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Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy

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"Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no. 113
Directed by Wes Archer
Written by Bill Oakley & Josh Weinstein
Showrunner(s) David Mirkin
Production code 2F07
Original air date December 4, 1994
Chalkboard gag "My homework was not stolen by a one-armed man"[1]
Couch gag The family runs past a repeating background shot of the living room.
Commentary David Mirkin
Bill Oakley
Josh Weinstein
Wes Archer
Guest appearance(s)

"Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy" is the tenth episode of The Simpsons' sixth season. It was first broadcast on the Fox network in the United States on December 4, 1994. In the episode, Homer and Marge's sex life is struggling, but Grampa perks things up with a homemade revitalizing tonic. He and Homer go on the road to sell their elixir, and Grampa reveals that Homer’s conception was unintentional.

The episode was directed by Wes Archer and written by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein. After its initial airing on Fox, the episode was later released as part of a 1999 video collection: The Simpsons – Too Hot For TV, and released again on the 2003 DVD edition of the same collection. The episode features cultural references to songs such as "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" and "Celebration", as well as a reference to the 1963 film The Nutty Professor. "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy" received a positive reception from television critics, and acquired a Nielsen rating of 9.5.


When Homer and Marge's marriage declines due to their fading sex life, Grampa pieces together a tonic that is guaranteed to put the spark back into their relationship. The effectiveness of the tonic results in Homer and Abe going into business together, selling "Simpson and Son’s Revitalizing Tonic" to the public utilizing a medicine show. They travel from town to town selling the product, but after visiting the farmhouse where Homer grew up, the two get into an argument. Abe yells at Homer in the car, saying that if he had not taken the tonic years ago, Homer would not have been born. Homer then stops the car and abandons Abe.

Later, Homer goes back to the farmhouse to think. He sees old photographs, including one of himself as a child on Christmas morning, where he thinks his father was not even there when he finally got to meet Santa Claus. Homer then realizes that it was really his father in a Santa costume, proving that Abe did actually care for him. Homer quickly reunites with Abe, who by coincidence has also gone to the farmhouse to reflect. They both admit they are screw-ups – since they both caused separate fires in the farmhouse – and they finally reconcile.


The episode was directed by Wes Archer, and was written by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein.[2] It was originally intended to deal with Homer and Marge's problematic sex life, but later developed into a story about the relationship between Homer and Grampa.[3] Dan Castellaneta provides the voices for both Homer and Grampa. Castellaneta therefore had to talk to himself when he recorded the voices of the two characters in their interactions for this episode.[3] Castellaneta says that it is hard for him to do Grampa's voice for an extended period of time because it is "wheezy and airy".[4]

Homer and Marge spend the night at an inn, called the Aphrodite Inn, to spice up their sex life.[4] The inn was partly based on the Madonna Inn, which, as in the episode, features different kinds of sex-oriented rooms with unusual names that are supposed to spice up a couple's love life.[3] The design of the old farmhouse was inspired by the house featured in the 1993 film Flesh and Bone.[3] Bart's obsession with conspiracy theories was inspired by the writers' observation that children around Bart's age go through a stage where they become "addicted" to information about UFOs and paranormal phenomena.[4] Bill Oakley himself had gone through the same thing when he was around 10 years old.[4]

Cultural references[edit]

Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States, is shown celebrating Lisa's purchase of his book, Sane Planning, Sensible Tomorrow, by listening to "Celebration" by Kool & the Gang.[2][5] Additionally, a parody of The X-Files' theme song is played in the background of the scene leading into Gore's celebration.[3] "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" is played during a chase scene, reminiscent of a recurring theme of the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde.[2] When Professor Frink takes the tonic, he transforms into a suave man with a deep voice, which is a reference to Jerry Lewis transforming into Buddy Love in The Nutty Professor.[4] Grampa, within proper context, successfully pronounces the word pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.[3]


In its original broadcast, "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy" finished 58th in the ratings for the week of November 28 to December 4, 1994, with a Nielsen rating of 9.5.[6] The episode was the third highest rated show on the Fox network that week.[6]

Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, the authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, said it was "an amazing episode, in which Homer actually has an argument with someone, rather than backing down. As he and his father drift further apart, so the family are at a loss at what to do. You can't help but feel sorry for Grampa as a piece of Simpson family history goes up in flames".[5] Nate Meyers for Digitally Obsessed praised Dan Castellaneta's role in the episode and said: "Dan Castellaneta's work as both Homer and Grampa Simpson in [the episode] is full of emotion and brilliant comic timing. Watch the closing scene carefully as Homer returns to his childhood home, because Castellaneta gracefully dances between a tender father-son relationship and flat-out comedy".[7] Colin Jacobson of DVD Movie Guide said he "didn’t remember this as a very good episode, but it actually turns out to be quite strong. The initial plot in which Homer and Marge can’t get it together offers plenty of funny moments, and the scenes in which Homer battles with his dad offer depth and much humor. It’s also hard to beat the children's fears of the reverse vampires".[8]


The episode was selected for release in a 1999 video collection of selected episodes titled: The Simpsons – Too Hot For TV.[9] Other episodes included in the collection set were "The Cartridge Family", "Natural Born Kissers", and "Treehouse of Horror IX".[9] It was included in The Simpsons season 6 DVD set, which was released August 16, 2005 – The Simpsons – The Complete Sixth Season.[10] The episode was again included in the 2003 DVD release of the "Too Hot For TV" set.[11]


  1. ^ Groening, Matt (1997). Richmond, Ray; Coffman, Antonia, eds. The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family (1st ed.). New York: HarperPerennial. p. 160. ISBN 978-0-06-095252-5. LCCN 98141857. OCLC 37796735. OL 433519M. .
  2. ^ a b c Archer, Wes (2005). The Simpsons season 6 DVD commentary for the episode "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Mirkin, David (2005). The Simpsons season 6 DVD commentary for the episode "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Oakley, Bill (2005). The Simpsons season 6 DVD commentary for the episode "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  5. ^ a b Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy". BBC. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  6. ^ a b "Four-Bagger Puts ABC Over The Top". The Associated Press. December 8, 1994. p. 15E.  Retrieved on October 17, 2008.
  7. ^ Meyers, Nate (August 17, 2005). "DVD Review: The Simpsons: The Complete Sixth Season (1994-95)". Digitally Obsessed. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  8. ^ Jacobson, Colin (2003). "The Simpsons: The Complete Sixth Season (1994)". DVD Movie Guide. Retrieved 2008-10-08. 
  9. ^ a b "The Simpsons - Too Hot For TV (VHS)". Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  10. ^ "The Simpsons - The Complete Sixth Season". The Simpsons. 20th Century Fox. August 16, 2005. 
  11. ^ "The Simpsons - Too Hot For TV (DVD)". Retrieved 2008-10-17. 

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