"This Little Wiggy" is the eighteenth episode of The Simpsons' ninth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on March 22, 1998. It was written by Dan Greaney and directed by Neil Affleck. The episode sees Ralph Wiggum becoming friends with Bart. Phil Hartman guest stars as recurring character Troy McClure.
|"This Little Wiggy"|
|The Simpsons episode|
|Episode no.||Season 9|
|Directed by||Neil Affleck|
|Written by||Dan Greaney|
|Original air date||March 22, 1998|
|Chalkboard gag||"I was not told to do this"|
|Couch gag||Bart spray paints a picture of the family on the wall and signs it with his alias, "El Barto".|
At a science museum the family is visiting, Bart runs into Ralph Wiggum, who is in the process of being pushed into a giant ear by Kearney, Jimbo, Nelson, and Dolph. When Ralph is freed by a museum employee, Marge and Chief Wiggum are there to meet him. Marge observes that Ralph has a vivid imagination and learns that he has no friends to play with; she arranges a play-date for Ralph to spend time with a horrified Bart, who fears that being seen with Ralph will damage his reputation.
During their play-date, Bart and Ralph walk into Ralph's father's closet, consisting of various police utilities and records before Wiggum, initially forbidding them to enter the closet, allows them to play with the items. Bart then sees Wiggum toss aside a police master key capable of opening any door in Springfield. Bart and Ralph thus steal the key and decide to enter several closed stores at night. After encountering Nelson and his gang, the boys go to a condemned penitentiary. When Ralph objects because he is afraid, the bullies leave, but not before tossing the key into the penitentiary. Ralph and Bart enter the prison to retrieve the key, and in the process stumble onto a room housing an old electric chair. After testing out the chair, the two flee when an elderly guard approaches.
At the Simpsons' home, Bart and Ralph discover that the penitentiary will once again be used by the town, and remember that they forgot to disable the power. Unaware that the power is now active, Mayor Quimby straps himself into the electric chair in a publicity attempt. After failing to call the penitentiary, Ralph then tells Bart that Lisa can probably figure out a way to warn the Mayor. She decides to launch a model rocket with a warning message attached and aims it toward the penitentiary. However, the rocket is blown off-course and crashes through Mr. Burns' office window. As Quimby is getting electrocuted by the chair, Mr. Burns reads the note and disables the penitentiary's power, barely saving Quimby from getting killed. In the aftermath, the Simpsons congratulate Ralph, for pointing out that Lisa could solve the problem. Lisa objects but joins in after Bart points out that Ralph deserves some credit.
Show runner Mike Scully had pitched an idea to Dan Greaney on Marge forcing Bart to become Ralph Wiggum's friend. Scully gave the idea to Greaney due to his ability to write Ralph's lines and actions well, and his overall liking of the character.
This episode was the second to focus on Ralph, after the fourth-season episode "I Love Lisa". Despite this, in 2007, producer J. Stewart Burns did not believe Ralph had an episode with a plot centered on him.
The robot that was introduced early in the episode was influenced by Greaney's experiences working with a USA Today themed robot. While at a baseball game with the robot, the robot led the stadium in singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game". The robot was not well-received, and the spectators threw objects at it. The robot's operator had to stay close to the robot during the baseball game, and was also teased and bothered in the same way as the operator in the episode.
Episode director Neil Affleck was praised by the staff for his directing in this episode. In the scene where Chief Wiggum falls on his back in his bedroom, unable to roll over or get back up, Affleck decided to act out the scene for the staff to showcase how Affleck envisioned Chief Wiggum's predicament. Affleck was also praised for his ability to create three new elaborate settings in the episode: the science museum, the Springfield penitentiary, and the large toy store.
The episode originally did not involve Lisa helping Ralph and Bart to brainstorm an idea to alert the penitentiary. The original scene, which Greaney cites as one of his favorite scenes in the show, despite never actually being in the show, involved Bart, Ralph, and Homer trying to make a plan to save Mayor Quimby.
In its original broadcast, "This Little Wiggy" finished 27th in ratings for the week of March 16–22, 1998, with a Nielsen rating of 9.1, equivalent to approximately 8.9 million viewing households. It was the second highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, following Ally McBeal.
The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, enjoyed the episode, remarking: "Marvellous fun as Bart comes to realize there's more to Ralph, or at least his daddy, than he realised."
A Chinese finger trap (also known as a Chinese finger puzzle, Chinese thumb cuff, Chinese handcuffs and similar variants) is a gag toy used to play a practical joke on unsuspecting children and adults. The finger trap is a simple puzzle that traps the victim's fingers (often the index fingers) in both ends of a small cylinder woven from bamboo. The initial reaction of the victim is to pull their fingers outward, but this only tightens the trap. The way to escape the trap is to push the ends toward the middle, which enlarges the openings and frees the fingers. The single ended version sold as a "girlfriend trap" has been available since at least 1870 when it was recorded as a "Mädchenfänger" or "girl catcher".Dan Greaney
Daniel "Dan" Greaney is an American television writer. He has written for The Simpsons and The Office. He was hired during The Simpsons' seventh season after writing the first draft of the episode "King-Size Homer", but left after season eleven. He returned to the Simpsons staff during the thirteenth season.
