plan.
  • Lisa Needs Braces.
  • Dental Plan.
  • Lisa Needs Braces.
  • Dental Plan.
  • Lisa Needs Braces.
  • “Bullseye.”  “Thanks a lot Carl, now I’ve lost my train of thought.”
  • Dental Plan.
  • Lisa Needs Braces.
  • Dental Plan.
  • Lisa Needs Braces.
  • The unremitting horror of the dentist’s office pre-surgery is tremendous, and then it leads to a Batman parody.  Incidentally, however much the sequels sucked, the 1989 Batman has held up remarkably well.
  • If they kept records for most piss jokes in a single scene, the brief conversation in Burns’ basement would have set a record.
  • The song, the world loves the song.
  • And just past that is possibly the greatest Grampa rant of all time.  “They didn’t have white onions, because of the war, the only thing you could get was those big yellow ones.”
  • And then there’s Burns’ imitation of the Grinch.  Damns, this episode is good.

18. So It’s Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show

  • I don’t know if it’s because Sam Simon was still in charge or what, but this is far and away better than the every other clip show for the simple reason that it’s easily 53% new footage.  Even the one in Season 6, when they were still completely on their game, doesn’t compare. 
  • The first time I saw Bart get exploded as he’s trying to yell “April Fools”, I think I may have laughed through the entire commercial break.  My stomach hurt afterward.
  • Barney’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” thing and Moe’s reaction are both stellar. 
  • The other nice thing about this episode is that it has an actual resolution, with Bart confessing and Homer’s hatred bringing him back from the coma.

19. The Front

  • I still can’t take off my underwear without taking off my pants, but despite many setbacks I think success is at hand.
  • Aw, Tom Bosley died this week.
  • Hey look, it’s a throwaway joke that Zombie Simpsons would later stretch a whole episode over.  Lovitz isn’t even in this one.   
  • “Alright brain, you don’t like me, and I don’t like you.  But let’s just do this and I can get back to killing you with beer.”
  • Gotta love The Adventures of Ned Flanders.

20. Whacking Day

  • I love that Principal Skinner contemplates leaving his most troublesome students to die in a basement, only to be talked out of it.
  • We Put the Fun in Fundamentalist Dogma
  • “Pleasing taste, some monsterism.”
  • More less than subtle sex imagery, Marge sliding the sleeve off Homer’s whacking stick and telling him to go “slow, then fast”.  Rawr. 
  • Barry White, here for a reason and actually being funny. 
  • “Gentlemen, start your whacking.” 
  • I guess I’ve always used Zombie Simpsons criticism as a way of getting attention.

21. Marge in Chains

  • I wish I could make my immune system surrender to non-life threatening infections. 
  • Just when you think you know what Scratchy’s going to do, he get impaled on a cactus.
  • “Oh, the network slogan is true: ‘Watch Fox and Be Damned for All Eternity’.”  Hey, remember when people thought Zombie Simpsons cracking on FOX was novel? 
  • “No offense, but, we’re putting that bitch on ice!”
  • Has anyone ever checked the books for Northrop and Boeing, are we sure they don’t operate convenience stores?  And if so, do they prosecute shoplifters?
  • With many years of hindsight, we now know that both Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson are fucking crazy, super-hunks though they may be. 
  • Hutz has sock garters, but no pants.
  • What are the most probable misspellings of “guilty”?  Gillty?  Giltey? 
  • There are only so many possible iterations of a Jimmy Carter statue, and this episode has all of them.

