You Only Move Twice

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"You Only Move Twice"
The Simpsons episode
Scorpio with Bont.png
Scorpio threatens Mr. Bont while Homer stands in the background completely oblivious.
Episode no. 155
Production code 3F23
Original air date November 3, 1996[1]
Showrunner(s) Bill Oakley
Josh Weinstein
Written by John Swartzwelder
Directed by Mike B. Anderson
Chalkboard gag "I did not learn everything I need to know in kindergarten"[2]
Couch gag Everyone parachutes into the living room, except Homer who falls flat on the floor.[3]
Guest star(s) Albert Brooks as Hank Scorpio
DVD
commentary
Matt Groening
Josh Weinstein
Ken Keeler
Dan Castellaneta
Mike B. Anderson

"You Only Move Twice" is the second episode of The Simpsons' eighth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 3, 1996. The episode, based on a story idea by Greg Daniels, has three major concepts: the family moves to a new town; Homer gets a friendly, sympathetic boss; and that boss, unbeknownst to Homer, is a supervillain. Bart, Lisa, and Marge each have individual secondary storylines. It was directed by Mike B. Anderson and written by John Swartzwelder.

The episode title is a reference to the James Bond film You Only Live Twice, and many elements of the episode parody the Bond films, with a character modeled after Bond making a cameo appearance. Setting the second and third acts in a new town, Cypress Creek, required the animators to create entirely new layouts and background designs. Albert Brooks, in his fourth Simpsons appearance, guest stars as the voice of Hank Scorpio, who is one of the most popular one-time characters on The Simpsons. The episode was very well received by critics and IGN named "You Only Move Twice" the best episode of the eighth season and Albert Brooks as one of the best guest stars in the history of the show.

Plot[edit]

Waylon Smithers is offered a job at the Globex Corporation. When he refuses, the offer is passed down to Homer, the next-longest-employed individual at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. He informs his family that the new job pays better, but involves moving to Cypress Creek. The Simpson family originally opposes the move, but after they watch a promotional video about the planned community, they agree that it is much nicer than Springfield. Abandoning their house, the Simpsons pack up and leave town.

Shortly after the Simpsons arrive at their new house in Cypress Creek, they meet Homer's new boss, Hank Scorpio. Scorpio, who is very amiable and seems like the perfect boss, soon becomes friendly with Homer. After giving Homer a tour of the company, Scorpio tells him that his job is to motivate the employees in the nuclear division. Meanwhile, Bart starts school, but he finds that his new class is far above the standards of Springfield Elementary. When his teacher discovers that Bart cannot read cursive writing because his old school; Springfield Elementary School, never taught Bart about cursive writing, he is placed in a remedial class. Lisa goes for a nature walk and discovers that she is allergic to all of the plants around Cypress Creek. Marge tries to go about her daily chores, but the house does everything automatically. This ends up irritating her to the point Marge is homesick for Springfield. Bart and Lisa have a hard time fitting in at their new school and long for Springfield.

Homer does an excellent job of motivating his team, but notices after a few days that they are starting to get overworked. He decides that the solution is to get them hammocks and visits Scorpio to ask where he can purchase some. Scorpio begins to tell Homer of "the Hammock district", but he is interrupted by some urgent business. He turns to a screen and threatens the United Nations Security Council by declaring that he "[has] the doomsday device" and that they have 72 hours to "deliver the gold". To prove that he isn't bluffing, Scorpio blows up the 59th Street Bridge. Despite being in the same room, Homer appears oblivious to Scorpio's nefarious plan.

At dinner, Homer proudly tells of his successes at work, but discovers that his family hates Cypress Creek and want to go back to Springfield. Dejected, Homer decides to visit Scorpio at Globex Headquarters. His visit coincides with an assault by the U.S. military, but Homer remains oblivious to what is taking place. He finds Scorpio, explains the situation, and asks what to do. Scorpio advises Homer that he should do what is best for his family, asking him only to kill someone on the way out. As Homer dejectedly walks away, Scorpio straps on a flamethrower and attacks the invading troops.

