The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular

"The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" is the tenth episode of The Simpsons' seventh season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on December 3, 1995. As the title suggests, it is the 138th episode and the third clip show episode of The Simpsons, after "So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show" and "Another Simpsons Clip Show". While the "138th Episode Spectacular" compiles sequences from episodes throughout the entire series like the previous two, it also shows clips from the original Simpsons shorts from The Tracey Ullman Show and other previously unaired material. Like the Halloween specials, the episode is considered non-canon and falls outside of the show's regular continuity.[1]

The "138th Episode Spectacular" was written by Jon Vitti and directed by David Silverman, and is a parody of the common practice among live-action series to produce clip shows. It has received positive reviews, and was one of the most watched episodes of the seventh season, with a Nielsen rating of 9.5.

"The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no.Season 7
Episode 10
Directed byPound Foolish
Written byPenny Wise
Production code3F31
Original air dateDecember 3, 1995
Guest appearance(s)
Episode features
Chalkboard gag"I will only do this once a year"
Couch gagA montage of a select few previously aired couch gags, culminating into the showbiz extravaganza couch gag from "Lisa's First Word"
CommentaryMatt Groening
Bill Oakley
Josh Weinstein
Jon Vitti
George Meyer

Synopsis

Troy McClure hosts this episode, which highlights individual scenes and sequences from throughout the series and offers never-before-seen outtakes. McClure starts the episode by showing a brief presentation of how The Simpsons series was conceived by Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, and Sam Simon. He goes on to present some clips of the original shorts that aired on The Tracey Ullman Show. McClure then responds to questions from fan mail by showing clips that contain the answers.

McClure then presents deleted scenes from several episodes and reveals that alternate endings to part two of "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" were created to prevent the staff on The Simpsons from spoiling the mystery. Troy McClure ends the episode by showing a montage of The Simpsons characters naked, set to the KC and the Sunshine Band song "(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty".

Production

David Silverman in 2007-cropped
The episode was directed by David Silverman, who used the pseudonym "Pound Foolish".

As the title suggests, "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" is the 138th episode of The Simpsons, although it is the 155th episode when placed in production order. It is the third The Simpsons clip show, after "So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show" and "Another Simpsons Clip Show". It was written by Jon Vitti, who used the pseudonym "Penny Wise" in the closing credits because he did not want to be credited for writing a clip show. The episode was directed by David Silverman, who also did not want to be credited, and used the pseudonym "Pound Foolish" in the closing credits.[2]

During the early years of the show, Fox network officials forced the staff of The Simpsons to produce clip shows in order to save money.[3] Originally, the producers were ordered to produce four clip show per season in order to meet episode limits imposed by the network. Fox network officials reasoned that clip shows could be produced at half the cost of a normal episode, but syndication rights could be sold at full price.[4] The staff, however, felt such a large number of clip shows would alienate fans of the series.[5]

Former show runner Bill Oakley thought the episode was one of the better clip shows of The Simpsons, because it had more original and interesting material than the others. Oakley enjoyed showing deleted scenes from previous episodes and the Simpsons shorts, and particularly enjoyed the montage of couch gags at the beginning of the episode. The staff tried to entertain themselves while producing the clip show, and Oakley said by having the only actor be Phil Hartman as Troy McClure, it was "guaranteed to be fun". Hartman’s lines in this episode were recorded during the sessions for A Fish Called Selma, which also aired during Season 7.[6]

A lot of the humor in this episode comes from the show's staff mocking themselves and their own work.[6] Troy McClure is shown off put after watching "Good Night", the very first short produced for The Simpsons, and falls asleep while deleted scenes from various episodes are being played. At one point, supposed early designs of Grampa Simpson and Krusty the Clown are shown, which were a "satirical jab at the primitiveness of the [actual] early drawings". Animator David Silverman got defensive over the joke, explaining that the crude drawings were due to a lack of time for proper animation during that era.[6][7]

The show's producers are also depicted as animated characters in this episode. Creator Matt Groening is shown as a 'radical right-wing' conservative and active gun user who supports the National Rifle Association, which is a deliberate subversion of the political stance most of the staff actually have. Despite having already left the show by the time this episode was made, a portrait of former producer Sam Simon was drawn by Simon himself after he did not like the original joke for him, which was a "No Photo Available" disclaimer.[6][8]

