New Kid on the Block
"New Kid on the Block" is the eighth episode of The Simpsons' fourth season, which originally aired on November 12, 1992. After meeting his new neighbor, Laura, Bart develops a crush on her, only to later discover that she has a boyfriend, Jimbo Jones, whom he attempts to scare off so that he can have a relationship with Laura. Meanwhile, Homer sues the Sea Captain Horatio McCallister after being kicked out of his all-you-can-eat restaurant while still hungry. It was written by Conan O'Brien and directed by Wes Archer.
The Simpsons' neighbors, the Winfields, decide to relocate because of Homer's regular inappropriate behavior. Bart and Lisa explore the Winfield's house while it is empty and up for sale, but Bart scares Lisa away from the basement with stories. Bart turns around to see his new neighbor, Laura Powers. Surprised, he falls down in shock and is helped back up by her and the pair become acquainted. Bart instantly develops a crush on her.
After Marge visits Ruth Powers to welcome her to the area, she tells Marge that she is divorced, and the two become friends. Meanwhile, after seeing a television advertisement about "The Frying Dutchman"'s all you can eat offer, Homer insists that Marge come dine with him, so he arranges for Laura to babysit Bart and Lisa in his and Marge's absence. After being served by the Sea Captain, Homer eats an excessive amount of food and is escorted out. He sues the restaurant for deceptive advertisement. Lionel Hutz is employed by him to represent him in court, and the Sea Captain and Homer eventually agree that Homer shall be displayed in the restaurant as "Bottomless Pete: Nature's Cruelest Mistake."
Meanwhile, Bart is delighted at having Laura babysitting him and attempts to impress her. She later asks him to come to his treehouse, as she has important news. She tells him she is dating Jimbo Jones, which upsets Bart. When Laura invites him over to the household, Bart, in an attempt to break the pair up, prank-calls Moe's Tavern, giving his name as Jimbo Jones, and telling Moe. Moe then races into the Simpson house with a kitchen knife looking for Jimbo, causing Jimbo to cry and plead for his life. Afterwards, Laura breaks up with him for not being man enough. Laura tells Bart that she would date him if he were older and the episode ends with the pair laughing after prank-calling Moe again.
The episode was written by Conan O'Brien and directed by Wes Archer. The episode's original subplot was intended to include American actor and comedian Don Rickles as a guest star presenting a comedy show and Homer laughing excessively at his jokes, until Rickles ridicules him. The pair were intended to start fighting and end up having to go to court. Despite O'Brien and other production staff being sure that Rickles would appear in the episode, he was reportedly upset by the concept of the storyline, as he did not wish to be portrayed as a "mean guy." When attending a Fox Broadcasting Company publicity event in New York with Rupert Murdoch, show producer Matt Groening was introduced by Murdoch to Rickles. Rickles began shouting at Groening, accusing him of spying on his Las Vegas act and using material from that for the episode. The cast had been receiving recordings from Rickles from the 1950s to use as ideas on how to get the style for his animatic portrayal. Another side story the writers produced was for Homer to become an outstanding barber and hair dresser, but this was never used. "New Kid on the Block" features first time appearances from Laura Powers, Ruth Powers, and The Sea Captain. Hank Azaria based the Sea Captain's voice on that of actor Robert Newton.
In its original broadcast, "New Kid on the Block" finished 23rd in ratings for the week of November 9-16, 1992, with a Nielsen rating of 14.4, equivalent to approximately 13.4 million viewing households. It was the highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, beating Beverly Hills, 90210. Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, the authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide commented that it was "a fun episode, introducing the Powers family [and featuring] the last appearance of the Winfields". "New Kid on the Block" finished nineteenth in the weekly ratings, accumulating an ACNielsen rating of 14.6. In a 2008 article, Entertainment Weekly named Sara Gilbert's role as Laura Powers as one of the sixteen best guest appearances on The Simpsons.
- ""The New Kid on the Block"". The Simpsons.com. Retrieved 2011-09-17.
- "New Kid on the Block". BBC. Retrieved 2008-03-15.
- O'Brien, Conan (2004). The Simpsons: The Complete Fourth Season Commentary for the Episode "New Kid on the Block" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Groening, Matt (2004). The Simpsons: The Complete Fourth Season Commentary for the Episode "New Kid on the Block" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Jean, Al (2004). The Simpsons: The Complete Fourth Season Commentary for the Episode "New Kid on the Block" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Elber, Lynn (November 19, 1992). "Jackson 5? Nope, it was no. 3 last week". Sun-Sentinel. p. 4E.
- "Nielsen Ratings". The Tampa Tribune. November 26, 1992.
- "What We Watch, What We Don't …". Austin American-Statesman. November 29, 1992.
- "How They Rate". St. Petersburg Times. November 27, 1992.
- "16 great 'Simpsons' guest stars". Entertainment Weekly. 2008-05-11. Retrieved 2008-05-11.
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- "New Kid on the Block" at The Simpsons.com
- "New Kid on the Block" episode capsule at The Simpsons Archive
- "New Kid on the Block" at the Internet Movie Database