The Simpsons (season 21)

The Simpsons' twenty-first season aired on Fox from September 27, 2009 to May 23, 2010. It was the first of two seasons that the show was renewed for by Fox,[1][2][3] and also the first season of the show to air entirely in high definition.

With this season, The Simpsons established itself as the longest-running American primetime television series surpassing Gunsmoke.[4]

The season received mainly positive reviews from critics, with many praising "The Squirt and the Whale", "To Surveil with Love" and "The Bob Next Door". The show moved up 16 positions in the Nielsen ratings from the previous season and received numerous award nominations, winning two — an Emmy Award for Anne Hathaway for her voicing in "Once Upon a Time in Springfield", and an Annie Award for "Treehouse of Horror XX".

The Simpsons (season 21)
The Simpsons–S21
Digital purchase image
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes23
Release
Original networkFox
Original releaseSeptember 27, 2009 –
May 23, 2010
Season chronology

Production

The season featured eight holdover episodes from the season 20 (LABF) production line. John Frink was credited as an executive producer for the first time.

20th anniversary

In 2009, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the premiere of The Simpsons, Fox announced that a year-long celebration of the show titled "Best. 20 Years. Ever." would run from January 14, 2009 to January 14, 2010.[5]

As part of the celebration, documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock directed and produced The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special – In 3-D! On Ice!, a documentary special that examined the "cultural phenomenon of The Simpsons". Despite the title, Spurlock said the special "most likely [would] not be in 3-D nor on ice."[6] Production began at Comic-Con 2009, and the show aired on January 10, 2010 on Fox.[7][8] It included interviews with the cast and fans of the show.

For the week of November 9, 2009, several Fox shows including House, Lie to Me, Bones and Fringe featured clues and homages to the show as part of an "on-air scavenger hunt". Viewers who spotted the clues could win prizes at Fox.com.[9] Marge also appeared on the cover of the November issue of Playboy.[10]

The milestone was also celebrated in the United Kingdom with three special programmes, all twenty minutes long and entitled The Simpsons: Access All Areas, Simpsons...Mischief and Mayhem and Simpsons...Celebrity Friends respectively. They aired on Sky1 and Sky1 HD on three separate evenings from January 11 to 13, 2010. They were followed by the UK premiere of season 21's first episode, "Homer the Whopper".[11][12]

Reception

Critical reception

Robert Canning of IGN gave the season an 8.3 (improving 0.4 from the previous season) saying that it was "Impressive". He criticized the opening part of the season (other than "Homer the Whopper" and "Treehouse of Horror XX"), but praised almost every episode after "Once Upon a Time in Springfield", and considered "The Squirt and the Whale" and "The Bob Next Door" to be the season's best episodes. He also stated "the improved consistency of memorable episodes this season over years past proved that, even after 20 years, The Simpsons can still entertain".[13]

TV Fanatic called the season "great" while reviewing "Judge Me Tender",[14] while Emily VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club, while reviewing the same episode, stated "I think it's picked back up in the last few seasons and particularly in this season, which has had a lot of fun episodes in it."[15]

"The Squirt and the Whale" was also praised for its chalkboard gag, which made a reference to the controversial South Park episodes "200" and "201",[16][17] while "To Surveil with Love" was considered the "best episode in years" by Sharon Knolle of TV Squad[18] and "one of the better outings" by Ariel Ponywether of FireFox News.[19]

Ratings

In the seasonal Nielsen ratings in the 18-49 demographic, the season ranked joint 33rd with a 3.4/9 average. It also ranked 61st in the seasonal total viewers with an average of 7.208 million viewers.[20]

The most viewed and highest rated episode of the season was "Once Upon a Time in Springfield", watched by an estimated 14.62 million households and with a Nielsen rating of 6.9/17 in the 18-49 demographic.[21] The following episode, "Million Dollar Maybe", was the least viewed and lowest rated, watched by an estimated 5.110 million households and receiving a Nielsen rating of 2.4/6 in the 18-49 demographic, although this was largely down to the fact that it aired against the 2010 Grammy Awards on CBS and the 2010 Pro Bowl on ESPN.[22]