SmithersDream
Smithers dreams about Mr. Burns in "Marge Gets a Job". The censors had issues with the "lump in his bed", which was his knee.[9]

One of the clips shown in the episode comes from the season four episode "Marge Gets a Job", in which Smithers has a dream that he is sleeping and Mr. Burns flies through a window into his room. The sequence shows Burns flying towards a happy-looking Smithers. The original clip went on for a few seconds longer, but had to be trimmed down in order to remove portions that showed "Mr. Burns land[ing] in a particular position on Smithers' anatomy".[6] There were also issues with "the lump in his bed", which the animators said they had drawn as his knee, but the censors had mistakenly believed was an erection.[9]

A deleted scene from the season five episode "Burns' Heir" is also shown, in which a robotic Richard Simmons dances outside Burns's mansion to the 1976 song "(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty". It was cut from "Burns' Heir" because the writers did not think it was funny, nor did it do well with a test audience, although Oakley thought the animation was terrific. To the production staff's surprise, the scene would make the audience "erupt with laughter" when screened at animation conventions and college presentations, so they decided to insert it in this episode.[6]

The montage of nude scenes over the ending credits includes the original animation of Homer and Marge snuggling from "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy", which was reanimated in that episode after Fox censors thought it was too explicit.[2]

Due to the amount of interest in the ending of the "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" episode, David Mirkin wrote several "terrible endings" and recorded several alternate endings with Harry Shearer serving as the only voice actor.[10] Mirkin's original intention was to fool the production staff and also leak the endings to various media outlets; much to his surprise, Mirkin failed to successfully fool the staff.[10] Several endings were animated that showed various characters, such as Barney, Moe, and Apu, shooting Mr. Burns, and were presented as part of this episode.[11]

Referenced clips

During the opening credits the episode is advertised as having "twenty-three percent new footage", while the rest are clips taken from previous episodes. The five shorts used in this episode are "Good Night", which was featured in its entirety, and portions of "The Perfect Crime", "Space Patrol", "World War III", and "Bathtime".[12] Some parts of the episode contain montages of only a few seconds-long clips, such as those referring to Homer's increased stupidity ("Blood Feud", "Flaming Moe's", "Marge vs. the Monorail", "Deep Space Homer", and "Treehouse of Horror V"),[13] or those suggesting Smithers' homosexuality ("Rosebud", "Dog of Death", "Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy", and "Marge Gets a Job").[14]

Episode name (in order of appearance)[15] Season Clip description
"Good Night" shorts Homer and Marge tuck the kids into bed.
"The Perfect Crime" shorts Maggie reveals the thief of Marge's cookies, Bart.
"Space Patrol" shorts Bart, Lisa, and Maggie play Space Patrol.
"World War III" shorts Saying that it is World War III, Homer tests how long it takes his family to get into the bomb shelter.
"Bathtime" shorts Homer tries to force Bart to take a bath.
Montage sequence 2–6 Homer gets more and more stupid each season.
Montage sequence 3–5 Waylon Smithers fantasizes about Mr. Burns.
Montage sequence 4, 5 & 7 Various deleted scenes from previous episodes.
Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part II)" 7 Unaired alternate ending in which Waylon Smithers is revealed to have shot Mr. Burns.
Montage sequence[16] 1–6 "Hardcore nudity" in The Simpsons.

Cultural references

The entire setup of Troy McClure presenting the episode is a parody of the practice by live-action series to produce clip shows in general, by celebrating a completely arbitrary milestone and by making exaggerated use of the conventions of traditional highlights shows, such as a grand introduction and relentlessly showbizzy host.[17][18]

Matt Groening by Gage Skidmore 2
The Simpsons creator Matt Groening is portrayed as a bald Southern conservative.