The next day, the family returns to Springfield. It is revealed that Scorpio has succeeded in his plot (known as Project Arcturus) and seized control of the East Coast. Homer, who previously confided to Scorpio his dream of owning the Dallas Cowboys, expresses disappointment when he instead discovers the Denver Broncos practicing ineptly on his front lawn as a present from his former boss.

Production[edit]

For the town of Cypress Creek, the animators had to design entirely new backgrounds.

The original concept for the episode came from a story idea by Greg Daniels and the writing staff came up with three major concepts. The first involves the Simpson family moving out of Springfield, which the writers initially hoped would fool the audience into thinking it was a permanent move. As a result, they tried to work in as many characters as they could during the first act of the episode to make it seem that the family really was leaving. The second involved Homer getting a new job for a modern, hip, employee-friendly yuppie kind of boss in comparison to the tyrannical 19th-century robber baron-like Mr. Burns. The third was that Homer's new boss, despite being friendly and personable, would be a supervillain in the mold of Ernst Stavro Blofeld. This element was meant to be in the background and Homer would be oblivious to it.[4]

The writers sought to give every family member their own story. The writing staff spent some time arguing over whether to include in the episode the depressing idea of Marge becoming an alcoholic.[4] There was originally another involving Grampa, wherein he is left behind in Springfield and receives recorded greeting phone calls. The plot went on for four sequences, all of which were cut from the episode for time constraints but later included in the DVD release.[5] Cypress Creek was called "Emerald Caverns" during most of production,[6] but the name was changed because the writers felt that "Cypress Creek" had more of a "Silicon Valley" feel.[4]

The show's writers did not worry too much about perfecting Scorpio's lines because they knew Brooks would rewrite or ad lib new ones.[4] Entire parts of Scorpio's dialogue, such as his hammock speech, are Brooks's lines and not the writers'. Dan Castellaneta described how, after he prepared something for Homer to say in response to Brooks's new Scorpio lines, Brooks would deliver totally different lines in the next take.[7] Josh Weinstein said Homer's reactions are exactly like someone talking to Albert Brooks.[4] In all, his recordings amounted to over two hours in length.[6] Brooks voiced the character Russ Cargill in The Simpsons Movie and for "about a week", he was to reprise the role of Scorpio, but the staff felt that creating a new character was a better idea.[8]

Mike B. Anderson (pictured) directed the episode.

The animators needed to design completely new sets for the episode. Christian Roman, John Reiss, and Mike Anderson storyboarded the episode. In the original animatic, Santa's Little Helper and Snowball II were not present, so the animators went back and added them, even though they are not a part of the story.[9] It is a common misconception that Scorpio's design was modeled after Richard Branson, which it was not.[4] The final design, which underwent an overhaul, was hailed by the writers as "the perfect madman".[9] All of the students in Bart's remedial class were initially given hair modeled on Ralph Wiggum's, but the staff felt that the children looked "kinda troubled", so their designs were altered.[9]

The man whom Homer tackles, James Bont, was initially supposed to just be James Bond, but Fox, concerned about a lawsuit, would not let them use it. The writers went with "Bont" because they felt it was the most similar name that they could legally use.[4]

Cultural references[edit]

The final scene at Globex contains several references to action and James Bond films. The episode title and many references are from the Bond film You Only Live Twice, as well as an allusion to A View to a Kill.[3] A character modeled after Sean Connery's Bond is tackled by Homer and killed after a parody of the laser scene from Goldfinger.[4] Mrs. Goodthighs from the 1967 James Bond parody Casino Royale makes an appearance in the episode[7] and can be seen attacking a character modeled after U.S. Army general Norman Schwarzkopf.[4]

The sign at the elementary school displays "http://www.studynet.edu". Weinstein called it "one of the show's most obviously dated jokes" because the idea of a school having its own website was almost a novelty in 1996.[4]

The song at the end of the show, written by Ken Keeler, is a parody of various Bond themes. Keeler originally wrote it to be three seconds longer and sound more like the Goldfinger theme, but the final version was shorter and the lyrics were sped up.[6] The writers wanted the song to be sung by Shirley Bassey, who sang several Bond themes, but they could not get her to record the part.[4]

Reception[edit]

