Mr. Spritz Goes to Washington
"Mr. Spritz Goes to Washington" is the fourteenth episode from The Simpsons' 14th season which aired on March 9, 2003.
While watching a very late episode of The Three Stooges (where the violently bumbling trio are on the brink of senility), the Simpsons feel the ground shaking. They discover an airplane flying dangerously close to their house. They soon realize that the air traffic must have been redirected. Homer and Marge complain to an airport official, who says that the planes were redirected away from wildlife preserves to protect the animals; whereas, actually, they were redirected by the request of Mayor Quimby, so that he could entertain his lady friends in peace and quiet.
The family tries to adjust to the massive noise, but are unable to cope and decide to move. After failing to sell the house to Apu and Ralph Wiggum, Homer and Marge complain to their congressman, Horace Wilcox, who has been Springfield's representative since 1933. Horace seems genuinely moved by their predicament and ready to help them. Unfortunately, he suffers a heart attack and dies. Later, as they watch The Krusty the Clown Show, Bart gets the idea to have Krusty run for Congress. The family also thinks it would be a good idea. The next day, Bart visits Krusty (who at first mistakes him for a dying fan) and asks him to run for Congress. Krusty seems reluctant at first, but he soon likes to the idea, since he could change all the problems that the government has plagued him with, such as taxes and immigration (of his monkey). At the shady Republicans' meeting, he nominates himself as a candidate for Congress. The other members are supportive (except for Bob Dole who nominates himself).
Krusty's campaign has a very bad start. He includes offensive jokes in his speeches and his opponent, John Armstrong, shows a sketch from Krusty's show making fun of the UN, in which he spoofs the French, Jamaicans, and San Francisco's gay community. Desperate to have Krusty win the election (and be on the winning team, for once), Lisa helps Krusty turn his campaign around by having him connect with regular families and citizens. With this advice and some help from Fox News (including a TV debate with Krusty shown with a halo, while the Democratic candidate is shown with devil horns and a Soviet flag on the background, and finally upside down; see "Controversy" below), Krusty's popularity soars and he wins the election, due in part to Bart and extreme voter fraud.
So begins Krusty's term in Congress. After taking the oath, he tries to bring up the topic of the air traffic over Evergreen Terrace. However, everyone refuses to listen to him and they tell him that as a freshman congressman, he does not get much of a say in anything there. He is told to clean up the graffiti on the walls of the House. The other congressmen then start discussing designing dollar coins made out of chocolate.
Later, the Simpsons find Krusty in a bar called The Drinkin' Memorial, drowning his sorrows in booze. He feels that he has failed them, but they convince him to stand up for his beliefs. Thus encouraged, he tries to get his Air Traffic Bill passed, but he is only speaking to an empty room, causing him to lose faith with the system. The Simpsons watch him and feel sorry for him and more for themselves, seeing how ignorant the government really is and considering they have to go back and live with all the airplane noise. When Homer says their plane leaves in 30 minutes (just to make things suspenseful), a janitor (who looks like, and is implied to be, Walter Mondale) arrives and informs them how a bill REALLY becomes a law. Lisa tries to show off her knowledge, but he interrupts her, telling them that underhanded tactics are necessary.
With the janitor's help, Bart blackmails a key congressman with a videotape, which has footage of him abusing the free mail policy (by sending a "Get Well Soon" card to his aunt). Homer manages to get Congressman Beauregard drunk (and himself as well, in the process). Finally, during a session in Congress, the janitor and Lisa, with Homer's drunken diversion, place the Air Traffic Bill under a bill giving orphans American flags. When the bill comes up for discussion, the blackmailed congressman immediately consents, and Congressman Beauregard, in a drunken stupor, consents to the bill declaring "I don't wanna fight no Union!". The legislation is then passed, and Krusty, upon hearing his bill being passed into law for good, embellishes the successes of democracy.
At the Simpsons' place, the family is happy to get the peace and quiet that they heroically fought for. Homer says that the planes are now flying where they belong—over the homes of poor people.
At one point during the episode, the family is watching Krusty and his opponent debate on the Fox News Channel, which showed several headlines in its news ticker that parodied the right-leaning networks political views. Among the headlines in the news ticker were "Pointless news crawls up 37 percent," "Do Democrats cause cancer? Find out at foxnews.com," "Rupert Murdoch: Terrific dancer," "Dow down 5,000 points," "Study: 92 percent of Democrats are gay," "JFK posthumously joins Republican Party," and "Oil slicks found to keep seals young, supple." Several months after the episode originally aired, Matt Groening claimed that Fox News, the corporate sister to the Fox Broadcasting Company that airs the show, threatened to sue Groening, but opted against "suing itself". Groening mentioned that while they got away with the joke, they were no longer allowed to parody Fox News on the show. Despite that, the show would parody Fox News on several occasions afterward, as well as Family Guy parodying Fox News as part of its main plot in 2009 with the episode Fox-y Lady. The Dow Jones & Company, which owned the Dow Jones Industrial Average that was parodied in the news ticker, would be purchased by News Corporation in 2007 and would be a corporate sister to Fox until the 2013 split between the new News Corporation and 21st Century Fox.
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- "Mr. Spritz Goes to Washington" at The Simpsons.com
- "Mr. Spritz Goes to Washington" at the Internet Movie Database