The Simpsons (season 20)

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The Simpsons (season 20)
The Simpsons-S20 cover.jpg
The Blu-ray cover of this season's boxset.
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 21[1]
Broadcast
Original channel Fox
Original run September 28, 2008 –
May 17, 2009[1]
Home video release
DVD release
Region 1 January 12, 2010
Region 2 October 20, 2010
Region 4 January 20, 2010
Blu-ray Disc release
Region A January 12, 2010
Region B January 20, 2010
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 19
Next →
Season 21
List of The Simpsons episodes

The Simpsons' twentieth season aired on Fox from September 28, 2008 to May 17, 2009.[1] With this season, the show tied Gunsmoke as the longest-running American primetime television series in terms of total number of seasons.[2] The season was released on BD January 12, 2010, making this the first season released on BD. It was released on DVD in Region 1 on January 12, 2010, and in Region 4 on January 20, 2010.[3] The season was only released on DVD in Region 2 in a few areas.

Production[edit]

It contained nine holdover episodes from the season 19 (KABF) production line.[4]

Production on the season was delayed because of contract negotiations with the six main voice actors.[5] The dispute was resolved, and the actors' salary was raised to $400,000 (US) per episode. The delay in production caused the planned 22 episodes to be shortened to 20.[6] In addition, voice actor Dan Castellaneta was credited as a consulting producer for the first time.[6] The main cast consisted of Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, and Harry Shearer. The recurring cast consisted of Marcia Wallace, Pamela Hayden, Tress MacNeille, Russi Taylor and Karl Wiedergott.

The Simpsons began high-definition production in season 20. The first episode in HD, "Take My Life, Please", aired on February 15, 2009. Take My Life, Please is also the first to feature the new opening sequence.

Also more episodes were given the TV-14 rating than any other season. The episodes that were given this rating were Sex, Pies, and Idiot Scrapes, Treehouse of Horror XIX, Gone Maggie Gone, No Loan Again, Naturally, Dangerous Curves, Wedding For Disaster, and Four Great Women and a Manicure.

20th anniversary[edit]

In 2009, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the premiere of The Simpsons, Fox announced that a year-long celebration of the show titled "Best. 20 Years. Ever." would run from January 14, 2009 to January 14, 2010. Several contests were run, including the "Unleash Your Yellow" contest in which entrants designed a poster for the show[7] and "Best. Couch Gag. Ever." where fans created their own live-action couch gag video.[8]

As part of the celebration, the Irish-themed episode "In the Name of the Grandfather" premiered on Sky1 in the United Kingdom and Ireland on March 17, 2009. It was the first-ever episode of the show to air in Europe before being seen in the United States. The American debut of the episode was on March 22.[9]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Robert Canning of IGN gave the season of 7.9 improving 1.3 from the past season. He gave it a positive review saying that it was "Good" and that "With at least two more years of The Simpsons guaranteed, this unexpected but very welcome resurgence has come at a perfect time. If they can keep the momentum moving, the series is primed to once again approach perfection and go out at the top of its game."[10]

Awards[edit]

Episodes from the twentieth season received five Primetime Emmy Award nominations. "Gone Maggie Gone" was nominated for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming less than One Hour) and Outstanding Music Composition for a Series. Dan Castellaneta won the Outstanding Voice-Over Performance Emmy for voicing Homer in the episode "Father Knows Worst"; Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer were also nominated for the episodes "Eeny Teeny Maya Moe" and "The Burns and the Bees" respectively. The winners were announced on September 12, 2009.[11] The Simpsons was the only series to be nominated in the Animation category at the Writers Guild of America Awards in 2010. The nominees were: Stephanie Gillis for "The Burns and The Bees", John Frink for "Eeny Teeny Maya, Moe", Billy Kimball & Ian Maxtone-Graham for Gone Maggie Gone", Don Payne for "Take My Life, Please", and Joel H. Cohen for "Wedding for Disaster".[12] The award was won by Joel H. Cohen.[13]

Nielsen ratings[edit]

The season ranked 77th in ratings with an average of 6.930 million viewers and an 18/49 rating of 3.4/9 and the rerun timeslot ranking 113th.[14] The most viewed episode Treehouse of Horror XIX with 12.48 million watching it and a 4.9 Nielsen rating.[15] The least viewed episode was Four Great Women and a Manicure which is the second least viewed episode of the series, after Season 21's Million Dollar Maybe.[16]

Episodes[edit]