The episode makes references to several films and television shows. The Tracey Ullman Show is referred to as "the nation's showcase for psychiatrist jokes and musical comedy numbers", while the outtakes right before the commercial breaks parodies television series such as Roseanne and Home Improvement (which regularly aired similar outtakes).[19] The deleted scene from "$pringfield" in which Homer plays blackjack with James Bond parodies the 1967 film Casino Royale.[20] The deleted scene from "Burns' Heir" in which the robotic Richard Simmons is shot through the head and repairs itself parodies the liquid metal T-1000 in the 1991 film Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The episode satirizes the Fox network in particular, as the two specials mentioned in the beginning, Alien Nose Job and Five Fabulous Weeks Of 'The Chevy Chase Show', are references to two actual programs that have aired on the network: The Chevy Chase Show (1993) and Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction (1995).[18] Several famous musical themes are used or parodied in the clips, such as when Homer sings the theme song from The Flintstones, and Johann Strauss II's Blue Danube is heard in the background of one scene.[13] The show's producers are depicted as animated characters in the introduction: Groening is a bald Southern patriot who wields a gun wearing an eye patch, a reference to the promotional poster of the 1970 film Patton, and his own comic strip Life in Hell;[17] Brooks is seen as Rich Uncle Pennybags, the tycoon from Monopoly; and Simon's appearance resembles Howard Hughes.[21] One of Smithers' fantasies is a parody of Marilyn Monroe's famous happy birthday song to President John F. Kennedy, while another one is an allusion to Peter Pan flying through the window.[14] The book that Krusty tries to sell is a reference to Madonna's book entitled Sex.[22] "NRA4EVER", the message that appears on a cash register during the opening sequence reference in a trivia question, is a reference to the National Rifle Association.[21]

Reception

The episode ranked among the ten most heavily viewed episodes of the seventh season.[23] After its initial airing, the episode received a Nielsen rating of 9.5, and a Nielsen rank of 48.[24] The episode has become study material for sociology courses at University of California, Berkeley, where it is used to "examine issues of the production and reception of cultural objects, in this case, a satirical cartoon show", and to figure out what it is "trying to tell audiences about aspects primarily of American society, and, to a lesser extent, about other societies". Some questions asked in the courses include: "What aspects of American society are being addressed in the episode? What aspects of them are used to make the points? How is the satire conveyed: through language? Drawing? Music? Is the behavior of each character consistent with his/her character as developed over the years? Can we identify elements of the historical/political context that the writers are satirizing? What is the difference between satire and parody?"[25] Considered a spoof of television clip shows, the episode is seen drawing attention to prevailing televisual conventions and reminds viewers that The Simpsons itself participates actively in that same cultural legacy.[26]

The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, thought that "the out-takes [were] up to standard" and said that the episode contains "a number of great self-referential moments".[27] Simone Knox praised its visual style in her article Reading the Ungraspable Double-Codedness of "The Simpsons".[17] The episode itself has been described by some critics as a kind of self-imposed benchmark of the show itself, with writer Bill Keveney commenting, "the show picks its own benchmarks, as it did in 1995".[26] Knox referred to it as not simply a clip show, but a clip show "that looks at the series with a sense of hyper-self-consciousness about its own textuality".[17] DVD Movie Guide's Colin Jacobson said even though the episode is a clip show, it "gussies up the concept with some interesting elements, and keeps repetitive material to a minimum. Instead, it offers lots of then-unseen footage as well as old snippets from The Tracey Ullman Show. It still feels like a cheap way to crank out a new episode, but it’s one of the better clip shows you’ll see."[28] Jennifer Malkowski of DVD Verdict gave the episode a B+ grade and commented, "apart from the creative material, what really makes this [episode] shine is the hilarious hosting by Troy McClure."[29] Dave Foster of DVD Times criticized the episode: "Despite some interesting concepts such as a bored Troy McClure presenting to much amusement and the presence of deleted scenes and Tracey Ullman shorts amongst the clips, this is an episode that tries hard to find a hook but never quite manages, assuring it'll never make it into regular rotation on this viewer's watch."[30]

