Bart Carny

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"Bart Carny"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no.Season 9
Episode 12
Directed by Mark Kirkland
Written by John Swartzwelder
Production code5F08
Original air dateJanuary 11, 1998
Guest appearance(s)

Jim Varney as Cooder

Episode features
Couch gag As the family goes to sit down, the couch gets pulled back. Nelson appears from behind the couch, saying "Ha-Ha". [1]
Commentary Matt Groening
Mike Scully
George Meyer
Mark Kirkland
Episode chronology
 Previous
"All Singing, All Dancing"
Next 
"The Joy of Sect"
The Simpsons (season 9)
List of The Simpsons episodes

"Bart Carny" is the twelfth episode of The Simpsons ' ninth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 11, 1998. [2] Homer and Bart start working at a carnival and befriend a father and son duo named Cooder and Spud. It was written by John Swartzwelder, directed by Mark Kirkland and guest stars Jim Varney as Cooder the carny. [1] The episode contains several cultural references and received a generally mixed critical reception.

<i>The Simpsons</i> American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening

The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical depiction of working-class life, epitomized by the Simpson family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield and parodies American culture and society, television, and the human condition.

<i>The Simpsons</i> (season 9) Episode list for season of animated series

The Simpsons' ninth season originally aired on the Fox network between September 1997 and May 1998, beginning on Sunday, September 21, 1997, with "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson". With Mike Scully as showrunner for the ninth production season, the aired season contained three episodes which were hold-over episodes from season eight, which Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein ran. It also contained two episodes which were run by David Mirkin, and another two hold-over episodes which were run by Al Jean and Mike Reiss.

Fox Broadcasting Company American television network

The Fox Broadcasting Company is an American free-to-air television network that is a flagship property of the Fox Corporation. The network is headquartered at 1211 Avenue of the Americas in New York City, with additional offices at the Fox Broadcasting Center and at the Fox Television Center in Los Angeles.

Contents

Plot

When Marge unsuccessfully tries to get the kids to clean up the backyard, Homer runs into the house to exclaim to the family that the carnival is in town. After trying some rides, Bart gets himself into trouble by crashing a display of Hitler's limousine into a tree. To repay the loss, Bart and Homer become carnies.

Marjorie Jacqueline "Marge" Simpson is a fictional character in the American animated sitcom The Simpsons and part of the eponymous family. She is voiced by Julie Kavner and first appeared on television in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Marge was created and designed by cartoonist Matt Groening while he was waiting in the lobby of James L. Brooks' office. Groening had been called to pitch a series of shorts based on Life in Hell but instead decided to create a new set of characters. He named the character after his mother Margaret Groening. After appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show for three seasons, the Simpson family received their own series on Fox, which debuted December 17, 1989.

Homer Simpson fictional character from The Simpsons franchise

Homer Jay Simpson is a fictional character and the main protagonist of the American animated sitcom The Simpsons. He is voiced by Dan Castellaneta and first appeared on television, along with the rest of his family, in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Homer was created and designed by cartoonist Matt Groening while he was waiting in the lobby of James L. Brooks' office. Groening had been called to pitch a series of shorts based on his comic strip Life in Hell but instead decided to create a new set of characters. He named the character after his father, Homer Groening. After appearing for three seasons on The Tracey Ullman Show, the Simpson family got their own series on Fox that debuted December 17, 1989.

Carnival festive season which occurs immediately before Lent

Carnival is a Western Christian festive season that occurs before the liturgical season of Lent. The main events typically occur during February or early March, during the period historically known as Shrovetide. Carnival typically involves public celebrations, including events such as parades, public street parties and other entertainments, combining some elements of a circus. Elaborate costumes and masks allow people to set aside their everyday individuality and experience a heightened sense of social unity. Participants often indulge in excessive consumption of alcohol, meat, and other foods that will be forgone during upcoming Lent. Traditionally, butter, milk, and other animal products were not consumed "excessively", rather, their stock was fully consumed as to reduce waste. Pancakes, donuts, and other desserts were prepared and eaten for a final time. During Lent, animal products are no longer eaten, and individuals have the ability to give up a certain object or activity of desire.

They meet up with carnies Cooder and his son, Spud. Cooder asks Homer to run his fixed game, but Homer fails to bribe Chief Wiggum, and Cooder's game is shut down. Feeling guilty, Homer invites Cooder and Spud to stay at the Simpson residence, much to Marge's dismay.

