"The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson" is the first episode of The Simpsons' ninth season. It was originally broadcast on the Fox network in the United States on September 21, 1997, as the 179th episode of the series. The episode features the Simpson family traveling to Manhattan to recover the family car, which was taken by Barney Gumble and abandoned outside the World Trade Center, where it has been repeatedly posted with parking tickets, and disabled with a parking boot.
Writer Ian Maxtone-Graham was interested in making an episode where the Simpson family travels to New York to retrieve their misplaced car. Executive producers Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein suggested that the car be found in Austin J. Tobin Plaza at the World Trade Center, as they wanted a location that would be widely known. Great lengths were taken to make a detailed replica of the borough of Manhattan. The episode received generally positive reviews, and has since been on accolade lists of The Simpsons episodes. The "You're Checkin' In" musical sequence won two awards. Because of the World Trade Center's main role, the episode was taken off syndication in many areas following the September 11 attacks, but had come back into syndication by 2006.
|"The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson"|
|The Simpsons episode|
|Episode no.||Season 9|
|Directed by||Jim Reardon|
|Written by||Ian Maxtone-Graham|
|Original air date||September 21, 1997|
|Couch gag||The Simpsons are dressed as the Harlem Globetrotters, showing off elaborate basketball tricks to the tune of "Sweet Georgia Brown".|
At Moe's Tavern, Moe informs Homer and his friends that one of them must be a designated driver, and Barney loses the choosing draw. After Barney drives the drunken men home in Homer's car, Homer allows him to use it to drive himself home, expecting Barney to return it the following morning. In his distressed state, Barney disappears with the car. Two months later, Barney returns to Moe's Tavern, unable to recall where he left the car. Homer later receives a letter from the New York City government, which informs him that his car has been found parked in the World Trade Center plaza and will be destroyed if not picked up in 72 hours. Homer reveals to the family that he had once been to New York before when he was 17 years old, and had a horrible experience. Marge and the children persuade Homer to go retrieve the car, and he reluctantly agrees.
When the family arrives in Manhattan, they decide to split up. Upon arrival at his car, Homer discovers it has been issued many parking tickets and has been wheel clamped. While waiting for parking officer Steve Grabowski to come and remove the clamp, Homer drinks an excessive amount of crab juice from a food vendor and needs to urinate, but is afraid to leave his car behind. After several hours of holding it in and failing to urinate in a mailbox, he finally goes to the restroom at the South Tower's indoor observation deck, but discovers that it is out of order and must use the one at the top of the North Tower. While he is doing that, the officer arrives at the car and, finding no one present, issues another ticket and leaves; Homer's subsequent "D'oh!" echoes across the city. Meanwhile, the rest of the family tours the Statue of Liberty, Little Italy, Chinatown, and the Empire State Building. Bart leaves the group to visit the offices of Mad magazine, and is in awe when he sees Alfred E. Neuman. The family attends a Broadway musical about the Betty Ford Clinic, and then takes a carriage through Central Park to where they are planning to meet Homer.
Upon returning to the car, Homer realizes he must make it to Central Park to find his family and leave before it gets dark. Ignoring the wheel clamp, he tries to accelerate and in the process destroys the car's fender. Homer stops by a road construction crew and steals a jackhammer so he can use it to remove the clamp. The car is freed from the clamp, but further damaged as a result. Homer races to Central Park and reunites with his family. While driving back to Springfield, the family reflects on their wonderful time, while Homer's hatred for New York remains.
Writer Ian Maxtone-Graham, a former resident of New York, had conceived the idea of having the family travel to the city to locate their missing car and believed it to be "a classic Manhattan problem". Bill Oakley, who had visited the World Trade Center when the construction of the towers was completed in 1973, suggested parking the car in the plaza of the buildings. Josh Weinstein observed that, "When we realized that there was a plaza between the two towers, we knew it was a perfect spot to have Homer's car."
