"Bart Carny" is the twelfth episode of The Simpsons' ninth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 11, 1998. Homer and Bart start working at a carnival and befriend a father and son duo named Cooder and Spud. It was written by John Swartzwelder, directed by Mark Kirkland and guest stars Jim Varney as Cooder the carny. The episode contains several cultural references and received a generally mixed critical reception.
|The Simpsons episode|
|Episode no.||Season 9|
|Directed by||Mark Kirkland|
|Written by||John Swartzwelder|
|Original air date||January 11, 1998|
Jim Varney as Cooder
|Couch gag||As the family goes to sit down, the couch gets pulled back. Nelson appears from behind the couch, saying "Ha-Ha".|
When Marge unsuccessfully tries to get the kids to clean up the backyard, Homer runs into the house to exclaim to the family that the carnival is in town. After trying some rides, Bart gets himself into trouble by crashing a display of Hitler's limousine into a tree. To repay the loss, Bart and Homer become carnies.
They meet up with carnies Cooder and his son, Spud. Cooder asks Homer to run his fixed game, but Homer fails to bribe Chief Wiggum, and Cooder's game is shut down. Feeling guilty, Homer invites Cooder and Spud to stay at the Simpson residence, much to Marge's dismay.
To express their gratitude, the Cooders give the Simpsons tickets on a glass-bottom boat ride. When the Simpsons return, they find that the locks have been changed, the windows are all boarded up, and the Simpsons' name is crossed off the mailbox and replaced by "The Cooders". The family is forced to take up residence in Bart's treehouse.
Homer proposes to Cooder, that if he can throw a hula hoop onto the chimney, they get their house back. If he misses, he will sign the deed over to Cooder. Cooder agrees and steps onto the lawn to watch Homer's attempt. Homer stretches and warms up, as if about to throw, but instead he and his family suddenly rush into the house, leaving Cooder and Spud dumbfounded.
The carnival in this episode is based on The Eastern States Exposition (currently known as The Big E) fair. As a child, Mike Scully went to the fair, and had hoped one day to be a carny. This is the only episode that Mark Kirkland did not tell his parents to watch. This is due to Bart's line "Out of my way, I'm Hitler". Kirkland's stepfather was a lieutenant in World War II and was injured while in combat. Cooder was modeled after David Mirkin, the showrunner of seasons five and six and co-writer and the executive producer of two episodes in the ninth season. Spud's head shape is modeled after Bart's head. The "fisheye effect", when Cooder is looking through the peep hole was drawn by hand, not optically by assistant director Matthew Nastuk. Matt Groening said they had several endings worked out, including one where Homer made the hula hoop over the chimney.
When Homer and Bart talk through their teeth while holding the chickens, it is a reference to Bob Hope and Bing Crosby films. Some of the prizes for the ring toss game are a Def Leppard mirror, a Rubik's Cube, and a Magic 8-Ball. The song being played at the end when Homer fixes his "ass groove" is "Groove Me" by King Floyd.
The episode makes two references to a past Simpsons episode, "The Old Man and the Lisa." Marge advises Homer not ride the Tooth Chipper roller coaster because of his quadruple bypass. During the family's glass-bottom boat ride, a barrel of Li'l Lisa's Patented Animal Slurry is visible on the sea floor.
In its original broadcast, "Bart Carny" finished 13th in ratings for the week of January 5–11, 1998, with a Nielsen rating of 11.9, equivalent to approximately 11.7 million viewing households, making it the highest rated episode of Season 9. It was tied with King of the Hill as the second highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, following The X-Files.
The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, called it "one of the most dismally unfunny episodes ever, lifted only by the brief appearance of a talking camel and Homer's clever way of getting Cooder and Spud out of his home. Whereas most of the series' politically incorrect moments are funny and well-observed, this episode seems to be saying that fairground folk and travelers really are deeply unpleasant criminals who are both irredeemable and unworthy of help. Nasty-taste-in-the-mouth time."
Isaac Mitchell-Frey of the Herald Sun described the episode as "brilliant", and highlighted it along with episodes "The Trouble with Trillions" and "The Joy of Sect" and it has been described by the other Simpsons writers in the DVD audio commentary as "criminally underrated".
"All Singing, All Dancing" is the eleventh episode of The Simpsons' ninth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 4, 1998. In the fourth clip show aired by The Simpsons, Homer claims he hates singing, so Marge shows family videos of musical numbers from the previous seasons of the series. Additionally, the episode itself takes the form of a sung-through musical, featuring spoken dialogue only at the start and end of the episode. The original material was directed by Mark Ervin and written by Steve O'Donnell. It was executive produced by David Mirkin. It features guest appearances from George Harrison, Patrick Stewart, and Phil Hartman, although these are all clips and none of them recorded original material for the episode.Bart Simpson
Bartholomew JoJo "Bart" Simpson is a fictional character in the American animated television series The Simpsons and part of the Simpson family. He is voiced by Nancy Cartwright and first appeared on television in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Cartoonist Matt Groening created and designed Bart while waiting in the lobby of James L. Brooks' office. Groening had been called to pitch a series of shorts based on his comic strip, Life in Hell, but instead decided to create a new set of characters. While the rest of the characters were named after Groening's family members, Bart's name is an anagram of the word brat. After appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show for three years, the Simpson family received its own series on Fox, which debuted December 17, 1989.
