All's Fair in Oven War

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"All's Fair in Oven War"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no. 337
Directed by Mark Kirkland
Written by Matt Selman
Showrunner(s) Al Jean
Production code FABF20
Original air date November 14, 2004[1]
Couch gag The couch is seen outside in a clearing and mounted on a catapult. The Simpson family sits down and get launched over a mountain range.
Commentary Matt Groening
Al Jean
Matt Selman
Ian Maxtone-Graham
Tim Long
Michael Price
Mike Scully
Joel H. Cohen
Mike B. Anderson
Guest appearance(s)

Thomas Pynchon as himself[2]
James Caan as himself[2]


"All's Fair in Oven War" is the second episode of The Simpsons' sixteenth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 14, 2004.[1] In the episode, Marge gets her kitchen remodeled and the dishes she make inside it get rave reviews. Under the suggestion of Ned Flanders, she decides to enter a cooking contest.

Matt Selman wrote the episode, and Mark Kirkland served as director. Thomas Pynchon and James Caan guest starred as themselves.[2] The episode features cultural references to songs such as "Separate Ways", "Boplicity" and "Take Five", as well as references to the film The Godfather and various fictional food mascots. The episode received positive reviews from critics.


Marge and Homer discover the house next to them is up for sale, and marvel at the extensive kitchen inside the house. After realizing the poor quality of her own kitchen, she asks Homer to hire a contractor. Not wanting to pay the price of hiring one, he decides to remodel it himself. While remodeling the kitchen, Homer unearths his old collection of Playdude magazines. After Marge sees them, he innocently tells her he kept them only for the articles, and she decides to make sure by cutting out all the nudes from the magazines. After this, Homer decides that they are now of no use, and throws them away, only for them to be found by Bart and Milhouse. After reading the 1970s magazines, they are inspired to renovate their treehouse. After Homer's attempts of remodeling the kitchen fail, Marge finally decides to hire a contractor herself.

Despite the contractor assuring that the renovation will be done in three weeks, it takes two years of renovation (though nobody looks any older). Marge's kitchen is finally remodelled, for the price of $100,000. She then cooks her first dish in the kitchen, which gets rave reviews from many Springfieldians, as well as Thomas Pynchon. At the Kwik-E-Mart, Marge encounters an advertisement for the Ovenfresh bake-off, in which the grand prize is being Ovenfresh's spokeswoman, "Auntie Ovenfresh". Under Ned Flanders's advice, she decides to enter the bake-off with her "dessert dogs" and she wins, beating Ralph's "Grilled crayon sandwich." At the bake-off, most of the competitors cheat by ruining Marge's dessert dogs on purpose while insulting her, so while alone in the judging room, Marge retaliates by tainting all of the competitors' entries with Maggie's ear medicine. This was witnessed by Lisa, who then loses her faith in her as a result.

Meanwhile, Chief Wiggum and other concerned parents talk to Homer about Bart spreading Playdude to the other children. Realizing that Bart has got the Playdude magazines he threw away, Homer decides to have a talk with Bart about the facts of life. After the talk, a horrified Bart quickly spreads the talk to Milhouse and the other children, horrifying them as well. Meanwhile, Lisa confronts Marge for cheating, but she defends her actions by stating that the competitors pushed her into doing so with their antics. At the bake-off finals against Brandine Spuckler, Marge considers cheating again, but then discovers a note from Lisa and admits to her foulplay, restoring Lisa's faith in her. Not long afterwards, the new Auntie Ovenfresh flour bag with Brandine on it comes out and her husband, Cletus mentions that she has left him for James Caan. In response, Cletus's friends ambush Caan at a toll booth and gun him down in a scene reminiscent of the death of Sonny Corleone, Caan's character in the film The Godfather. Lucky for him, he survives and complains about the scene.


Matt Selman wrote the episode.

The episode was written Matt Selman, his eleventh writing credit for The Simpsons. The episode was the first season sixteen episode that Mark Kirkland directed.

James Caan guest starred in the episode as himself.

Thomas Pynchon guest stars as himself in the episode, wearing a paper bag over his head.[3] His role is reprised from the season 15 episode "Diatribe of a Mad Housewife". According to executive producer Al Jean, Pynchon helped write the jokes for his appearances.[4] James Caan also guest stars in the episode, first seen in Bart's treehouse. He is then shown dating Brandine Spuckler, and he is later shot by hillbillies at a toll booth.

In the original version of this episode, after Homer tells Marge that she is the "best chef in the house", Marge grumbles, "Eh, BFD", which stands for "big, fucking deal". On Sunday night FOX repeats, the "F" in "BFD" is muted out. The original line can be heard in syndicated and UK reruns. The syndicated version also credits Russi Taylor, who was not credited in the original version of the episode.[5]

Cultural references[edit]


In its original American broadcast, "All's Fair in Oven War" garnered roughly 11.4 million viewers.[7]

The episode has garnered positive reviews from critics. Eric Messinger of Springfield Weekly gave the episode a positive review. He gave the episode a B-, stating the Marge segment "needed a bit more fine-tuning". However, he praised the Bart segment, stating that it saved the episode, and that Bart not seeing nudity in the Playdude magazines worked well in every joke, and the segment was almost reminiscent to the season three episode "Bart the Murderer". He also praised the James Caan guest appearance, stating it "worked quite well, especially with the Godfather ending pay-off."[8] In 2012, New York magazine named "All Fair's in Oven War" as one of the ten best later Simpsons episodes.[9] Ellwood Hughes considered the episode a highlight of the season.[10] Chris Morgan praised the episode and commented "It is, arguably, the best episode to air after the turn of the millennium, and, in fact, is one of the top episodes of the show, period."[11] considered it "great"[12] On Rolling Stone's top 150 Simpsons episodes they placed All's Fair in Oven War at #89.[13]


  1. ^ a b "All's Fair in Oven War". The Archived from the original on June 14, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  2. ^ a b c "All's Fair in Oven War" at
  3. ^ Glenn, Joshua (October 19, 2003). "Pynchon and Homer". 
  4. ^ – Pynchon Index
  5. ^ Garvey, Matt (June 23, 2008). "Simpsons Syndication Cuts Guide Season Sixteen". The Simpsons Archive. Archived from the original on June 27, 2009. Retrieved July 2, 2009. 
  6. ^ Titelman, Gregory Y. "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings", Random House, N.Y., 1996.
  7. ^ Then Simpsons Channel | News Archive | November 2004 Archived May 9, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Springfield Weekly – Season 16 Reviews
  9. ^ Seitz, Matt Zoller (February 10, 2012). "Nine Latter-Day Simpsons Episodes That Match Up to the Early Classics". New York. Retrieved February 11, 2012. 
  10. ^ "The Simpsons: Season 16 DVD review – Entertainment Focus". Entertainment Focus. Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  11. ^ "The Simpsons Season 16 Blu-ray Review: It Delivers What It Promises – Cinema Sentries". Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  12. ^ "Review of The Simpsons: The Complete Sixteenth Season | Alternative Addiction | New Music First | Music News". Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  13. ^ "Springfield of Dreams: 150 Best 'Simpsons' Episodes". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-04-18. 

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