References

  1. ^ Groening, Matt (2002). The Simpsons season 2 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  2. ^ a b Groening, Matt (2005). The Simpsons The Complete Seventh Season DVD commentary for the episode "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  3. ^ Mirkin, David (2005). The Simpsons The Complete Sixth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Another Simpsons Clip Show" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  4. ^ Groening, Matt (2004). The Simpsons The Complete Fourth Season DVD commentary for the episode "So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  5. ^ Groening, Matt (2005). The Simpsons The Complete Sixth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Another Simpsons Clip Show" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Oakley, Bill (2005). The Simpsons The Complete Seventh Season DVD commentary for the episode "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  7. ^ Silverman, David (2005). The Simpsons The Complete Seventh Season DVD commentary for the episode "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  8. ^ Vitti, Jon (2005). The Simpsons The Complete Seventh Season DVD commentary for the episode "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  9. ^ a b Weinstein, Josh (2005). The Simpsons season 7 DVD commentary for the episode "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  10. ^ a b Mirkin, David (2005). Commentary for the episode "Who Shot Mr. Burns (Part One)". The Simpsons: The Complete Sixth Season (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  11. ^ Mirkin, David (2005). Commentary for the episode "Who Shot Mr. Burns (Part Two)". The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  12. ^ Richmond & Coffman 1997, p. 191.
  13. ^ a b Ott, p. 85
  14. ^ a b Ott, p. 86
  15. ^ "The Simpsons: The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular Recap". TV.com. 2008-10-29. Retrieved 2009-02-01.
  16. ^ The referenced clips are from the episodes "Mr. Plow", "Bart of Darkness", "Rosebud", "'Round Springfield", "Bart's Girlfriend", "Homie the Clown", "Bart vs. Australia", "Homer Badman", "Lisa's First Word", "Brush with Greatness", "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy", "And Maggie Makes Three", "Treehouse of Horror III", "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song", "Homer the Great", "Like Father, Like Clown", "I Love Lisa", "The Call of the Simpsons", and "Colonel Homer".
  17. ^ a b c d Knox, Simone (Summer 2006). "Reading the Ungraspable Double-Codedness of "The Simpsons"". Journal of Popular Film and Television. Heldref Publications. 34 (2): 72–81. ISSN 0195-6051.
  18. ^ a b Ott, p. 79
  19. ^ Ott, p. 83
  20. ^ Ott, pp. 87–88
  21. ^ a b Ott, p. 82
  22. ^ Ott, p. 87
  23. ^ Turner 2004, p. 3.
  24. ^ "Prime-Time Ratings". The Orange County Register. December 6, 1995. pp. F02.
  25. ^ Gold, Thomas B. (2008). "The Simpsons Global Mirror" (PDF). University of California Berkeley. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 7, 2009. Retrieved July 18, 2011.
  26. ^ a b Ott, p. 78
  27. ^ Martyn (2006)
  28. ^ Jacobson, Colin (January 5, 2006). "The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season (1995)". DVD Movie Guide. Retrieved December 1, 2008.
  29. ^ Malkowski, Jennifer (January 16, 2006). "The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season". DVD Verdict. Archived from the original on December 4, 2008. Retrieved December 1, 2008.
  30. ^ Foster, Dave (February 25, 2006). "The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season". DVD Times. Retrieved December 1, 2008.

Bibliography

External links

138th

138th may refer to:

138th (Edmonton, Alberta) Battalion, CEF, a unit in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War

138th (Lincoln and Leicester) Brigade, infantry brigade of the British Army that saw active service in World War I

138th Aero Squadron, Air Service, United States Army unit that fought on the Western Front during World War I

138th Attack Squadron, unit of the New York Air National Guard 174th Attack Wing located at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, New York

138th Brigade (People's Republic of China), one of the five maneuver elements of the 26th Group Army in the Jinan Military Region

138th Delaware General Assembly, meeting of the legislative branch of the state government, consisting of the Delaware Senate and House of Representatives

138th Field Artillery Brigade, field artillery (also known as fires) brigade of the United States Army

138th Fighter Wing, unit of the Oklahoma Air National Guard, stationed at the Tulsa International Airport, Tulsa, Oklahoma

138th Georgia General Assembly succeeded the 137th and served as the precedent for the 139th General Assembly in 1987

138th Guards Motor Rifle Brigade, a formation of the Russian Ground Forces

138th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment, infantry regiment from Illinois that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War

138th Indiana Infantry Regiment served in the Union Army during the American Civil War

138th Infantry Regiment (United States), infantry battalion in the Missouri National Guard

