Episode Fact File: Season 26 Catch Up

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!
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Super Franchise Me

Episode Description:

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.

EPISODE FACTS!:

CULTURAL REFERENCES:

GOOFS:

CONTINUITY:

PROMOTIONAL IMAGES!:


Treehouse of Horror XXV

Episode Description:

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.

PRODUCTION!: 

On January 24, 2014, David Silverman confirmed on Twitter that he was working on a segment of the episode.

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.

TIE-IN!: A tie-in for The Simpsons: Tapped Out has been released, with Moog Moe.
unlock_moe_moog

EPISODE FACTS!:

CULTURAL REFERENCES:

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 Others

CONTINUITY:

SPECIAL GUEST!: John Ratzenberger as Homer Simpson.

PROMOTIONAL IMAGES!:

EPISODE CLIPS!:


Opposites A-Frack

Episode Description:

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.

PRODUCTION!:

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”.

EPISODE FACTS!:

CULTURAL REFERENCES:

CONTINUITY:

TRIVIA:

  • Bart only has two lines in this episode.

SPECIAL GUESTS!:

PROMOTIONAL IMAGES!:


Blazed and Confused

Episode Description:

Bart schemes to bring down his new teacher, Mr. Lassen (guest voice Willem Dafoe), who is a terrible bully and The Simpsons go to Burning Man.

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.

PRODUCTION!: 

TABF01_Script

EPISODE FACTS!:

CULTURAL REFERENCES:

CONTINUITY:

SPECIAL GUESTS!:

PROMOTIONAL IMAGES!:


Covercraft

Episode Description:

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.

PLOT!:

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.
Tapped_Out_Guitar_Central

EPISODE FACTS!:

CULTURAL REFERENCES:

TRIVIA:

  • 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.

CONTINUITY:

SPECIAL GUESTS:!

PROMOTIONAL IMAGES!:


I Won’t Be Home For Christmas

Episode Description:

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.

COUCH GAG!:

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.

PRODUCTION!:

It was revealed to be about the sad side of Christmas in July 2014 by Al Jean.

TABF03_Script

RECEPTION!:

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.”

EPISODE FACTS!:

CULTURAL REFERENCES:

TRIVIA:

  • 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.

CONTINUITY:

GOOFS:

  • When Bart and Lisa come downstairs on Christmas, Lisa’s slippers disappear after the first scene.

PROMOTIONAL IMAGES!:

EPISODE CLIPS!:


Bart’s New Friend

Episode Description:

Homer is hypnotised to think he’s 10 years old and becomes friends with Bart.

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.

PRODUCTION!:

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.

TABF05_Script

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.

EPISODE FACTS!:

CULTURAL REFERENCES:

CONTINUITY:

SPECIAL GUEST!: Stacy Keach as Don Bookner

PROMOTIONAL IMAGES!:


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!


100px-fox_broadcasting_companyThis 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.

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