Awards

Anne Hathaway won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance for voicing Princess Penelope in "Once Upon a Time in Springfield", while Dan Castellaneta and Hank Azaria were also nominated for "Thursdays with Abie" and "Moe Letter Blues" respectively. "Treehouse of Horror XX" won for Writing in a Television Production at the Annie Awards.[23] "Once Upon a Time in Springfield" also received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Animated Program, while The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special - In 3-D! On Ice! was nominated for Outstanding Nonfiction Special.[24] The show was also once again nominated for Favorite Cartoon at the 2010 Kids' Choice Awards.[25] The season is currently nominated for three awards at the 2010 Writers Guild of America Awards. Stephanie Gills is nominated for writing "Moe Letter Blues" as well as Matt Selman who is nominated for "Oh Brother, Where Bart Thou?".[26] The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special — In 3-D! On Ice! is also nominated for Comedy/Variety – Music, Awards, Tributes – Specials.[26]

Episodes

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
U.S. viewers
(millions)
4421"Homer the Whopper"Lance KramerSeth Rogen & Evan GoldbergSeptember 27, 2009LABF138.31[27]
Comic Book Guy creates a new superhero called Everyman who takes powers from other superheroes. Homer is cast as the lead in the film adaptation. To get Homer into shape, the movie studio hires a celebrity fitness trainer, Lyle McCarthy to help him. Homer gets into great shape but his life falls apart when his fitness trainer quits and the movie bombs at the box office.
Guest Stars: Seth Rogen, Matt Groening and Kevin Michael Richardson
4432"Bart Gets a 'Z'"Mark KirklandMatt SelmanOctober 4, 2009LABF159.32[28]
Mrs. Krabappel is fired for drinking alcohol on the job (thanks to kids in her class spiking her coffee as revenge for confiscating their cell phones and BlackBerrys) and replaced with a hip, young teacher named Zachary Vaughn.
4443"The Great Wife Hope"Matthew FaughnanCarolyn OmineOctober 11, 2009LABF167.5[29]
When the men and boys of Springfield become obsessed with Ultimate Fighting, Marge leads a protest against it when she catches Bart fighting in school — and ends up fighting the head of the Ultimate Fighting syndicate in order to have it banned.
Guest Star: Chuck Liddell
4454"Treehouse of Horror XX"Mike B. Anderson & Matthew SchofieldDaniel ChunOctober 18, 2009LABF148.59[30]
Dial "M" for Murder or Press "#" to Return to Main Menu - In this homage to Alfred Hitchcock's suspense/murder mysteries, Lisa teams up with Bart to get revenge on their teachers after Ms. Hoover sends Lisa to detention, but the plan goes awry when Bart kills Ms. Hoover and wants Lisa to murder Mrs. Krabappel.
Don't Have a Cow, Mankind - In this send-up of such dystopian apocalypse horror films as 28 Days Later and Children of Men, Krusty the Clown introduces a new hamburger that zombifies the entire town -- except for Bart, whose natural immunity to the burger becomes the key to stopping the zombie attacks.
There's No Business Like Moe Business - In this parody of the musical, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Moe creates a new beer that becomes a sensation — thanks to Homer being impaled on the microbrew machine and bleeding into the beer supply.
4465"The Devil Wears Nada"Nancy KruseTim LongNovember 15, 2009LABF179.04[32]
Marge becomes a sex symbol after pin-up pictures of her appear on a calendar, which embarrasses Bart and stirs lust in every man in Springfield -- including Ned Flanders. Meanwhile, Carl Carlson is chosen as the Springfield Nuclear Plant's newest supervisor, and Homer gets hired as Carl's assistant.[31]
4476"Pranks and Greens"Chuck SheetzJeff WestbrookNovember 22, 2009LABF187.03[33]
Bart tracks down an immature man named Andy Hamilton who was once hailed Springfield Elementary's best prankster, and realizes the man who was once Springfield Elementary's best prankster has no direction in his life. Meanwhile, Marge is chastised by the other mothers in her social circle for not serving healthy snacks.[31]
Guest Star: Jonah Hill
4487"Rednecks and Broomsticks"Bob Anderson & Rob OliverKevin CurranNovember 29, 2009LABF199.02[35]
Lisa befriends three practicing Wiccans and must save them from being persecuted for their beliefs. Meanwhile, Homer starts hanging out with Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel after discovering that Cletus and his friends make moonshine.
Guest Star: Neve Campbell[34]
4498"O Brother, Where Bart Thou?"Steven Dean MooreMatt SelmanDecember 13, 2009MABF017.11[38]
Jealous of Lisa and Maggie's sisterly bond, Bart goes looking for a surrogate baby brother to call his own.[36]
Guest Stars: Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Cooper Manning, Kim Cattrall, Jordan Nagai, Huell Howser and the Smothers Brothers[37]
4509"Thursdays with Abie"Michael PolcinoDon Payne & Mitchell H. GlazerJanuary 3, 2010MABF028.65[40]
Grampa meets a human interest journalist who writes and publishes Grampa's life stories -- and plots to kill Grampa for a Pulitzer. Meanwhile, Bart cares for a stuffed lamb as part of a class project.
Guest Star: Mitch Albom[39]
45110"Once Upon a Time in Springfield"Matthew NastukStephanie GillisJanuary 10, 2010LABF2014.62[43]