The animators were told to make a detailed replica of the city. David Silverman was sent to Manhattan to take hundreds of pictures of the city and areas around the World Trade Center. When he returned, Lance Wilder and his team spent time creating new scenes and backgrounds, incorporating small details such as signs and hundreds of extras that would correctly illustrate the city. Oakley and Weinstein were pleased with the final results, and both noted that the buildings, streets, and even elevator cabins were detailed closely to their real life counterparts. In the final scene, as the family is seen driving away from New York on the George Washington Bridge, the credits roll with the "camera" gradually pulling back from a view of the car, to a view of the side, and then on to a panorama view of the city; as if the whole sequence was being shot from a helicopter. To achieve this effect, a computer model of the bridge pulling out was made and then printed out. With the print outs, photocopies were made traced onto the animation cels. The process took a long time and was expensive, as the use of computer animation was not widespread when the episode was produced. Director Jim Reardon wanted to replicate films that ended in a similar way, and commented, "I remembered that every movie located in New York would pull back if you were leaving town on a bridge." Shortly before the episode aired, the production staff contacted Fox to make sure they would not run commercials during the credits.
Ken Keeler, who wrote the lyrics for the "You're Checkin' In" musical number, spent two hours in a room alone to write the song. Upon sharing the lyrics with the rest of the production staff, some revisions were made, although little was changed. Bill Oakley was unsatisfied with the part of the musical where the actor sings, "Hey, that's just my aspirin!", claiming that a better line could have been written.
The song used during Duffman's first and subsequent appearances is "Oh Yeah" by Yello, popularized in the final scene of the film Ferris Bueller's Day Off. The Original Famous Ray's Pizza shop Homer sees is a parody of independently owned pizza stores that carry the name "Ray" in their name. The musical sequence played during the Flushing Meadows segment is a stylistic parody of the piece "Flower Duet" from the opera Lakmé by Leo Delibes. When the traveling bus passes some Hasidic Jews, Bart mistakes them for ZZ Top, and when he visits Mad magazine's offices, he sees Alfred E. Neuman, the Spy vs. Spy characters, and cartoonist Dave Berg. The actor in the musical number "You're Checkin' In" was based on Robert Downey Jr., who was battling a cocaine addiction during the time of the episode creation, just as the character in the musical was. The sequence where Homer races alongside the carriage in Central Park was a reference to a similar scene in the film Ben-Hur. The final scene when the family is crossing the George Washington Bridge uses a version of the song "Theme from New York, New York", which continues to play throughout the credits.
Several cultural references are made during Homer's flashback to his previous visit to New York City. During the entire flashback, "The Entertainer", a piece made famous by the film The Sting, is played. Writer Ian Maxtone-Graham had brought the piece to the attention of director Jim Reardon and asked him to try to fit the piece into the flashback. Maxtone-Graham later commented, "It turned out that the music and the visual gags fit each other perfectly." In the beginning of the scene, Homer passes by three pornographic film theaters, which are playing The Godfather's Parts, II, Jeremiah's Johnson, and Five Sleazy Pieces, plays on the names of The Godfather Part II, Jeremiah Johnson, and Five Easy Pieces, respectively. A character resembling Woody Allen can be seen during the flashback, pouring trash out of his window onto Homer.
In its original broadcast, "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson" finished 18th in ratings for the week of September 15–21, 1997, with a Nielsen rating of 10.7, equivalent to approximately 10.5 million viewing households. It was the highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, beating King of the Hill's season two opener "How to Fire a Rifle Without Really Trying".
The episode was mostly well received. The song "You're Checkin' In" won a 1998 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music and Lyrics, and an Annie Award for Outstanding Music in an Animated Television Production in the same year. In honor of The Simpsons' 300th episode milestone in 2003, Entertainment Weekly ranked the episode at number 13 on the list of their 25 favorite episodes, and AskMen ranked the episode at number seven on their top ten; in both cases it was the second-most-recent installment chosen to co-inhabit the lists. IGN named the episode the best of the ninth season, claiming "this is a very funny episode that started season 9 off on a strong note". Since the release of the season nine DVD box set, the episode has been highlighted by newspaper reviewers to show excellence of the season.
Ian Jones and Steve Williams, writers for British review website Off the Telly, claimed that the episode "ditched all pretence of a plot and went flat out for individual, unconnected sight gags and vignettes". The two noted that it was their least favorite debut episode for a season of The Simpsons. In a separate article in Off the Telly, Jones and Williams write that the episode "... wasn't shown for reasons of taste and has never appeared on terrestrial television in Britain", referring to a BBC Two schedule of the ninth season, which began in October 2001.
Due to the prominence of the World Trade Center in the plot, the episode was removed from syndication after the September 11 attacks. By 2006, the episode had come back into syndication in some areas; however, parts of the episode were often edited out. One previously such edited item is a scene of two men arguing across Tower 1 and Tower 2, where a man from Tower 2 claims, "They stick all the jerks in Tower 1." Co-executive producer Bill Oakley commented in retrospect that the line was "regrettable". In 2019, a hand-drawn cel from the episode, depicting the two towers, was given to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, in what the curator termed a "hilarious and tender" donation.