Key
  • In the № column the number refers to the order it aired during the entire series.
  • In the # column the number refers to the episode number within its season.
  • The production code refers to the code assigned to the episode by the production team. The first two characters refer to the season the episode was made for; for example, 1F for season five and 2F for season six. The second number is the order in which the episode was produced, which is not necessarily the airing order.[17]
No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
code
U.S. viewers
(millions)
421 1 "Sex, Pies, and Idiot Scrapes" Lance Kramer Kevin Curran September 28, 2008 (2008-09-28) KABF17 9.3[19]
After serving a jail sentence for starting a brawl at an alcohol-free St. Patrick's Day parade, Homer becomes a bounty hunter and tags Flanders along for the ride. Meanwhile, an Irish man gives Marge a job at his bakery, which Marge soon discovers specializes in sexually suggestive pastries.
Guest Stars: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Robert Forster and Joe Mantegna.[18]
422 2 "Lost Verizon" Raymond S. Persi John Frink October 5, 2008 (2008-10-05) KABF15 7.43[22]
Bart feels left out after realizing he is the only kid in this day and age without a cell phone, so he tries to work in a country club as a golf ball finder to earn money for it -- and finds Denis Leary's phone instead.
Guest Stars: Denis Leary and Brian Grazer.[20][21]
423 3 "Double, Double, Boy in Trouble" Nancy Kruse Bill Odenkirk October 19, 2008 (2008-10-19) KABF14 8.09[25]
Bart meets Simon Woosterfield, a boy who looks exactly like him and is a member of Springfield's richest family. As a prank, the two decide to switch places, but the joke is on Bart when he discovers that Simon is being targeted for murder by his own siblings.
Guest Star: Joe Montana.[23][24]
424 4 "Treehouse of Horror XIX"
"The Simpsons Halloween Special XIX"
Bob Anderson Matt Warburton November 2, 2008 (2008-11-02) KABF16 12.48[28]

Intro: Homer tries to vote for Barack Obama but the machine is rigged to place votes for John McCain -- and kill anyone who rats it out.

Untitled Robot Parody: In this light parody of Transformers, Lisa gets a Malibu Stacy car that turns into a robot bent on fighting the mortal enemy of his race (more transforming robots).[26]
How to Get Ahead in Dead-Vertising: After accidentally killing Krusty the Clown over the destruction of a daycare mural that used his image without his express permission, Homer is hired by two ad agents who have discovered a legal loophole in using celebrity likenesses in their advertising campaigns.[27]
It's the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse: In this parody of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Milhouse summons a demon pumpkin, who goes berserk when he discovers that humans carve his brethren into jack-o-lanterns as Halloween tradition.[26]
425 5 "Dangerous Curves" Matthew Faughnan Billy Kimball & Ian Maxtone-Graham November 9, 2008 (2008-11-09) KABF18 15.85[30]
In this latest flashback episode, Homer and Marge remember their dating years where a young Ned and Maude tries to keep them apart and their early years of marriage where Homer and Marge almost cheated on each other.[29]
Guest Star: Maurice LaMarche.
426 6 "Homer and Lisa Exchange Cross Words" Michael Polcino Tim Long November 16, 2008 (2008-11-16) KABF19 8.52[32]
Lisa becomes obsessed with crossword puzzles and enters a contest, where Homer places bets against his daughter in order to earn money lost from his couples break-up business.[31]
Guest Stars: Will Shortz, Merl Reagle and Scott Thompson.
427 7 "MyPods and Boomsticks" Steven Dean Moore Marc Wilmore November 30, 2008 (2008-11-30) KABF20 N/A
Bart makes friends with a Muslim boy named Bashir and his family, but Homer fears the family may be terrorists because of their religion. Meanwhile, Lisa is given a MyPod and becomes addicted to downloading songs on it.[33]
Guest Star: Shohreh Aghdashloo.
428 8 "The Burns and the Bees" Mark Kirkland Stephanie Gillis December 7, 2008 (2008-12-07) KABF21 6.19[35]
After winning the "Austin Celtics" in a game of poker, Mr. Burns builds a new stadium in Springfield in the same place where Lisa has built a bee colony to save honeybees from extinction.[34]
Guest Stars: Mark Cuban, Jeff Bezos and Marv Albert.
429 9 "Lisa the Drama Queen" Matthew Nastuk Brian Kelley January 25, 2009 (2009-01-25) KABF22 5.75[38]
Lisa meets a new girl named Juliet and helps her write stories about a fantasy world called Equalia, but spending too much time with Juliet (and the story) begins to warp Lisa's sense of reality.
Guest Stars: Emily Blunt[36] and Fall Out Boy.[37]
NOTE: This is the last episode to be broadcast in standard definition and the last one to include the old opening (which was used ever since season two)
430 10 "Take My Life, Please" Steven Dean Moore Don Payne February 15, 2009 (2009-02-15) LABF01 6.82[40]
After an old high school rival named Vance is honored at on the Springfield Wall of Fame, Homer becomes depressed when he discovers that Principal Dondelinger rigged the student council election so Vance would win. While at an Italian restaurant, a mysterious chef shows Homer how his life would have turned out had he actually won.[39]
NOTE: This is the first episode to broadcast in 720p high definition and to use to the new opening (which is similar to the old one, only it includes new characters).
431 11 "How the Test Was Won" Lance Kramer Michael Price March 1, 2009 (2009-03-01) LABF02 N/A
Bart gets a perfect score on Springfield Elementary's latest standardized test, leaving Lisa worried that Bart may be smarter than her when Bart is rewarded with a field trip -- that turns out to be an elaborate trick into getting the low-testing students (and Principal Skinner) out of the way. Meanwhile, Homer forgets to mail off his insurance payment and must keep himself and the house accident-free until his coverage can be reinstated at 3:00pm.[41]
432 12 "No Loan Again, Naturally" Mark Kirkland Jeff Westbrook March 8, 2009 (2009-03-08) LABF03 N/A
The Simpsons get into a mortgage crisis of their own when Homer cannot afford to pay off the money he borrows from his home equity loan (so he can finance his extravagant Mardi Gras parties) and the Simpsons sell their home to Ned Flanders.[42]
Guest Star: Maurice LaMarche.
433 13 "Gone Maggie Gone" Chris Clements Billy Kimball & Ian Maxtone-Graham March 15, 2009 (2009-03-15) LABF04 5.99[44]

