Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious

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"Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no.Season 8
Episode 13
Directed byChuck Sheetz
Written byAl Jean
Mike Reiss
Production code3G03
Original air dateFebruary 7, 1997 (1997-02-07)
Guest appearance
Episode features
Chalkboard gag"I will not hide the teacher's Prozac"[1]
Couch gagThe living room is empty. Outside, Homer is struggling with a locked front door while the other members of the family wait impatiently.[2]
CommentaryMatt Groening
Al Jean
Mike Reiss
Chuck Sheetz
David Silverman
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Mountain of Madness"
Next →
"The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show"
The Simpsons (season 8)
List of episodes

"Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious", also known as "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpialad'ohcious" is the thirteenth episode of the eighth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons, that originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 7, 1997. When Marge becomes stressed, the Simpsons hire a nanny, a Mary Poppins parody named Shary Bobbins (voiced by Maggie Roswell). 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.[3]

The episode was inspired by the 1964 Disney film Mary Poppins.

Plot[edit]

When Marge finds that she is losing her hair at an alarming rate, she visits Dr. Hibbert, who informs her that stress is the cause. The Simpson family decide to hire a nanny to perform housework and childcare while Marge recovers. They are unable to find anyone suitable until a woman glides from the sky with a magical-parrot headed umbrella, introducing herself as Shary Bobbins. She is deemed perfect and is hired. Shary proves helpful for the Simpson family, and Marge's hair grows back once her stress subsides. As the reformed family sits down to a perfect dinner, Shary declares her work done and prepares to leave, only for the family to instantly revert to their original state of dysfunction the moment she steps out of the house. Resignedly, she decides to stay.

The family begins to treat Shary poorly, and they lose interest in her zest for life and zealous reform. Declaring that the Simpsons will be the death of her, Shary spirals into depression. Shary becomes an alcoholic and channels her misery into her singing. Realizing the effect the Simpsons have had on Shary, Marge admits that nothing can change them, and the family expresses their contentment with their lives through a song. Shary accepts that she can do nothing to change the Simpsons' lives and bids farewell to the family as she glides away into the sky using her umbrella; unbeknownst to the Simpsons, she is soon killed after she is sucked into the engine of a passing airplane.

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.[4] 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.[4] At first, Reiss was against the episode and felt that it was a bad idea.[5] 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.[5] At the time, "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious" had more music in it than any other episode.[6] While writing, Jean thought that the songs would stretch out and make the episode the proper length but it was considerably shorter than required.[4] Several additional scenes, such as the full-length opening sequence and the Itchy & Scratchy segment, were added to pad out the episode.[4] 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".[4] 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.[4] During the end song, Homer can be seen dancing along but not singing; this was because the producers forgot to record Dan Castellaneta.[5] Many of the scenes were animated by Eric Stefani, a former member of No Doubt, who specialized in animation for musical numbers.[6]

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.[5][7] Quentin Tarantino was also asked to guest star as himself in the Itchy and Scratchy short, but he did not want to deliver the lines required, believing them to be insulting.[4] Instead, regular Dan Castellaneta did the voice.[8]

Cultural references[edit]

Shary Bobbins is based on the character Mary Poppins.

The overall plot is a reference to the 1964 Disney film Mary Poppins and the book series it was adapted from; Shary Bobbins is based on the character Mary Poppins and the episode title is a spoof of the word "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" from the film. Several of the musical numbers are 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 features Patty and Selma singing their version of "I Love to Laugh".[4]

The montage of Marge losing her hair features the song "Hair" from the musical of the same name (though the version heard is The Cowsills version).[9] Homer says he has seen Mrs. Doubtfire and believes that some of the candidates for the role of nanny are men in drag.[4] Homer's imagination is a parody of the dancing characters in Steamboat Willie and features the song "Turkey in the Straw".[9] 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, more specifically he yells "Boy for Sale", a reference to a song in the musical film adaptation Oliver!

The Itchy & Scratchy short "Reservoir Cats" is a parody of the scene in Quentin Tarantino's 1992 film 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 Tarantino's 1994 film Pulp Fiction.[4] Tarantino was originally hired to voice himself, but he disliked the dialogue he was given. The role was then given to Dan Castellaneta.

Shary and Barney Gumble sing a drunken rendition of Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville".[4]

Krusty's television special "Krusty Komedy Klassic" subtly lampshades the implications from its initials which are the same for the Ku Klux Klan. Krusty's "Mad About Shoe" sketch is a reference to the NBC sitcom Mad About You, while the unseen "NYPD Shoe" sketch references the ABC drama NYPD Blue.

Principal Skinner is seen in a short, anachronistically Victorian scene, trying to sell Jimbo Jones in the park ("Boy for sale!"). He answers Jimbo's doubts by stating that this is legal only in Springfield's state and in Mississippi. Until 2009 there was actually no law in Mississippi prohibiting the sale of children.[10]

Reception[edit]

In its original broadcast, "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious" finished 76th in ratings for the week of February 3–9, 1997, with a Nielsen rating of 5.6, equivalent to approximately 5.4 million viewing households.[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 & Scratchy" 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 Archived 2014-09-04 at the Wayback Machine, BBC.co.uk. Retrieved on March 28, 2007.
  3. ^ Ayers, Mike (August 18, 2014). "5 Things: Essential Simpsons Episodes". Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on June 14, 2016. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ a b c d Reiss, Mike (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  6. ^ a b Sheetz, Chuck (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  7. ^ Cartwright, Nancy (October 31, 2000). My Life as a Ten Year old Boy. Hyperion Books. ISBN 0-7868-6696-9.
  8. ^ Groening, Matt (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  9. ^ a b Silverman, David (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  10. ^ Mott, Ronni (March 6, 2009). "Legislators Make Child-Selling Illegal". Jackson Free Press. Archived from the original on January 27, 2023. Retrieved April 5, 2023.
  11. ^ "Top three networks close in ratings". Sun-Sentinel. Associated Press. February 13, 1997. p. 4E.
  12. ^ "Every show, every winner, every nominee". The Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 4, 2008. Retrieved February 10, 2007.
  13. ^ "The Simpsons' Writers Pick Their Favorite 'Itchy & Scratchy' Cartoons". Vulture. March 26, 2014. Archived from the original on March 27, 2014. Retrieved March 27, 2014.

External links[edit]