Some conspiracy theorists believe that a scene in the episode foreshadows the September 11 attacks: in it, Lisa holds a brochure for a $9 bus fare with the World Trade Center shown in the background. Showrunner Al Jean said in an interview with The New York Times in 2018, "There is a frame where there's a brochure that says New York at $9 a day, and behind the nine are the twin towers. So they look like an 11, and it looks like a 9/11. That one is a completely bizarre, strange thing." Bill Oakley, the episode's showrunner, reacted to a New York Observer article in 2010 via Twitter by saying, "$9 was picked as a comically cheap fare...To make an ad for it, the artist logically chose to include a silhouette of NYC. I signed off on the design. It's pretty self-explanatory. And I will grant that it's eerie given that it's on the only episode of any series ever that had an entire act of World Trade Center jokes."
The 26th Annie Awards were given by the International Animated Film Association, ASIFA-Hollywood to honor outstanding achievements in the field of animation in 1998. Mulan almost swept all film awards, winning 10 awards from its 12 nominations, including Outstanding Animated Theatrical Feature. The Simpsons won its sixth consecutive award on Outstanding Animated Television Program.Alf Clausen
Alf Heiberg Clausen (born March 28, 1941) is an American film and television composer. He is best known for his work scoring many episodes of The Simpsons, of which he had been the sole composer between 1990 and 2017. Clausen has scored or orchestrated music for more than 30 films and television shows, including Moonlighting, The Naked Gun, ALF and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Clausen received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from the prestigious Berklee College of Music in 1996.Bill Oakley
William Lloyd Oakley (born February 27, 1966) is an American television writer and producer, known for his work on the animated comedy series The Simpsons. Oakley and Josh Weinstein became best friends and writing partners at high school; Oakley then attended Harvard University and was Vice President of the Harvard Lampoon. He worked on several short-term media projects, including writing for the variety show Sunday Best, but was then unemployed for a long period.
Oakley and Weinstein eventually penned a spec script for Seinfeld, after which they wrote "Marge Gets a Job", an episode of The Simpsons. Subsequently, the two were hired to write for the show on a permanent basis in 1992. After they wrote episodes such as "$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)", "Bart vs. Australia" and "Who Shot Mr. Burns?", the two were appointed executive producers and showrunners for the seventh and eighth seasons of the show. They attempted to include several emotional episodes focusing on the Simpson family, as well as several high-concept episodes such as "Homer's Enemy", "Two Bad Neighbors" and "The Principal and the Pauper", winning three Primetime Emmy Awards for their work.
After they left The Simpsons, Oakley and Weinstein created Mission Hill. The show was plagued by promotional issues and was swiftly canceled. They worked as consulting producers on Futurama, then created The Mullets in 2003. The two wrote several unsuccessful TV pilots, and were due to serve as showrunners on Sit Down, Shut Up in 2009. Oakley left the project over a contract dispute. He has since written for The Cleveland Show and Portlandia, without Weinstein. He also served as co-executive producer and writer on Portlandia, sharing a Writers Guild of America Award with his fellow writers in 2013. In 2018, Oakley reunited with Weinstein as co-executive producer on Disenchantment, Matt Groening's series for Netflix. Oakley is married to fellow writer Rachel Pulido.Cultural influence of the September 11 attacks
The cultural influence of the September 11 attacks (9/11) has been profound and long-lasting. The impact of 9/11 has extended beyond geopolitics into society and culture in general. Immediate responses to 9/11 included greater focus on home life and time spent with family, higher church attendance, and increased expressions of patriotism such as the flying of American flags. The radio industry responded by removing certain songs from playlists, and the attacks have subsequently been used as background, narrative or thematic elements in film, television, music and literature. Already-running television shows as well as programs developed after 9/11 have reflected post-9/11 cultural concerns. 9/11 conspiracy theories have become social phenomena, despite lack of support from scientists, engineers, and historians. 