He attended Harvard College, where he was president of Harvard Lampoon and editor of the Harvard Lampoon's nationally distributed parody of USA Today. He also worked as an editorial assistant at The Boston Globe. He graduated from Harvard in 1987.After college, he worked as a reporter for USA Today and co-authored a book entitled Truly One Nation with USA Today founder Allen H. Neuharth. He subsequently attended Harvard Law School and practiced law in New York for two years, during which time he co-founded PME, a television and media company operating in Ukraine and several other former Soviet republics.
Greaney coined the word embiggen in 1996 for "Lisa the Iconoclast," an episode from season seven of The Simpsons.Greaney has worked on numerous film projects, most notably as composer on Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.
Greaney is credited with writing "Bart to the Future", an oddly prophetic episode of The Simpsons from 2000 that presented the possibility of a Donald Trump presidency, which would be realized sixteen years later.King of the Hill (The Simpsons)
"King of the Hill" is the twenty-third episode in the ninth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 3, 1998. It was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Steven Dean Moore, and guest stars Brendan Fraser and Steven Weber. The episode sees Homer trying to climb a large mountain to impress Bart after he humiliates him at a church picnic with his lack of fitness.Lisa the Simpson
"Lisa the Simpson" is the seventeenth episode of The Simpsons' ninth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on March 8, 1998. In the episode, Lisa fears that she may be genetically predisposed to lose her intelligence after Grandpa tells her of a family gene that can permanently take away intelligence.
"Lisa the Simpson" was written by Ned Goldreyer and directed by Susie Dietter. This episode was the final episode with Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein as show runners. It received generally positive reviews from critics, and is considered one of the best episodes of the ninth season.List of The Simpsons couch gags
The Simpsons is an American animated television sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The opening sequence of The Simpsons features a couch gag: a "twist of events that befalls the Simpson family at the end of every credit sequence as they converge on their living-room couch to watch TV." The couch gag is a running visual joke near the end of the opening sequence.
The couch gag changes from episode to episode and usually features the Simpson family's living room couch. A typical gag features the Simpsons running into the living room, only to find some abnormality with the couch, be it a bizarre and unexpected occupant, an odd placement of the couch, such as on the ceiling, or any number of other situations, such as to make a pop culture reference. Longer couch gags have sometimes been used to fill time in shorter episodes, such as in "Lisa's First Word", "The Front" and "Cape Feare". The show's 500th episode "At Long Last Leave" showcases each couch gag that was used in the series.List of The Simpsons episodes (seasons 1–20)
The Simpsons is an American animated television sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. It is a satirical depiction of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its eponymous family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield, and lampoons American culture, society, and television, as well as many aspects of the human condition. The family was conceived by Groening shortly before a pitch for a series of animated shorts with producer James L. Brooks. Groening created a dysfunctional family and named the characters after members of his own family, substituting Bart for his own name. The shorts became a part of the Fox series The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987. After a three-season run, the sketch was developed into a half-hour prime-time show that was an early hit for Fox.Since its debut on December 17, 1989, The Simpsons has broadcast 662 episodes. The show holds several American television longevity records. It is the longest-running prime-time animated series and longest-running sitcom in the United States. On February 19, 2012, The Simpsons reached its 500th episode in the twenty-third season. With its twenty-first season (2009–10), the series surpassed Gunsmoke in seasons to claim the spot as the longest-running American prime-time scripted television series, and later also surpassed Gunsmoke in episode count with the episode "Forgive and Regret" on April 29, 2018.Episodes of The Simpsons have won dozens of awards, including 31 Emmy Awards (with ten for Outstanding Animated Program), 30 Annie Awards, and a Peabody Award. The Simpsons Movie, a feature-length film, was released in theaters worldwide on July 26 and 27, 2007 and grossed US$526.2 million worldwide. The first eighteen seasons are available on DVD in regions 1, 2, and 4, with the twentieth season released on both DVD and Blu-ray in 2010 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the series. On April 8, 2015, show runner Al Jean announced that there would be no more DVD or Blu-ray releases, shifting focus to digital distribution, although this was later reversed on July 22, 2017. Another two years later, on July 20, 2019, it was announced that Season 19 will be released on December 3, 2019 on DVD.On November 4, 2016, The Simpsons was renewed for seasons 29 and 30. It reached its 600th episode on October 16, 2016, in its twenty-eighth season. The thirtieth season ended on May 12, 2019. On February 6, 2019, The Simpsons was renewed for seasons 31 and 32, in which the latter will contain the 700th episode.Season 31 will premiere on September 29, 2019.List of The Simpsons guest stars (seasons 1–20)
In addition to the show's regular cast of voice actors, celebrity guest stars have been a staple of The Simpsons, an American animated television sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company, since its first season. The Simpsons focuses on the eponymous family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. The family was initially conceived by Groening for a series of animated shorts, which originally aired as a part of The Tracey Ullman Show between 1987 and 1989. The shorts were developed into a half-hour prime time series which began in December 1989. The series' 29th season began in October 2017 and 662 episodes of The Simpsons have aired. A feature film adaptation of the series called The Simpsons Movie, was released in 2007.
