The Simpsons (season 20)

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The Simpsons Season 20
230px
The Blu-ray cover of this season's boxset.
Country of originUSA
No. of episodes21[1]
Release
Original networkFox
Original releaseSeptember 28, 2008 –
May 17, 2009[1]
Season chronology
← Previous
19
Next →
21

The Simpsons' twentieth season aired on Fox from September 28, 2008 to May 17, 2009.[1] With this season, the show tied Gunsmoke as the longest running American primetime television series in terms of total number of seasons.[2] The season was released on DVD and Blu-ray on January 12, 2010, making it the first The Simpsons season to be offered in the Blu-ray format.[3]

Production

It contained nine holdover episodes from the season 19 (KABF) production line.[4]

Production on the season was delayed because of contract negotiations with the six main voice actors.[5] The dispute was resolved, and the actors' salary was raised to $400,000 (US) per episode. The delay in production caused the planned 22 episodes to be shortened to 21.[6] In addition, voice actor Dan Castellaneta was credited as a consulting producer for the first time.[6]

The Simpsons began high-definition production in season 20. The first episode in HD, "Take My Life, Please", aired on February 15, 2009, along with a new opening sequence.

20th anniversary

In 2009, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the premiere of The Simpsons, Fox announced earlier in the year that a year-long celebration of the show titled "Best. 20 Years. Ever." would run from January 14, 2009 to January 14, 2010. Several contests are being run, including the "Unleash Your Yellow" contest in which entrants must design a poster for the show[7] and "Best. Couch Gag. Ever." where fans create their own live-action couch gag video.[8]

As part of the celebration, the Irish-themed episode "In the Name of the Grandfather" premiered on Sky1 in the United Kingdom and Ireland on March 17, 2009. It was the first-ever episode of the show to air in Europe before airing in the United States. The American debut of the episode was on March 22.[9]

Awards

Episodes from the twentieth season received five Primetime Emmy Award nominations. "Gone Maggie Gone" was nominated for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming less than One Hour) and Outstanding Music Composition for a Series. Dan Castellaneta won the Outstanding Voice-Over Performance Emmy for voicing Homer in the episode "Father Knows Worst"; Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer were also nominated for the episodes "Eeny Teeny Maya, Moe" and "The Burns and the Bees" respectively. The winners were announced on September 12, 2009.[10] The Simpsons was the only series to be nominated in the Animation category at the Writers Guild of America Awards in 2010. The nominees are: Stephanie Gillis for "The Burns and The Bees", John Frink for "Eeny Teeny Maya Moe", Billy Kimball & Ian Maxtone-Graham for Gone Maggie Gone", Don Payne for "Take My Life, Please", and Joel H. Cohen for "Wedding for Disaster". The winner will be announced February 20, 2010.[11]

Viewership

The season ranked 77th in ratings with an average of 7.12 million viewers and a 18/49 rating of 3.4/9[12] and the rerun timeslot ranking 113th.[13] The most viewed episode Treehouse of Horror XIX with 12.48 million watching it and a 4.9 Nielsen rating.[14]The least viewed episode was Four Great Women and a Manicure which is also the least viewed episode of the series.[15]

Episodes

# Original title Directed by Written by Original airdate Prod. code
421–1"Sex, Pies and Idiot Scrapes"Lance KramerKevin CurranSeptember 28, 2008 (2008-09-28)KABF17
After serving a jail sentence for starting a brawl at an alcohol-free St. Patrick's Day parade, Homer becomes a bounty hunter and tags Flanders along for the ride. Meanwhile, an Irish man gives Marge a job at his bakery, which Marge soon discovers specializes in sexually suggestive pastries.
Guest stars: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Robert Forster and Joe Mantegna.[16]
422–2"Lost Verizon"Raymond S. PersiJohn FrinkOctober 5, 2008 (2008-10-05)KABF15
When Bart is tired of not having a cellphone, he tries to work in a country club as a golf ball finder so he can get paid but Groundskeeper Willie took all of the golf balls he found. While working at the country club, Bart sees Denis Leary throw his phone away and he picks it up. Bart uses this opportunity to go on a prank-calling spree until Marge finds out what he's been up to and contacts Leary. Leary lets Bart keep the phone, but also turns it into a tracking device for Marge to keep tabs on Bart.
Guest stars: Denis Leary and Brian Grazer.[17][18]
423–3"Double, Double, Boy in Trouble"Michael PolcinoBill OdenkirkOctober 19, 2008 (2008-10-19)KABF14
Bart meets Simon Woosterfield, a boy who looks exactly like him and is a member of Springfield's richest family. As a prank, the two decide to switch places, but the joke is on Bart when Bart discovers that Simon is being targeted for murder by his own siblings.
Guest star: Joe Montana.[19][20]
424–4"Treehouse of Horror XIX"Bob AndersonMatt WarburtonNovember 2, 2008 (2008-11-02)KABF16

Intro: Homer tries to vote for presidential nominee Barack Obama but the machine is rigged to place votes for John McCain.

