Old Money (The Simpsons)
"Old Money" is the seventeenth episode of The Simpsons' second season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on March 28, 1991. In the episode, Grampa's wealthy girlfriend at the Retirement Castle passes away and leaves him with $106,000. He heads for a casino to spend the money, but is stopped by Homer, so he decides to spend the inheritance money on renovating the retirement home instead.
The episode was written by Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky and directed by David Silverman. Audrey Meadows guest starred in it as Beatrice "Bea" Simmons, Grampa's new girlfriend. Professor Frink also makes his debut in the episode. It features cultural references to films such as Tom Jones and If I Had a Million, and the Star Wars and Batman film franchises. Since airing, the episode has received mixed reviews from television critics. It acquired a Nielsen rating of 12.3, and was the highest-rated show on the Fox network the week it aired.
After another Sunday with the Simpsons, Grampa meets Beatrice "Bea" Simmons, a resident at the Springfield Retirement Castle. They go on a date and fall in love. When Bea's birthday arrives on a Sunday, Homer makes Grampa come on a family outing. The outing causes Grampa to miss Bea's birthday. Grampa returns home expecting to see Bea. However, Jasper tells Grampa that Bea died of a burst ventricle while Grampa was out with the family. Left deeply depressed by her death, Grampa attends her funeral, where he angrily lashes out at Homer and refuses to speak to him.
Grampa receives Bea's inheritance of $106,000. After time contemplating how to spend the money, Grampa soon forgives Homer, and decides to spend the inheritance on improving the retirement home.
The episode was written by Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky and directed by David Silverman. The discount lion safari in the episode that the Simpson family visits was based on the drive-through Lion Country Safari, located in Loxahatchee, Palm Beach County, Florida, that Kogen used to visit when he was younger. "Old Money" was the first episode to feature Grampa's full name, Abraham Simpson. Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, named the main characters after his own family members (except for Bart, an anagram of brat, which he substituted for his own name), but refused to name Grampa after his grandfather, Abram Groening. He left it to the writers to choose a name and they chose "Abraham", not knowing that it was also the name of Groening's grandfather.
The now recurring character Professor Frink makes his first appearance on the show in this episode. Frink was originally written as a mad scientist, but when cast member Hank Azaria ad-libbed a voice for Frink, he did an impression of Jerry Lewis's The Nutty Professor character, and the writing staff started making Frink more of a parody of Lewis. Frink was named after The Simpsons writer John Frink; however, that was before he became a writer for the show. The episode features a guest appearance from American actress Audrey Meadows as Bea. Al Jean, a writer on the show, said Meadows was perfect for the role because she was very sweet, and the staff had a lot of fun during the recording sessions with her. This is the only episode to date where the closing credits actually states which characters each actor voices. This was done because the staff often received questions from fans regarding what characters each voice actor provided the voice for.
The scene with Grampa and Bea eating their pills seductively is a reference to the 1963 film Tom Jones. Two of the people waiting in line to ask for Grampa's money are Darth Vader and the Joker. When the family is suggesting places they could go, Homer suggests the Springfield Mystery Spot, a reference to the Mystery Spot in California—although Lisa says that the Springfield Spot is simply a puddle of mud. They eventually decide to go the Discount Lion Safari, however. The Diz-Nee-Land amusement park that Grampa visits with Bea's money has a sign that reads "Diz-Nee-Land—Not affiliated with Disneyland, Walt Disney World, or anything else from the Walt Disney Company". The shot of Grampa sitting at a diner resembles the 1942 American painting Nighthawks. Before Grampa attempts to bet all of his money on Roulette he quotes the poem "If—" by Rudyard Kipling. The climax scenes, where Grampa uses the money to fix up the Springfield Retirement Castle, is a reference to the ending of the 1932 film If I Had a Million. Dr. Marvin Monroe's 'Monroe Box' is meant to be a spoof of B. F. Skinner's Skinner Box.
In its original American broadcast, "Old Money" finished thirty-sixth in the ratings for the week of March 25–31, 1991, with a Nielsen Rating of 12.4. It was the highest-rated show on the Fox network that week. The episode was released in video collection on May 4, 1994, called The Simpsons Collection, together with the episode "Dancin' Homer".
Since airing, the episode has received mixed reviews from television critics. 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 wonderful episode, very sad but ultimately uplifting, with great one-liners (particularly from Grampa)." Colin Jacobson of DVD Movie Guide was not as positive. He said, "With 'Old Money', we find easily the crummiest episode of season two. Actually, I’d call this clunker the only bad show of the year." He went on to say, "I guess 'Old Money' wasn’t a truly terrible episode, as it included a few funny moments. However, it seemed like one of the sappiest Simpsons episodes ever. The program became inundated with sentiment, and it did little to leaven that tide. In a generally strong season, 'Old Money' stands out as the only real clunker."
- Groening, Matt (1997). Richmond, Ray; Coffman, Antonia, eds. The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family (1st ed.). New York: HarperPerennial. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-06-095252-5. LCCN 98141857. OCLC 37796735. OL 433519M..
- Kogen, Jay (2002). The Simpsons season 2 DVD commentary for the episode "Old Money" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- BBC (2000). The Simpsons: America's First Family (6 minute edit for the season 1 DVD) (DVD). UK: 20th Century Fox.
- Groening, Matt (2002). The Simpsons season 2 DVD commentary for the episode "Old Money" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Jean, Al (2002). The Simpsons season 2 DVD commentary for the episode "Old Money" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Rhodes, Joe (2000-10-21). "Flash! 24 Simpsons Stars Reveal Themselves". TV Guide.
- Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "Old Money". BBC. Retrieved 2009-04-02.
- Chernoff, Scott (2007-07-24). "I Bent My Wookiee! Celebrating the Star Wars/Simpsons Connection". Star Wars.com. Archived from the original on October 6, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
- "What we watch, what we don't...". Austin American-Statesman. April 7, 1991. p. 15.
- "The Simpsons Collection - Dancin' Homer / Old Money". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2009-03-29.
- Jacobson, Colin. "The Simpsons: The Complete Second Season". DVD Movie Guide. Retrieved 2009-03-23.
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