9/11 has also had a major impact on the religious faith of many individuals; for some it strengthened, to find consolation to cope with the loss of loved ones and overcome their grief; others started to question their faith or lost it entirely, because they could not reconcile it with their view of religion.The culture of the United States succeeding the attacks is noted for heightened security and an increased demand thereof, as well as paranoia and anxiety regarding future terrorist attacks that includes most of the nation. Psychologists have also confirmed that there has been an increased amount of national anxiety in commercial air travel.Due to the significance of the attacks, media coverage was extensive, including disturbing live pictures, and prolonged discourse about the attacks in general, resulting in iconography and greater meaning associated with the event. Don DeLillo called it "the defining event of our time". The attacks spawned a number of catchphrases, terms, and slogans, many of which continue to be used more than a decade later.Go Simpsonic with The Simpsons
Go Simpsonic with The Simpsons is the 1999 soundtrack album from The Simpsons. It takes many of the musical numbers from the series which were either not included in the previous album, Songs in the Key of Springfield, or were created since the previous album's release. The album has 53 tracks, most of which were written by Alf Clausen. It was well received by critics, being named the Best Compilation Album of 1999 by Soundtrack.net, and charted at number 197 on the Billboard 200.Gump Roast
"Gump Roast" is the seventeenth episode of The Simpsons’ thirteenth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 21, 2002. In the episode, Homer Simpson is honored by the townspeople at a Friars' Club Roast, until it is interrupted by Kang and Kodos.The episode was directed by Mark Kirkland and was written by Dan Castellaneta and his wife Deb Lacusta. The plot idea for the episode came about when The Simpsons cast members were on hiatus following a payment dispute. This is the fifth and, so far, the last clip show The Simpsons has produced. Instead, the series implements one "trilogy episode" each season. When it was first broadcast, "Gump Roast" received a 5.7 rating and was watched by 12.2 million viewers, making it the 16th most watched television show of the night. However, following its release on DVD and Blu-ray, the episode received negative reviews from critics.Ian Maxtone-Graham
Ian Howes Maxtone-Graham (born July 3, 1959) is an American television writer and producer. He has formerly written for Saturday Night Live (1992–1995) and The Simpsons (1995–2012), as well as serving as a co-executive producer and consulting producer for the latter.Jim Reardon
Jim Reardon (born 1965) is an American animation director and storyboard consultant best known for his work on the animated TV series The Simpsons. He has directed over 30 episodes of the series and was credited as a supervising director for seasons 9 through 15. Reardon attended the Character Animation program at the California Institute of the Arts in 1982, where one of his student projects, the satirical cartoon Bring Me the Head of Charlie Brown (1986), has become a cult classic through the likes of YouTube. He was hired by John Kricfalusi as a writer on Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures and later worked on Tiny Toon Adventures. He has been described by Ralph Bakshi as "one of the best cartoon writers in the business".Reardon supervised the storyboard department and co-wrote the Pixar film WALL-E with Andrew Stanton, which was released on June 27, 2008. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for WALL-E at the 81st Academy Awards.Josh Weinstein
Josh Weinstein (born May 5, 1966) is an American television writer and producer, known for his work on the animated comedy series The Simpsons. Weinstein and Bill Oakley became best friends and writing partners at St. Albans High School; Weinstein then attended Stanford University and was editor-in-chief of the Stanford Chaparral. He worked on several short-term media projects, including writing for the variety show Sunday Best, but was then unemployed for a long period.
Weinstein and Oakley eventually penned a spec script for Seinfeld, after which they wrote "Marge Gets a Job", an episode of The Simpsons. Subsequently, the two were hired to write for the show on a permanent basis in 1992. After they wrote episodes such as "$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)", "Bart vs. Australia" and "Who Shot Mr. Burns?", the two were appointed executive producers and showrunners for the seventh and eighth seasons of the show. They attempted to include several emotional episodes focusing on the Simpson family, as well as several high-concept episodes such as "Homer's Enemy", "Two Bad Neighbors" and "The Principal and the Pauper", winning three Primetime Emmy Awards for their work.