Untitled Robot Parody: In a light parody of Transformers, Lisa gets a Malibu Stacy car that turns into a robot bent on fighting the mortal enemy of his race (more transforming robots). [21]
How to Get Ahead in Dead-Vertising: After accidentally killing Krusty the Clown, Homer is hired by two ad agents who have discovered a legal loophole in using celebrity likenesses in their ad campaigns. [22]
It's the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse: In this parody of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Milhouse summons the Grand Pumpkin, but it ends up going on a rampage after seeing humans carve pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns.[21]
425–5"Dangerous Curves"Matthew FaughnanBilly Kimball
Ian Maxtone-Graham
November 9, 2008 (2008-11-09)KABF18
In this latest flashback episode, Homer and Marge remember their dating years where a young Ned and Maude tries to keep them apart and their early years of marriage where Homer and Marge almost cheated on each other.[23]
Guest star: Maurice LaMarche.
426–6"Homer and Lisa Exchange Cross Words"Nancy KruseTim LongNovember 16, 2008 (2008-11-16)KABF19
Lisa becomes obsessed with crossword puzzles and enters a contest, where Homer places bets against his daughter in order to earn money lost from his couples break-up business.[24]
Guest stars: Will Shortz, Merl Reagle and Scott Thompson.
427–7"Mypods and Boomsticks"Steven Dean MooreMarc WilmoreNovember 30, 2008 (2008-11-30)KABF20
Bart makes friends with a Muslim boy and his family, but Homer fears the family may be terrorists because of their religion. Meanwhile, Lisa buys a MyPod and becomes addicted to downloading songs on it.[25]
Guest star: Shohreh Aghdashloo.
428–8"The Burns and the Bees"Mark KirklandStephanie GillisDecember 7, 2008 (2008-12-07)KABF21
After winning the "Austin Celtics" in a game of poker, Mr. Burns builds a new stadium in Springfield in the same place where Lisa has built a bee colony to save honeybees from extinction.[26]
Guest stars: Mark Cuban, Jeff Bezos and Marv Albert.
429–9"Lisa the Drama Queen"Matthew NastukBrian KelleyJanuary 25, 2009 (2009-01-25)KABF22
Lisa meets a new girl named Juilet and helps her write stories about a fantasy world called Equalia, but spending too much time with Juilet (and the story) begins to warp Lisa's sense of reality.
Guest stars: Emily Blunt[27][28] and Fall Out Boy.[29]
430–10"Take My Life, Please"Steven Dean MooreDon PayneFebruary 15, 2009 (2009-02-15)LABF01
After an old high school rival named Vance is honored at on the Springfield Wall of Fame, Homer becomes depressed when he discovers that Principal Dondelinger rigged the student council election so Vance would win. While at an Italian restaurant, a mysterious chef shows Homer how his life would have turned out had he actually won.[30]
NOTE: Starting with this episode, The Simpsons now airs in 720p high-definition and includes a new opening sequence.
431–11"How the Test Was Won"Lance KramerMichael PriceMarch 1, 2009 (2009-03-01)LABF02
Bart gets a perfect score on Springfield Elementary's latest standardized test, leaving Lisa worried that Bart may be smarter than her when Bart is rewarded with a field trip -- that turns out to be an elaborate trick into getting the low-testing students out of the way. Meanwhile, Homer forgets to mail off his insurance payment and must keep himself and the house accident-free until his coverage can be reinstated at 3:00pm.[31]
432–12"No Loan Again, Naturally"Mark KirklandJeff WestbrookMarch 8, 2009 (2009-03-08)LABF03
The Simpsons get into a mortgage crisis of their own when Homer can't afford to pay off the money he borrows from his home equity loan (so he can finance his extravagant Mardi Gras parties) and the Simpsons sell their home to Ned Flanders.[32]
Guest star: Maurice LaMarche.
433–13"Gone Maggie Gone"Chris ClementsBilly Kimball
Ian Maxtone-Graham
March 15, 2009 (2009-03-15)LABF04

Homer leaves Maggie on the doorstep of a convent, setting off a DaVinci Code-style chain of events involving The Freemasons and the hunt for a rare jewel. Meanwhile, Marge goes blind after viewing an eclipse without an eclipse shoe box viewer and Homer tries to cover up Maggie's disappearance.[33]

