Some time ago, we had a break in the Episode Fact File posts until I took them over, however, some episodes were skipped: “Super Franchise Me”, “Treehouse of Horror XXV”, “Opposites A-Frack”, “Blazed and Confused”, “Covercraft”, “I Won’t Be Home For Christmas” and “Bart’s New Friend”. Today we’re going to cover those episodes in this “catch up” post while getting ready for the return of the show this Sunday in “Love Is in the N2-O2-Ar-CO2-Ne-He-CH4“! This special Episode Fact File will recap the episodes with pictures, video clips and more. Get the scoop right after the jump!
Super Franchise Me
Marge opens a sandwich franchise store after her sandwiches become a huge hit at Springfield Elementary. But running day-to-day at the store proves challenging, especially when the same franchise opens another location across the street.
Episode Details: ‘Super Franchise Me’ is the 3rd episode of Season 26 as well as the 555th episode of The Simpsons. The episode aired on FOX on October 12, 2014 and was written by Bill Odenkirk and directed by Mark Kirkland with Al Jean as the show runner.
RECEPTION!: The episode had 7.34 million viewers and scored 3.3/9 on the 18-49 Rating/Share.
- The episode name is a reference to the Morgan Spurlock documentary film Super Size Me.
- The music played as Marge makes the sandwiches is “The Ecstasy of Gold” from Ennio Morricone‘s soundtrack to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
- The picnic scene is an homage to the painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by George Seurat.
- Edna Krabappel appears at the end despite being deceased.
- One of the rooms labelled on Ned‘s power box is “Beatles Bunker”. (“The Bart of War“)
- In the title screen gag, Mr. Burns re-appears as Fruit Bat Man (“Dark Knight Court“) tied to a rope attempting to fly.
Treehouse of Horror XXV
On the annual spooktacular Halloween special, Bart and Lisa are transported to a demon-filled alternate universe after Bart reads a set of Aramaic symbols he finds on the underside of his desk; Moe’s “Clockwork Orange”-style gang is disrupted when Dum (Homer) falls for a girl (Marge) who wants him to give up the thug life; and, in a parody of The Others, the Simpson family are haunted by a family of ghosts, which turn out the be the family from the shorts, who were murdered and buried in the house. One of the segments is titled “School is Hell”.
Episode Details: ‘Treehouse of Horror XXV’ is the 4th episode of Season 26 as well as the 556th episode of The Simpsons. The episode aired on FOX on October 19, 2014 and was written by Stephanie Gillis and directed by Matthew Faughnan with Al Jean as the show runner.
There will be a parody of Stanley Kubrick‘s Eyes Wide Shut. One of the segments is titled “A Clockwork Yellow”. The segment “School is Hell” is inspired by the work of British comic book author Neil Gaiman.
Sound dubbing took place on September 23.
School Is Hell
- The segment title refers to one of the Life in Hell series of books written by Matt Groening.
- The blackboard in hell has repeated multiple times, “Eternal torment is the only just punishment for the unbaptized”, a belief held by Saint Augustine, who applied it to babies.
- The Docetan heresy is mentioned.
A Clockwork Yellow
- The segment is a parody of A Clockwork Orange.
- One of the “nasties” put into the hat is “Tell Each ‘Doctor Who‘ They’re the Worst”.
- At the End of the segment there where several parodies to other movies of Stanley Kubrick.
- The orgy, including the music in the background and the masks are a parody of Eyes Wide Shut.
- The scene with a guy sitting on toilet with a gun is a parody of Full Metal Jacket.
- The duel scene between Carl and the Comic Book Guy (including his clothes) is a parody of Barry Lyndon.
- When Homer hits Sideshow Mel with the bone, the iPhone as black monolith and Stanley Kubrick throwing the pen in the air are parodies of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- In the end there is also a film reel titled “fake moon landing” which is a parody of the mockumentary Dark Side of the Moon.
- The segment is a parody of The Others.
- Simpson families at the end of the episode:
- Pixar family
- Japanese anime/manga family:
- Adventure Time family:
- Bart is Finn.