After they left The Simpsons, Oakley and Weinstein created Mission Hill. The show was plagued by promotional issues and was swiftly canceled, but in subsequent years has gone on to develop a cult following. They worked as consulting producers on Futurama, then created The Mullets in 2003. The two wrote several unsuccessful TV pilots, and were due to serve as showrunners on Sit Down, Shut Up in 2009. Oakley left the project over a contract dispute, but Weinstein remained until it was canceled. He co-produced and wrote for Futurama again during its Comedy Central revival, winning an Emmy in 2011. Since 2013, Weinstein has served as showrunner for the CBBC series Strange Hill High, and in 2015, Danger Mouse. He has also served as a writer for Season Two of Gravity Falls, co-writing nine of the season's episodes. In 2018, Weinstein co-developed the Netflix animated series Disenchantment with creator Matt Groening, of which he and Oakley are currently serving as co-showrunners. Weinstein is married to journalist Lisa Simmons.Kipp Lennon
Christopher Joel "Kipp" Lennon (born March 12, 1960) is an American musician, and a founding member of the folk rock band Venice. His role in the band includes performing as a lead vocalist and percussionist.List of awards and nominations received by The Simpsons
The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom that debuted on December 17, 1989 on the Fox network. The show is the longest-running prime time scripted television series in the United States. It has won many different awards, including 33
Emmy awards, 34 Annie Awards, nine Environmental Media Awards, twelve Writers Guild of America Awards, six Genesis Awards, eight People's Choice Awards, three British Comedy Awards, among other awards. Episodes of the show have won 10 Emmys in the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming less than One Hour) category. However, The Simpsons has never been nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series, although the show was submitted in the category in 1993 and 1994. James L. Brooks, an executive producer on the show, won ten Emmys for The Simpsons as well as ten for other shows and holds the record for most Primetime Emmys won by a single person, with 20. The Simpsons was the first animated series to be given a Peabody Award, and in 2000 the Simpson family was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. As of 2016, The Simpsons have received a total of 85 Emmy nominations.The Simpsons Movie, released in 2007, was nominated for several major awards, including a Golden Globe Award, while The Longest Daycare, a short film released in 2013, became the franchise's first production to be nominated for an Academy Award.
The Simpsons also holds two world records from the Guinness World Records: Longest-Running Primetime Animated Television Series and Most Guest Stars Featured in a Television Series.Moonshine River
"Moonshine River" is the first episode of The Simpsons' twenty-fourth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on September 30, 2012. In the UK and Ireland, the episode aired on Sky 1 on March 24, 2013, with 1,295,000 viewers, making it the second most watched program that week. The episode has ten guest stars, Ken Burns, Zooey Deschanel, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Anne Hathaway, Maurice LaMarche, Don Pardo, Natalie Portman, Kevin Michael Richardson, Al Roker and Sarah Silverman. Deschanel, Gellar, Hathaway, Portman and Silverman reprise their roles as Bart's previous love interests, Mary Spuckler (from "Apocalypse Cow"), Gina Vendetti (from "The Wandering Juvie"), Jenny (from "The Good, the Sad and the Drugly"), Darcy (from "Little Big Girl") and Nikki (from "Stealing First Base"), respectively. This is the second episode in which the Simpsons go to New York City, the first episode being "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson". The title is a parody of the 1961 Academy Award-winning song, "Moon River".Oh Yeah (Yello song)
"Oh Yeah" is a single released in 1985 by the Swiss band Yello and featured on their album Stella. The song features a mix of electronic music and manipulated vocals. The song gained popularity after being featured in the films Ferris Bueller's Day Off and The Secret of My Success, among other films. It is a popular staple in pop culture.
Its 1987 rereleased version features the extra lyrics: "such a good time / a really good time".Post-9/11
The post-9/11 period is the time after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, characterized by heightened suspicion of non-Americans in the United States, increased government efforts to address terrorism, and a more aggressive American foreign policy.The Lighter Side of...
"The Lighter Side of..." is an American satirical comic strip series written and drawn by Dave Berg and published in Mad Magazine from 1961 to 2002.The Secret War of Lisa Simpson
"The Secret War of Lisa Simpson" is the twenty-fifth and final episode of The Simpsons' eighth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 18, 1997. Bart gets sent to a military academy as punishment for bad behavior. While visiting the academy, Lisa sees that the school is far more challenging than hers and she decides that she wants to attend as well. It was directed by Mike B. Anderson, written by Richard Appel and featured Willem Dafoe in a guest spot as the school's commandant.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 Simpsons episode guides
Five official episode guides for American animated sitcom The Simpsons have been published by HarperCollins since 1997. The first guide covers seasons 1 to 8, while the following three cover seasons 9 to 14 (two seasons each). The fifth was released in 2010 and covers seasons 1 to 20.The Twisted World of Marge Simpson
"The Twisted World of Marge Simpson" is the eleventh episode of The Simpsons' eighth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 19, 1997. It was written by Jennifer Crittenden and directed by Chuck Sheetz. The episode guest stars Jack Lemmon as Frank Ormand and Joe Mantegna as Fat Tony. In the episode, Marge starts her own pretzels business.