I Am Furious (Yellow)
"I Am Furious (Yellow)" is the eighteenth episode of The Simpsons' thirteenth season. It first aired in the United States on the Fox network on April 28, 2002. In the episode, Bart creates a comic book series based on his father Homer's anger problems, which turns into a popular Internet cartoon series called Angry Dad. Homer finds out about this and is at first outraged, but after talking to his family, he decides to try to become a less angry person.
The episode was directed by Chuck Sheetz and written by John Swartzwelder. The idea for the episode was pitched by Matt Selman, and the staff took inspiration for the episode from the Simpsons staff's own experience with web cartoons, such as Queer Duck and Hard Drinkin' Lincoln. The episode includes references to the dot-com bubble, Danish physicist Niels Bohr and comic book publishers Marvel Comics and DC Comics. It also features American comic book writer Stan Lee as himself.
Before its original broadcast, "I Am Furious (Yellow)" faced scrutiny from the series fans, who thought that Homer would literally transform into the Hulk in the episode. In its original broadcast, the episode was seen by approximately 7.8 million viewers, finishing in 26th place in the ratings the week it aired. Following its home video release, the episode received positive reviews from critics, and is often considered a favorite among fans. On February 20, 2011, "Angry Dad: The Movie", an episode in which Bart and Homer make a short film based on the Angry Dad internet cartoon, aired in the United States.
Milhouse's father, Kirk, gives a speech to the kids at Springfield Elementary about his occupation of assistant flyer distributor. Due to how boring the speech was, Principal Skinner and Mrs. Krabappel take Lisa's advice and visit the Springfield Writer's Forum to find a better speaker. They find Jeff Jenkins, creator of a popular TV cartoon, Danger Dog. He comes to the school to give a presentation on Danger Dog, including showing them a sneak preview for the next Easter special, and fascinates the kids by telling them about the cartoon industry. Much to Skinner's horror, Jenkins tells the students how easy his job is and how he never needed to work hard to get his job. Later, every kid in school creates their own comic book, all of which are actually rip-off versions of Danger Dog. Bart also creates his own comic Danger Dude (which is actually a dog) and tries to sell it to Comic Book Guy, who criticizes his work. Stan Lee enters Comic Book Guy's store and tells Bart that his comic is bad, but that he should keep trying to "find his own voice."
At home, Bart comes up with a character called Angry Dad, based on the frequent angry outbursts of his father, Homer. Bart rolls out the first issue of Angry Dad, which becomes a hit with the kids in school. During an autograph signing session in the schoolyard, Bart is approached by a spokesman for an Internet entertainment site. He wants to make Angry Dad into an online animated cartoon series, and Bart agrees in exchange for stock. The cartoon becomes an Internet hit, becoming the single most popular non-pornographic website of all time. The only one still unaware of Angry Dad is Homer, who finds out one day at work. Once the humiliated Homer gets home, he finds Bart and strangles him. Marge and Lisa stops him and calms him down, and Homer agrees to suppress his anger from that point on.
The next day, Homer stays true to his word and remains calm. However, his new calm demeanor has taken away Bart's inspiration for his cartoon, so Bart and Milhouse set up a trap for Homer to trigger another outburst. Later, they go to the Internet company office, where they find the company has gone bankrupt. Homer reaches home and happens upon Bart's trap, but he keeps his calm throughout its run, causing lumps to develop on his neck. The trap ends with Homer falling into a pool full of green paint, prompting him to go berserk and storm through town. The police restrain him and Homer is admitted to the hospital. Dr. Hibbert arrives and tells Marge that Bart actually saved Homer's life by enraging him. Hibbert explains the lumps on his neck were actually boils caused by suppressed rage and would have otherwise overwhelmed his system. Homer thanks Bart by taking him fishing, where he continues to make his father angry.
"I Am Furious (Yellow)" was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Chuck Sheetz. It was first broadcast on Fox in the United States on April 28, 2002. The episode's storyline was pitched by Simpsons writer Matt Selman. In the DVD audio commentary for the episode, he stated that Matt Groening, the creator of the series, would usually tell the writers about how he was the class clown and did not pay attention in school, and yet grew up to become very successful. After hearing this, Selman thought that if Groening went back to his school to talk about his career, it "[would be] the last message that a principal and the teachers would wanna hear." Selman pitched the story because he thought it would be "humorously infuriating" to teachers. The episode was also partly based on some of the Simpsons staff members' experience with making internet cartoons, such as Queer Duck and Hard Drinkin' Lincoln, both of which were created by Mike Reiss.