The Krusty the Clown Show is once again retooled. This time, in a bid to get girls to watch the show, a princess character named Penelope is hired as Krusty's latest sidekick, whom Krusty hates at first -- until Princess Penelope reveals that she is Krusty's biggest fan. Meanwhile, a corporate recruiter persuades Homer, Lenny, and Carl to work for a nuclear plant in Capital City, after Mr. Burns announces a moratorium on free doughnuts due to budget cuts.
Guest Stars: Anne Hathaway, Gary Larson, Jackie Mason,[41] and Eartha Kitt.[42]
45211"Million Dollar Maybe"Chris ClementsBill OdenkirkJanuary 31, 2010MABF035.11[44]
Homer wins the lottery, but worries when he realizes that he ditched Marge at a wedding to get the winning ticket. To cover his tracks, Homer begins spending his windfall on anonymous gifts for the family, one of which is hiring alternative rock band Coldplay to perform for Bart. Meanwhile, Lisa buys a Funtendo Zii for Grampa and his friends at the old folks' home, and the winning entry for The Simpsons create-a-character contest makes a brief cameo.
Guest Star': Chris Martin[42]
45312"Boy Meets Curl"Chuck SheetzRob LaZebnikFebruary 14, 2010MABF055.87[45]
The Simpsons head to the 2010 Winter Olympics where Marge and Homer compete as part of a mixed curling team and Lisa becomes addicted to collecting Olympic pins.
Guest Star: Bob Costas
45413"The Color Yellow"Raymond S. PersiBilly Kimball & Ian Maxtone-GrahamFebruary 21, 2010MABF066.08[46]
While going through her family history for a school project to find one Simpsons ancestor who was not an idiot, a freak, or a failure, Lisa discovers a diary of a Simpsons ancestor named Eliza whose family helped a black slave named Virgil (who looks like an African-American version of Homer) escape to freedom, but Milhouse (whose ancestors lived around the same time as Lisa's) has an alternate take on how Virgil was really treated.
Guest Star: Wren T. Brown
45514"Postcards from the Wedge"Mark KirklandBrian KelleyMarch 14, 2010MABF045.23[47]
Once again, Homer and Marge try to discipline Bart after Mrs. Krabappel tells them that Bart has not been doing his homework, but Bart has a plan to manipulate Homer's strictness and Marge's sympathetic ear.
45615"Stealing First Base"Steven Dean MooreJohn FrinkMarch 21, 2010MABF075.69[50]
When Mrs. Krabappel takes an extended absence her students join with the other fourth grade class where Bart falls for a girl named Nikki, who alternates between loving him and hating him. The two are seen kissing which leads to a public display of affection ban in the school. Meanwhile, First Lady Michelle Obama teaches Lisa that there is no shame in being an overachieving girl, and Nelson teaches a blind boy the art of being a schoolyard bully.
Guest Stars: Sarah Silverman and Angela Bassett[42][48][49]
45716"The Greatest Story Ever D'ohed"Michael PolcinoKevin CurranMarch 28, 2010MABF105.69[52]
Ned Flanders invites the Simpson family to join him on a church retreat to Jerusalem. Homer is unappreciative of the culture, until a tour guide starts taking him around the city and a dehydrated Homer deludes himself into believing he is the Messiah.[51]
Guest Stars: Sacha Baron Cohen and Yael Naim.
45817"American History X-cellent"Bob AndersonMichael PriceApril 11, 2010MABF085.65[54]
Smithers takes over the nuclear plant after Mr. Burns is put in jail for stealing valuable art -- and starts acting like his boss when Homer and his friends begin taking advantage of his kindness.[53]
Guest Stars: Joe Mantegna and Kevin Michael Richardson.
45918"Chief of Hearts"Chris ClementsCarolyn Omine & William WrightApril 18, 2010MABF095.93[56]
While completing his court-ordered community service (after a wrongful arrest for robbing a bank), Homer offers Chief Wiggum a sandwich and the two become friends. Meanwhile, Bart becomes addicted to a Japanese kids' game called Battle Ball, which Marge confuses for a drug addiction.[55]
Guest Stars: Jane Kaczmarek, Maurice LaMarche and Joe Mantegna.
46019"The Squirt and the Whale"Lance KramerMatt WarburtonApril 25, 2010MABF145.94[58]
The Simpson family goes environmental by building a wind-powered turbine in their yard and saving a beached whale that washed up onshore.[57]
46120"To Surveil with Love"Mark KirklandMichael NoboriMay 2, 2010MABF126.06[62]
Radiation seeps out of Homer's gym bag after a bomb squad blows it up and Springfield officials decide to suspend all civil liberties. Meanwhile, Lisa dyes her hair brown after being mocked for not conforming to the stereotype of the "dumb blonde."[59][60]
Guest Star: Eddie Izzard[61]
46221"Moe Letter Blues"Matthew NastukStephanie GillisMay 9, 2010MABF135.66[63]
Homer, Reverend Lovejoy and Apu Nahasapeemapetilon receive a letter from Moe that states he will steal one of their wives. The three get together and try to remember intimate moments between Moe and their wives.
Guest Star: Don Pardo
46322"The Bob Next Door"Nancy KruseJohn FrinkMay 16, 2010MABF116.26[65]
Bart becomes convinced that their new neighbor is Sideshow Bob in disguise, but Marge does not believe him and personally takes Bart to the Springfield Maximum Security Prison to prove it.
Guest Star: Kelsey Grammer.[64]
46423"Judge Me Tender"Steven Dean MooreDan Greaney & Allen GlazierMay 23, 2010MABF155.74[67]
Moe discovers his talent for judging in competitions and is invited to appear on the show American Idol. Meanwhile, Homer drives Marge crazy when he starts spending too much time at home, and takes up golf as a hobby.
Guest Stars: Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, Ellen DeGeneres, Kara DioGuardi, Ryan Seacrest and Rupert Murdoch.[66]