138th meridian east, line of longitude across the Arctic Ocean, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, Australasia, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica

138th meridian west, line of longitude across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica

138th New York State Legislature

138th Ohio Infantry, an infantry regiment in the Union Army during the American Civil War

138th Pennsylvania Infantry, infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War

138th Rifle Division (Soviet Union) began service as a standard Red Army rifle division

138th Street (IRT Third Avenue Line), station on the demolished IRT Third Avenue Line

138th Street (Manhattan), New York

138th Street – Grand Concourse (IRT Jerome Avenue Line), local station on the IRT Jerome Avenue Line of the New York City Subway

138th Street Bridge, vertical lift bridge carrying the Metro-North Railroad across the Harlem River

Connecticut's 138th assembly district elects one member of the Connecticut House of Representatives

Pennsylvania's 138th Representative District or Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 138

The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" is the tenth episode of The Simpsons' seventh season

Third Avenue – 138th Street (IRT Pelham Line), express station on the IRT Pelham Line of the New York City Subway

Burns' Heir

"Burns' Heir" is the eighteenth episode of The Simpsons' fifth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 14, 1994. In the episode, Mr. Burns has a near-death experience that prompts him to find an heir to inherit his wealth after he dies. Although Bart is initially rejected, Burns soon decides to choose him after seeing him as "a creature of pure malevolence". Marge convinces Bart to go spend some time with Burns, and soon becomes more disruptive than normal to his own family and decides to go live with Mr. Burns.

"Burns' Heir" was written by Jace Richdale, his only writing credit. David Silverman was originally going to direct the episode, but he was so swamped with his work as supervising director that it was reassigned to Mark Kirkland. While the Simpsons are at a movie, there is a parody of the THX sound Deep Note. The THX executives liked the parody so much that the scene was made into an actual THX movie trailer, with the scene being redone for the widescreen aspect ratio. A deleted scene from the episode sees Mr. Burns have Smithers release a "Robotic Richard Simmons" as a way of getting rid of Homer. The scene was cut, but later included in the season seven clip show "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular".

Captain Wacky

Captain Wacky is:

A nickname for Paul Keating, a former Prime Minister of Australia

Purportedly the original name for Homer Simpson of The Simpsons according to "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular"

Clip show

A clip show is an episode of a television series that consists primarily of excerpts from previous episodes. Most clip shows feature the format of a frame story in which cast members recall past events from past installments of the show, depicted with a clip of the event presented as a flashback. Clip shows are also known as cheaters, particularly in the field of animation. Clip shows are often played before series finales, or once syndication becomes highly likely. Other times, however, clip shows are simply produced for budgetary reasons (i.e. to avoid additional costs from shooting in a certain setting, or from casting actors to appear in new material).

David Silverman (animator)

David Silverman (born March 15, 1957) is an American animator best known for directing numerous episodes of the animated TV series The Simpsons, as well as The Simpsons Movie. Silverman was involved with the series from the very beginning, animating all of the original short Simpsons cartoons that aired on The Tracey Ullman Show. He went on to serve as director of animation for several years. He also did the animation for the 2016 film, The Edge of Seventeen, which was produced by Gracie Films.

Good Night (The Simpsons)

"Good Night" (also known as "Good Night Simpsons") is the first of forty-eight Simpsons shorts that appeared on the variety show The Tracey Ullman Show. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 19, 1987, during the third episode of The Tracey Ullman Show and marks the first appearance of the Simpson family — Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie — on television. After three seasons on Tracey Ullman, the shorts would be adapted into the animated show The Simpsons. "Good Night" has since been aired on the show in the episode "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" (in its entirety), along with several other Ullman shorts, and is one of the few shorts to ever be released on DVD, being included in the Season 1 DVD set.

Jon Vitti

Jon Vitti (born 1960) is an American writer best known for his work on the television series The Simpsons. He has also written for the King of the Hill, The Critic and The Office, and has served as a screenwriter or consultant for several animated and live-action movies, including Ice Age (2002) and Robots (2005). He is one of the eleven writers of The Simpsons Movie and also wrote the screenplays for the film adaptions Alvin and the Chipmunks, its sequel and The Angry Birds Movie.