Guest star: Ed Begley, Jr.
434–14"In the Name of the Grandfather"Ralph SosaMatt MarshallMarch 22, 2009 (2009-03-22)LABF11[36]
After neglecting his father during a three-legged race, Homer makes it up to Grampa Simpson by taking him to a pub in Ireland, only to learn that pubs aren't popular in Ireland anymore.[34]
Guest stars: Colm Meaney, Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová.[35]
435–15"Wedding for Disaster"Chuck SheetzJoel H. CohenMarch 29, 2009 (2009-03-29)LABF05
When Reverend Lovejoy tells Homer and Marge that their marriage is invalid (after discovering that his license to wed expired around the time Homer and Marge remarried on the season eight episode "A Milhouse Divided"), Homer and Marge decide to have another wedding to legitimize their union once and for all. But when Marge begins acting like a bridezilla and Homer mysteriously disappears, it's up to Bart and Lisa to save the day.[37]
Guest star: Kelsey Grammer.
436–16"Eeny Teeny Maya Moe"Nancy KruseJohn FrinkApril 5, 2009 (2009-04-05)LABF06
Moe once again searches for love and falls for a woman named Maya over the Internet. However, when Moe meets Maya face-to-face, he discovers it's more like face-to-knee, as Maya is only three feet tall. Meanwhile, Homer puts Maggie in a playground populated by hostile babies.[38]
437–17"The Good, the Sad and the Drugly"Rob OliverMarc WilmoreApril 19, 2009 (2009-04-19)LABF07
Bart sets up Milhouse to take the fall for a prank the two of them pulled, and the duo's friendship becomes strained when Bart falls for a charitable girl named Jenny. Meanwhile, Lisa goes insane when she finds articles on the Internet predicting that Springfield will be a barren wasteland in fifty years, and is prescribed a strong anti-depressant that turns her into a mindless zombie.
Guest star: Anne Hathaway.[39]
438–18"Father Knows Worst"Matthew NastukRob LaZebnikApril 26, 2009 (2009-04-26)LABF08
Marge discovers a sauna in the basement of their house and shuts herself off from the rest of the world. Meanwhile, Homer becomes a stricter parent after meeting a helicopter mom who criticizes Bart for being an academic failure and Lisa for being a social outcast.[40]
439–19"Waverly Hills 9-0-2-1-D'oh"Michael PolcinoJ. Stewart BurnsMay 3, 2009 (2009-05-03)LABF10
Marge discovers how low-rent Springfield Elementary School really is and moves Bart and Lisa to Waverly Hills Elementary by having Homer rent an apartment there so the city inspector of Waverly Hills (who cracks down on out-of-towners who only register for a Waverly Hills address so they can send their kids to that town's school) doesn't get suspicious. Meanwhile, Bart helps Lisa become popular by telling others that Lisa is friends with a teenage pop star named Alaska Nebraska.
Guest stars: Ellen Page and Maurice LaMarche.[1]
440–20"Four Great Women and a Manicure"Raymond S. PersiValentina L. GarzaMay 10, 2009 (2009-05-10)LABF09[41]
While at a nail salon, Marge and Lisa argue over whether or not a woman can be smart, beautiful, and powerful all at once, which leads to yet another Simpsons anthology show, featuring four stories of women trying to survive in a man's world: Aunt Selma defending England as Queen Elizabeth I, Lisa in a non-copyright-infringing retelling of Snow White, Marge pushing Homer to be a great Shakespearean actor in a modern-day version of MacBeth, and Maggie fighting against conformity in a parody of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead.
Guest star: Jodie Foster.[1]
441–21"Coming to Homerica"Steven Dean MooreBrendan HayMay 17, 2009 (2009-05-17)LABF12[42]
The citizens of Ogdenville swarm into Springfield in search of work after their local economy plummets (thanks, in no small part, to Krusty's veggie burgers, which contain tainted Ogdenville barley), but when the Ogdenvillians' Norwegian culture begins rubbing off on (and annoying) others, Mayor Quimby hires citizens to act as border patrol.[1]

DVD release

The Complete Twentieth Season
Set Details Special Feature
Release Dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
January 12, 2010 -

