Monday, December 17, 2007

This Day in History: Simpsons Debut, 1989

On this day in 1989 The Simpsons made it's television debut. It has gone on to become the most popular animated TV shows in US history and has earned its spot in pop culture history through its parodies of the "Middle American" lifestyle. The show, created by Matt Groening, is a spin-off of a series of animated shorts originally aired on The Tracey Ullman Show. and is currently both the longest-running American sitcom and the longest-running American animated program. Since I've based my life on Krusty's teachings, here are my top 10 Simpsons episodes.

10. Rosebud.
Yearning for his lost youth and innocence, Mr. Burns searches for his beloved childhood teddy bear, Bobo, in Citizen Kane-like fashion. When Maggie comes across the bear, she claims it as her own. Mr. Burns tries to get his Bobo back by any means necessary.
Smithers: Here are several fine young men who I'm sure are gonna go far.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Ramones!
Burns: Ah, these minstrels will soothe my jangled nerves.
Ramone 1: I'd just like to say this gig sucks!
Ramone 2: Hey, up yours, Springfield.
Ramone 1: One, two, three, four!
[Abrasive guitar music begins]
Happy Birthday to you! (Happy Birthday!)
Happy Birthday to you! (Happy Birthday!)
Happy Birthday, Burnsey,
Happy Birthday to you!
Ramone 3: Go to hell, you old bastard.
[The curtain falls]
Ramone 4: Hey, I think they liked us!
Burns: [toward the Ramones] Have the Rolling Stones killed.
Smithers: Sir, those aren't --
Burns: Do as I say!

9. Cape Feare. An anonymous letter writer makes ominous threats to Bart. The Simpsons discover they were sent by Sideshow Bob who, when released from prison, harasses the Simpsons and then attempts to kill Bart with a machete. But Bob's vanity foils him yet again.

Agent: Tell you what, sir. From now on, you'll be, uh, Homer Thompson at Terror Lake. Let's just practice a bit, hmm? When I say, "Hello, Mr. Thompson," you'll say, "Hi."
Homer: Check.
Hello, Mr. Thompson.
Homer: [stares blankly]
Remember now, your name is Homer Thompson.
Homer: I gotcha.
Agent: Hello, Mr. Thompson.
Homer: [stares blankly]

[A long time later]
Agent: [sighs in frustration] Now, when I say, "Hello, Mr. Thompson,"
and press down on your foot, you smile and nod.
Homer: No problem.
Agent: Hello, Mr. Thompson! [stomps on Homer's foot a few times]
Homer: [stares blankly]
[to other agent] I think he's talking to you.

8. $pringfield. During a town meeting, Principal Skinner pitches the idea of opening a casino. Mr. Burns adopts this notion and builds the "Mr. Burns' Casino." Homer takes a job as a blackjack dealer and Marge takes up gambling. At home, Lisa is having difficulties with her school project and Bart opens a treehouse casino.

Sir, you haven't slept since the casino opened five days ago.
Burns: Yeah, well, I've discovered the perfect business: people swarm
in, empty their pockets, and scuttle off. Nothing can stop me now -- [paranoid] except microscopic germs. But we won't let that happen, will we, Smithers?
Smithers: Uh, no sir.

7. Simpson and Delilah. Homer lies on a medical insurance form to buy a "miracle" hair-restoring drug which also revitalizes his career. Bart decides to use the drug to grow a goa-t, spilling it all over the floor when Homer catches him in the act.

Homer: Okay, I'm not going to kill you, but I'm going to tell you three things that are gonna haunt you for the rest of your days. You've ruined your father, you've crippled your family, and baldness is hereditary!

6. You Only Move Twice. In the eight season opener, Homer's new job moves the Simpsons to an idyllic planned community. But his new, easygoing supervillian boss, Hank Scorpio (voice of Albert Brooks), has some trouble with the government.

Hank: Ingenious, isn't it, Mr. Bont?
Scorpio, you're totally mad.
Heh, I wouldn't point fingers, you jerk.
So, do you expect me to talk?
I don't expect anything from you except to die and be a very cheap


5. Homer the Great. Homer joins the ancient mystical order known as the Stonecutters. The group then discovers that he is actually the chosen one to lead them to glory.

Who controls the British crown?
Who keeps the metric system down?
We do! We do.

Who leaves the Atlantis off the maps?
Who keeps the Martians under wraps?
We do! We do.

Who holds back the electric car?
Who makes Steve Guttenberg a star?
We do! We do.
Who robs cave fish of their sight?

Who rigs every Oscar night?
We do! We do.

4. 22 Short Films about Springfield. Interconnecting vignettes in Pulp Fiction style depict various moments in the lives of Springfield residents, including Apu's partying activities; Smithers' allergic reaction to a bee sting; and Dr. Nick Riviera's appearance before a medical review board.

Dr. Nick: Hi everybody. Now, tell Dr. Nick where is the trouble.
Abe: I'm itchy! I've got ants in my pants! I'm discombobulated! Give me a calmative!
Dr. Nick: Slow down sir! You're going to give yourself skin failure!

3. Treehouse of Horror V. This one features three short episodes. The family becomes caretakers of an estate in the mountains owned by Mr. Burns, where he cuts the cable and takes out all beer, which leads Homer to insanity. Homer fixes a toaster and it becomes a time machine. Principal Skinner finds a solution to his overcrowding problem and the quality of meat in the cafeteria: eating the students.

Homer: Aah! OK, don't panic -- remember the advice your father gave you on your wedding day. [remembers dad, Abe, with hair and a tuxedo]
Abe: If you ever travel back in time, don't step on anything because
even the tiniest change can alter the future in ways you can't imagine.
Homer: Fine. As long as I stand perfectly still and don't touch
anything, I won't destroy the future.
[a mosquito flies in]

Stupid bug! You go squish now!
[swats it]

2. Kamp Krusty. The fourth-season opener finds Bart and Lisa headed for six fun-filled weeks at Kamp Krusty, the brochure having failed to mention counselor-thugs, imitation gruel, slave labor and no Krusty. The camp is run by the bland Mr. Black (who managed Euro-Disney until it blew up) and the real Krusty is replaced by a whino in a clown suit (who later chants with the kids 'We want Crunchy.'). The kids revolt and take over the camp in a-la Apocalypse Now. Krusty flies in and makes it up to the children by taking them to Tijuana.

Krusty: Kamp Krusty is built on an ancient Indian burial ground. We've got archery, wallet-making, the whole megillah! And for all you fat kids, my exclusive program of diet and ridicule will really get results!

1. Marge vs The Monorail. This gem, written by Conan O'Brien, features a fast-talking charmer (Phil Hartman) who sells Springfield a monorail of dubious necessity and, Marge learns, highly dubious quality. Homer quits his job to fulfill his lifelong dream of being a monorail driver (later saying, "I'm the best monothingy guy there ever was"). Leonard Nimoy, in a brilliant cameo, is aboard for the maiden trip, with Homer at the controls.

Nimoy: My job here is done.
Barney: What do you mean? You didn't do anything.
Nimoy: [chuckles] Didn't I? [gets "beamed" away, a la "Star Trek"]



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