Realty Bites

Last updated
"Realty Bites"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no.Season 9
Episode 9
Directed by Swinton O. Scott III
Written by Dan Greaney
Production code5F06
Original air dateDecember 7, 1997
Guest appearance(s)
Episode features
Chalkboard gag "There was no Roman god named "Fartacus"". [1]
Couch gag A live-action hand spins the family around like spin art. [2]
CommentaryMike Scully
Dan Greaney
Richard Appel
Swinton O. Scott III
Episode chronology
 Previous
"Lisa the Skeptic"
Next 
"Miracle on Evergreen Terrace"
The Simpsons (season 9)
List of The Simpsons episodes

"Realty Bites" is the ninth episode of The Simpsons ' ninth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on December 7, 1997. [1] The episode sees Marge becoming a real estate agent, while Homer enjoys Snake's car. It was written by Dan Greaney and directed by Swinton O. Scott III. [1]

<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

This episode has the final speaking appearance of Lionel Hutz, five months before the death of Phil Hartman. The episode's development grew out of a desire by the writers to do a show focused on Marge, where her job did not work out. The episode received positive mention in the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, and is featured in the special 2003 DVD release The Simpsons: Risky Business.

Lionel Hutz The Simpsons character

Lionel Hutz is a fictional character in the American animated TV sitcom The Simpsons. He was voiced by Phil Hartman, and his first appearance was in the season two episode "Bart Gets Hit by a Car". Hutz is a stereotypical ambulance chasing lawyer in Springfield with questionable competence and ethics. He is nevertheless often hired by the Simpsons. Following Hartman's murder by the hands of his wife in 1998, Hutz was retired; and his final speaking role was in the season nine episode "Realty Bites" five months earlier.

Phil Hartman Canadian-American actor, comedian, screenwriter and graphic artist

Philip Edward Hartmann was a Canadian-American actor, comedian, screenwriter, and graphic artist. Born in Brantford, Ontario, Hartman and his family moved to the United States in 1958. After graduating from California State University, Northridge with a degree in graphic arts, he designed album covers for bands including Poco and America. Hartman joined the comedy group the Groundlings in 1975 and there helped comedian Paul Reubens develop his character Pee-wee Herman. Hartman co-wrote the film Pee-wee's Big Adventure and made recurring appearances as Captain Carl on Reubens's show Pee-wee's Playhouse.

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.

Plot

Homer drags Marge to a police seized-property auction. While there, he buys Snake's car, the Li'l Bandit. Upon seeing this, Snake vows to kill Homer. After the auction, Marge encounters Lionel Hutz, who has become a realtor. Marge decides to try the job for herself and begins to work for Hutz at Red Blazer Realty. She tells prospective buyers her honest opinion about the houses she shows them.

Due to her honesty, Marge does not sell any homes. Hutz informs her to use more positive descriptions when selling the houses, and also informs Marge if she does not sell a house in the first week, she will be fired. Marge tries to bend the truth, but fails as she just cannot lie to others. Marge does not disclose the entire truth of the house she sells to Ned Flanders and his family, which had been the site of a multiple homicide. The Flanders purchase the house and bid farewell to the Simpsons.

Ned Flanders Fictional character from The Simpsons franchise

Nedward Flanders Jr. is a recurring fictional character in the animated television series The Simpsons. He is voiced by Harry Shearer, and first appeared in the series premiere episode "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire". He is the extremely religious, good-natured, cheery next-door neighbor to the Simpson family and is generally envied and loathed by Homer Simpson. A scrupulous and devout Evangelical Christian, he is among the friendliest and most compassionate of Springfield's residents and is generally considered a pillar of the Springfield community. Ned Flanders appearance is based on Great Britain's Stuart Parker.

Meanwhile, Snake escapes from the prison and jumps into the Li'l Bandit to retrieve the car from Homer. They start fighting each other to gain control of the moving car, and Chief Wiggum starts chasing them.

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.

Feeling guilty about her deception and concerned for the Flanders' safety, Marge goes to check on them at their new house. There, she tells them the truth about the murders, but they are not annoyed. Ned and Maude are pleased to be a part of Springfield's history, and refuse Marge's offer of returning the deposit. Unfortunately, the house is destroyed seconds later when Li'l Bandit and Wiggum's police car crash through the house. Marge returns Flanders' down payment. Hutz, annoyed at the damage costs and especially by the return of the money, fires Marge (giving her a Red Blazer embroidered with this information). At the end of the episode, Homer takes Marge to the government unemployment office to collect a welfare check.

Springfield (<i>The Simpsons</i>) Fictional city in the United States from the Simpsons universe

Springfield is a fictional town in the American animated sitcom The Simpsons, which serves as its main setting. A mid-sized town in an undetermined state of the United States, Springfield acts as a complete universe in which characters can explore the issues faced by modern society. The geography of the town and its surroundings are flexible, changing to address whatever an episode's plot calls for.