References

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  2. ^ Bill Keveney (2008-09-28). "'The Simpsons' Hits a Landmark". ABC. Retrieved 2008-10-02.
  3. ^ "The Simpsons DVD news: Announcement for The Simpsons - The Complete 20th Season". TvShowsOnDVD. 2009-10-28. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
  4. ^ "Fox Announces Primetime Slate for 2008-2009". FoxFlash. 2008-05-15. Retrieved 2008-05-15.
  5. ^ Michael Schneider (2008-05-19). "Still no deal for 'Simpsons' cast". Variety. Retrieved 2008-05-20.
  6. ^ a b "Simpsons cast sign new pay deal". BBC News. 2008-06-03. Retrieved 2008-09-08.
  7. ^ Wallace, Lewis (2009-01-13). "Simpsons Poster Contest Will Have Fans Seeing Yellow". Wired. Retrieved 2009-01-14.
  8. ^ "Unleashe more of your yellow with "The Simpsons" video contest". Retrieved 2009-04-07.
  9. ^ Schneider, Michael (2009-03-16). "Ireland, U.K. to air 'The Simpsons'". Variety. Retrieved 2009-03-17.
  10. ^ "The 61st Primetime Emmy® Awards and 2009 Creative Arts Emmy® Awards Nominees are..." Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. 2009-07-16. Retrieved 2009-07-16. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  11. ^ "2010 Writers Guild Awards Television, Radio, News, Promotional Writing, and Graphic Animation Nominees Announced". Writers Guild of America. 2009-12-14. Retrieved 2010-01-12.
  12. ^ http://www.nohomers.net/showthread.php?t=81225&highlight=Simpsons+Ratings+2008
  13. ^ http://abcmedianet.com/web/dnr/dispDNR.aspx?id=051909_05
  14. ^ "TV Ratings: NFL, 'Simpsons' Lead the Way Sunday". Zap2it. 2008-11-03. Retrieved 2008-11-03.
  15. ^ Ratings: Four Great Women and Another All Time Low!
  16. ^ "Official press release for "Sex, Pies and Idiot Scrapes"". FoxFlash. 2008-09-12. Retrieved 2008-09-12.
  17. ^ Army Archerd (2007-08-16). "Matt Damon & Bart Simpson!". Variety. Retrieved 2007-10-23.
  18. ^ "Official press release for "Lost Verizon"". FoxFlash. 2008-09-12. Retrieved 2008-09-12.
  19. ^ "Official press release for "Double, Double, Boy in Trouble"". FoxFlash. 2008-09-25. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
  20. ^ Reg. # PAu002922103 in the U.S. Copyright Records database Retrieved on May 19, 2008
  21. ^ a b Jim Vejvoda (2008-07-26). "SDCC 08: Simpsons Footage Screened". IGN. Retrieved 2008-07-26.
  22. ^ April MacIntyre (2008-09-25). "'The Simpsons' Al Jean interview, new season begins September 28". Monsters and Critics. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
  23. ^ "Official press release for "Dangerous Curves"". Futon Critic. 2008-10-17. Retrieved 2008-10-17.
  24. ^ "Lisa becomes a crossword puzzle phenom on "The Simpsons"". Futon Critic. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  25. ^ "Homer suspects Bart's new friend of orchestrating a terrorist plot on "The Simpsons". Futon Critic. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  26. ^ "Lisa tries to save the endangered Springfield bee population from Mr. Burns and his new sports arena on "The Simpsons". Futon Critic. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  27. ^ "Gallery photos". FoxFlash. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
  28. ^ Feinberg, Daniel (2008-11-14). "Al Jean puzzles over 'Simpsons' future". Zap2it. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  29. ^ Newman, Melinda (2009-01-15). "D'oh! Fall Out Boy Records 'Simpsons' Theme". HitFix. Retrieved 2009-01-07.
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  31. ^ "Primetime Listings (February 22 - February 28)". FoxFlash. 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  32. ^ "Primetime Listings (March 1 - March 7)". FoxFlash. 2009-02-18. Retrieved 2009-02-18.
  33. ^ "Primetime Listings (March 8 - March 14)". FoxFlash. 2009-02-20. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
  34. ^ Pope, Conor (2009-02-23). "Simpsons Irish adventure to be screened on Patrick's Day". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2009-02-23.
  35. ^ "Primetime listings (March 15-March 21)". FoxFlash. 2009-02-27. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
  36. ^ Reg. # PAu003355663 in the U.S. Copyright Records database Retrieved on September 12, 2008.
  37. ^ "Primetime Listings (March 21 - March 28)". FoxFlash. 2009-02-20. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
  38. ^ "Primetime Listings (March 29 - April 4)". FoxFlash. 2009-03-17. Retrieved 2009-03-17.
  39. ^ Dan Snierson (2008-09-03). "Exclusive: Jodie Foster, Anne Hathaway to guest on 'The Simpsons'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2008-09-04.
  40. ^ "Primetime Listings (April 19 - April 25)". FoxFlash. 2009-04-04. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
  41. ^ Reg. # PAu003354177 in the U.S. Copyright Records database Retrieved on August 31, 2008
  42. ^ Reg. # PAu003355661 in the U.S. Copyright Records database Retrieved on September 12, 2008