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Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy

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"Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no.Season 6
Episode 10
Directed byWes Archer
Written byBill Oakley & Josh Weinstein
Production code2F07
Original air dateDecember 4, 1994
Guest appearance(s)
Episode features
Chalkboard gag"My homework was not stolen by a one-armed man"[1]
Couch gagThe family runs past a repeating background shot of the living room.
CommentaryDavid Mirkin
Bill Oakley
Josh Weinstein
Wes Archer
Episode chronology
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"Homer Badman"
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"Fear of Flying"
The Simpsons (season 6)
List of The Simpsons episodes

"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 wanes, so Grampa restores it with a homemade revitalizing tonic. He and Homer travel town-to-town selling the elixir, but they are estranged after Grampa reveals that Homer’s conception was unintentional.

The episode was written by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein, and directed by Wes Archer. 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.

Plot[edit]

When Homer and Marge's sex life fizzles, they seek help to spice up their marriage. Homer peruses books like the Kama Sutra, but Marge wants "a tasteful book" so they settle on Mr. and Mrs. Erotic American, a Paul Harvey book-on-tape. Harvey recommends couples bathe together, but their faucet breaks because the Simpsons' bathtub cannot accommodate Homer and Marge. Next they try renting a sexy theme room at a hotel, but are forced to sleep in a utility room because the rooms are sold out.

Grampa concocts a tonic which he guarantees will put the spark back into their relationship. The elixir works, so Homer and Grampa sell Simpson & Son Revitalizing Tonic to the public in a travelling medicine show. During their travels, they visit the farmhouse where Homer spent his childhood. After they bicker, Grampa angrily tells Homer he is the result of an unplanned pregnancy which would not have happened without the tonic. Homer stops the car and abandons Grampa.

While their parents are enjoying enhanced sex lives from the tonic, the town's children grow suspicious of their absences during their frequent trysts. Ralph, Milhouse, Bart and their friends hatch conspiracy theories in the Simpsons' tree house. After Lisa sarcastically suggests parents are going to bed early because they are "reverse vampires" who must avoid nightfall, the other children decide the RAND Corporation is conspiring with space aliens to deprive children of dinner by forcing their parents to retire early.

Unwilling to forgive Grampa, Homer resolves to be a better father to Bart, Lisa and Maggie. Bart and Lisa soon realize that smothering them is just as bad as neglecting them. Homer returns to the farmhouse to think. He sees an old photograph of himself as a child on Christmas morning and is sad that his father was not even present when he met Santa Claus. Homer realizes his father was wearing a Santa costume and really does love him. Homer reunites with Grampa, who has also gone to the farmhouse to reflect. They both admit they are screw-ups — each having caused separate fires in the farmhouse — and reconcile as the house burns down behind them.

Production[edit]

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]

Reception[edit]

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]

Merchandise[edit]

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]

References[edit]

  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)". Amazon.com. 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)". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2008-10-17.

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