At ten years old, Bart is the eldest child and only son of Homer and Marge, and the brother of Lisa and Maggie. Bart's most prominent and popular character traits are his mischievousness, rebelliousness and disrespect for authority. He has appeared in other media relating to The Simpsons – including video games, The Simpsons Movie, The Simpsons Ride, commercials, and comic books – and inspired an entire line of merchandise.
In casting, Nancy Cartwright originally planned to audition for the role of Lisa, while Yeardley Smith tried out for Bart. Smith's voice was too high for a boy, so she was given the role of Lisa. Cartwright found that Lisa was not interesting at the time, so instead auditioned for Bart, which she thought was a better role.Hallmarks of the character include his chalkboard gags in the opening sequence; his prank calls to Moe; and his catchphrases "Eat my shorts", "¡Ay, caramba!", "Don't have a cow, man!", and "I'm Bart Simpson. Who the hell are you?". Although, with the exception of "Ay, caramba!", they have been retired or not often used.
During the first two seasons of The Simpsons, Bart was the show's breakout character and "Bartmania" ensued, spawning Bart Simpson-themed merchandise touting his rebellious attitude and pride at underachieving, which caused many parents and educators to cast him as a bad role model for children. Around the third season, the series started to focus more on the family as a whole, though Bart still remains a prominent character. Time named Bart one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century, and he was named "entertainer of the year" in 1990 by Entertainment Weekly. Nancy Cartwright has won several awards for voicing Bart, including a Primetime Emmy Award in 1992 and an Annie Award in 1995. In 2000, Bart, along with the rest of his family, was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
He has appeared in every Simpsons episode except "Four Great Women and a Manicure".Carny
Carny, also spelled carnie, is an informal term used in North America for a traveling carnival employee, and the language they use, particularly when the employee plays a game ("joint"), food stand ("grab" or "popper"), or ride at a carnival. The term "showie" is used synonymously in Australia.Geek show
Geek shows were an act in traveling carnivals and circuses of early America and were often part of a larger sideshow.
The billed performer's act consisted of a single geek, who stood in center ring to chase live chickens. It ended with the performer biting the chickens' heads off and swallowing them. The geek shows were often used as openers for what are commonly known as freak shows. It was a matter of pride among circus and carnival professionals not to have traveled with a troupe that included geeks. Geeks were often alcoholics or drug addicts, and paid with liquor – especially during Prohibition – or with narcotics.Grieg's music in popular culture
The music of the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg has been used extensively in media, music education, and popular music.Jim Varney
James Albert Varney Jr. (June 15, 1949 – February 10, 2000) was an American actor, comedian, and writer. He is best known for his role as Ernest P. Worrell, who was used in numerous television commercial advertising campaigns and films and for which he won a Daytime Emmy Award. He gained further notability for playing Jed Clampett in the film version of The Beverly Hillbillies (1993) and providing the voice of Slinky Dog in Toy Story (1995) and Toy Story 2 (1999).John Swartzwelder
John Joseph Swartzwelder Jr. (born February 8, 1949) is an American comedy writer and novelist, best known for his work on the animated television series The Simpsons. Born in Seattle, Washington, Swartzwelder began his career working in advertising. He was later hired to work on comedy series Saturday Night Live in the mid-1980s as a writer. He later contributed to fellow writer George Meyer's short-lived Army Man magazine, which led him to join the original writing team of The Simpsons, beginning in 1989.
He worked on The Simpsons as a writer and producer until 2003, and later contributed to The Simpsons Movie. He is credited with writing the largest number of Simpsons episodes (59 full episodes, with contributions to several others) by a large margin. After his retirement from the show, he began a career as a writer of self-published absurdist novels. He has written more than eleven novels, the most recent of which, The Squirrel Who Saved Practically Everybody, was published in 2019.
Swartzwelder is revered among comedy fans; his colleagues have called him among the best comedy writers. He is famously averse to press.List of The Simpsons couch gags
The Simpsons is an American animated television sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The opening sequence of The Simpsons features a couch gag: a "twist of events that befalls the Simpson family at the end of every credit sequence as they converge on their living-room couch to watch TV." The couch gag is a running visual joke near the end of the opening sequence.