- Lisa is Fiona.
- Homer is the Ice King.
- Marge is Princess Bubblegum.
- Santa’s Little Helper is Jake.
- South Park family:
- Archer family:
- Homer is Sterling Archer.
- Marge is Lana Kane.
- Bart is Cyril Figgis.
- Lisa is Pamela “Pam” Poovey.
- Maggie is Seamus McGoon.
- Sylvain Chomet style family (from “Diggs” couch gag)
- LEGO family (from “Brick Like Me“).
- Minion family from Despicable Me.
- Animal family (from “The Island of Dr. Hibbert” of “Treehouse of Horror XIII“).
- The Ullman Simpsons took a family portrait before. (“Family Portrait“)
- In the opening sequence, there are few second clips of previous “Treehouse of Horror” specials.
- One of the students in Hellroads was force-fed doughnuts in the background, like Homer was in Hell. (“The Devil and Homer Simpson” skit of “Treehouse of Horror IV“)
- The old Simpson family from the shorts were seen buried in “Adventures in Baby-Getting“.
- There were also seen buried in the Guillermo del Toro opening sequence.
- The animal versions of the Simpsons appear. (“Treehouse of Horror XIII“)
- When Dr. Marvin Monroe enters the room, Marge questions whether he is alive or dead calling back to “Diatribe of a Mad Housewife” where he returned out of the blue at her book signing.
- The LEGO Simpsons appear. (“Brick Like Me“)
- The end is a parody of the short “Family Portrait“.
Lisa brings in Assemblywoman Maxine Lombard (guest voice Jane Fonda) to put a stop to Mr. Burns’ fracking operation, but is taken aback when the two political opponents find themselves attracted to one another.
Episode Details: ‘Opposite A-Frack’ is the 5th episode of Season 26 as well as the 557th episode of The Simpsons. The episode aired FOX on November 2, 2014 and was written by Valentina L. Garza and directed by Matthew Nastuk with Matt Selman as the show runner.
On March 4, 2014, writer and producer Matt Selman leaked a part of the storyboard for the episode via Twitter. In the image, a part of the episode name is cut off by the camera. However, the episode’s full name was found in the United States Copyright Database. The storyboard image shows Lenny with a giant calf muscle bulging on his leg. The scene is part of act 2. The Original Title for this episode was “Fracking Day”.
- The episode title is most likely a portmanteau on the saying “opposites attract” and “frack” in the work fracking. There is also a song with that title.
- Homer mentions that he likes movies like The Purge.
- Upon discovering their mutual attraction, Mr. Burns and Maxine Lombard re-enact the dream sequence from Singin’ in the Rain.
- When Maxine speaks of defending “our precious Bay Area values” she is referring to the San Francisco Bay Area, a hotbed of informed environmentalism.
- Action figures of three of The Fossil Fuel Four (The Fracker, Charcoal Briquette and Old King Coal) appears in the Androids Dungeon. (“Married to the Blob“)
- Action figures of The Collider, Radioactive Man and Sergeant Activity also appears. (“Steal This Episode“, “Fat Man and Little Boy“, et al.)
- Bart only has two lines in this episode.
Blazed and Confused
Episode Details: ‘Blazed and Confused’ is the 7th episode of Season 26 as well as the 559th episode of The Simpsons. The episode aired FOX on November 16, 2014 and was written by Carolyn Omine and William Wright and directed by Rob Oliver with Al Jean as the show runner.
- The episode title is likely either a pun on the song “Dazed and Confused” or a reference to the film of the same title.
- Blazing Guy is a parody of Burning Man.
- The social network Facelook is a parody of “Facebook“
- The Spirit guide is seen. (“El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer“)
- Principal Skinner‘s photo of himself in his army uniform is seen again (“Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song“)
- A picture of Mr. Kuferberg is seen on the fake Miss Hoover Facelook page created by Bart. (“The President Wore Pearls“)
- Nelson mentions how he hoped no one would think of his name as “Smellson” but in New Kids on the Blecch, Mad Magazine called him exactly that and he laughed at it.
