The Changing of the Guardian

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"The Changing of the Guardian"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no. 519
Directed by Bob Anderson
Written by Rob LaZebnik
Showrunner(s) Al Jean
Production code RABF04
Original air date January 27, 2013 (2013-01-27)
Couch gag The couch is part of a dunk tank. After the Simpsons sit down, Nelson hurls a ball at the target and the family falls into the water.
Guest star(s) Danny DeVito as Herb Powell
Rashida Jones as Portia

"The Changing of the Guardian" is an episode of The Simpsons. It is the eleventh episode of the 24th season and the 519th episode overall. It aired on January 27, 2013. The title "The Changing of the Guardian" is a pun on the term the changing of the guard.


A storm passes over Springfield, and the Simpson family tries to pass it by playing a board game. Suddenly, Lisa spots a tornado that has touched down and sucks up Santa's Little Helper. Homer and Marge leave the children behind to find Santa's Little Helper and are aided by Lenny and Carl. They come across the tornado which nearly sucks everyone up and then traps Homer and Marge inside the intact building of a bank. The police eventually get them out, but Marge is traumatized by the situation. Realizing that the kids do not have proper guardians, she and Homer decide to find someone to pick as the kids' guardian. They try Grandpa, Patty and Selma, Homer's half-brother Herb Powell (who, for reasons unknown, is now poor again), Kirk and Luann Van Houten, and Cletus and Brandine Spuckler, but Homer and Marge reconsider all of them, and eventually rumors spread through Springfield that they are looking for guardians for their children, to which no one else in Springfield wants to take the job.

Homer and Marge decide to search the shoreline for any childless couples and eventually find Mav, a professional surfer voiced by Hank Azaria.[1] He and his wife Portia, an environmental lawyer voiced by Rashida Jones, both win the hearts of Bart and Lisa, and the couple agrees to become their guardians under the agreement that they borrow the Simpson children for the weekend. Homer and Marge approve, but after a few weeks spent with each other, they find a family photo of Mav and Portia with their kids and realize that the two are planning to induct them into their family. Marge initially wonders if Mav and Portia are more suitable parents than Homer and she ever were, but Homer reassures her that Bart, Lisa, and Maggie are their children and they are their responsibilities. The two rush over to Mav and Portia's place. Mav and Portia refuse to give up the children, but end up deciding to let them go when the children say that they prefer their parents over them.


Danny DeVito stated on Twitter in August 2012 that he was going to be recording dialogue for a new episode.[2]


Critical reception[edit]

The episode received mainly negative reviews with Robert David Sullivan of The A.V. Club giving the episode a C, commenting, "'Changing Of The Guardians' is three mini Simpsons episodes: a comic portrayal of a natural disaster, a well-worn sitcom story with cameos from lots of recurring characters, and a brief tale in which our favorite family is threatened by the Guest Voice Of The Week." He goes on to state that "everything is so rushed that none of this feels sad or tense or heartwarming or funny."[3] Teresa Lopez of TV Fanatic called this episode "the most disappointing I can recall" of the 24th season far. She found it "very difficult to stay tuned in for the whole episode - and that's pretty sad", explaining that "The dullness of the installment lies in the uninspired storytelling".[4] Rob H. Dawson of TV Equals gave the episode an equally negative review saying "The whole thing feels rushed and weird, as well as heavily front-loaded".[5]


The episode was watched by 5.23 million viewers and received a 2.3 rating in the 18-49 demographic. This made it the second most watched show on Fox's Animation Domination lineup that night, beating The Cleveland Show, Bob's Burgers, and American Dad! but losing to Family Guy.[6]


  1. ^ "The Simpsons: Changing of the Guardian". IMDB. Retrieved April 21, 2013. 
  2. ^ DeVito, Danny (August 27, 2012). "Danny DeVito Twitter status 8:47 AM 27 Aug 12". Twitter. Retrieved January 24, 2013. 
  3. ^ Sullivan, Robert David (January 27, 2013). "The Changing of the Guardian". The A.V. Club. Retrieved January 28, 2013. 
  4. ^ "The Simpsons Review: Changing of the Channel". TV Fanatic. 2013-01-27. Retrieved 2014-01-07. 
  5. ^ "The Simpsons Season 24 Review "Changing of the Guardian"". TV Equals. 2013-01-28. Retrieved 2014-01-07. 
  6. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda. "Sunday Final Ratings: 'The Mentalist', 'Family Guy' & 'American Dad' Adjusted Up; 'The Simpsons' Adjusted Down". Zap2it. TV by the Numbers.