The second chapter of Superheroes is coming to an end and today we’re going to analyze the episode where Radioactive Man, and other items from this and the previous event, comes from: Radioactive Man! This special Episode Fact File will recap the episode with pictures and more. Get the scoop right after the jump!
Episode Details: ‘Radioactive Man’ is the 2nd episode of Season 7 as well as the 130th episode of The Simpsons. The episode aired on FOX on September 24, 1995 and was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Susie Dietter.
Bart and Milhouse are thrilled to hear that a film version of their favorite comic book, Radioactive Man, is coming soon. Rainier Wolfcastle, the star of the McBain films, is chosen to play Radioactive Man, and even more excitingly for the Springfield Elementary School children, the production moves to their town, after seeing a small poorly spelt ad in Variety magazine. A search is launched for a young actor to play Radioactive Man’s sidekick Fallout Boy, and Bart auditions. Bart does well, but is rejected because he is an inch too short. Bart leaves and acquires high shoes and a vertical stripe suit (among other attempts to look taller), but by this point Milhouse has already taken the part, albeit reluctantly.
A despondent Bart is told by Lisa that he is still needed as a star’s friend and confidant, and Bart eagerly accepts this new role. However, Milhouse finds his own job intolerable and disappears, right during the filming of the most expensive scene in the movie. The film is suspended while the townspeople search for Milhouse. Eventually Bart finds him in the treehouse, but despite encouragement from former child star Mickey Rooney, Milhouse gives up on his acting career. All production on the film is aborted, with the project going bankrupt, thanks to price gouging and other unscrupulous conduct by the people of Springfield. The directors then return to Hollywood, “where people treat each other right.”
“Radioactive Man” is the first episode of The Simpsons to be digitally colored. The task went to USAnimation, who would later animate “The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular“. Digital coloring would not be attempted again until season 12’s “Tennis the Menace“, and again when the show permanently switched to digital coloring in season 14 with “The Great Louse Detective“.
The episode finished 51st in the ratings. It acquired a Nielsen rating of 9.5. It received positive reviews from critics. The authors of I Can’t Believe It’s a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide said it reminded them of Tim Burton’s “Batman” films, and that Milhouse was the perfect choice to play Fallout Boy.
BLACKBOARD TEXT!: Bewitched does not promote Satanism
COUCH GAG!: The couch is a fax machine that spews out a piece of paper with The Simpson family in a sitting position. The paper slides back under the couch.
- The Radioactive Man TV series (the “campy ’70s version”) is an obvious reference to, and spoof of, the Batman TV series of the 1960s.
- The sound effects within said series are parodied as: ZUFF! PAN!! SNUH! BORT! POOO! NEWT! MINT! ZAK!
- The antagonist of the Radioactive Man films, The Scout Master, is based on actor Paul Lynde.
- The scene in the new Radioactive Man film where Radioactive Man and Fallout Boy are captured in Aqua World is a reference to the film Waterworld.
- The director of the Radioactive Man film says: “That Milhouse is going to be big, Gabby Hayes big!”, in reference to the actor Gabby Hayes.
- Moe Szyslak said that he, as a kid, played the part of Smelly on The Little Rascals, until he killed Alfalfa for stealing his joke.
- Bill Withers‘ song “Lean on Me” from 1972 is played at the end of the episode.
- The usenet newsgroup which Comic Book Guy posted the message to (alt.nerd.obsessive) is a reference to the alt.tv.simpsons newsgroup.
- One of the obsessive nerds Comic Book Guy contacts puts on Spock ears, a character from the Star Trek franchise, before starting to type.
- Another one of the nerds is the musician Prince.
- This was the first episode to be digitally colored.
- The quote “My eyes, the goggles do nothing” has become an internet catchphrase used for conveying the horror of having seen something unwanted.
- Some of the comics seen at The Android’s Dungeon:
- Cat Girl
- Dog Kid
- Iguana Girl
- Lava Lady
- Power Person
- Mr. Smarty-Pants!
- Radiation Dude (in Milhouse’s hands)
- Up to this episode, there had been 814 issues of Radioactive Man.
- The Radioactive Man comic features the Bongo Comics logo.
- Comic Book Guy‘s computer is running Unix or Linux.
- The couch gag was later seen in “Bart the Fink” and “Summer of 4 Ft. 2“.
- It is unlikely that Dirk Richter could have been the star of the “campy 1970’s” Radioactive Man series as in “Three Men and a Comic Book“, we saw him as the star of the 1950’s-era series.
- Skinner‘s microphone disappears from his office.
- The position of the boys waiting in the audition line changes between shots.
- The Simpson-ized version of Hollywood is incorrect:
- Bart was told he needed to grow an inch to get the part of Fallout Boy. But Milhouse eventually got the part and he’s shorter than Bart.
- During Moe‘s Little Rascals flashback, one of the studio executives says, “He’s killed the original Alfalfa!” How could anyone know there would be any subsequent Alfalfa actors if he was the original?
- Also, if Moe really was a part of the Little Rascals, then he’d be around the same age as the rest of the cast, which would make him around 80.
- The Estonian dwarf reappears. (“Burns’ Heir” and “Homie the Clown“)
- The organization Marge forms, “Springfieldians for Nonviolence, Understanding, and Helping” (SNUH), to combat cartoon violence is mentioned. (“Itchy & Scratchy & 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.
Don’t forget to check all the infos you’ll need on Season 28 on our posts!
Till next time, Happy Tapping everyone!