Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie

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"Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no. 65
Production code 9F03
Original air date November 3, 1992
Showrunner(s) Al Jean & Mike Reiss
Written by John Swartzwelder
Directed by Rich Moore
Chalkboard gag "I will not bury the new kid."[1]
Couch gag The couch deflates as the family sits on it.[2]
DVD
commentary
Matt Groening
Al Jean
Mike Reiss
Rich Moore

"Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie" is the sixth episode of The Simpsons' fourth season and first aired on November 3, 1992.[3] The plot follows Bart continually getting in trouble, and how Homer is unable to give him any suitable punishment. Marge gets Homer to agree to make a punishment stick, and he forbids Bart to see the new Itchy & Scratchy movie. It was written by John Swartzwelder and was directed by Rich Moore.[2]

Plot[edit]

Marge and Homer go to Parent Night at Springfield Elementary School. Though Ms. Hoover tells Homer that Lisa is doing well, Ms. Krabappel tells Marge that Bart is continually causing trouble. Urging Homer and Marge to enforce stronger discipline on Bart, with the idea that he could grow up to become a Supreme Court Justice if he turns his life around, the two return home to find that Bart stole and broke Grampa's false teeth. As a result, Bart is sent up to his room without dinner as punishment, but Homer sneaks and brings him some pizza, making Bart promise to behave. However, Bart continues to get in trouble, and Homer's attempts to discipline him fail. Eventually he promises Marge to make the next punishment stick.

It is announced that there will be an Itchy & Scratchy Movie and in anticipation, Bart buys himself a ticket. Later on, Bart is left to babysit for Maggie and he neglects to watch her, leaving her to take Homer's car for a joyride and crash into the wall of Springfield Prison, releasing the prisoners. As a result, Homer angrily blames Bart and begins punishing him by banning him from ever seeing The Itchy & Scratchy Movie. He tears up Bart's ticket to prove that he means business. Bart begs to be given a different punishment (such as a spanking), but Homer refuses. After the film's release, Bart becomes angry and sad of everyone who has been able to see it, making him the only kid in Springfield that does not see the movie. Two months later, the film is still being shown in theaters as Marge and Lisa beg Homer to change his mind, Marge claiming he has been punished enough. However, Homer still denies this and decides to make the punishment stick. Bart attempts to secretly watch the film by paying for a ticket, but Homer has already instructed the staff of the movie theaters not to sell any tickets to Bart. Eventually, the film is removed from theaters (replaced with one starring Liza Minnelli and Mickey Rourke) and Bart tells Homer that he won, to which Homer replies by saying that they both won, by using his punishment.

40 years have passed (2032), Bart, now Chief Justice of the United States, and Homer, a senior citizen, are walking down the street and discover that the film is back in the local theater as a classic film re-release. Homer decides that Bart has learned his lesson and the two watch the movie happily together, despite Homer's confusion between Itchy and Scratchy.[1][2][3]

Production[edit]

This episode, like many other Itchy & Scratchy themed episodes, was written by John Swartzwelder, although the plot was originally pitched by Sam Simon.[4] During the table read of the script, the first act received many laughs, but the second act got little positive reaction, leading Al Jean to believe that the script would require a huge rewrite, although the third act also received a positive reaction.[5] For The Itchy & Scratchy Movie shown at the end of the episode, Mike Reiss felt that it should top all other Itchy & Scratchy cartoons in terms of violence, and John Swartzwelder wrote the "most disturbing, horrible sequence", none of which was used.[4]

This was the first episode that Rich Moore directed at Film Roman.[6] The shot of the Korean animation studio really angered the Korean animators at Rough Draft Studios and Gregg Vanzo, the overseas director, was really insulted and almost sent the scene back.[6] While drawing the Steamboat Itchy sequence, the animators jokingly referred to it as "Steamboat Lawsuit". David Silverman explained that he did not know "why [they] weren't sued because there's a shot right out of Steamboat Willie in [the episode]."[7]

The episode features the first appearance of Bumblebee Man, who is a caricature of "El Chapulín Colorado" ("The Red Grasshopper"), a character created and portrayed by Mexican television comedian Roberto Gómez Bolaños (aka "Chespirito"), and his show consists of simple skits, often involving heavy slapstick. According to the producers whenever they watched Telemundo, this character was always "on", and then they created Bumblebee Man, who is also always "on".[4]

Cultural references[edit]

The Itchy & Scratchy short "Steamboat Itchy", parodies Steamboat Willie.