Note: The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special – In 3-D! On Ice!, which aired immediately following "Once Upon a Time in Springfield", was assigned production number LABF21 and technically counts as a component of the 20th production season (and of the 21st broadcast season). It does not, however, count towards the series' official animated episode count (i.e., it is not episode 452).

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Bibliography

External links

American History X-cellent

"American History X-cellent" is the seventeenth episode of The Simpsons' twenty-first season and 458th overall. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 11, 2010. In this episode, Mr. Burns is arrested for possessing stolen art and Smithers is chosen to run the nuclear plant—only to turn into a misanthropic slave driver when his subordinates begin taking advantage of his kindness.

The episode was written by Michael Price and directed by Bob Anderson. The episode features references to Stephen King's The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption. "American History X-cellent" has received positive reviews from critics and received a 2.7 Nielsen Rating in the 18-49 demographic.

Bart Gets a 'Z'

"Bart Gets a 'Z'" is the second episode of The Simpsons' twenty-first season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on October 4, 2009.

In the episode, the fourth grade students of Springfield Elementary School decide to spike Edna Krabappel's coffee in order to teach her a lesson after she takes away their cell phones. She is fired by Principal Skinner, who hires a new teacher named Zachary Vaughn. Although Vaughn is a hip young teacher who impresses the students, Bart is plagued by guilt and tries to get Edna hired back.In its original airing, the episode had an estimated 9.32 million viewers and received a Nielsen rating of 5.1/8. The episode was written by Matt Selman, and directed by Mark Kirkland.