Lionel Hutz

Lionel Hutz was a fictional character in the American animated TV sitcom The Simpsons. He was voiced by Phil Hartman, and his first appearance was in the season two episode "Bart Gets Hit by a Car". Hutz was a stereotypical ambulance chasing lawyer in Springfield with questionable competence and ethics. He was nevertheless often hired by the Simpsons. Following Hartman's murder by the hands of his wife in 1998, Hutz was retired; and his final speaking role was in the season nine episode "Realty Bites" five months earlier.

Marge Gets a Job

"Marge Gets a Job" is the seventh episode of The Simpsons' fourth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 5, 1992. In this episode, Marge gets a job at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant to pay for foundation repair at the Simpson house. Mr. Burns develops a crush on Marge after seeing her at work and attempts to woo her. A subplot with Bart also takes place, paralleling the fable The Boy Who Cried Wolf. It was written by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein and directed by Jeffrey Lynch.

Media in The Simpsons

Media is a recurring theme of satire on The Simpsons. The show is known for its satire of American popular culture and especially television culture, but has since its inception covered all types of media such as animation, journalism, commercials, comic books, movies, internet, and music. The series centers on a family and their life in a typical American town but the town of Springfield acts as a complete universe. The town features a vast array of media channels—from kids' television programming to local news, which enables the producers to make jokes about themselves and the entertainment industry.

Most of The Simpsons media satire focuses on television. This is mainly done through three characters: Krusty the Clown, Sideshow Bob, and until 1998 Troy McClure. The Itchy & Scratchy Show is a show within a show, used as a satire of animation and in some cases The Simpsons itself. Topics include censorship, plagiarism, unoriginal writing, live-action clip shows and documentaries. Kent Brockman, Springfield's principal news presenter illustrates the glibness, amplification, and sensationalism of broadcast journalism. His tabloidization methods include making people look guilty without trial, and invasion of privacy by setting up camp outside people's homes.

Mona Simpson (The Simpsons)

Mona Penelope Simpson (née Olsen) is a recurring fictional character in the animated television series The Simpsons. She has been voiced by several actresses, including Maggie Roswell, Tress MacNeille, Pamela Hayden, and most prominently, Glenn Close. Glenn Close's performances as Mona have been well received by critics and she was named one of the top 25 guest stars on the show by IGN.

Mona was the estranged wife of Abe Simpson and the mother of Homer Simpson. In the episode "Mother Simpson" where she was introduced, it was established that Homer believed that his mother was dead, a lie his father, Abe, told him when in reality she was on the run from the law after she sabotaged Mr Burns' biological warfare laboratory. Mona first appeared in the second season in a flashback in "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?". She returned in the seventh season for her first main appearance in "Mother Simpson" and also had a large role in "My Mother the Carjacker". The character appeared again in Season 19's "Mona Leaves-a", but died during the episode. An Inception-inspired dream version of her appears in Season 23's "How I Wet Your Mother". In the episode "Let's Go Fly a Coot", she is revealed to have met Abe when she was a waitress in a cantina bar and he broke the sound barrier to impress her.

The character is named after writer Richard Appel's ex-wife, the American author (and Steve Jobs' biological sister) Mona Simpson. The inspiration for the character is Bernardine Dohrn of the Weather Underground.

Politics in The Simpsons

Politics is a common theme in the animated television series The Simpsons, and this phenomenon has had some crossover with real American politics. U.S. conservatives voiced opposition to the show early in its run, when it was still controversial for its crude humor and irreverent take on family values. Former U.S. President George H. W. Bush said that the U.S. needed to be closer to The Waltons than to The Simpsons. The show's admitted slant towards liberalism has been joked about in episodes such as "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular", in which a reference is made to "hundreds of radical right-wing messages inserted into every show by creator Matt Groening". More recently, however, conservative bloggers and commentators have enthusiastically promoted cultural memes from the series, such as Groundskeeper Willie's derisive term for the French, "cheese-eating surrender monkeys".Political topics addressed on The Simpsons include homophobia and gay marriage (in the episodes "Homer's Phobia" and "There's Something About Marrying"), immigration and border control (“Much Apu About Nothing,” “Midnight Rx”, “Coming to Homerica”), drug and alcohol abuse ("Brother's Little Helper", "Weekend at Burnsie's", "Smoke on the Daughter", "Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment", "Duffless", "E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)", and "Days of Wine and D'oh'ses"), gun rights ("The Cartridge Family"), environmental issues ("The Old Man and the Lisa", "Trash of the Titans", "Lisa the Tree Hugger", "The Wife Aquatic", "The Squirt and the Whale", in addition to being an important plot device in the feature-length film), election campaigns ("Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish", "Sideshow Bob Roberts", "Mr. Spritz Goes to Washington", "See Homer Run", "E Pluribus Wiggum", "Politically Inept, with Homer Simpson"), and corruption ("Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington").