Chief Wiggum Fictional character from The Simpsons franchise

Chief Clancy Wiggum is a fictional character from the animated television series The Simpsons, voiced by Hank Azaria. He is the chief of police in the show's setting of Springfield, and is the father of Ralph Wiggum and the husband of Sarah Wiggum.

To express their gratitude, the Cooders give the Simpsons tickets on a glass-bottom boat ride. When the Simpsons return, they find that the locks have been changed, the windows are all boarded up, and the Simpsons' name is crossed off the mailbox and replaced by "The Cooders". The family is forced to take up residence in Bart's treehouse.

Glass-bottom boat

A glass-bottom boat is a boat with one or more sections of glass, or other suitable transparent material, below the waterline allowing passengers to observe the underwater environment from within the boat. When a boat is a glass bottom, the view through is better than simply looking into the water from above, because one does not have to look through optically erratic surface disturbances. The effect is similar to that achieved by a diving mask, while the passengers are able to stay dry, out of the water.

Homer proposes to Cooder, that if he can throw a hula hoop onto the chimney, they get their house back. If he misses, he will sign the deed over to Cooder. Cooder agrees and steps onto the lawn to watch Homer's attempt. Homer stretches and warms up, as if about to throw, but instead he and his family suddenly rush into the house, leaving Cooder and Spud dumbfounded. [3]

Hula hoop toy

A hula hoop is a toy hoop that is twirled around the waist, limbs or neck. The modern hula hoop was invented in 1958 by Arthur K. "Spud" Melin and Richard Knerr, but children and adults around the world have played with hoops throughout history. Hula hoops for children generally measure approximately 70 centimetres (28 in) in diameter, while those for adults measure around 1 metre (40 in). Traditional materials for hoops include willow, rattan, grapevines and stiff grasses. Today, they are usually made of plastic tubing.

Chimney structure that provides ventilation for exhausting the hot or toxic flue gases, aerosols and smokes produced by a boiler, stove, furnace or fireplace inside a building to the outside atmosphere

A chimney is an architectural ventilation structure made of masonry, clay or metal that isolates hot toxic exhaust gases or smoke produced by a boiler, stove, furnace, incinerator or fireplace from human living areas. Chimneys are typically vertical, or as near as possible to vertical, to ensure that the gases flow smoothly, drawing air into the combustion in what is known as the stack, or chimney effect. The space inside a chimney is called the flue. Chimneys are adjacent to large industrial refineries, fossil fuel combustion facilities or part of buildings, steam locomotives and ships.

Production

The Big E Fair was the inspiration for this episode. Big E fair.jpg
The Big E Fair was the inspiration for this episode.

The carnival in this episode is based on The Eastern States Exposition (currently known as The Big E) fair. [4] As a child, Mike Scully went to the fair, and had hoped one day to be a carny. [4] This is the only episode that Mark Kirkland did not tell his parents to watch. [5] This is due to Bart's line "Out of my way, I'm Hitler". Kirkland's stepfather was a lieutenant in World War II and was injured while in combat. Cooder was modeled after David Mirkin, the showrunner of seasons five and six and co-writer and the executive producer of two episodes in the ninth season. [6] Spud's head shape is modeled after Bart's head. The "fisheye effect", when Cooder is looking through the peep hole was drawn by hand, not optically by assistant director Matthew Nastuk. Matt Groening said they had several endings worked out, including one where Homer made the hula hoop over the chimney. [4]

The Eastern States Exposition Annual agricultural fair in western Massachusetts for the six New England states

The Big E, formally known as The Eastern States Exposition, is billed as "New England's Great State fair". It is the largest agricultural event on the eastern seaboard and the sixth-largest fair in the nation. The Big E is inclusive of all six of the New England states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Each of the New England states is prominently represented at the fair.

David Mirkin American film and television writer, director and producer

David Mirkin is an American feature film and television director, writer and producer. Mirkin grew up in Philadelphia and intended to become an electrical engineer, but abandoned this career path in favor of studying film at Loyola Marymount University. After graduating, he became a stand-up comedian, and then moved into television writing. He wrote for the sitcoms Three's Company, It's Garry Shandling's Show and The Larry Sanders Show and served as showrunner on the series Newhart. After an unsuccessful attempt to remake the British series The Young Ones, Mirkin created Get a Life in 1990. The series starred comedian Chris Elliott and ran for two seasons, despite a lack of support from many Fox network executives, who disliked the show's dark and surreal humor. He moved on to create the sketch show The Edge starring his then-partner, actress Julie Brown.