The couch gag changes from episode to episode and usually features the Simpson family's living room couch. A typical gag features the Simpsons running into the living room, only to find some abnormality with the couch, be it a bizarre and unexpected occupant, an odd placement of the couch, such as on the ceiling, or any number of other situations, such as to make a pop culture reference. Longer couch gags have sometimes been used to fill time in shorter episodes, such as in "Lisa's First Word", "The Front" and "Cape Feare". The show's 500th episode "At Long Last Leave" showcases each couch gag that was used in the series.List of The Simpsons episodes (seasons 1–20)
The Simpsons is an American animated television sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. It is a satirical depiction of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its eponymous family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield, and lampoons American culture, society, and television, as well as many aspects of the human condition. The family was conceived by Groening shortly before a pitch for a series of animated shorts with producer James L. Brooks. Groening created a dysfunctional family and named the characters after members of his own family, substituting Bart for his own name. The shorts became a part of the Fox series The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987. After a three-season run, the sketch was developed into a half-hour prime-time show that was an early hit for Fox.Since its debut on December 17, 1989, The Simpsons has broadcast 662 episodes. The show holds several American television longevity records. It is the longest-running prime-time animated series and longest-running sitcom in the United States. On February 19, 2012, The Simpsons reached its 500th episode in the twenty-third season. With its twenty-first season (2009–10), the series surpassed Gunsmoke in seasons to claim the spot as the longest-running American prime-time scripted television series, and later also surpassed Gunsmoke in episode count with the episode "Forgive and Regret" on April 29, 2018.Episodes of The Simpsons have won dozens of awards, including 31 Emmy Awards (with ten for Outstanding Animated Program), 30 Annie Awards, and a Peabody Award. The Simpsons Movie, a feature-length film, was released in theaters worldwide on July 26 and 27, 2007 and grossed US$526.2 million worldwide. The first eighteen seasons are available on DVD in regions 1, 2, and 4, with the twentieth season released on both DVD and Blu-ray in 2010 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the series. On April 8, 2015, show runner Al Jean announced that there would be no more DVD or Blu-ray releases, shifting focus to digital distribution, although this was later reversed on July 22, 2017. Another two years later, on July 20, 2019, it was announced that Season 19 will be released on December 3, 2019 on DVD.On November 4, 2016, The Simpsons was renewed for seasons 29 and 30. It reached its 600th episode on October 16, 2016, in its twenty-eighth season. The thirtieth season ended on May 12, 2019. On February 6, 2019, The Simpsons was renewed for seasons 31 and 32, in which the latter will contain the 700th episode.Season 31 will premiere on September 29, 2019.
== Series overview ==
=== Ratings ===
With its first season, The Simpsons became the Fox network's first series to rank among the top thirty highest rated shows of a television season. Due to this success, Fox decided to switch The Simpsons' timeslot in hopes that it would result in higher ratings for the shows that would air after it. The series moved from 8:00 p.m. on Sunday nights to the same time on Thursdays, where it competed with The Cosby Show, the number one show at the time.Many of the producers were against the move, as The Simpsons had been in the top ten while airing on Sunday, and they felt the move would destroy its ratings. Ratings wise, new episodes of The Cosby Show beat The Simpsons every time during the second season and The Simpsons eventually fell out of the top ten. At the end of the season Cosby averaged as the fifth highest rated show on television, while The Simpsons was thirty-eighth.The show continued in its Thursday timeslot until the sixth season, when, in 1994, it reverted to its original slot on Sunday. It has remained there ever since.
==== Key ====
The ratings for The Simpsons are split into two tables:
Season 1–11 are ranked by households (in millions) watching the series.
Season 12–30 are ranked by total viewers (in millions) watching the series.
==== Notes ====
Until the 1996/97 television season, ratings were calculated over 30 weeks from September to mid April. Episodes that aired after mid April were not part of the overall average and ranking.
Season one had approximately 13.4 million viewing households. Season two dropped 9%, resulting in an average of approximately 12.2 million viewing households.
Season three had an average rating of 13.0 points. For the 1991/92 season, each point represented 921,000 viewing households, resulting in a total average of approximately 12.0 million viewing households.
Season four had approximately 12.1 million viewing households. Season five dropped 13%, resulting in an average of approximately 10.5 million viewing households.List of The Simpsons guest stars (seasons 1–20)
In addition to the show's regular cast of voice actors, celebrity guest stars have been a staple of The Simpsons, an American animated television sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company, since its first season. The Simpsons focuses on the eponymous family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. The family was initially conceived by Groening for a series of animated shorts, which originally aired as a part of The Tracey Ullman Show between 1987 and 1989. The shorts were developed into a half-hour prime time series which began in December 1989. The series' 29th season began in October 2017 and 662 episodes of The Simpsons have aired. A feature film adaptation of the series called The Simpsons Movie, was released in 2007.
