A Tree Grows in Springfield
Homer is heavily depressed over his life, and Lisa decides to cheer him up by purchasing a raffle ticket at fundraiser at Springfield Elementary School. Homer wins a MyPad and soon becomes obsessed with it until he falls and breaks it. Feeling even more depressed, Homer feels hopeless until Ned Flanders makes a discovery, finding the word "Hope" written on the Simpsons' backyard tree in sap. Everyone, especially Homer, sees it as a miracle. However, reporter Kent Brockman, determined to expose the truth and shatter everyone's hopes, finds a thermal video that shows someone wandering onto the Simpsons' backyard and writing "Hope" onto the tree with maple syrup. Homer is distraught once again until Marge reassures him that since someone wrote the word on the tree, it meant that someone was watching and that the message was for him when he really needed it. Homer agrees and goes back into the house with her. The following night, someone approaches the backyard tree and continues writing "Hope" onto the tree. It is revealed to be a sleepwalking Homer.
The episode ends with a vignette inspired by the French animated short film Logorama.
The episode was watched by a total of 7.46 million viewers and received a 3.3 in the 18-49 demographic making it the most watched show on Animation Domination that night in terms of total viewers and the 18-49 demographic.
Robert David Sullivan from The A.V. Club gave the episode a B-, saying "'A Tree Grows In Springfield' turns out to be a throwback to early Simpsons in a season that’s been heavy on mean-spirited humor."
Stephanie Gillis received an Annie nomination for Writing in a Television Production.
- Bibel, Sara. "Sunday Final Ratings: 'Once Upon a Time', 'Family Guy' & 'The Cleveland Show' Adjusted Up; 'The Good Wife' & '60 Minutes' Adjusted Down". Zap2it. TV by the Numbers.
- David, Robert (2012-11-25). ""A Tree Grows In Springfield" | The Simpsons | TV Club | TV". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2013-04-22.
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