<i>The Simpsons</i> (season 5) Episode list for season of animated series

The Simpsons' fifth season originally aired on the Fox network between September 30, 1993 and May 19, 1994. The showrunner for the fifth production season was David Mirkin who executive produced 20 episodes. Al Jean and Mike Reiss executive produced the remaining two, which were both hold overs that were produced for the previous season. The season contains some of the series' most acclaimed and popular episodes, including "Cape Feare", "Homer Goes to College" and "Rosebud". It also includes the 100th episode, "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song". The season was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards and won an Annie Award for Best Animated Television Program as well as an Environmental Media Award and a Genesis Award. The DVD box set was released in Region 1 on December 21, 2004, Region 2 on March 21, 2005, and Region 4 on March 23, 2005.

Cultural references

When Homer and Bart talk through their teeth while holding the chickens, it is a reference to Bob Hope and Bing Crosby films. [6] Some of the prizes for the ring toss game are a Def Leppard mirror, [6] a Rubik's Cube, and a Magic 8-Ball. [7] The song being played at the end when Homer fixes his "ass groove" is "Groove Me" by King Floyd. [6]

The episode makes two references to a past Simpsons episode, "The Old Man and the Lisa." Marge advises Homer not ride the Tooth Chipper roller coaster because of his quadruple bypass. During the family's glass-bottom boat ride, a barrel of Li'l Lisa's Patented Animal Slurry is visible on the sea floor.

Reception

In its original broadcast, "Bart Carny" finished 13th in ratings for the week of January 5–11, 1998, with a Nielsen rating of 11.9, equivalent to approximately 11.7 million viewing households, making it the highest rated episode of Season 9. It was tied with King of the Hill as the second highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, following The X-Files . [8]

The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, called it "one of the most dismally unfunny episodes ever, lifted only by the brief appearance of a talking camel and Homer's clever way of getting Cooder and Spud out of his home. Whereas most of the series' politically incorrect moments are funny and well-observed, this episode seems to be saying that fairground folk and travelers really are deeply unpleasant criminals who are both irredeemable and unworthy of help. Nasty-taste-in-the-mouth time." [1]

Isaac Mitchell-Frey of the Herald Sun described the episode as "brilliant", and highlighted it along with episodes "The Trouble with Trillions" and "The Joy of Sect" and it has been described by the other Simpsons writers in the DVD audio commentary as "criminally underrated". [9]

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Margaret "Maggie" Simpson is a fictional character in the animated television series The Simpsons. She first appeared on television in the Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Maggie was created and designed by cartoonist Matt Groening while he was waiting in the lobby of James L. Brooks' office. She received her first name from Groening's youngest sister. After appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show for three years, the Simpson family was given their own series on the Fox Broadcasting Company which debuted December 17, 1989.

Bart Simpson fictional character from The Simpsons franchise

Bartholomew JoJo "Bart" Simpson is a fictional character in the American animated television series The Simpsons and part of the Simpson family. He is voiced by Nancy Cartwright and first appeared on television in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Cartoonist Matt Groening created and designed Bart while waiting in the lobby of James L. Brooks' office. Groening had been called to pitch a series of shorts based on his comic strip, Life in Hell, but instead decided to create a new set of characters. While the rest of the characters were named after Groening's family members, Bart's name is an anagram of the word brat. After appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show for three years, the Simpson family received its own series on Fox, which debuted December 17, 1989.

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References

  1. 1 2 3 Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "Bart Carny". BBC. Retrieved 2007-11-05.
  2. "Bart Carny". The Simpsons.com. Retrieved 2011-09-24.
  3. Gimple, Scott M. (December 1, 1999). The Simpsons Forever!: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family ...Continued . HarperCollins. ISBN   978-0-06-098763-3.
  4. 1 2 3 Scully, Mike (2006). The Simpsons The Complete Ninth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Bart Carny" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  5. Kirkland, Mark (2006). The Simpsons The Complete Ninth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Bart Carny" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  6. 1 2 3 4 The Simpsons The Complete Ninth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Bart Carny" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 2006.
  7. Groening, Matt (1997). Richmond, Ray; Coffman, Antonia (eds.). The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family (1st ed.). New York: HarperPerennial. p. 25. ISBN   978-0-06-095252-5. LCCN   98141857. OCLC   37796735. OL   433519M..
  8. Associated Press (January 15, 1998). "NBC reclaims Nielsen ratings title". Sun-Sentinel. p. 4E.
  9. Mitchell-Frey, Isaac (February 11, 2007). "Comedy - The Simpsons, Series 9". Herald Sun . p. E12.