The opening Star Trek film is a parody of how old the crew of the original Star Trek cast looked in the later movies.[5] The 1928 Itchy & Scratchy short "Steamboat Itchy" is a spoof of the 1928 Disney short, Steamboat Willie, featuring Mickey Mouse.[2] Lisa's line about Michael Jackson and Dustin Hoffman appearing anonymously in The Itchy & Scratchy Movie is a reference to the fact that both had made guest appearances on The Simpsons using fake names in "Stark Raving Dad" and "Lisa's Substitute", respectively.[4] Homer is seen listening to "Yummy Yummy Yummy" by The Ohio Express instead of watching the moon landing.[2] In the flashforward sequence, a man is purchasing "soylent green" in the lobby of the movie theater, a reference to the 1973 science fiction film Soylent Green.[2] A ship resembling a landspeeder from the film series Star Wars is also shown.[8]

Reception[edit]

During the fourth season, The Simpsons usually aired on a Thursday, but "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie" aired on a Tuesday because the executives at Fox had wanted to air an episode during the 1992 presidential election results because they felt it would mean increased ratings.[5] Instead, the episode dropped from its normal audience.[4] "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie" finished 25th in ratings for the week of November 2–8, 1992, with a Nielsen rating of 12.5, equivalent to approximately 11.6 million viewing households. It was the third highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, following The Simpsons episode "Marge Gets a Job", which aired in the same week on the usual Thursday, and Beverly Hills, 90210.[9] On March 12, 2002, the episode was released in the United States on a DVD collection titled The Simpsons Film Festival, along with the season eleven episode "Beyond Blunderdome", the season seven episode "22 Short Films About Springfield", and the season six episode "A Star Is Burns".[10]

Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, the authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide called it a "superb episode", especially "[Homer]'s suggestion for punishing Bart's misbehaviour is to give him a present, and his trick for avoiding jury duty is 'to say you're prejudiced against all races.'"[2] "Steamboat Itchy" is one of Matt Groening's favorite moments in the history of the show.[11] Nathan Ditum of Total Film ranked "Steamboat Itchy" as the show's 46th best film parody.[12] In 2014, The Simpsons writers picked "Steamboat Itchy" from this episode as one of their nine favorite "Itchy & Stratchy" episodes of all time.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Groening, Matt (1997). Richmond, Ray; Coffman, Antonia, eds. The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family. Created by Matt Groening; edited by Ray Richmond and Antonia Coffman. (1st ed.). New York: HarperPerennial. ASIN 0060952520. LCCN 98141857. OCLC 37796735. OL 433519M.  ISBN 0-06-095252-0, 978-0-06-095252-5. p. 236.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "Itchy & Scratchy:The Movie". BBC. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  3. ^ a b "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie". The Simpsons.com. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Reiss, Mike (2004). The Simpsons season 4 DVD commentary for the episode "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  5. ^ a b c Jean, Al (2004). The Simpsons season 4 DVD commentary for the episode "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  6. ^ a b Moore, Rich (2004). The Simpsons season 4 DVD commentary for the episode "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  7. ^ Roberts, Sheila. "The Simpsons Movie Interviews". Movies Online. Retrieved 2007-08-02. 
  8. ^ Chernoff, Scott (2007-07-24). "I Bent My Wookiee! Celebrating the Star Wars/Simpsons Connection". Star Wars.com. Retrieved 2011-08-28. 
  9. ^ Elber, Lynn (November 12, 1992). "Even without 'Roseanne,' ABC is no. 1". Sun-Sentinel. p. 4E. 
  10. ^ Madden, Damian (March 31, 2002). "Simpsons: Film Festival". DVD Bits. Retrieved December 19, 2011. 
  11. ^ Groening, Matt (2004). The Simpsons season 4 DVD commentary for the episode "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  12. ^ Ditum, Nathan (June 6, 2009). "The 50 Greatest Simpsons Movie References". Total Film. Retrieved 2011-08-30. 
  13. ^ "The Simpsons’ Writers Pick Their Favorite ‘Itchy & Scratchy’ Cartoons". Vulture. 2014-03-26. Retrieved 2014-03-27. 

External links[edit]