All Singing, All Dancing
"All Singing, All Dancing" is the eleventh episode of The Simpsons' ninth season and originally aired on the Fox network on January 4, 1998. In it, the fourth clip show aired by The Simpsons, Homer claims he hates singing, so Marge shows family videos of musical numbers from the previous seasons of the series. The original material was directed by Mark Kirkland and was the first episode written by Steve O'Donnell. It was executive produced by David Mirkin. It features guest appearances from George Harrison, Patrick Stewart and Phil Hartman, although these are all clips and none of them recorded original material for the episode. This episode is rated TV-G.
Homer and Bart rent the film Paint Your Wagon, expecting it to be a shoot-em-up Western, since it stars Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin. They are both dismayed to find out that it is actually a musical, and express their distaste for such films. Marge is baffled by this, saying that they both ironically love singing. The family starts delivering their dialogue in song form, and Marge decides to prove that Homer and Bart love to sing by showing family videos. Several clips are shown of various songs from past episodes, but Bart and Homer are not convinced. At this moment, Snake Jailbird breaks into their house and decides to hold them hostage. However once he hears them singing, Snake decides that they would not make good hostages and leaves.
The family continues to sing and more videos are shown, this time of other Springfield citizens. Snake again breaks into the house and claims that he got a song stuck in his head and the only way to get rid of it is to kill the Simpsons. He tries to shoot them, but discovers that his gun is out of ammo and leaves again. Although Bart is now convinced, Homer is still not. Marge points out that everyone in town loves to sing, and more clips are shown. Homer is finally convinced and the family sings a final song, admitting that there is something worse than singing: "when a long-running series does a cheesy clip show."
Snake returns for a final time, with ammunition, and aims his gun at them, but Marge reveals that they are done singing. Snake declares that he has no problems with them, and leaves. During the end credits, Snake hears the theme song being played over the credits, and stops it with his gun.
The clip show features several full songs from previous episodes of The Simpsons.
|"Homer's Barbershop Quartet"||5||"Baby on Board"|
|"Bart After Dark"||8||"We Put the Spring in Springfield"|
|"Boy-Scoutz 'n the Hood"||5||"Springfield, Springfield"|
|"Homer and Apu"||5||"Who Needs the Kwik-E-Mart?"|
|"Krusty Gets Kancelled"||4||Krusty's version of "Send In the Clowns"|
|"Two Dozen and One Greyhounds"||6||"See My Vest"|
|"Marge vs. the Monorail"||4||"The Monorail Song"|
|"Bart Sells His Soul"||7||"In the Garden of Eden" (really "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" by Iron Butterfly)|
|"Homer the Great"||6||"We Do"|
Many of them are among the most popular songs from the show, "Who Needs The Kwik-E-Mart?", "We Do" had previously been nominated for best song at the Primetime Emmy Awards, and "We Put the Spring in Springfield" won the award in 1997.
The episode is the fourth and penultimate clip show episode of The Simpsons. It was put together by Steve O'Donnell, who wrote this episode and "The Joy of Sect" (which, in production order, preceded this episode). Executive producer David Mirkin hated doing clip shows and "wouldn't do them if we had a choice" and this is referenced at the end of the episode. The episode contains two "screw the audience act breaks" in which a major problem is presented before the commercial but suddenly ends after the break. The episode also had problems with the censors as they objected to scenes of Snake pointing his shotgun at the Simpsons' baby daughter, Maggie. In spite of this, "All Singing, All Dancing" is one of the few episodes of The Simpsons that has been given a G-rating on American television.
Clint Eastwood is dressed as the Man with No Name from the Dollars Trilogy movies. The movie Paint Your Wagon is referenced at the beginning of the episode. The film does star Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin and was directed by Joshua Logan, but the writers did not base their parody or the song on the film at all. The man in the movie that confronts Clint Eastwood is modelled after Lee Van Cleef.
Several of the songs featured in the episode are references to actual musicals. "Springfield, Springfield", sung by Bart and Milhouse, is a reference to "New York, New York", from On the Town. Krusty's "Send in the Clowns" uses different lyrics than the original version by Stephen Sondheim. Confidence man Lyle Lanley's "The Monorail Song" takes references from a performance by character Professor Harold Hill in The Music Man, including Lanley's costume and "the crowd's mindless acceptance of his deceitful proposal." "See My Vest" is a parody of the song "Be Our Guest", sung by Jerry Orbach in the 1991 film Beauty and the Beast. While at the First Church of Springfield, Bart substitutes the lyrics from Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" to "In the Garden of Eden".