Homer leaves Maggie on the doorstep of a convent, setting off a DaVinci Code-style chain of events involving The Freemasons and the hunt for a rare jewel. Meanwhile, Marge goes blind after viewing an eclipse without an eclipse shoe box viewer and Homer tries to cover up Maggie's disappearance.[43]

Guest Star: Ed Begley, Jr.
434 14 "In the Name of the Grandfather" Ralph Sosa Matt Marshall March 17, 2009 (2009-03-17) (Sky1)
March 22, 2009 (Fox)
LABF11 6.15[47]
After neglecting his father during a wheelbarrow race, Homer makes it up to Grampa Simpson by taking him to a pub in Ireland, only to learn that pubs are not popular in Ireland anymore.[45]
Guest Stars: Colm Meaney, Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová.[46]
435 15 "Wedding for Disaster" Chuck Sheetz Joel H. Cohen March 29, 2009 (2009-03-29) LABF05 6.58[49]
When Reverend Lovejoy reveals to Homer and Marge that they are not legally married (after discovering that his license to wed expired around the time Homer and Marge remarried on the season eight episode "A Milhouse Divided," meaning that Homer and Marge were divorced all this time and Homer's marriage to his Vegas wife on "Viva Ned Flanders" should not have been recognized as bigamy like it was on "Brawl in the Family"), Homer and Marge decide to have another wedding to legitimize their union once and for all. But when Marge begins acting like a bridezilla and Homer mysteriously disappears, it is up to Bart and Lisa to save the day.[48]
Guest Star: Kelsey Grammer.
436 16 "Eeny Teeny Maya Moe" Nancy Kruse John Frink April 5, 2009 (2009-04-05) LABF06 N/A
Moe once again searches for love and falls for a woman named Maya over the Internet. However, when Moe meets Maya face-to-face, he discovers it is more like face-to-knee, as Maya is only three feet tall. Meanwhile, Maggie is put in a playground full of hostile babies.[50]
437 17 "The Good, the Sad, and the Drugly" Rob Oliver Marc Wilmore April 19, 2009 (2009-04-19) LABF07 6.50[52]
Bart sets up Milhouse to take the fall for a prank the two of them pulled, and the duo's friendship becomes strained when Bart falls for a charitable girl named Jenny. Meanwhile, Lisa becomes insane and depressed after reading Internet articles predicting that Springfield will be a barren wasteland in fifty years, and is given anti-depressants that turn her into a mindless zombie.
Guest Star: Anne Hathaway.[51]
438 18 "Father Knows Worst" Matthew Nastuk Rob LaZebnik April 26, 2009 (2009-04-26) LABF08 5.94[54]
Marge discovers a sauna in the basement of their house and shuts herself off from the rest of the world. Meanwhile, Homer becomes a stricter parent after meeting a helicopter mom who criticizes Bart for being an academic failure and Lisa for being a social outcast.[53]
439 19 "Waverly Hills, 9-0-2-1-D'oh" Michael Polcino J. Stewart Burns May 3, 2009 (2009-05-03) LABF10 6.75[55]
While desperately searching for a bathroom during her morning jog, Marge discovers how low-rent Springfield Elementary School really is and moves Bart and Lisa to Waverly Hills Elementary by having Homer rent an apartment there so the city inspector of Waverly Hills (who cracks down on out-of-towners who only register for a Waverly Hills address so they can send their kids to that town's school) does not get suspicious. Meanwhile, Bart helps Lisa become popular by telling others that Lisa is friends with a teenage pop star named Alaska Nebraska.
Guest Stars: Ellen Page and Maurice LaMarche.[1]
440 20 "Four Great Women and a Manicure" Raymond S. Persi Valentina L. Garza May 10, 2009 (2009-05-10) LABF09 5.16[56]
While at a nail salon, Marge and Lisa argue over whether or not a woman can be smart, beautiful, and powerful all at once, which leads to yet another Simpsons anthology show, featuring four stories of women trying to survive in a man's world: Aunt Selma defending England as Queen Elizabeth I, Lisa in a non-copyright-infringing retelling of Snow White, Marge pushing Homer to be a great Shakespearean actor in a modern-day version of Macbeth, and Maggie fighting against conformity in a parody of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead.
Guest Star: Jodie Foster.[1]
Absent: Nancy Cartwright as Bart Simpson
441 21 "Coming to Homerica" Steven Dean Moore Brendan Hay May 17, 2009 (2009-05-17) LABF12 5.86[57]
The citizens of Ogdenville swarm into Springfield in search of work after their local economy plummets (thanks, in no small part, to Krusty's veggie burgers, which contain tainted Ogdenville barley), but when the Ogdenvillians' Norwegian culture begins rubbing off on (and annoying) others, Mayor Quimby hires citizens to act as border patrol.[1]

