You Kent Always Say What You Want

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"The Kent State Massacre" redirects here. For the shootings at Kent State University in 1970, see Kent State shootings.
"You Kent Always Say What You Want"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no. 400
Directed by Matthew Nastuk
Written by Tim Long
Showrunner(s) Al Jean
Production code JABF15
Original air date May 20, 2007
Guest star(s) Ludacris as himself
Maurice LaMarche as Birch Barlow

"You Kent Always Say What You Want", formerly known as "Kent State Massacre",[1] is the twenty-second episode of The Simpsons' eighteenth season, airing on May 20, 2007 as part of the one-hour season finale, alongside the episode "24 Minutes"; a repeat took place on August 19, 2007. It was the milestone 400th episode of The Simpsons and was written by Tim Long. The episode guest starred Ludacris as himself and Maurice LaMarche as the Fox announcer. It was the last episode to air prior to The Simpsons Movie releasing into theaters on July 27, 2007.

Special opening[edit]

In celebration of the 400th episode, the entire opening sequence is replaced with a black screen that reads, "20 Years Ago..." followed by a showing of The Tracey Ullman Show Simpsons short "Family Portrait".


Driving home after a trip to the dentist and a hip hop lesson in dental care from "Luda-Crest", Homer and the kids decide to go to the local ice cream parlor, where Homer buys what turns out to be the store's millionth ice cream cone. This results in Homer's appearing on Kent Brockman's TV news talk show Smartline. Kent is disgusted that he is forced to do a fluff piece instead of an in-depth, intellectually stimulating discussion of the conflict in the Middle East. During the interview, Homer accidentally knocks Kent's cup of coffee into his lap. Kent screams, "Owww! That hurt like a -" and swears so horribly that Marge cannot remove the word from Bart's Etch A Sketch.

After the commercial break, Kent apologizes for his despicable act, but is relieved to find that nobody saw his on-air faux pas, as (according to the Comic Book Guy) no one under 70 watches television for the news anymore now that the Internet has become a more popular resource. However, Ned Flanders sees Kent's infamous newscast during his nightly ritual of reviewing TV shows he deems are objectionable (with The 700 Club and the "Non-Indian" version of the "Please Stand By" test pattern as the only programs his children can watch). He immediately sends an e-mail to the FCC about the incident. The next day, during the Channel 6 newscast, Kent finds out that he is under scrutiny for his indiscretion and that the station has been fined a whopping $10 million. Kent is demoted to weekend weatherman with his rival, Arnie Pye, as the new anchorman. Krusty the Clown's show also suffers from cutbacks thanks to FCC fines, to the point that Krusty is now the replacement voice for Itchy & Scratchy. Later, Lindsey Naegle speaks to Kent, assuring him that his job is safe, but fires him after she finds cocaine in his coffee cup. Brockman tries to explain that the white powdery ring is Splenda, but Naegle dismisses "Splenda" as street slang for cocaine.

The next day, at the Simpsons' home, Homer finds Kent sleeping on their couch, after Marge took him in amid fears that he might kill himself. While watching TV, Lisa wonders why the cable channel Fox News can be so conservative while the Fox Network is more liberal (and libertine). Kent replies that Fox deliberately airs programs with morally reprehensible content that will catch the ire of the FCC, leading to fines, with the fines funding the Republican Party (according to Brockman, everyone in the entertainment business knows this, but no one is brave enough to report the scam). Lisa goads him into blowing the whistle on the scam, using her web camera and uploading the revelation on YouTube. Kent's subsequent webcast is so successful that Springfield's Republican Party members are less than thrilled about Kent threatening their ill-gotten gains, so Lindsay Naegle and Krusty the Clown hatch a plan to stop him.

The next day, Lisa and Kent are accosted by the party members, who offer him his old job back with a 50% raise, which Kent accepts two seconds later, before apologizing to Lisa. At home, Lisa complains to Homer today's media figures have no bravery or integrity. Homer consoles her by telling a horrifying secret Kent told him about the Fox network, only for all references to the secret to be reduced with an announcer praising all of the Fox network programming, like House and American Idol, as well as the latter's results show. (like Fox usually does during split screen credits). Before the closing credits, Homer tries again to tell the Fox network's horrible secret, only to be cut off by the Gracie Films and 20th Century Fox Television logos.