Guest voices have come from a wide range of professions, including actors, athletes, authors, musicians, artists, politicians and scientists. In the show's early years most guest stars voiced original characters, but as the show has continued the number of those appearing as themselves has increased.
The first credited guest star was Marcia Wallace who appeared in "Bart the Genius" in her first stint as Bart's teacher Edna Krabappel. Singer Tony Bennett was the first guest star to appear as himself, appearing briefly in the season two episode "Dancin' Homer". Several guest stars have featured as recurring characters on the show, including Phil Hartman, Joe Mantegna and Kelsey Grammer. Hartman made the most appearances, guest starring 52 times. Grammer, Mantegna, Maurice LaMarche and Frank Welker have appeared twenty times or more; Jon Lovitz and Jackie Mason have appeared over ten times, while Albert Brooks, Glenn Close, Michael Dees, Dana Gould, Terry W. Greene, Valerie Harper, Jan Hooks, Jane Kaczmarek, Stacy Keach, Kipp Lennon, J. K. Simmons, Sally Stevens, George Takei and Michael York have made over five appearances.
Two guest stars, Ricky Gervais and Seth Rogen, earned writing credits for the episodes in which they appeared. Grammer, Mason and three-time guest star Anne Hathaway all won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance for guest voice roles on the show. The show was awarded the Guinness World Record for "Most Guest Stars Featured in a TV Series" in 2010. As of May 12, 2019, there have been 826 guest stars on the show[A], with this figure rising to 831 if The Simpsons Movie is included.Ralph Wiggum
Ralph Wiggum is a recurring character on the animated series The Simpsons, voiced by Nancy Cartwright. The son of Police Chief Wiggum, Ralph is a classmate of Lisa Simpson and an odd child noted for his frequent non-sequiturs and bizarre behavior. His lines range from nonsensical, or bizarre interpretations of a current event, to profound statements that go over people's heads; and his behavior varies between blissfully unaware, to dim-witted, to awkwardly spontaneous, even occasionally straightforward. The very nature of the character has undergone differing interpretations over the years and within various media.
The creator of the show, Matt Groening, has cited Ralph as his favorite character. He generally remains one of the more popular and often quoted secondary characters in the show. In 2006, IGN ranked Ralph No. 3 on their list of the "Top 25 Simpsons Peripheral Characters," behind Sideshow Bob and Troy McClure.Robby the Robot
Robby the Robot is a fictional character and science fiction icon who first appeared in the 1956 film Forbidden Planet. He made a number of subsequent appearances in science fiction movies and television programs, usually without specific reference to the original film character.Simpson Tide
"Simpson Tide" is the nineteenth episode of The Simpsons' ninth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on March 29, 1998. After being fired from the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, Homer decides to join the United States Navy Reserve. The episode was the second and last to be written by Joshua Sternin and Jeffrey Ventimilia and was the final episode directed by Milton Gray.
It guest starred Rod Steiger as Captain Tenille and Bob Denver as himself, with one-time The Simpsons writer Michael Carrington making an appearance as the Drill Sergeant. This was the last episode Al Jean and Mike Reiss executive produced together, although Jean became show runner again in season 13.The Pink Panther
The Pink Panther is a British-American media franchise primarily focusing on a series of comedy-mystery films featuring an inept French police detective, Inspector Jacques Clouseau. The franchise began with the release of the classic Pink Panther film in 1963. The role of Clouseau was originated by and is most closely associated with Peter Sellers. Most of the films were written and directed by Blake Edwards, with theme music composed by Henry Mancini. Elements and characters inspired by the films were adapted into other media, including books, comic books and animated series.
The first film in the series derives its name from the eponymous pink diamond that has an enormous size and value. The diamond is called the "Pink Panther" because the flaw at its center, when viewed closely, is said to resemble a leaping pink panther. The phrase reappears in the title of the fourth film The Return of the Pink Panther, in which the theft of the diamond is again the centre of the plot. The phrase was used for all the subsequent films in the series, even when the jewel did not figure in the plot. The jewel ultimately appeared in six of the eleven films.
The first film in the series had an animated opening sequence, created by DePatie–Freleng Enterprises, featuring "The Pink Panther Theme" by Mancini, as well as the Pink Panther character. This character, designed by Hawley Pratt and Friz Freleng, was subsequently the subject of his own series of animated cartoons which gained its highest profile when aired on Saturday mornings as The Pink Panther Show. The character would be featured in the opening of every film in the movie series except A Shot in the Dark and Inspector Clouseau.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.