Space Food Sticks

Space Food Sticks are snacks created for the Pillsbury Company in the late 1960s by the company's chief food technologist, Howard Bauman. Bauman was instrumental later in establishing the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points regulations used for food safety.

Bauman and his team were instrumental in creating the first solid food consumed by a NASA astronaut: small food cubes eaten by Scott Carpenter on board Aurora 7 in 1962. (John Glenn had consumed the fruit-flavored drink Tang in space three months earlier aboard the Friendship 7.) Space food cubes were followed by other space-friendly foods created by Pillsbury's food engineers, such as non-crumbly cake, relish that could be served in slices, and meat that needed no refrigeration.In 1970, Pillsbury filed for a trademark for a "non-frozen balance energy snack in rod form containing nutritionally balanced amounts of carbohydrate, fat and protein" which they dubbed "Space Food Sticks". (No basis for use of the term "nutritionally balanced" was provided.) A forerunner of energy bars, Space Food Sticks were promoted by Pillsbury for their association with NASA's efforts to create safe, healthy and nutritional space food. Capitalizing on the popularity of the Apollo space missions, Pillsbury marketed Space Food Sticks as a "nutritionally balanced between meal snack". Fourteen individually packaged sticks were included in a box, and came in six flavors such as peanut butter, caramel, and chocolate. In 1972, astronauts on board Skylab 3 ate modified versions of Space Food Sticks to test their "gastrointestinal compatibility".Space Food Sticks disappeared from North American supermarket shelves in the 1980s. They were revived by Retrofuture Products, of Port Washington, NY in 2006. Two flavors, chocolate and peanut butter, were released. They are being sold at flight museums such as the Kennedy Space Center and the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum as well as online.In Australia, Space Food Sticks were produced for many years in fewer flavor varieties than the American versions (chocolate and caramel only). They were marketed under the Nestlé Starz brand to modern-day Australian children as an energy food. Production stopped in 2014, apart from a very brief reappearance in 2019 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing.

The Simpsons (season 7)

The Simpsons' seventh season originally aired on the Fox network between September 17, 1995 and May 19, 1996. The show runners for the seventh production season were Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein who would executive produce 21 episodes this season. David Mirkin executive produced the remaining four, including two hold overs that were produced for the previous season. The season was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Animated Program and won an Annie Award for Best Animated Television Program. The DVD box set was released in Region 1 December 13, 2005, Region 2 January 30, 2006 and Region 4 on March 22, 2006. The set was released in two different forms: a Marge-shaped box and also a standard rectangular-shaped box in which the theme is a movie premiere.

The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase

"The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase" is the twenty-fourth episode of the eighth season of The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 11, 1997. The episode centers on fictional pilot episodes of non-existent television series derived from The Simpsons, and is a parody of the tendency of networks to spin off characters from a hit series. As such it includes references to many different TV series. The first fictional spin-off is Chief Wiggum P.I., a cop-dramedy featuring Chief Wiggum and Seymour Skinner. The second is The Love-matic Grampa, a sitcom featuring Moe Szyslak who receives dating advice from Abraham Simpson, whose ghost is possessing a love testing machine. The final segment is The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour, a variety show featuring the Simpson family except for Lisa, who has been replaced.

The episode was written by David S. Cohen, Dan Greaney and Steve Tompkins, with Ken Keeler coming up with the story and the general idea of intentionally bad writing. It was directed by Neil Affleck, and Tim Conway, Gailard Sartain and Phil Hartman guest-starred. The producers were initially uneasy about the episode, as they feared that the purposely bad writing would be mistaken for actual bad writing. The episode, however, now appears on several lists of the most popular Simpsons episodes.