Production

The writers wanted to do a "Marge episode", but one where her job does not work out, unlike previous episodes. [3] The episode marks the first appearance of Gil Gunderson, voiced by Dan Castellaneta, and Cookie Kwan, voiced by Tress MacNeille. Excuses were made by the writers to bring back Gil in future episodes based on Castellaneta's performance at the table read, which proved popular with the staff. [3] Snake's prison number is 7F20, the production code of "The War of the Simpsons", the episode in which he first appeared. [3]

The piano wire scene was meant to end with Kirk's sandwich being sliced just the way he wanted, until George Meyer suggested that his arm be cut off instead. Mike Scully described the ensuing laughter at his suggestion as the most intense he had ever heard from the staff, saying: "They were literally choking because the joke was so unexpected. It was a shocked kind of laugh, and it just started rolling, one of those laughs that build the more they reverberate through you." [4] In the unemployment line, the unemployment recipient with the bucket hat and the beard is a caricature of George Meyer. [5] Due to Phil Hartman's death, the recurring characters of Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure were retired. [6] As such, this episode is the last speaking appearance of Hutz, with him only being featured as a background character in some future episodes. [5] McClure's final appearance would be in "Bart the Mother", the third episode of season ten. [6]

Cultural references

Titanic-NYT.jpg
The episode references the front page of The New York Times on April 15, 1912, reporting the sinking of the RMS Titanic.

The title of the episode is an allusion to the 1994 movie Reality Bites . [7] Gil Gunderson is based on Jack Lemmon's portrayal of Shelley Levene in the 1992 film Glengarry Glen Ross . [3]

When Homer drives by Snake for the first time in the convertible he sings, "My name is Luka, and I live on the second floor." The lyrics are from the hit song Luka by Suzanne Vega.

At one point in the episode, Snake sets up a wire across a road to decapitate Homer as he drives by. The wire is supplied by "Acme", after the brand of equipment used by Wile E. Coyote to try and stop Road Runner in the Looney Tunes cartoons. [3]

When Ned Flanders explains to Marge that they were painting Todd's room red, Todd starts saying "Red room, red room" and moves his finger, like the character of Danny does in the film The Shining . [2]

When Lionel Hutz reads the list of wrecked items to Marge, it is a tribute to the Lethal Weapon movies. [3]

The newspaper front page reporting the "Jealous Jockey Murders" carries the statement "Mrs. Astor safe" beneath the headline. This is a reference to the front page of The New York Times on April 15, 1912, reporting the sinking of the RMS Titanic three days earlier whilst assuring that "Ismay safe, Mrs. Astor maybe". [8]

Reception

In its original broadcast, "Realty Bites" finished 21st in ratings for the week of December 1–7, 1997, with a Nielsen rating of 10.8, equivalent to approximately 10.6 million viewing households. It was the third-highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, following The X-Files and King of the Hill . [9]

The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide said, "A simple but enjoyable romp, with the final few minutes in the Murder House particularly funny. Best thing though is the introduction of the hapless Gil, destined to always be a ray of light in any episode!" [2] The episode is featured in a special 2003 DVD compilation called The Simpsons: Risky Business, along with "Marge Gets a Job", "Deep Space Homer", and "Homer the Smithers". [10]

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References

  1. 1 2 3 Gimple, Scott (1999). The Simpsons Forever!: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family ...Continued . Harper Collins Publishers. p. 21. ISBN   0-06-098763-4.
  2. 1 2 3 Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "Realty Bites". BBC. Retrieved 2007-11-09.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 The Simpsons The Complete Ninth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Realty Bites" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 2006.
  4. Scully, Mike (2006). The Simpsons The Complete Ninth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Realty Bites" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  5. 1 2 The Simpsons The Complete Ninth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Realty Bites" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 2006.
  6. 1 2 Groening, Matt (2004-12-29). "Fresh Air". National Public Radio (Interview). Interviewed by Terry Gross. Philadelphia: WHYY-FM . Retrieved 2007-06-09.
  7. Irwin, William; Mark T. Conard; Aeon J. Skoble (2001). The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'oh! of Homer . Open Court Publishing. p. 83. ISBN   0-8126-9433-3.
  8. Titanic Sinks Four Hours After Hitting Iceberg; 866 Rescued By Carpathia, Probably 1,250 Perish; Ismay Safe, Mrs. Astor Maybe, Noted Names Missing
  9. Associated Press (December 11, 1997). "CBS, NBC tie for tops in evening news". Sun-Sentinel. p. 4E.
  10. The Simpsons staff (April 7, 2003). The Simpsons: Risky Business. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Archived from the original on December 25, 2007.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)