The Angry Dad internet cartoon, as well as the other internet cartoons in the episode, were originally going to be animated using Macromedia Flash, however, the department of Film Roman that handled Flash animation would not be able to complete the scenes in time. Because of this, director Sheetz had to draw the scenes himself, mimicking the look of Flash animation. At the end of Bart's trap, Homer falls into a pool of green paint, making him resemble the Hulk. Selman originally wanted Homer to fall into blue paint, since the blue paint mixed with his yellow skin would make green, however the idea never came to fruition.
The episode features comic book writer Stan Lee as himself. In John Ortved's book The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History, Lee stated that he attended the episode's table read, and was impressed with the size and quality of the creative staff, who all sat around the conference table. Lee recalled in 2009, "Honestly, there was so much genuine talent around that table that you could have cut it with a knife." Afterward, Lee met the writers of the show, and was pleasantly surprised to find that they were familiar with his work and he was with theirs. Afterward, executive producer Al Jean took Lee out to lunch, who he called "one of the nicest and most unassuming guys you could hope to meet." Lee continued, "Of course, I probably said something wrong to him, or he didn't like my table manners, because I haven't been invited back for another guest shot. But hey one lives in hope." The voice actor who plays Angry Dad in the episode was portrayed by Dan Castellaneta, who also does the voice for Homer among other characters in the series. The design of the character is also based on Castellaneta.
The title of the episode is a parody of 1967 Swedish art house film I Am Curious (Yellow). The episode references the dot-com bubble, a speculative bubble covering roughly 1995–2000. In their article "15 Simpsons Moments That Perfectly Captured Their Eras", Genevieve Koski, Josh Modell, Noel Murray, Sean O'Neal, Kyle Ryan and Scott Tobias of The A.V. Club wrote: "By April 2002, the dot-com bubble of the late '90s had been popped for a couple of years, taking with it myriad Internet start-ups. A sobering soul-searching settled in their place, which The Simpsons captured in this episode about Bart creating a popular Internet cartoon called Angry Dad. Touring the laid-back start-up that hosts the cartoons, Lisa asks head honcho Todd Linux about their business model. 'How many shares of stock will it take to end this conversation?' he retorts. Lisa asks for two million, which Linux grabs from a paper-towel dispenser. When Bart and Lisa return later, the company has gone bust, and Linux is stealing copper wire out of the walls."
When Stan Lee approaches Database, who is playing with a toy Batmobile, he asks him if he would rather prefer a more exciting action figure. Lee then begins shoving a The Thing action figure into the Batmobile, effectively destroying it. This scene pokes fun at the DC vs. Marvel rivalry (Batman's Batmobile of DC Comics and The Thing a property of Marvel Comics). Another scene in the episode references Danish physicist Niels Bohr. In his book What's science ever done for us?: what The Simpsons can teach us about physics, robots, life and the universe, Paul Halpern wrote "In the episode [...], one of Homer's favorite TV shows is preempted by the program The Boring World of Niels Bohr. Homer is so upset that he clutches an ice-cream sandwich, aims it at the screen like it's a remote control, squeezes out its contents, and splatters Bohr's image. In contrast to Homer's reaction, most physicists heap nothing but accolades upon Bohr, whose revolutionary ideas shaped the modern concept of the atom."
Release and reception
Broadcast and re-release
In its original American broadcast on April 28, 2002, "I Am Furious (Yellow)" received a 7.4 rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, translating to approximately 7.8 million viewers. It finished in 26th place in the ratings for the week of April 22–28, 2002, making it the most watched program on the network that night. Combined with a new episode of Malcolm in the Middle, The Simpsons beat CBS's Everybody Loves Raymond special ("Everybody Loves Raymond: The First Six Years") in the ratings, besting the special by a full rating point and a half among adults between ages 18 to 49. On August 24, 2010, the episode was released as part of The Simpsons: The Complete Thirteenth Season DVD and Blu-ray box set. Matt Groening, Al Jean, Matt Selman, Mike Reiss, Chuck Sheetz, Don Payne, Tom Gammill, Max Pross, David Silverman, and Stan Lee participated in the DVD audio commentary for the episode.