Chief of Hearts

"Chief of Hearts" is the eighteenth episode of The Simpsons' twenty-first season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 18, 2010. In this episode, Homer and Chief Wiggum become friends after Homer shares a sandwich with Wiggum during his community service sentence. Meanwhile, Bart becomes addicted to a Japanese kids' game called Battle Ball, but Marge and Principal Skinner believe that Bart is dealing drugs. It is also the first episode in which Lisa Simpson does not deliver any dialogue.

The episode was written by Carolyn Omine and William Wright and directed by Chris Clements, features guest star Jane Kaczmarek as Judge Constance Harm, Maurice LaMarche and Joe Mantegna as Fat Tony and has references to the television shows Starsky and Hutch, Three's Company, and Bakugan Battle Brawlers. "Chief of Hearts" received mixed to positive reviews from critics and came first in its timeslot.

Homer the Whopper

"Homer the Whopper" is the season premiere of The Simpsons' twenty-first season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on September 27, 2009. In the episode, Comic Book Guy creates a new superhero called Everyman who takes powers from other superheroes. Homer is cast as the lead in the film adaptation. To get Homer into shape, the movie studio hires a celebrity fitness trainer, Lyle McCarthy, to help him. Homer gets into great shape and is really excited, but when McCarthy leaves to train another client, he starts over-eating again and ultimately this leads to the film's failure.

The episode was written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who are "obsessed" fans of the show, and directed by Lance Kramer. "Homer The Whopper" was intended to be a commentary on how Hollywood treats superhero films. Rogen also guest stars in the episode as the character Lyle McCarthy, making him the second guest star to both write an episode and appear in it; Ricky Gervais was the first. "Homer the Whopper" has received mixed reviews from television critics and acquired a Nielsen rating of 4.3 in its original broadcast.

Judge Me Tender

"Judge Me Tender" is the twenty-third episode and season finale of The Simpsons' twenty-first season. The 464th episode of the series overall, it originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 23, 2010. In the episode, Moe discovers his talent for judging in competitions and is invited to appear on the show American Idol. Meanwhile, Homer drives Marge crazy when he starts spending too much time at home, and Lisa tries to comfort Santa's Little Helper.The episode was written by Allen Glazier and Dan Greaney and directed by Steven Dean Moore. The episode also features references to Lost and its series finale, Tiger Woods, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. "Judge Me Tender" has received mixed reviews from critics with many criticizing the short and unfunny cameos of the American Idol judges except for Simon Cowell. They especially criticized Ellen DeGeneres since she had experience as a voice artist in an animated film called (Finding Nemo). The episode went down 14% from the previous week's episode due to the competition of airing against the Lost clip show according to Nielsen Media Research.

Moe Letter Blues

"Moe Letter Blues" is the twenty-first episode of The Simpsons' twenty-first season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 9, 2010. In this episode, Homer, Reverend Lovejoy, and Apu Nahasapeemapetilon receive a letter from Moe stating that he will steal one of their wives. The three get together and try to remember intimate moments between Moe and their wives.

The episode was written by Stephanie Gillis and directed by Matthew Nastuk and guest stars Don Pardo as himself. The main plot of the episode is a parody of A Letter to Three Wives. It is the third episode after season 19's "Mona Leaves-a" and season 20's "Four Great Women and a Manicure" to air on Mother's Day and be centered on mothers and women. "Moe Letter Blues" received positive reviews from critics and was viewed by 5.660 million households according to the Nielsen Media Research.

O Brother, Where Bart Thou?

"O Brother, Where Bart Thou?" is the eighth episode of The Simpsons' 21st season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on December 13, 2009. In this episode, Bart goes on a quest to get a baby brother out of jealousy of the sisterly bond Lisa has with Maggie.

The episode, written by Matt Selman and directed by Steven Dean Moore, received positive reviews from critics. It was viewed in 7.11 million homes in its original airing in the United States.