Hank Scorpio is arguably the most popular Simpsons character voiced by guest star Albert Brooks (pictured)

Hank Scorpio is arguably the most popular Albert Brooks-voiced character.[4] In 2006, Albert Brooks was named the best Simpsons guest star by IGN, who cited Scorpio as his best role.[10] The Phoenix.com compiled their own list, placing Brooks in the first position.[11] In his book Planet Simpson, author Chris Turner says Brooks is second only to Phil Hartman among Simpsons guest stars and that "Brooks brings hilarious satirical seamlessness to Scorpio's paradoxical nature". He also writes that the delivery of Scorpio's final line seals Brooks's place in Simpsons history.[12] The Simpson family's new street address, 15201 Maple Systems Road, is writer Ken Keeler's favorite street name in the show.[6]

IGN also named the episode the best of the eighth season, saying the episode "is a wonderful example of slowly building up the comedy [...] it's impossible to fathom this one not being very high up on any list of the best Simpsons episodes of all time."[13] Robert Canning gave the episode a "Masterful" score of ten out of ten, saying the episode "may well be the greatest Simpsons episode of all time. In my book, it's at least tied," with "Marge vs. the Monorail".[14] 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 tremendous episode" saying it had "some really good moments, most of them involving Bart, Lisa, and Marge's loathing for Cypress Creek. The remedial kids are fab (especially Warren) and Lisa's second chipmunk encounter is inspired. Scorpio is a good character, especially his Christopher Walken-esque killing spree." They also stated that the owl grabbing the chipmunk during Lisa's trip to the forest is one of the all-time greatest sight gags in the show's history.[3] Chris Turner would also say that the remedial boy Gordy's line may be "the broadest parody of a Canadian accent in the history of American pop culture".[15] Ben Rayner of the Toronto Star included "You Only Move Twice" on his list of the best episodes of The Simpsons.[16] In his review of The Complete Eighth Season DVD set, Raul Burriel described it as one of the "most clever episodes the series has ever given us."[17]

In its original broadcast, "You Only Move Twice" finished 50th in ratings for the week of October 28 – November 3, 1996, with a Nielsen rating of 8.5, equivalent to approximately 8.2 million viewing households. It was the second highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, following The X-Files.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "You Only Move Twice". The Simpsons.com. Retrieved 2011-09-21. 
  2. ^ Richmond & Coffman 1997, p. 212.
  3. ^ a b c Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "You Only Move Twice". BBC. Retrieved 2007-03-27. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Weinstein, Josh (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "You Only Move Twice" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  5. ^ Weinstein, Josh (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the Deleted Scenes (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  6. ^ a b c d Keeler, Ken (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "You Only Move Twice" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  7. ^ a b Castellaneta, Dan (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "You Only Move Twice" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  8. ^ Anderson, Mike B.; Dean Moore, Steven; Moore, Rich; Silverman, David (2007). Audio Director's commentary (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  9. ^ a b c Anderson, Mike B. (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "You Only Move Twice" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  10. ^ Goldman, Eric; Iverson, Dan; Zoromski, Brian. "Top 25 Simpsons Guest Appearances". IGN. Retrieved 2007-03-25. 
  11. ^ "The Simpsons 20 best guest voices of all time". The Phoenix.com. 2006-03-29. Retrieved 2007-03-10. 
  12. ^ Turner 2004, p. 388.
  13. ^ Goldman, Eric; Dan Iverson, Brian Zoromski (2006-09-08). "The Simpsons: 17 Seasons, 17 Episodes". IGN. Retrieved 2007-03-25. 
  14. ^ Canning, Robert (2009-08-04). "The Simpsons Flashback: "You Only Move Twice" Review". IGN. Retrieved 2010-07-14. 
  15. ^ Turner 2004, p. 50.
  16. ^ Rayner, Ben (2007-05-20). "Eye on Springfield". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 
  17. ^ Burriel, Raul (2006-08-28). "DVD Review: The Simpsons — The Complete Eighth Season". The Trades. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 
  18. ^ Bauder, David (November 8, 1996). "ABC roars into 1st behind 'Lion King, Drew Carey Show'". The Florida Times-Union. p. D-2. 
Bibliography

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