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Natural Born Kissers

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"Natural Born Kissers"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no. 203
Directed by Klay Hall
Written by Matt Selman
Showrunner(s) Mike Scully
Production code 5F18
Original air date May 17, 1998
Chalkboard gag "I was not the inspiration for Kramer"[1]
Couch gag The Simpson family appear as frogs on a lily pad.[2]
Commentary Matt Groening
Mike Scully
George Meyer
Matt Selman
Dan Castellaneta
Mark Kirkland
Seasons

"Natural Born Kissers" is the twenty-fifth and final episode of The Simpsons' ninth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 17, 1998.[3] Homer and Marge discover that the fear of getting caught while making love is a turn on and start making love in public places. This episode is rated TV-14 in the United States, and was at one point rated M in Australia. It was the first episode written by Matt Selman and was the only episode to be directed by Klay Hall.[2] Some networks list the episode by the title, "Margie, May I Sleep With Danger?".[4][5]

Plot[edit]

It is Homer and Marge's eleventh wedding anniversary and Grampa does not arrive at the Simpson house to babysit the children, spoiling Homer and Marge's evening together. Later that evening, Homer and Marge attempt to have sexual intercourse, but lack enthusiasm. The following day, it is discovered that the refrigerator's motor has burned out so Homer and Marge make their way to a hardware store to buy another one.

On the way, the car gets stuck in the muddy driveway in the middle of farm country. Homer and Marge rush into the nearest barn to avoid a sudden storm. A farmer discovers the barn door is open and suspects trespassers. He enters the barn, nearly catching Homer and Marge, who are hiding in the hay loft, but leaves after failing to locate them. When the coast is clear, Homer and Marge have inspired sexual intercourse in the hay loft.

Homer and Marge think their marriage has been recharged and go for a romantic weekend at a Bed and Breakfast, but soon fall into their old patterns. However, a maid walks in on them and they conclude they are both aroused when they risk being caught during intimate moments, so they have sex behind window curtains in a room full of people. Their love life is recharged and one day they begin to have sex on the same miniature golf course windmill where Bart was conceived.

This time they come too close to being caught having public sex, and while they manage to escape, they have to flee through Springfield in the nude. In the end, the two are seen in a football stadium, and a naked photograph of Homer and Marge appears in the local newspaper. The next day, Bart and Lisa see the picture and their parents begin to explain sex to them. Before they go into detail, however, they decide to go back to the miniature golf course.[1][2][3]

In a subplot, Bart and Lisa stay at the Springfield Retirement Castle with Grandpa, and they discover a metal detector in his closet. While Bart uses it to look for pirate treasure, they uncover an alternate ending to Casablanca. After playing the scene on a projector screen it turns out to be a very sanitized and typical Hollywood happy end, where Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall marry in the end. Bart, Lisa and Granpa all like it but one of the spectators,

The Old Jewish Man, reveals that he was once a studio executive and actually tried to include this happy ending to the film. Ashamed and disgruntled, he pays Bart and Lisa to re-bury the film reel, giving them another film reel to bury along with it, titled It's A Wonderful Life (Killing Spree Ending).

Production[edit]

This was the first episode written by Matt Selman.

"Natural Born Kissers" was the first episode written by Matt Selman, who partly based it on his parents' marriage.[6] The episode was the only time that show runner Mike Scully ever got a call from Fox where they suggested not doing the episode. They were worried about the sexual content, the nudity, and how it was going to be handled.[7] They disliked several of the phrases used in the episode, such as the term "ass forkin'".[6]

In an interview, Matt Groening said: "The network censors couldn't believe it, and neither could I: the cow at the peephole while Homer and Marge make love in a hayloft; neighbors groping Homer when he and Marge are caught nude inside the windmill at the Sir Putts-A-Lot mini golf course; Homer dangling naked from a hot-air balloon, his ass dragging against the glass of a Crystal Cathedral-like church."[8]

The producers fought the censors and in the end, very little of the script was modified.[6] This episode is the first time that Marge's buttocks are shown on television.[7] Marge and Homer in the golf course is a reference to the season three episode "I Married Marge", although in that episode they are in a castle, rather than a windmill.[6]

Cultural references[edit]

The airplane restaurant "Up, Up and Buffet!" is based on a submarine shaped restaurant that was near the Fox studio named "Dive!".[7] A supposed alternate ending to the 1942 film Casablanca is shown in the episode, and the Old Jewish Man gives Bart and Lisa a copy of It's A Wonderful Life with a "killing-spree ending".[2] The song "Spanish Flea" plays during the radio commercial for Divorce Specialists.[9] The song "Rock the Casbah" by The Clash plays over the end credits.[2]

Reception[edit]

In its original broadcast, "Natural Born Kissers" finished 29th in ratings for the week of May 11–18, 1998, with a Nielsen rating of 8.8, equivalent to approximately 8.6 million viewing households. It was the fourth highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, following The X-Files, King of the Hill, and Ally McBeal.[10]

Matt Groening listed the episode as being his eighth favorite episode,[8] and the aroused cow is one of his all-time favorite act break jokes.[11] The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, wrote, "a superb episode which actually makes Marge and Homer's love life seem very real; everyone needs a bit of spice now and again, and they find theirs. The balloon trip is hysterical, and the attempts to explain their behaviour to a very worldly-wise Bart and Lisa are magnificent."[2]

The episode was part of a DVD boxed set release called The Simpsons Kiss and Tell: The Story of Their Love, and in his review of the release, Andy Dougan of the Evening Times characterized the episode along with "Large Marge", "Three Gays of the Condo", and "The Way We Weren't", as "four of the funniest episodes of recent series".[12] The DVD release was also reviewed favorably by Louis R. Carlozo in the Chicago Tribune, where the episode was seen as "more ridiculous" than "Large Marge".[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Gimple, Scott M. (December 1, 1999). The Simpsons Forever!: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family ...Continued. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-098763-3. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "Natural Born Kissers". BBC. Retrieved 2007-11-18. 
  3. ^ a b "Natural Born Kissers". The Simpsons.com. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  4. ^ "Broadcasting Schedule". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on November 3, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-01. 
  5. ^ "Sky One beats ITV in prime time for first time". Sky One. Retrieved 2007-11-18. [dead link]
  6. ^ a b c d Selman, Matt (2006). The Simpsons season 9 DVD commentary for the episode "Natural Born Kissers" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  7. ^ a b c Scully, Mike (2006). The Simpsons season 9 DVD commentary for the episode "Natural Born Kissers" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  8. ^ a b Snierson, Dan (2000-01-14). "Springfield of Dreams". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2007-08-26. 
  9. ^ Bates, James W.; Gimple, Scott M.; McCann, Jesse L.; Richmond, Ray; Seghers, Christine, eds. (2010). Simpsons World The Ultimate Episode Guide: Seasons 1–20 (1st ed.). Harper Collins Publishers. p. 465. ISBN 978-0-00-738815-8. 
  10. ^ Associated Press (May 21, 1998). "Seinfeld, on the way out, hits its peak". Sun-Sentinel. p. 4E. 
  11. ^ Groening, Matt (2006). The Simpsons season 9 DVD commentary for the episode "Natural Born Kissers" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  12. ^ Dougan, Andy (February 25, 2006). "Andy Dougan's DVDs of the week". Evening Times. pp. Page 20. 
  13. ^ Carlozo, Louis R. (February 10, 2006). "Can you feel the love in the DVD aisle this week?". Chicago Tribune. 

External links[edit]