Guest voices have come from a wide range of professions, including actors, athletes, authors, musicians, artists, politicians and scientists. In the show's early years most guest stars voiced original characters, but as the show has continued the number of those appearing as themselves has increased.
The first credited guest star was Marcia Wallace who appeared in "Bart the Genius" in her first stint as Bart's teacher Edna Krabappel. Singer Tony Bennett was the first guest star to appear as himself, appearing briefly in the season two episode "Dancin' Homer". Several guest stars have featured as recurring characters on the show, including Phil Hartman, Joe Mantegna and Kelsey Grammer. Hartman made the most appearances, guest starring 52 times. Grammer, Mantegna, Maurice LaMarche and Frank Welker have appeared twenty times or more; Jon Lovitz and Jackie Mason have appeared over ten times, while Albert Brooks, Glenn Close, Michael Dees, Dana Gould, Terry W. Greene, Valerie Harper, Jan Hooks, Jane Kaczmarek, Stacy Keach, Kipp Lennon, J. K. Simmons, Sally Stevens, George Takei and Michael York have made over five appearances.
Two guest stars, Ricky Gervais and Seth Rogen, earned writing credits for the episodes in which they appeared. Grammer, Mason and three-time guest star Anne Hathaway all won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance for guest voice roles on the show. The show was awarded the Guinness World Record for "Most Guest Stars Featured in a TV Series" in 2010. As of May 12, 2019, there have been 826 guest stars on the show[A], with this figure rising to 831 if The Simpsons Movie is included.List of one-time The Simpsons characters
The following is a list of one-time characters from the American animated television comedy series The Simpsons.
Some of the characters have returned to the show, sometimes in brief speaking appearances, or just 'in the crowd' scenes. Other characters originally intended to be one-time characters have ended up becoming regular cast members, such as Cletus Spuckler, Luigi Risotto, Disco Stu, Groundskeeper Willie, Crazy Cat Lady, Cookie Kwan and Lindsey Naegle.
For purposes of this list, "one-time" means they were central to an episode one time. Some of the characters listed here have appeared in later episodes, but only briefly. The characters are sorted by episode.Mark Kirkland
Mark Kirkland (born November 5, 1956) is an American animation director. He has directed 83 episodes of The Simpsons since 1990, more than any other director.The Joy of Sect
"The Joy of Sect" is the thirteenth episode of The Simpsons' ninth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 8, 1998. In the episode, a cult takes over Springfield, and the Simpson family become members.
David Mirkin conceived the initial idea for the episode, Steve O'Donnell was the lead writer, and Steven Dean Moore directed. The writers drew on many groups to develop the Movementarians, but were principally influenced by Scientology, Heaven's Gate, the Unification Church ("Moonies"), the Rajneesh movement, and Peoples Temple. The show contains many references to popular culture, including the title reference to The Joy of Sex and a gag involving Rover from the television program The Prisoner.
"The Joy of Sect" was later analyzed from religious, philosophical, and psychological perspectives; books on The Simpsons compared the Movementarians to many of the same groups from which the writers had drawn influence. Both USA Today and The A.V. Club featured "The Joy of Sect" in lists of important episodes of The Simpsons.The Simpsons (season 9)
The Simpsons' ninth season originally aired on the Fox network between September 1997 and May 1998, beginning on Sunday, September 21, 1997, with "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson". With Mike Scully as showrunner for the ninth production season, the aired season contained three episodes which were hold-over episodes from season eight, which Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein ran. It also contained two episodes which were run by David Mirkin, and another two hold-over episodes which were run by Al Jean and Mike Reiss.Season nine won three Emmy Awards: "Trash of the Titans" for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour) in 1998, Hank Azaria won "Outstanding Voice-Over Performance" for the voice of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, and Alf Clausen and Ken Keeler won the "Outstanding Music and Lyrics" award. Clausen was also nominated for "Outstanding Music Direction" and "Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore)" for "Treehouse of Horror VIII". Season nine was also nominated for a "Best Network Television Series" award by the Saturn Awards and "Best Sound Editing" for a Golden Reel Award.The Simpsons 9th Season DVD was released on December 19, 2006 in Region 1, January 29, 2007 in Region 2 and March 21, 2007 in Region 4. The DVD was released in two different forms: a Lisa-shaped head, to match the Maggie, Homer and Marge shaped heads from the three previous DVD sets, and also a standard rectangular shaped box. Like the previous DVD sets, both versions are available for sale separately.The Trouble with Trillions
"The Trouble with Trillions" is the twentieth episode in the ninth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 5, 1998. It was written by Ian Maxtone-Graham and directed by Swinton O. Scott III. The episode sees Homer being sent by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to try to obtain a trillion dollar bill that Mr. Burns failed to deliver to Europe during the post-war era.