The Simpsons shorts

The Simpsons shorts are a series of animated shorts that aired as a recurring segment on Fox variety television series The Tracey Ullman Show for three seasons, before the characters spun off into The Simpsons, their own half-hour prime-time show. It features Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The series was created by Matt Groening, who designed the Simpson family and wrote many of the shorts. The shorts first aired on April 19, 1987 starting with "Good Night". The final short to air was "TV Simpsons", originally airing on May 14, 1989. The Simpsons later debuted on December 17, 1989, as an independent series with the Christmas special "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire".One marketing study found that only 14 percent of Americans were familiar with the shorts, compared to 85 percent in November 1990 who were familiar with the Simpsons family, 11 months after the full-length show began airing.Only a few of these shorts have been released on DVD. "Good Night" was included on The Simpsons Season 1 DVD. Five of these shorts were later used in the clip-show episode "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" on the half-hour show, which was released on the Season 7 DVD. These five shorts were "Good Night", which was featured in its entirety, and portions of "The Perfect Crime", "Space Patrol", "World War III", and "Bathtime". In "You Kent Always Say What You Want", the short "Family Portrait" replaces the entire opening sequence in celebration of the 400th episode. In June 2013, it was reported that FXX is trying to acquire the shorts for an October Simpsons app, "Simpsons World".The version of the Simpson family from the shorts was depicted as ghosts haunting the Simpsons house in the season twenty six episode "Treehouse of Horror XXV".

Troy McClure

Troy McClure was a fictional character in the American animated sitcom The Simpsons. He was originally voiced by Phil Hartman and first appeared in the second season episode "Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment". McClure is an actor who is usually shown doing low-level work, such as hosting infomercials and educational films. He appears as the main character in "A Fish Called Selma", in which he marries Selma Bouvier to aid his failing career and quash rumors about his personal life. McClure also 'hosts' "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" and "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase".

McClure was partially based on B movie actors Troy Donahue and Doug McClure, as well as Hartman himself. Following Hartman's murder at the hands of his wife in 1998, two of his Simpsons characters were retired, with Hartman's final appearance as McClure occurring in the tenth season episode "Bart the Mother" four months later. Since his retirement, McClure has often been cited as one of the series' most popular characters. In 2006, IGN ranked McClure No. 1 on their list of the "Top 25 Simpsons Peripheral Characters".

USAnimation

USAnimation, Inc. was an American traditional animation studio and software development company based out of Los Angeles, California. The studio produced animation for television series and commercials, and provided ink and paint services to animated TV series such as The Ren and Stimpy Show and The Simpsons and films such as We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story. Its software division was best known for developing USAnimation, a high-end software package designed to facilitate the traditional animation process using digital technologies.

Waylon Smithers

Waylon Joseph Smithers Jr., usually referred to as Mr. Smithers or simply Smithers, is a recurring fictional character in the animated sitcom The Simpsons, who is voiced by Harry Shearer. Smithers first appeared in the episode "Homer's Odyssey", although his voice could be heard in the series premiere "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire". He is the consummate executive and personal assistant of Springfield Nuclear Power Plant's owner Mr. Burns.

Smithers' loyalty and devotion to Mr. Burns was inspired from how numerous Fox executives and staff members acted towards Barry Diller. The idea for Smithers' ambiguous sexual orientation came from Sam Simon, who proposed that Smithers should be gay, but little attention should be drawn to it. Smithers' first name (Waylon) was derived from that of puppeteer Wayland Flowers.Smithers was colorized in his first appearance as black with blue hair. Matt Groening, in an interview with TMZ, said that this was a mistake but the producers didn't have enough money to correct it.Smithers is the loyal, obedient and sycophantic assistant to Mr. Burns, and the relationship between the two is a frequent running gag on The Simpsons. In many ways, Smithers represents the stereotype of a closeted gay man, and numerous overt allusions and double entendres concerning his homosexuality are made, though some of the show's producers instead interpret him as a "Burns-sexual". In the season 27 (2016) episode "The Burns Cage", he came out as gay.

Season 7
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