Crook and Ladder

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"Crook and Ladder"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no. 397
Directed by Lance Kramer
Written by Bill Odenkirk
Showrunner(s) Al Jean
Production code JABF13
Original air date May 6, 2007
Chalkboard gag "I will not look up what teacher makes."
Couch gag The TV moves aside as The Simpsons are put through a car wash, where they get sprayed with water, blasted with hot wax, and scrubbed with prickly brushes. In the end, Marge’s hair is puffy, the family looks miserable, and Maggie’s pacifier is gone. Three men come in, wipe the family down with rags, and give Maggie a new pacifier.
Commentary Al Jean
Bill Odenkirk
Tim Long
Kevin Curran
Tom Gammill
David Silverman
Dan Castellaneta
Lance Kramer

"Crook and Ladder" is the nineteenth episode of The Simpsons' eighteenth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 6, 2007. It was written by Bill Odenkirk and directed by Lance Kramer.


Marge, following the advice of a parenting magazine, takes away Maggie's pacifier, leading her to destroy the inside of the Simpson home. Marge explains to Maggie that it's for her own good until Lisa reveals the magazine is by Larry Flynt Publication. The family runs out of spare pacifiers, so Marge sends Homer to buy a new one, but he cannot find the right brand, making Maggie cry. Luckily, Santa's Little Helper gives Maggie his squeaky toy, which calms her, but also makes Homer unable to sleep. He takes sleeping pills and unknowingly sleepwalks around town.

Taking advantage of this, one night, Bart and Milhouse have Homer drive them around town. When Homer abruptly wakes up, he crashes into the Fire Department house, injuring all the firemen. As they recuperate at a hospital, Homer, Apu, Moe, and Principal Skinner become volunteer firefighters. Mayor Quimby refuses to train them beyond a standard textbook, but the new team is miraculously efficient. After the first few fires, despite being initially insist against it, they are rewarded for their effort.

This practice soon spoils the men, and when they save Mr. Burns's house and receive no reward, they feel cheated and steal some of his abundant treasures, claiming they were destroyed by the fire. From then on, they take items from the places they save and no one doubts their lie. However, Marge and the kids soon catch Homer in the act and Marge gets the kids to make sad faces around him everywhere he goes. Annoyed by this, he decides to stop and convince the others to stop too after saving Moe's and Apu's lives. They then give their loot to the homeless.

Cultural references[edit]

The sleep medicine "Nappien" parodies two popular sleeping medicines. While the name is based on Ambien, the commercials feature a moth based on one used in similar commercials for Lunesta.[1] The episode features numerous references to TV and film, including Forrest Gump (Mr Burns floats like the feather and music from the film plays in a scene), and Punk'd (Apu pretends he's been reincarnated as a cat, then says "You've been Apu'd").[1]

Critical reception[edit]

Robert Canning of IGN gave the episode a "Great" rating of 8 out of 10. He said the "delightful" show was a return to form, and praised its "great pacing, fun character interactions and laugh-out-loud moments". He noted that "the story was told with several fantastic, almost stream-of-consciousness segues that smartly linked comedic segment to comedic segment", resulting in the removal of "unnecessary and unfunny filler" - a problem that often "plagued recent episodes". He said that Marge hadn't been the focus of many episodes at that time, so her importance to this episode was a welcome development. He concluded his review by saying "This was a fun, well-crafted episode that had plenty of great laughs...It's been a while since a single episode could offer up such a list of memorable moments. "Crook and Ladder" might just be one of those Simpsons episodes that never gets old."[2]


  1. ^ a b "The Simpsons" Crook and Ladder (TV Episode 2007), retrieved 2017-06-13 
  2. ^ Canning, Robert (2007-05-07). "The Simpsons: "Crook and Ladder" Review". IGN. Retrieved 2017-06-13. 

External links[edit]