Postcards from the Wedge

"Postcards from the Wedge" is the fourteenth episode of The Simpsons' twenty-first season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on March 14, 2010. In the episode, Homer and Marge once again try to discipline Bart after Mrs. Krabappel tells them that Bart has not been doing his homework, but Bart has a plan to manipulate Homer's strictness and Marge's sympathetic ear, which backfires when Homer and Marge see through the plan and decide to ignore Bart, which would culminate in the show's first ever true grounding, and the first to stand for the rest of the episode.

The episode was written by Brian Kelley and directed by Mark Kirkland. The episode features references to the shows Pokémon, House and The Jetsons.

The episode received mostly positive reviews and got an 18-49 Nielsen Rating of 2.6/8.

Pranks and Greens

"Pranks and Greens" is the sixth episode of the twenty first season of The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 22, 2009. In this episode, Bart tracks down an immature, college-aged man named Andy Hamilton who was once hailed Springfield Elementary's best prankster and encourages him to do something with his life.

The episode was written by Jeff Westbrook and directed by Chuck Sheetz. It was watched by approximately 7.03 million viewers during its original airing.

Rednecks and Broomsticks

"Rednecks and Broomsticks" is the seventh episode in the twenty-first season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 29, 2009. In the episode, Lisa befriends three teenaged Wiccans after getting lost in the woods during a game of hide-and-seek, and must clear her new friends' names when they are accused of cursing the townspeople with their supposed witchcraft. Meanwhile, Homer befriends Cletus after learning that he and his friends make their own moonshine.

The episode was written by Kevin Curran, and directed by Bob Anderson and Rob Oliver. In its original airing, the episode had an estimated 9 million viewers and received a Nielsen rating of 4.2/10. The episode also received generally positive reviews from critics.

Stealing First Base

"Stealing First Base" is the fifteenth episode of The Simpsons' twenty-first season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on March 21, 2010. In this episode, Bart falls in love with a girl named Nikki from a second fourth grade class, but when he kisses her, Nikki begins treating Bart like dirt. Meanwhile, First Lady Michelle Obama teaches Lisa that there is no shame in being an overachiever, and Nelson Muntz teaches a blind boy how to be a schoolyard bully.

The episode was written by John Frink and directed by Steven Dean Moore. The episode was also watched by 5.69 million households and received a 2.8/8 in the 18-49 Nielsen Rating. The episode received mixed reviews from critics. The episode guest stars Sarah Silverman as Nikki and Angela Bassett as Michelle Obama.

The Bob Next Door

"The Bob Next Door" is the twenty-second episode of The Simpsons' twenty-first season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 16, 2010. In the episode, Bart Simpson becomes convinced that their new neighbor is Sideshow Bob in disguise, but after a trip to the Springfield Penitentiary they find a distressed Bob still incarcerated. Eventually Bart discovers that Bob has surgically swapped faces with his cellmate and still plans to kill him, although he is ultimately defeated.

The episode was written by John Frink and directed by Nancy Kruse. The episode guest stars Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob Terwilliger. The episode's plot is based on the film Face/Off. "The Bob Next Door" received positive reviews from critics; most agreed that it was a funny return for Sideshow Bob and an improvement over "Funeral for a Fiend" and "The Italian Bob".

The Color Yellow

"The Color Yellow" is the thirteenth episode of The Simpsons' twenty-first season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 21, 2010. In this episode, Lisa discovers that her ancestors from Florida helped a black slave named Virgil escape to freedom, but Milhouse has a piece of family history that shows Lisa's ancestors giving Virgil up in an act of cowardice.

The episode was written by Ian Maxtone-Graham and Billy Kimball and directed by Raymond S. Persi. It guest starred Wren T. Brown as Virgil. The episode was viewed by 6.08 million viewers and received mixed to positive reviews.

The Devil Wears Nada

"The Devil Wears Nada" is the fifth episode of the twenty-first season of The Simpsons. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 15, 2009. In the episode, Marge and a group called the "Charity Chicks" pose for a history-oriented calendar in hopes of raising money for charity, but Marge becomes the talk of the town due to the erotic poses she made after a few drinks of red wine. Meanwhile, Carl is chosen as the newest supervisor at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, and hires Homer to be his personal assistant.