Homer has a mid-life crisis after Moe’s shuts down and Moe takes off on a trip with King Toot. Homer then takes up bass guitar and forms a cover band with some of the other dads in town. But the band’s modest early success is soon overwhelmed by the breakout potential of their most unlikely star, Apu. Sideshow Mel’s Family will show up.
Episode Details: ‘Opposite A-Frack’ is the 8th episode of Season 26 as well as the 560th episode of The Simpsons. The episode aired FOX on November 23, 2014 and was written by Matt Selman and directed by Steven Dean Moore with Al Jean as the show runner.
After Moe gets into a fight with the owner of King Toot’s and the latter’s store is closed down, Homer has to take Lisa to the store named Guitar Central. In the store, Homer is convinced by an employee to buy lots of things related to Bass Guitars, including a Bass Guitar. Homer then starts playing the Bass Guitar in the Garage, annoying the rest of the family. Some of the men of Springfields wives get together, and they are all having or have had the same problem. The men are forced to get together, and enjoy it. After an unlikely addition to the band, “Covercraft” is complete.
PRODUCTION!: Matt Selman posted a picture from this episode in which Sideshow Mel’s family appeared. It was originally titled “Band of Dads”.
TIE-IN!: A tie-in for The Simpsons: Tapped Out has been released, with Guitar Central.
- The previous episode name (“Band of Dads”) was a possible reference to the ten-part television World War II miniseries Band of Brothers, produced by Steven Spielberg.
- Costington Center is based on the LA Forum.
- The deleted scene with Homer from Ass of Bass is a pun on Ace of Base.
- King Toot hums “Hopin’ for a Dream” early in the episode, before the song is played fully.
- In the Springfield Shopper ads, there are ads saying:
- For Sale: Baby Grand Piano. Never Played.
- Used Violin: No Strings Attached.
- Like To Swing? Join Our Jazz Threesome.
- Sideshow Mel is revealed to be 45 years old.
- Though Lisa delights that will finally be another musician (Homer) in the family, this is ironic, as she inherited her musical talent from Homer.
- In the Springfield Shopper ads, there are Band Dissolution Notices for The B Sharps (“Homer’s Barbershop Quartet“) and Sadgasm. (“That ’90s Show“)
I Won’t Be Home For Christmas
After Moe convinces Homer to stay out drinking on Christmas Eve, Marge tells Homer not to come home. This leads to Homer’s sad trek through lonely Springfield, where he learns that the only place where one should truly get drunk on Christmas is home.
Episode Details: ‘I Won’t Be Home For Christmas’ is the 9th episode of Season 26 as well as the 561th episode of The Simpsons. The episode aired FOX on December 7, 2014 and was directed by Mark Kirkland with Al Jean as the show runner and director.
TITLE SCREEN!: The Rich Texan is riding a Cadillac driven by five bulls.
BILLBOARD TEXT!: Deck the Halls
BLACKBOARD TEXT!: Reindeer meat does not taste like chicken.
A message appear saying “Now for obligatory Frozen reference”. The scene cuts to a frozen land, with Lisa (as Elsa) sitting on a snow couch. Then Marge (Anna), Maggie (a Troll), Bart (Kristoff) and Santa’s Little Helper (as his Reindeer) arrives. Bart throws a snowball at Lisa and she creates an ice castle under him, making he exclaim “Ay Caramba!” on top of the castle. Homer (Olaf) walks nearby the castle, takes out his own nose, bites it and throws it away after realizing it is only a carrot.
It was revealed to be about the sad side of Christmas in July 2014 by Al Jean.
The episode gathered 6.52 million, and with 18-49s gathered 2.9 million and an 8% share, was Fox’s best-rated animation show of the night, but failed to win its timeslot, up against football. Its 6.52 million figure was up 3.07 million from the previous episode.