DVD release[edit]

The Complete Twentieth Season
Set Details Special Features
  • Hand-drawn menus by Matt Groening
  • The 20th Anniversary Special Sneak Peak
Release Dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
January 12, 2010 September 17, 2010[58] January 20, 2010

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Keveney, Bill (2008-09-28). "'The Simpsons' Hits a Landmark". ABC. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  3. ^ "The Simpsons DVD news: Announcement for The Simpsons — The Complete 20th Season". TvShowsOnDVD. 2009-10-28. Retrieved 2009-10-28. 
  4. ^ "Fox Announces Primetime Slate for 2008–2009". FoxFlash. 2008-05-15. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  5. ^ Michael Schneider (2008-05-19). "Still no deal for 'Simpsons' cast". Variety. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 
  6. ^ a b "Simpsons cast sign new pay deal". BBC News. 2008-06-03. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  7. ^ Wallace, Lewis (2009-01-13). "Simpsons Poster Contest Will Have Fans Seeing Yellow". Wired. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
  8. ^ "Unleashe more of your yellow with "The Simpsons" video contest". Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  9. ^ Schneider, Michael (2009-03-16). "Ireland, U.K. to air 'The Simpsons'". Variety. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  10. ^ The Simpsons: Season 20 Review - IGN Entertainment
  11. ^ "The 61st Primetime Emmy Awards and 2009 Creative Arts Emmy Awards Nominees are...". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. 2009-07-16. Retrieved 2009-07-16. [dead link]
  12. ^ "2010 Writers Guild Awards Television, Radio, News, Promotional Writing, and Graphic Animation Nominees Announced". Writers Guild of America. 2009-12-14. Retrieved 2010-01-12. 
  13. ^ "Awards Winners". Writers Guild of America. Archived from the original on 2012-05-25. Retrieved 2010-02-21. 
  14. ^ ABC Medianet
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  16. ^ Ratings: Four Great Women and Another All Time Low![dead link]
  17. ^ Turner 2004, p. 4.
  18. ^ "Official press release for "Sex, Pies and Idiot Scrapes"". FoxFlash. 2008-09-12. Retrieved 2008-09-12. 
  19. ^ Bierly, Mandy (2008-09-29). "Ratings: 'Desperate Housewives' returns to win Sunday night". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2008-09-29. 
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  21. ^ "Official press release for "Lost Verizon"". FoxFlash. 2008-09-12. Retrieved 2008-09-12. 
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  23. ^ "Official press release for "Double, Double, Boy in Trouble"". FoxFlash. 2008-09-25. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  24. ^ Reg. # PAu002922103 in the U.S. Copyright Records database Retrieved on May 19, 2008
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  27. ^ April MacIntyre (2008-09-25). "'The Simpsons' Al Jean interview, new season begins September 28". Monsters and Critics. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  28. ^ unknown (3 November 2008). "Ratings: Treehouse Of Horror XIX". Posted by Adam. Simpsons Channel. Retrieved 6 September 2013. [dead link]
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  34. ^ "Lisa tries to save the endangered Springfield bee population from Mr. Burns and his new sports arena on "The Simpsons". Futon Critic. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
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  50. ^ "Primetime Listings (March 29 - April 4)". FoxFlash. 2009-03-17. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
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External links[edit]