The episode was written by Tim Long and directed by Nancy Kruse. It was broadcast soon after the character Marge had appeared on the cover of Playboy, though there was no connection between the episode and the cover; the idea for the episode was conceived first, and Marge's appearance was due to an unrelated offer from Playboy. Since airing, "The Devil Wears Nada" has received mixed reviews from television critics. It was watched by approximately 9.04 million viewers during its original broadcast. Clips showing the satirical appearances of French president Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni in the episode became Internet hits in France, with hundreds of thousands of views on Dailymotion and YouTube.

The Great Wife Hope

"The Great Wife Hope" is the third episode of The Simpsons' twenty-first season. Originally broadcast on the Fox network in the United States on October 11, 2009, it sees the men of Springfield taking immense interest in a new combat sport called mixed martial arts (MMA). Marge is appalled by the violent sport and demands that the creator put a stop to it, but he agrees only if she will fight him in a match and win.

"The Great Wife Hope" was written by Carolyn Omine and directed by Matthew Faughnan. Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) champion Chuck Liddell guest starred in it as himself. The episode featured multiple cultural references to fighting moves and positions, along with a single reference to professional wrestling promotion owner Vince McMahon. Since airing, the episode has received generally positive reviews from television critics, particularly towards the final scene. It received a 4.3/7 Nielsen rating with adults ages 18–49, behind all other programs aimed at that demographic in its timeslot.

The Greatest Story Ever D'ohed

"The Greatest Story Ever D'ohed" is the sixteenth episode of The Simpsons' twenty-first season and the 457th episode overall. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on March 28, 2010 (Palm Sunday and the eve of Passover). In this episode, the Simpsons vacation in Jerusalem with Ned Flanders, but Homer does not appreciate the city's religious importance—until he gets lost in the desert, and in a severe state of dehydration, believes himself to be the Messiah.The episode was written by Kevin Curran and directed by Michael Polcino and guest stars Sacha Baron Cohen as the Israeli tour guide Jakob and Yael Naim as his niece Dorit. "The Greatest Story Ever D'ohed" received a 2.7/8 Nielsen Rating in the 18-49 demographic and mixed reviews from critics.

The Squirt and the Whale

"The Squirt and the Whale" is the nineteenth episode of The Simpsons twenty-first season. The 460th episode of the series overall, it originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 25, 2010. In the episode, the Simpson family attempt to save a beached whale that washed up onshore, only for it to die.The episode was written by Matt Warburton and directed by Lance Kramer. The episode features references to William Shatner and fellow animated show, South Park, and its controversy of the depiction of Muhammad in the-then two recent episode, "200" and "201". "The Squirt and the Whale" received positive reviews from critics with IGN naming it and "The Bob Next Door" the best episodes of the season.

Thursdays with Abie

"Thursdays with Abie" is the ninth episode of The Simpsons' twenty-first season. In the episode, Grampa meets a human interest journalist who writes and publishes Grampa's life stories making Homer jealous and while giving his story of Mr. Burns to the newspaper finds out the journalist plots to kill Grandpa. Meanwhile, Bart is forced to care for a stuffed lamb as part of a class project and gives the lamb to Lisa.

The episode was written by Mitchell H. Glazer & Don Payne and directed by Michael Polcino. Mitch Albom guest stars in the episode. During its original broadcast on the Fox network in the United States on January 3, 2010, "Thursdays with Abie" was watched by about 8.65 million people and received a 4.0 Nielsen rating. The episode also received positive reviews from critics.

Treehouse of Horror XX

"Treehouse of Horror XX" is the fourth episode of The Simpsons' twenty-first season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on October 18, 2009. This is the twentieth "Treehouse of Horror" installment, containing three self-contained stories: In "Dial "M" for Murder or Press "#" to Return to Main Menu", Lisa is forced into a Hitchcock-esque murder scheme by Bart; in "Don't Have a Cow, Mankind", Springfield is once again overrun by zombies thanks to Krusty Burger's latest sandwich; and in the Sweeney Todd parody, "There's No Business Like Moe Business", Moe the bartender bleeds Homer dry to create the perfect microbrewed beer. An estimated 8.59 million viewers tuned in to watch the episode.

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