Previous episode references[edit]

  • The anchor shown when Lisa switches back and forth between the Fox Network and the Fox News Channel looks like Birch T. Barlow, the Rush Limbaugh-esque right-wing radio show pundit from season six's "Sideshow Bob Roberts".
  • In this episode, Kent Brockman gets in trouble for saying something obscene on TV after Homer spills coffee on his lap. In the season four finale, "Krusty Gets Kancelled", Brockman mutters, "That oughta hold those SOBs" during a newscast about Gabbo the puppet bad-mouthing the children of Springfield and, according to a newspaper headline, gets fired for his transgression (though later episodes show Brockman working as anchor). Brockman again swears on live TV (but is not seen to get in trouble for it) in season five's "Bart's Inner Child", when he adds to a report, "...and this reporter thinks it's about f[bleep]ing time."
  • During Marge's run home, Laddie (the well-trained collie Bart bought with a credit card) from season eight's "The Canine Mutiny" is seen.
  • Homer has a "Wall of Casual Acquaintances Who Came to Stay for a While', with 8x10 photos of Artie Ziff, Apu, Krusty the Klown, Groundskeeper Willie, Nelson Muntz, Sideshow Bob, Otto, Kodos, Gil, and Stampy.

Cultural references[edit]

  • The title references the Rolling Stones' song "You Can't Always Get What You Want", as well as the 1970 Kent State massacre (the original title for this episode was supposed to be "The Kent State Massacre," but following the Virginia Tech shooting, the title had to be changed).
  • The song played when Kent is fired is the movie theme of Midnight Cowboy by John Barry.
  • Homer makes implicit references to the Terri Schiavo case and the hot-button issues of immigration and homosexuality.
  • The scene where Kent Brockman says to stand up to Fox while smoking is in reference to Edward R. Murrow and the film Good Night, and Good Luck.[2]
  • The title of the video shown in the dentist's office, "Menace Tooth Society", is a spoof of Menace II Society. Lisa's comment that the dentist's cartoon sends mixed messages parallels critiques of the spoofed movie.
  • As Marge runs hurriedly home to greet Bart and Lisa, the main yodeling music of the Coen Brothers' film Raising Arizona is heard, and parts of the scene parody the same scene (Moleman almost hitting them head-on, being shot at by Snake, etc.)
  • One of Kent Brockman's career highlights was his interview with the Star Wars character R4-D4.[3]


This episode, formerly known as "The Kent State Massacre",[1] was renamed in light of the Virginia Tech massacre, which occurred only a month before the episode was set to air.[citation needed] The episode was intended to spoof increased fines by the Federal Communications Commission in the wake of the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction. However, a month before the episode aired, Don Imus was suspended and subsequently fired for remarks he made on the air about the Rutgers University women's basketball team, through events closely paralleling the events of this episode.[4]


The show was viewed by 9.80 million viewers.[5] Robert Canning of named the episode one of his three favorites of the season, stating that it "ended the season on a very high note".[6]


  1. ^ You Kent Always Say What You Want[dead link] at
  2. ^ Chernoff, Scott (2007-07-24). "I Bent My Wookiee! Celebrating the Star Wars/Simpsons Connection". Star Retrieved 2011-08-28. [dead link]
  3. ^ Catlin, Roger (2007-05-20). "If Only Homer Could Count: He'd Know Tonight's Season Finale Marks The 400th Episode Of `The Simpsons'". Hartford Courant ( Archived from the original on 2007-10-13. Retrieved 2007-05-22. 
  4. ^ Ratings/Video 400th Episode Hour[dead link]
  5. ^ Canning, Robert (2007-06-14). "The Simpsons: Season 18 Review". Retrieved 2007-06-15. 

External links[edit]