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Monday, March 2, 2015

Retro Review: Itchy & Scratchy Land

Original Airdate
October 2, 1994

Or the One Where 
The Simpsons visit Itchy & Scratchy Land. 

The Setup 
After seeing Krusty's commercial for Itchy & Scratchy Land, Bart & Lisa convince their parents to take the family there on vacation instead of the bird sanctuary, promising lots of family togetherness and good memories.

Notable Notes
This episode was created in response to newer, more stringent censorship laws, which had led to a decrease of Itchy & Scratchy cartoons on the show. The goal was to craft an episode that was as violent as possible, and showrunner David Mirkin had to fight Fox to keep much of it intact. 

Thanks to this episode, whenever I park in a large parking lot or one which has labels intended to make it easier to remember where the car is parked (like how the Mall of America labels each level of the parking ramps with the name of a different state), I often remark (much to my wife's rolling eyes), "Remember, we parked in the Itchy lot."

Also, "smashy smashy", whenever I, you know, smash stuff.

 
Quotable Quotes
Bart: Cool personalized plates! "Barclay"..."Barry"..."Bert"..."Bort"? Aw, come on. "Bort"?
Child: Mommy, mommy! Buy me a license plate.
Mother: No. Come along, Bort.
Man: Are you talking to me?
Mother: No, my son is also named Bort.

Bandleader: Welcome to T. G. I. McScratchy's where it's constantly New Year's Eve. Here we go again! Three, two, one!
Everyone: Happy new year!
Marge: It must be wonderful to ring in the new year over and over and over.
Waiter: Please, kill me.

Narrator: Roger Meyers senior, the gentle genius behind Itchy and Scratchy, loved and cared about almost all the peoples of the world. And he, in turn, was beloved by the world, except in 1938 when he was criticized for hiscontroversial cartoon, "Nazi Supermen Are Our Superiors".

Marge: Oh, I'm so embarrassed I wish there was a hole I could just crawl into and die.
Officer: OK, throw her in zee hole.
Marge: Oh, please: it was just a figure of speech!

Bart: [German accent] Hey mouse...say cheese...with a dry, cool wit like that, I could be an action hero.
Homer: Die, bad robots, die! With a dry, cool wit like that, I could be an action hero.


Teebore's Take
There's probably something deeper at play in this episode, about family vacations and managing expectations and the different ways the ephemeral notion of "family togetherness" can be achieved, as well the fear of capitalism run amok (with the Disney-esque animatronic robots rising up against humanity at the park) but really, this just a hilarious episode-long parody of Disney and Disneyland (with some generic action parodies thrown in). The goal is first and foremost to be funny, and it succeeds in that, to great measure. It's also a rare episode that's about the Simpsons as a family, as opposed to one or two of the individual members, where everyone is on equal footing within the plot and each given something humorous to do. Which, I suppose, ties back in with that whole "family togetherness" stuff.  

Classic

One of the series' all time best, just for being so damned funny.

5 comments:

  1. An absolute favorite episode of mine, since it manages to reference several favorite movies & the ongoing pain of never finding your name on stuff.

    I also like to think this episode is responsible for Disney shuttering their Pleasure Island area.

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Mela: An absolute favorite episode of mine, since it manages to reference several favorite movies & the ongoing pain of never finding your name on stuff.

    Ah, yes. The name "Austin" has grown in popularity recently (such that I now quite often hear moms yelling at their little kids when out and about), but that's a pain I know far too well from decades of it being an atypical name.

    On the plus side, we never had to deal with having classes with someone else with the same name (I had one class in college with another Austin, and I suddenly knew the pain of Johns).

    ReplyDelete
  3. There was always another Matt in my classes as a youngster, so for most of school I was Matthew. One friend still calls me that.

    The "Bort" thing was doubly funny back in high school because there was a kid with the last name of Bort. A few laughs were had over that.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The pain* of being named "Michael" and absolutely NEVER being the only one in class still lingers...

    This is one of those episodes where I remember all the bits but forget that they all came from the same show. Definitely one of the funniest.

    - Mike Loughlin

    * mild annoyance

    ReplyDelete
  5. @Mike: But at least you could always find novelty items pre-labeled with your name. :)

    ReplyDelete

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