Critical response was mixed to positive. The A.V. Club awarded the episode a B- stating, “while pretty standard as far as such things go, [it] gets points for applying the formula so assiduously (and throwing out a handful of funny touches along the way).” Den of Geek rated the episode a 3/5, stating ““I Won’t Be Home for Christmas” isn’t quite the magical Christmas episode that we’ve seen in the past, but there are great random giggles and we learn something,” and praised how “This is the first time they’ve addressed her [Edna Krabappel] as a gone character.” BubbleBlabber said the episode “gets a checkmark in every box” and that “It was supposed to be meaningful and all that, but it never got too heavy or boring,” finally saying “compared to a lot of the others [Christmas specials], it was much better.” The reviewer awarded it an 8.5 rating.
Fan response was mixed. NoHomers‘ forum users voted in a communal poll on the episode, which as of late, holds a 4/5 rating. One user praised the episode for “for actually having a plot and for actually having humor”, referencing the putative decline in quality; another was less sympathetic, stating “not awful even if it wasn’t a laugh riot. it gets some points for not being a tepid mess”; and a third saying “Tonight’s episode kind of ran out of steam in the 3rd act after a really nice setup. But I still appreciate its ambition and it was delightfully understated throughout.”
- The episode title is a reference to the song by Bing Crosby “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and to the song by Blink-182 “I Won’t Be Home for Christmas“.
- Immediately after the opening sequence, a jazz version of “O Tannenbaum” plays over a scene of children ice-skating outdoors, a reference to the Peanuts special A Charlie Brown Christmas.
- Cosmic Wars: Holiday Special is a parody of the Star Wars Holiday Special.
- Comic Book Guy has Hulk and The Thing (from Marvel) bookstops on his bookshelf.
- Grounded is a parody of the 2013 computer-animated film Planes.
- Homer refers to Mr. Burns as Mr. Scrooge and Burns mentions his schedule says he’ll be visited by 3 spirits; both references to A Christmas Carol
- Moe says to a mouse “Hey. It’s the night before Christmas. Stop stirring.” A reference to Twas The Night Before Christmas. The poem was previously parodied in the story ‘Twas the Eve Before Christmas.
- The couch gag is a reference to Frozen:
- The opening sequence is a subtle rework of the opening from the previous season’s Christmas episode, White Christmas Blues. Among the changes:
- As the clouds part at the beginning, Barney as Santa in a sleigh pulled by reindeer lead by Santa’s Little Helper (as Rudolph) is replaced by The Rich Texan in a convertible pulled by buffalo.
- As Bart snowboards away from the school, two polar bears play catch with Groundskeeper Willie. In the previous version, Bart’s landing revealed Grampa under the snow, with a sign “Still warmer than nursing home,” seemingly having been buried by Willie, who is shoveling snow nearby. Additionally, the newer version deletes a number of Christmas trees and buildings in the background.
- The sign in the background as Homer works is changed from “94 days till March 28, actual birth of Christ” to “31 days until Greek Orthodox Christmas.”
- The unibrow baby already has the “defective” stamp on his head, but Maggie gives him a present rather than him being taken away.
- Instead of “Good King Wenceslas,” the band plays “Jingle Bells,” and when Lisa pops back in the door, snow falls on her.
- Moe now stands at the door to his bar happy, with an ice “Venus de Milo” instead of standing there grumpy and alone.
- Patty and Selma were originally Dr. Seuss characters, but are now hockey players.
- As Bart passes the Chinese restaurant with Jewish characters Krusty, Dolph and Krusty’s agent visible through the window, Rabbi Krustofsky is no longer seated at the table. Per his death in the season premiere’s Clown in the Dumps, he is now seen hovering nearby as a ghost, along with the ghost of Joan Rivers.
- While Lou, Dr. Hibbert and Carl appear celebrating Kwanzaa in season 25, Snake is seen holding up a sidewalk Santa in season 26.
- As Marge drives herself and Maggie home in the sleigh, the Snow Monster is added to the sharp right turn.
- They are then chased down by Mr. Burns and Mr. Smithers in a sleigh pulled by Burns’ guard dogs. In the season 25 version, Crazy Cat Lady appears in a shopping cart pulled by her cats, which distracts Burns’ dogs. The version in this episode also adds the Sea Captain in a boat on skis being pulled by belly-sliding penguins.
