EA dropped us a new big event: Burn’s Casino. It is mostly based on the episode: “$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)”, the 10th episode of Season 5, the 91st episode to date, and the second longest episode title of the show after “Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in “The Curse of the Flying Hellfish””. This Episode Fact File will recap the episode with pictures and facts. Get the scoop right after the jump!
$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)
During a town meeting, Principal Skinner pitches the idea of opening a casino. Mr. Burns adopts this notion and builds the “Mr. Burns’ Casino.” Homer takes a job as a blackjack dealer and Marge takes up gambling. At home, Lisa is having difficulties with her school project and Bart opens a treehouse casino.
Episode Details: ‘$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)’ is the 10th episode of Season 5 as well as the 91st episode of The Simpsons. The episode aired on FOX on December 16, 1993 and was written by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein and directed by Wes Archer with David Mirkin as the show runner.
The economy of Springfield is in decline, and Mayor Quimby listens to suggestions from citizens on how to improve the economy. Principal Skinner suggests that legalized gambling has helped rejuvenate run-down economies, and that it can work for Springfield as well. Everybody likes the idea (including Marge, despite everyone’s initial belief that she would protest against it) and they agree to it. The only one against it is Lisa who believe legalized gambling is wrong and is ignored when she attempt to suggest different ideas to help rejuvenate the town. Mr. Burns and Mayor Quimby work together to build a casino, but Burns objects to several prototypes until he develops his own design: Mr. Burns’ Casino, with “sex appeal and a catchy name”.
At the house, Lisa tells Marge of an upcoming 50 US States pageant at Springfield Elementary School. Marge suggests she goes as Nevada in honor of the legalized gambling in both the state and Springfield. Lisa objects and Marge suggests Florida since she loves orange juice and she’s always dreamed of going there.
The casino opens, and Homer gets a job as a blackjack dealer, a popular one at that since he is so bad at it that everyone at the table always wins except him. Also visiting the casino are Marge and Bart. Bart wins a jackpot, but is kicked out, as minors are not allowed in American casinos, unless accompanied by a responsible adult. Bart says the casino was stupid anyway and the squeaky voiced teen laughs, sarcastically telling Bart to build his own casino. He does open a casino in his treehouse, featuring Milhouse and Jimbo as entertainers. The squeaky-voiced teen shows up and pays the price for insulting Bart after seeing his treehouse casino (“Well he certainly showed me!”). While Marge waits for Homer‘s shift to end at Mr. Burns’ Casino, she finds a quarter on the floor and uses it to play a slot machine. She wins and almost immediately becomes addicted to gambling. Meanwhile, while Mr. Burns’ Casino is a success, Burns becomes even more reclusive and eccentric, developing a profound fear of microscopic germs. He grows a long beard, long fingernails and toenails and wears pajamas all the time. He forces Smithers to wear a hospital gown and makes a model airplane, the Spruce Moose, which he seems to think is real.
Due to her addiction, Marge spends every waking moment at the casino and neglects the family. When Lisa wakes from a bad dream of the boogeyman, a gun-toting Homer hides himself and the children behind a mattress in terror, shooting from his cover at anything he thinks might be the boogeyman. When Marge finally returns home and sees what has happened, she promises to spend more time with her family instead of gambling. The next day, Bart intercepts Robert Goulet to perform at his casino, when he was hired to perform at Mr. Burns’ Casino; Goulet is a hit (singing the children’s favorite “Jingle Bells, Batman Smells“), despite accidentally smacking Milhouse with his microphone.
Marge quickly goes back on her promise and returns to the casino. She does not help Lisa make a Florida costume for her geography pageant, so Homer makes a primitive costume of “Floreda” for her (which is not just misspelled, it is also shaped like California). Lisa is heartbroken she looks like a monster, but Homer swears he will save Marge from the real monster even if he must drag her out of the casino and forcing her to return home.
Back at Mr. Burns’ Casino, Mr. Burns has mentally degenerated, wearing Kleenex boxes on his feet and designing a plane called the Spruce Moose. Smithers admires what appears to be a scale model of the plane, but Burns insists that it is the full-sized version. Homer bursts into the casino and barges around searching for Marge. (Interestingly, while Homer‘s rampage is supposed to be destructive, every thing he passes by causes players to win jackpots.) The security cameras capture Homer‘s rampage, and when Burns sees him he orders Homer to be fired. Smithers promises to send Homer back to the power plant. Realizing how much he misses the plant, Burns decides to return and orders Smithers to prepare a shave and get rid of the Kleenex boxes, although he decides to hang on to the jars of urine he has been preserving. Deciding to fly back to the plant, he orders Smithers to board the model plane… at gunpoint.
