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Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious

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"Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no. 166
Directed by Chuck Sheetz
Written by Al Jean
Mike Reiss
Showrunner(s) Al Jean
Mike Reiss
Production code 3G03
Original air date February 7, 1997
Chalkboard gag "I will not hide the teacher's Prozac"[1]
Couch gag The living room is empty. Outside, Homer is struggling with a locked front door while the other members of the family wait impatiently.[2]
Commentary Matt Groening
Al Jean
Mike Reiss
Chuck Sheetz
David Silverman
Seasons

"Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious" is the thirteenth episode of The Simpsons' eighth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 7, 1997.[3] When Marge becomes stressed, the Simpsons hire a nanny, a Mary Poppins parody, Shary Bobbins (voiced by Maggie Roswell).[3] The episode was directed by Chuck Sheetz and written and executive produced by Al Jean and Mike Reiss.[2] It was the last episode for which Reiss received a writing credit. In 2014, Jean selected it as one of five essential episodes in the show's history.[4]

Plot[edit]

After discovering that she is losing hair at an alarming rate, Marge visits Dr. Hibbert, who informs her that stress is the cause. The Simpson family decides to hire a nanny who can help clean the house and take care of the children but have trouble finding the right one. Bart and Lisa sing a song about what they would consider as the perfect nanny and when a woman with an umbrella glides down from the sky and introduces herself as Shary Bobbins, she seems perfect and is hired. Shary proves helpful for the Simpson family. Marge recovers from her stress and her hair returns to normal. The next day, as the reformed Simpsons sit down to a perfect dinner, Shary declares her work finished but after leaving the house, she sees Homer strangling Bart as they are smashed through the living room window, Maggie attempting to put out a fire and Marge losing her hair again. With the family reverting to its previous state of dysfunction, Shary is forced to stay. The family then treats her rudely and loses interest in her zest for life. Declaring that the Simpsons would be the death of her, she becomes depressed and starts to cry, sing, and drink. The family realizes what they have done and Marge admits to Shary that nothing can be done to change the Simpsons. Through song, they state that they are happy the way they are. Shary accepts this and leaves using her magical umbrella and although Homer suggests that they might see her again in the future, she is seen getting sucked into a jet engine in the background, unbeknownst to the family.

Production[edit]

Although the majority of the season eight episodes were executive produced by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein, former executive producers Al Jean and Mike Reiss had signed a deal with Disney that allowed them to produce four episodes of The Simpsons.[5] The idea for this episode originated several years before its airdate when Jean and Reiss were the regular showrunners. The idea was pitched at a writers' retreat by Jean but nobody had wanted to flesh it out. After being allowed to come back to produce some episodes, Jean and Reiss decided to write this episode.[5] At first, Reiss was against the episode and felt that it was a bad idea.[6] He felt that the plot was slightly ridiculous and that the show should not feature any magic; except for a few moments, he largely kept magic out of the episode. He now considers it one of the best episodes that he co-wrote.[6]At the time, "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious" had more music in it than any other episode.[7] While writing, Jean thought that the songs would stretch out and make the episode the proper length but it was considerably shorter than required.[5] Several additional scenes, such as the Itchy & Scratchy segment, were added to pad out the episode.[5] There was originally a sequence where Bart, Lisa and Shary visit Patty and Selma who sing "We Love to Smoke", a parody of "I Love to Laugh".[5] The song was cut because it wasn't getting any laughs but the full version was included on the album Go Simpsonic with The Simpsons and a brief animated version was included as a deleted scene on the Season 8 DVD.[5] During the end song, Homer can be seen dancing along but not singing; this was because the producers forgot to record Dan Castellaneta.[6] Many of the scenes were animated by Eric Stefani, a former member of No Doubt, who specialized in animation for musical numbers.[7]

Casting[edit]

Julie Andrews (who portrayed the titular role in Mary Poppins) was originally slated to appear in the episode as Shary, but in the end, the producers went with series regular Maggie Roswell after hearing Roswell's reading for the part.[6][8] Quentin Tarantino was also asked to guest star, but he did not want to deliver the lines required, believing them to be insulting.[5] Instead, regular Dan Castellaneta did the voice.[9]

Cultural references[edit]

The plot of the episode is a reference to the 1964 film Mary Poppins; Shary Bobbins is based on the character Mary Poppins and the episode title is a spoof of the word "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious". Several of the musical numbers are also direct parodies of songs from the film, including "The Perfect Nanny", "The Life I Lead", "A Spoonful of Sugar" and "Feed the Birds"; a deleted scene featured Patty and Selma singing their version of "I Love to Laugh".[5]

The montage of Marge losing her hair features the song "Hair" from the musical Hair (though the version heard is The Cowsills version).[10] Homer says he has seen Mrs. Doubtfire and believes that some of the candidates for the role of nanny are men in drag.[5] Homer's imagination is a parody of the dancing characters in Steamboat Willie and features the song "Turkey in the Straw".[10] In the park, Groundskeeper Willie is seen singing a cover version of "Maniac" by Michael Sembello. The scene where Principal Skinner attempts to sell Jimbo is a reference to a similar scene in the story Oliver Twist.

The Itchy & Scratchy short "Reservoir Cats" is a parody of the scene in Reservoir Dogs where Mr. Blonde cuts off the ear of the police officer. The sequence features the same setting, camera angles and music — "Stuck in the Middle With You" by Stealers Wheel. At the end, Itchy and Scratchy dance in a manner similar to that seen in the film Pulp Fiction.[5] Shary and Barney Gumble sing a drunken rendition of Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville".[5]

Reception[edit]

In its original broadcast, "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious" finished 38th in ratings for the week of February 3–9, 1997, with a Nielsen rating of 8.8, equivalent to approximately 8.5 million viewing households. It was the third-highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, following The X-files and King of the Hill.[11]

Alf Clausen received an Emmy Award nomination for "Outstanding Music Direction" for this episode.[12]

In 2014, writers for the series picked "Reservoir Cats" from this episode as one of their nine favorite "Itchy & Stratchy" episodes of all time.[13]

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. 173. ISBN 978-0-06-095252-5. LCCN 98141857. OCLC 37796735. OL 433519M. 
  2. ^ a b Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious, BBC.co.uk. Retrieved on March 28, 2007.
  3. ^ a b "SimpsoncalifragilisticexpialaD'oh!cious", The Simpsons.com. Retrieved on March 28, 2007.
  4. ^ "5 Things: Essential Simpsons Episodes". 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Jean, Al (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  6. ^ a b c d Reiss, Mike (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  7. ^ a b Sheetz, Chuck (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  8. ^ Cartwright, Nancy. My Life as a Ten Year old Boy. ISBN 0-7868-6696-9. 
  9. ^ Groening, Matt (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  10. ^ a b Silverman, David (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  11. ^ Associated Press (February 13, 1997). "Top three networks close in ratings". Sun-Sentinel. p. 4E. 
  12. ^ "Every show, every winner, every nominee". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 10, 2007. 
  13. ^ "The Simpsons' Writers Pick Their Favorite 'Itchy & Scratchy' Cartoons". Vulture. March 26, 2014. Retrieved March 27, 2014. 

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