22. Krusty Gets Kancelled

  • Krusty’s horrifying doll just keep getting better every time those children scream.
  • Worker and Parasite
  • Mr. Teeny takes a healthy swig and shivers, that’s good background comedy.
  • That thing Michael Bay does all the time, where he twirls the camera around someone as they stand up?  They do it here on Bette Midler.  I’m not saying this is the original, I’m just saying. 
  • Most of a season later, it’s Luke Perry, one of those guys who played a high schooler until he was old enough to have fathered one. 
  • The Chili Peppers do well here.  And – no to belabor a point – but it makes sense because it’s part of Krusty’s thing. 
  • It also takes a certain kind of perverted humor to have Hugh Hefner play “Peter and the Wolf” on water glasses.
  • And, absent any t-shirt sales, that it’s folks.  Twenty-two straight episodes of the best show ever and, once again, I can’t think of anything else I’d have rather done.  Assuming I can get my phone to cooperate, there should be a trophy picture coming shortly.   

Simpsons Season 4, Fuck Yeah

10 Responses to “Season 4 Marathon: 22 Episode, 22 Beers, 8h:25m:44s”

  1. 1 Shane
    23 October 2010 at 11:54 am

    To go with the point about how densely packed with jokes these episodes, its also that a lot of the jokes also add to the characterisation while remaining very funny. One that comes to mind is in Homer The Heretic where Ned tells Homer he’d know Homer would have rescued him from the flames and we see Homer’s fantasy of neglecting Ned’s house burning down—that one joke says a lot about the characters, besides also managing the difficult balancing act of having Homer be a callous ass that is still human. And most important of all, unlike (Dial Z For) Zombie Simpsons, they don’t junk established characters just for the sake of a ‘joke’ that almost never works anyway.

  2. 2 Shane
    23 October 2010 at 11:56 am

    That should be ‘how densely packed with jokes these episodes are’… darn lazy typos.

  3. 3 Stan
    23 October 2010 at 2:13 pm

    – Give me a beer, Moe!
    – Hey everyone! Homer’s back! =)

  4. 4 Izzy
    23 October 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Probably the best season or at least the most consistent. I was just watching “The Front” this week when Homer made the Tom Bosley joke. I laughed hard for a few seconds and followed it with an ‘awww’ when I realized he was no longer with us.

  5. 24 October 2010 at 12:43 am

    Yep, Season 4 is overall one of the best seasons of the entire series. Each episode is an absolute winner. There’s so much I can say about every episode, but you pretty much do it for me.

    Not to be a shameless plug whore or anything, but here’s a blog entry I wrote about my favorite episodes: http://galileo908.blogspot.com/2010/07/my-favorite-simpsons-episodes.html

    Krusty’s face after witnessing “Worker and Parasite” is one of my favorite single shots in all of animation, just the perfect cap to “Worker and Parasite” itself. By the way, that little bit of Burns and Smithers dancing in the halls of the power plant during “Last Exit to Springfield” while they run the plant themselves remains my favorite bit of animation in the whole series. And that lasts for what, less than 10 seconds?

  6. 6 Cassidy
    24 October 2010 at 2:24 am

    “Also, baseball is still boring as shit sober.”

    *PHHHHFT* :P~~~~

    Not Giants baseball. It’s delicious TORTURE.

    Yes, I’m a SF Giants fan and yes I’m celebrating tonight!

    (great marathon write-up btw)

  7. 7 P. Piggly Hogswine
    24 October 2010 at 4:30 am

    Once again, outstanding job, my good man. I watched most of these episodes over the last month and a bit, and I feel like doing it all over again having read all that.

    And I trust you don’t mind me posting this quick and fantastic link, which is fitting, with what has just been read. http://lisaneedsbraces.ytmnd.com/

  8. 8 D.N.
    24 October 2010 at 8:58 am

    “The first time I saw Bart get exploded as he’s trying to yell “April Fools”, I think I may have laughed through the entire commercial break. My stomach hurt afterward.”

    I remember taping that episode the very first time it was on, and rewinding and watching repeatedly the bit where Homer opens the beer can and Bart gets blown backwards. Epic.

    Also, back in the old days when I didn’t have every good episode of the show readily available to watch anytime I wanted, having that clipshow was a godsend.

  9. 9 studentee
    24 October 2010 at 11:14 am

    hats off

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