Homer spies Marge who is gambling and winning more money. With that, he stops her by pulling Marge away from the slot machine. Homer proceeds to tell her how angry he is for breaking her promise to Lisa and making her cry. He reveals that the only ones who were able to put up with that are Bart and Maggie. Homer persuades Marge to admit that she has a gambling problem. She finally realizes the neglect the family has been suffering and returns home, ashamed of herself. She considers therapy but Homer objects, claiming that it’s too expensive.
At Springfield Elementary, Lisa, along with Ralph Wiggum, who dressed up as Idaho using nothing but a sheet of loose leaf paper that says “Idaho” taped to his shirt, both receive special awards for being “children who obviously had no help from their parents”.
Homer then rubs it in Marge‘s face and tells her that her gambling addiction was worse than his flaws. She is offended and tell Homer that he’s supposed to be helping her, not rubbing it in. Homer tells Marge this is what she gets for neglecting their family and breaking her promise in helping Lisa make her Florida costume. He eventually agrees to let it go as long as she makes the effort to stop heading back to the casino.
RECEPTION:! In its original American broadcast, “$pringfield” was watched by eleven million households. The episode was the highest-rated show on the Fox network that week. Since airing, the episode has received mostly positive reviews from television critics.
BLACKBOARD TEXT!: “I will not say ‘Springfield’ just to get applause”
- The Rich Texan makes his debut appearance in this episode, referred to as “Senator” by Homer.
- Odds at Bart’s casino:
- Homer‘s photographic memory details himself with huge muscles, Marge in a blue dress and green hair, Apu with three heads, Flanders with a baseball glove for a hand, and an alligator in a suit. Homer then receives a call from the President.
- Along with several hats, a hair brush and false teeth are thrown into the air at the town meeting.
- Deleted Scene: James Bond and a villain are playing blackjack with Homer as the dealer. Homer gives Bond a joker. Bond tells him he has to take those away from the deck. Then he gives Bond the card with the game rules. Bond loses and the villain takes him away. The staff liked the scene, so they decided to put it in the clip show episode “The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular“.
- This is the episode in which Marge develops her gambling problem.
- Matt Groening was told that if the restaurant chain Planet Hollywood appeared in an episode, its creators Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone would guest star. The staff wrote it in as the subplot for the episode but they could not appear and the plot was dropped. Additionally the episode’s original script indicates that Robert Goulet‘s part was written for Wayne Newton and Gerry Cooney‘s part was written for Marvelous Marvin Hagler.
- Writer Bill Oakley posted the episode’s original script on Twitter. It highlights many changes which occurred for the broadcast version, including the full Planet Hollywood scenes.
- The title is a reference to the 1964 film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb and to the 1978-1981 TV drama Vega$.
- Burns‘s bed looks similar to the one occupied by Keir Dullea‘s character Dave Bowman in the end of the 1968 film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- Homer is impressed by the card-counting abilities of the autistic character Raymond Babbitt (Dustin Hoffman) from the 1988 film Rain Man; Tom Cruise appears next to him, in character as Charlie Babbitt.
- Krusty‘s show at midnight is similar to Bill Cosby‘s 1971 album For Adults Only, which was recorded at a casino at midnight.
- Marge reminds Homer that his lifelong dream was to be a contestant on the television show The Gong Show.
- Burns‘s obsession with germs and cleanliness and his refusal to leave his bedroom once the casino opens is a parody on American magnate Howard Hughes.
- The “Spruce Moose” is a parody of Howard Hughes‘s impractically enormous wooden plane Hughes H-4 Hercules, which was derisively dubbed the “Spruce Goose”.
- Homer parodies the scene in the 1939 film Wizard of Oz when Scarecrow demonstrates his newly acquired intelligence by reciting the law that governs the lengths of the sides of an isosceles triangle. Unlike in the film, somebody correctly points out that the Pythagorean theorem recited applies to right-angled triangles, not isosceles triangles, unless there is a right-angle in the triangle.
- Gunter and Ernst, the Siegfried and Roy-esque casino magicians who get attacked by their white tiger, Anastasia. Ten years after this episode first aired, Roy Horn was attacked by one of the duo’s white tigers.
- The glasses Homer finds belong to former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
- Marge was in the casino for days however she would have been forced to leave after a matter of hours.
- Smithers said that the casino staff are legally required to ask gamblers every 75 hours if they think they have gambled enough however they would force people to leave after a much shorter time than that.
- When Homer announces his shift is over at the Blackjack table, the Rich Texan‘s skin color changes from yellow to brown.
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 “$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)” episode of FOX show The Simpsons. Their use is believed to qualify as fair use under United States copyright law.