"Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious", is the thirteenth episode of The Simpsons' eighth season and originally aired February 7, 1997. After Marge becomes stressed, the Simpsons hire a new nanny, a Mary Poppins parody, Shary Bobbins (voiced by Maggie Roswell), who tries to help them become better people. It was directed by Chuck Sheetz and was written and executive produced by Al Jean and Mike Reiss. It would also prove to be the last episode for which Mike Reiss received a writing credit. In 2014, Al Jean selected it as one of five essential episodes in the show's history.
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. They start interviewing candidates, but none of them are right for the job (as Homer believes every candidate is a man in drag, à la Mrs. Doubtfire). Bart and Lisa sing a song about what they would consider to be the perfect nanny, and their wishes are answered when a woman with an umbrella glides down from the sky and introduces herself as Shary Bobbins, an obvious parody of Mary Poppins, which she vehemently denies. She seems perfect and is immediately hired.
Shary Bobbins proves to be very helpful for the Simpson family, helping the kids clean their rooms, singing them to sleep, and even making Mr. Burns happy. 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 Bobbins declares that her work is finished and leaves the house. Just as she is starting to miss the Simpson family, 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; the family has instantly reverted to its previous state of dysfunction. Shary realizes that she must stay.
The family now starts to treat her rudely and lose interest in her songs and zest for life. Declaring that the Simpsons would be the death of her, she becomes depressed and starts drinking (while singing "Margaritaville") with Barney. The family realizes that they have "crushed her gentle spirit", and Marge admits to Shary that nothing can be done to change the Simpsons; through song, the family state that they are happy just the way they are. Shary accepts this, and leaves using her magical umbrella. As Shary glides away, Lisa asks whether they will see her again, and Homer is positive that they will; both unaware that behind them, Shary is sucked into a jet engine.
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. 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 Al Jean, but nobody had wanted to flesh it out. After being allowed to come back to produce some Simpsons episodes, Jean and Reiss decided to write this episode. At first, Mike Reiss was against the episode and had felt that it was a bad idea. 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 liked episodes that he co-wrote.
At the time, "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious" had more music in it than any other episode. While writing, Jean thought that the songs would stretch out and make the episode the proper length, but it was considerably shorter than required. Several additional scenes, such as the Itchy & Scratchy segment, were added to pad out the episode. There was originally a sequence where Bart, Lisa and Shary Bobbins visit Patty and Selma who sing "We Love to Smoke", a parody of "I Love to Laugh". 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. During the end song, Homer can be seen dancing along but not singing; this was because the producers forgot to record Dan Castellaneta.
Julie Andrews (who portrayed the titular role in Mary Poppins) was originally slated to appear in the episode as Shary Bobbins, but in the end, the producers went with series regular Maggie Roswell after hearing Roswell's reading for the part.
Quentin Tarantino was also asked to guest star, but he did not want to deliver the lines required, believing them to be insulting. Instead, regular Dan Castellaneta did the voice. Tarantino now regularly wears a "bootleg Itchy & Scratchy T-shirt," which was made by a Simpsons/Tarantino fan, Lisa S. Amsell and given to him in 2001 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood during a screening of Pulp Fiction.
The plot of the episode is a reference to Mary Poppins; Shary Bobbins is based on the character Mary Poppins and the episode title is a spoof of the word "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." Several songs are also direct parodies of songs from the film, including "The Perfect Nanny", "The Life I Lead", "A Spoonful of Sugar", "Feed the Birds" and a deleted scene featured Patty and Selma singing their version of "I Love to Laugh". The montage of Marge losing her hair features the song "Hair" from the musical Hair (though the version heard is The Cowsills version). Homer says he has seen Mrs. Doubtfire and believes that some of the candidates for the role of nanny are men in drag. Homer's imagination is a parody of the dancing characters in Steamboat Willie and features the song "Turkey in the Straw". While walking in the park, Groundskeeper Willie (dressed like Bert in Mary Poppins) is seen singing a cover version of "Maniac" by Michael Sembello. 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 same 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. Shary Bobbins and Barney Gumble sing a drunken rendition of Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville", with Barney wearing an aloha shirt and shaking salt in his mouth after finding the "lost shaker of salt".
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.
In 2014, The Simpsons writers picked "Reservoir Cats" from this episode as one of their nine favorite "Itchy & Stratchy" episodes of all time.
- 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..
- Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious BBC.co.uk. Retrieved on March 28, 2007
- "SimpsoncalifragilisticexpialaD'oh!cious" The Simpsons.com. Retrieved on March 28, 2007
- Jean, Al (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Reiss, Mike (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Sheetz, Chuck (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Cartwright, Nancy. My Life as a Ten Year old Boy. ISBN 0-7868-6696-9.
- Groening, Matt (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Silverman, David (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Associated Press (February 13, 1997). "Top three networks close in ratings". Sun-Sentinel. p. 4E.
- "Every show, every winner, every nominee". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2007-02-10.
- "The Simpsons’ Writers Pick Their Favorite ‘Itchy & Scratchy’ Cartoons". Vulture. 2014-03-26. Retrieved 2014-03-27.
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