Upon the episode's release, a promotional image of Homer mimicking the Hulk caused some of the series' internet fans to speculate that the show had jumped the shark. "[...] I still remember the publicity it [the episode] got," Jean said in the DVD commentary for the episode. "The internet people were like, 'They jumped the shark. They're having Homer turn into The Hulk.' [...] We clearly did it in a logical fashion. He's not really super strong." Following its broadcast, "I Am Furious (Yellow)" garnered critical acclaim from reviewers, and is often considered a fan favourite. Colin Jacobsson of DVD Movie Guide called the episode one of the better installments from Season 13, referring to it as "very good" and saying that "the series has milked Homer's rage [as one of its chief sources of humor] for years, but it does so in creative and satisfying ways here." R.L. Shaffer of IGN described "I Am Furious (Yellow)", along with "Brawl in the Family" and "Half-Decent Proposal", as being "cleverly written" and the best episodes of the season. Aaron Peck of High-Def Digest stated that the episode is one of his "personal favourites," and Ron Martin of 411Mania called it a "standout episode." Adam Rayner of Obsessed With Film gave the episode a favorable review as well. He wrote that, even though it is not "as rooted in reality as the great episodes," the episode is "consistently hilarious." He concluded that the episode is "great comedy from start to finish."
Blu-ray.com's Casey Broadwater called it a "strong character-centric episode," and added that the episode's title is one of his "favourites." Writing for Project-Blu, Nate Boss wrote "Just when you think The Simpsons is broke, we get Angry Dad. To quote Stan Lee: 'Broke? Or made it BETTER?' That's right. Stan 'the man' Lee." Jennifer Malkowski of DVD Verdict gave the episode a B+, describing "Homer's random exclamation while running around on fire, 'Oh, I hope no one's drawing this!'" as the episode's "highlight." Ryan Keefer of DVD Talk described the episode as being "flat out funny." Lee's appearance in the episode was also praised. Rayner called his performance "one of the all time great cameos," and Jacobson called it "fun." Broadwater considered Lee's appearance to be one of the season's "highlights," and Total Film's Nathan Ditum ranked Lee's performance as the 12th best guest appearance in the show's history, describing it as "a deranged, childish and brilliant version of himself."
The episode has been used as an indicator to the growth of internet companies. In his article "Best Indicator Ever: The Simpsons Foreclosure", Jonathan Hoenig of SmartMoney wrote that the twentieth season episode "No Loan Again, Naturally", an episode in which the Simpsons are foreclosed from their house, could have indicated that "the worst of the housing crisis" at the time the article was written, was over. Hoenig based this theory on the fact that shortly after "I Am Furious (Yellow)", which satirizes the dot-com bubble, aired, the dotcom stocks "began a massive rebound from bear-market lows."
"I Am Furious (Yellow)" inspired the idea for the twenty-second season episode "Angry Dad: The Movie", which originally aired on February 20, 2011 in the United States. In "Angry Dad: The Movie", Bart and Homer create a short film based on the Angry Dad cartoon seen in "I Am Furious (Yellow)", but after the film wins a myriad of prizes, the two start fighting over who created the series.
- McCann 2005, pp. 48–49
- Selman, Matt. (2010). Commentary for "I Am Furious (Yellow)", in The Simpsons: The Complete Thirteenth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- Reiss, Mike. (2010). Commentary for "I Am Furious (Yellow)", in The Simpsons: The Complete Thirteenth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- Ortved 2009, p. 253
- Sheetz, Chuck. (2010). Commentary for "I Am Furious (Yellow)", in The Simpsons: The Complete Thirteenth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- Silverman, David. (2010). Commentary for "I Am Furious (Yellow)", in The Simpsons: The Complete Thirteenth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- Koski, Genevieve; Josh Modell; Noel Murray; Sean O'Neal; Kyle Ryan; Scott Tobias (July 23, 2007). "Inventory: 15 Simpsons Moments That Perfectly Captured Their Eras". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 21, 2011.
- Halpern 2007, p. 52
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- Broadwater, Casey (September 5, 2010). "The Simpsons: The Thirteenth Season Blu-ray Review". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved May 21, 2011.
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- Malkowski, Jennifer (September 6, 2010). "The Simpsons: The Complete Thirteenth Season (Blu-Ray)". DVD Verdict. Retrieved May 21, 2011.
- Keefer, Ryan (August 31, 2010). "The Simpsons: The 13th Season (Blu-ray)". DVD Talk. Retrieved May 21, 2011.
- Ditum, Nathan (March 29, 2009). "The 20 Best Simpsons Movie-Star Guest Spots". Total Film. Retrieved May 21, 2011.
- Hoenig, Jonathan (March 13, 2009). "Best Indicator Ever: The Simpsons Foreclosure". SmartMoney. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
- "Angry Dad: The Movie". The Simpsons.com. Retrieved May 21, 2011.
- Ortved, John (2009). The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History. London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0-86547-988-7.
- McCann, Jesse L.; Matt Groening (2005). The Simpsons One Step Beyond Forever!: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family ...Continued Yet Again. New York City: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-081754-1.
- Halpern, Paul (2007). What's science ever done for us?: what The Simpsons can teach us about physics, robots, life and the universe. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-11460-5.
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