- As the camera quickly pans across numerous characters over to the Simpson house for the family’s return home, the previous version had Edna as an angel with wings (and her coffee mug). This was removed for season 26.
- Martin, dressed as Elsa, was supposed to be in the couch gag but was removed. He was added, however, as Ice Princess Martin skin, to The Simpsons: Tapped Out, with the Ice Castle. In the game, he references the couch gag in the episode, asking to be Elsa in it, but Lisa says that she will be Elsa.
- Gil introduces Homer to his “family”, namely Crazy Cat Lady, Kirk Van Houten and the Hobo. Gil celebrated St. Patrick’s day with his “family” in “Kill Gil, Volumes I & II“.
- Louie‘s tow truck is seen. (“Midnight Towboy“)
- Several of the characters from the episode coming together at the end of the episode is reminiscent of “Burns, Baby Burns“.
- When Bart and Lisa come downstairs on Christmas, Lisa’s slippers disappear after the first scene.
Bart’s New Friend
Episode Details: ‘Bart’s New Friend’ is the 11th episode of Season 26 as well as the 563th episode of The Simpsons. The episode aired FOX on January 11, 2015 and was written by Judd Apatow and directed by Bob Anderson.
In an interview on Conan O’Brien‘s Internet show, Serious Jibber-Jabber, Judd Apatow stated that he wrote the episode in 1990 and “[he] got a call from The Simpsons, saying “We’re going to shoot that episode next year”.
During an interview with Slashfilm, Apatow revealed elements of the plot, saying that “they [The Simpsons] went to see a hypnotism show and at the hypnotism show, they made Homer think he was the same age at Bart. And then the hypnotist had a heart attack. So now Homer and Bart became best friends and they spent the rest of the show running away because Homer didn’t want responsibility and didn’t want to be brought back to his real age.”
The table reading took place on April 25, 2014.
TITLE SCREEN!: The Pieman and the Cupcake Kid (Homer and Bart) fly by.
BILLBOARD TEXT!: You Tried The Rest– Now settle for Luigi’s Pizza
BLACKBOARD TEXT!: Snowmen don’t have carrot penises
COUCH GAG!: In an updated version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Homer, Marge and Bart are shown walking into their home. They find out that someone has been eating their porridge and broke their couch but they catch Lisa who is sleeping on Bart’s couch. She wakes up to find the three of them surrounding her, causing a fight between them. Later that night, the Simpsons are shown eating parts of Homer’s body and the story transitions to the present where he reads the whole thing to Maggie.
- Attractions at the circus:
- Celtic Charms are a parody of Lucky Charms.
- Sven Golly‘s name is a pun on Svengali, a manipulative character which was featured in the novel Trilby.
- The ride attraction at Itchy & Scratchy Land where they were flying through Springfield is a reference to Mystery Science Theater 3000.
- The saxophone riff that Lisa plays for Homer is from the 1978 song “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty.
- There is a tribute to the Charlie Hebdo shooting: Just before the closing credits, Maggie appears on a screen card holding a flag that reads “Je suis Charlie“.
- The final scene, where Sven Golly is in an underground prison under the police station and Chief Wiggum plays chess with him:
- Itchy & Scratchy Land appears again. (“Itchy & Scratchy Land“)
- In “Homer the Father” and “Love Is a Many-Strangled Thing“, Homer previously stopped from strangling Bart ever again.
- Marge mentions the time Homer cut off his thumb. (“Trilogy of Error“)
- Homer spray paints his graffiti tag [El] Homo. (“Large Marge“)
That is all from this special Episode Fact File and I would like to thank WikiSimpsons for the information for this post and Nathan for the base design of it.
Till next time, Happy Tapping everyone!
This pictures and videos are from the “Super Franchise Me”, “Treehouse of Horror XXV”, “Opposites A-Frack”, “Blazed and Confused”, “Covercraft”, “I Won’t Be Home For Christmas” and “Bart’s New Friend” episodes of FOX show The Simpsons. Their use is believed to qualify as fair use under United States copyright law.