In its original broadcast, "All Singing, All Dancing" finished 26th in ratings for the week of December 29, 1997 – January 4, 1998, with a Nielsen rating of 9.1, equivalent to approximately 8.9 million viewing households. It was the second highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, following The X-Files.
Although he normally hates clip shows, David Mirkin liked this episode because of the singing and dancing and called the clips "truly wonderful". The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, wrote "for a clips show, it's not bad. The only one missing really is "Dr Zaius" from "A Fish Called Selma". In his book Planet Simpson, author Chris Turner wrote "when songs spring up one at a time, you might notice a clever line or two, or the way that they serve the same kind of plot-advancing or energy-generating purposes they do in Singin' in the Rain or Cats, but piled together in ["All Singing, All Dancing"], they amount to a sort of Simpsonian side project: Springfield: The Musical. And ... it's a very impressive side project at that. The episode was nominated for a 1998 Emmy Award, in the "Music Direction" category. A review of The Simpsons season 9 DVD release in the Daily Post noted that it includes "super illustrated colour commentaries" on "All Singing, All Dancing" and "Lost Our Lisa". Isaac Mitchell-Frey of the Herald Sun cited the episode as a "low moment" of the season, noting it "recycles parts of previous episodes".
Michael Dunne analyzed the episode in his book American Film Musical Themes and Forms, and gave examples from it while explaining that singing and dancing performances are generally not seen as acceptable in the television medium. He notes that Homer calls singing "fruity" and "the lowest form of communication" during the episode. However, Dunne also notes the fact that Homer himself sings "his objection that musicals are fake and phony." Dunne describes the frame narrative as establishing Marge as "..more favorably disposed toward musicals than the males in her house." Dunne concluded that "musicals come out on top in this episode, but the victory is marginal at best." Of the episode itself, Dunne wrote that "..the parodies contained in the show demonstrate that its creators are familiar enough with various forms of musical performance to echo them and confident enough that their viewers will catch the references."
- Martyn, "All Singing, All Dancing."
- "All Singing, All Dancing". The Simpsons.com. Archived from the original on 12 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-12.
- Mirkin, David (2006). The Simpsons season 9 DVD commentary for the episode "All Singing, All Dancing" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- "Primetime Emmy Awards Advanced Search". Emmys.org. Archived from the original on 13 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-12.
- O'Donnell, Steve (2006). The Simpsons season 9 DVD commentary for the episode "All Singing, All Dancing" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Azaria, Hank (2006). The Simpsons season 9 DVD commentary for the episode "All Singing, All Dancing" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Gimple, Pp. 24.
- Dunne, Pp. 177–179.
- Scully, Mike (2005). The Simpsons The Complete Sixth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Two Dozen and One Greyhounds" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Associated Press (January 10, 1998). "Angels and oranges for CBS". Sun-Sentinel. p. 9D.
- Turner 2004, pp. 69–70.
- Staff (July 24, 1998). "Emmy nominations bring the unexpected". The Houston Chronicle (Houston Chronicle Publishing Company Division, Hearst Newspapers Partnership, LP). p. Page 1.
- Associated Press (July 24, 1998). "Emmy Awards '98". Los Angeles Daily News. pp. Page L36.
- Staff (January 26, 2007). "Film: DVD view". Daily Post (Trinity Mirror). pp. Page 6: Film Extras.
- Mitchell-Frey, Isaac (February 11, 2007). "Comedy – The Simpsons, Series 9". Herald Sun. p. E12.
- Dunne, Michael (2004). American Film Musical Themes and Forms. McFarland & Company. pp. 177–179. ISBN 0-7864-1877-X.
- Gimple, Scott M. (December 1, 1999). The Simpsons Forever!: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family ...Continued. HarperCollins. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-06-098763-3.
- Martyn, Warren; Adrian Wood (2000). I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide. Virgin Books. Section: "All Singing, All Dancing: The Simpsons go musical for one episode only".
- Turner, Chris (2004). Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Documented an Era and Defined a Generation. Foreword by Douglas Coupland. (1st ed.). Toronto: Random House Canada. ISBN 978-0-679-31318-2. OCLC 55682258.
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- "All Singing, All Dancing" at The Simpsons.com
- "All Singing, All Dancing" at the Internet Movie Database
- "All Singing, All Dancing" episode capsule at The Simpsons Archive