Thursdays with Abie

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"Thursdays with Abie"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no.Season 21
Episode 9
Directed by Michael Polcino
Written byMitchell H. Glazer & Don Payne
Production codeMABF02
Original air dateJanuary 3, 2010
Guest appearance(s)

Mitch Albom as himself [1]

Episode features
Couch gag Homer and the rest of the family get launched into a pinball game called "Couch Gag Chaos".
Episode chronology
"O Brother, Where Bart Thou?"
"Once Upon a Time in Springfield"
The Simpsons (season 21)
List of The Simpsons episodes

"Thursdays with Abie" is the ninth episode of The Simpsons ' twenty-first season. In the episode, Grampa meets a human interest journalist who writes and publishes Grampa's life stories making Homer jealous and while giving his story of Mr. Burns to the newspaper finds out the journalist plots to kill Grandpa. Meanwhile, Bart is forced to care for a stuffed lamb as part of a class project and gives the lamb to Lisa.

<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 21) 2009/2010 season of American animated sitcom

The Simpsons' twenty-first season aired on Fox from September 27, 2009 to May 23, 2010. It was the first of two seasons that the show was renewed for by Fox, and also the first season of the show to air entirely in high definition.


The episode was written by Mitchell H. Glazer & Don Payne and directed by Michael Polcino. Mitch Albom guest stars in the episode.

Don Payne (writer) American screenwriter and film producer

William Donald "Don" Payne was an American writer and producer. He wrote several episodes of The Simpsons after 2000, many of these with John Frink, whom he met while studying at the University of California, Los Angeles. The duo began their careers writing for the short-lived sitcom Hope and Gloria. Payne later moved into writing feature films, including My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006), and co-wrote Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), Thor (2011) and its sequel Thor: The Dark World (2013). Payne died from bone cancer in March 2013.

Michael Polcino is an animation director on The Simpsons. His brother, Dominic Polcino, is a former Simpsons director who currently works on Rick and Morty.

Mitch Albom American author and journalist

Mitchell David Albom is an American author, journalist, screenwriter, dramatist, radio and television broadcaster, and musician. His books have sold over 39 million copies worldwide. Having achieved national recognition for sports writing in the earlier part of his career, he is perhaps best known for the inspirational stories and themes that weave through his books, plays, and films. Albom lives with his wife Janine Sabino in Detroit, Michigan.

During its original broadcast on the Fox network in the United States on January 3, 2010, "Thursdays with Abie" was watched by about 8.65 million people and received a 4.0 Nielsen rating .

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.

Nielsen TV ratings are the audience measurement systems operated by Nielsen Media Research that seek to determine the audience size and composition of television programming in the United States using a rating system.

The episode also received positive reviews from critics.


During a trip to a water park with the family, Abe meets a journalist named Marshall Goldman. Abe is thrilled that Marshall is interested in hearing his rambling anecdotes, and tells of the time he sat on and Animal trained a real shark during World War II, after the warship he served on was sunk by a torpedo (which they themselves fired earlier) in the Pacific Ocean. Marshall publishes Abe's story in the Springfield Shopper. When Homer reads Marshall's article, he is shocked that other people find Abe's stories interesting. In his next anecdote, Abe tells of giving a not-yet-famous Clark Gable a shoe shine at the Springfield railway station and lending him a copy of Gone with the Wind , but still remembers his anger at not being paid. A rapt Marshall writes up this story as well and Abe's fame grows. Homer decides to visit his father, but Abe tells him off, suggesting that Homer only wants to spend time with him now that he is famous. Later, Marge suggests that, in actuality, Homer is angry with himself for not having spent more time with his dad. Insulted at the not-so-false suggestion, Homer listens to Mr. Burns' anecdotes, writes his own column and takes it to the Springfield Shopper (where it is quickly shredded). While at the newspaper office, Homer sneaks into Marshall's office and discovers a manuscript that Marshall intends to submit for a Pulitzer Prize. The manuscript states that Abe is dead and Homer realizes that Marshall intends to kill Abe. He rushes to the railway station, but Abe and Marshall have already departed on a vintage train known as the Tinseltown Starliner (Clark Gable went to the same train after Abe does his shoe polishing). After knocking out Abe, Marshall attempts to suffocate him with a pillow. With the help of Lenny and Carl, Homer breaks through a window just as Marshall pulls out a gun. The two struggle, and then Abe pulls the emergency brake and Marshall is knocked out by a vast load of hat boxes. Homer and his father reconcile, with Abe telling Homer that he is ready for his first ramble.

World War II 1939–1945, between Axis and Allies

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from more than 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Torpedo self-propelled underwater weapon

A modern torpedo is a self-propelled weapon with an explosive warhead, launched above or below the water surface, propelled underwater towards a target, and designed to detonate either on contact with its target or in proximity to it.

Pacific Ocean Ocean between Asia and Australia in the west, the Americas in the east and Antarctica or the Southern Ocean in the south.

The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south and is bounded by Asia and Australia in the west and the Americas in the east.

Meanwhile, Bart has possession of Larry the Lamb, a stuffed sheep toy that each child in Mrs. Krabappel's room takes a turn caring for over a weekend, much to the dismay of Nelson, who says that Larry was "all that kept me sane" in song. Bart resents the stuffed toy, so Lisa offers to take care of him. However, she accidentally loses Larry down a storm drain. Bart goes in to retrieve him, and is chased by sewer rats and sewer cats before finding Larry atop a pipe. Bart uses Larry to slide to safety but the toy rips and Bart unceremoniously crashes through a grate to a beach, where Agnes Skinner (who all this time has heard the children calling out for "Larry") tells Bart to "Give him my number. I'll teach him things. Things he can use."

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.

Sheep Domesticated ruminant bred for meat, wool and milk

Domestic sheep are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like most ruminants, sheep are members of the order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name sheep applies to many species in the genus Ovis, in everyday usage it almost always refers to Ovis aries. Numbering a little over one billion, domestic sheep are also the most numerous species of sheep. An adult female sheep is referred to as a ewe, an intact male as a ram or occasionally a tup, a castrated male as a wether, and a younger sheep as a lamb.

Edna Krabappel fictional character from The Simpsons franchise

Edna Krabappel-Flanders is a fictional character from the animated American sitcom The Simpsons, who was voiced by Marcia Wallace from 1990 until her death in October 2013. She was a 4th grade teacher, who taught Bart Simpson's class at Springfield Elementary School. In the twenty-third season, she married Ned Flanders, the widower of Maude Flanders, helping raise Rod and Todd Flanders until her death.


The episode was written by Mitchell H. Glazer & Don Payne and directed by Michael Polcino. Mitch Albom who wrote Tuesdays with Morrie makes a guest appearance. [1]

<i>Tuesdays with Morrie</i> book

Tuesdays with Morrie is a memoir by American author Mitch Albom about a series of visits Albom made to his former sociology professor Morrie Schwartz, as Schwartz gradually dies of ALS.

Cultural references

"Thursdays with Abie" serves as a parody of Tuesdays with Morrie in which Mitch Albom learns about life values from his former teacher Morrie Schwartz. [2] Simpsons voice actor Hank Azaria, who voices Marshall, also played Albom in the film based on Tuesdays with Morrie . The opening Flyby gag is a parody of the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz . [3] The Slimu octopus is a parody of Shamu, the killer whale. [2] The song that plays during the train station scenes is the American jazz standard "Chattanooga Choo Choo". Also Nelson sings a different version of "Mary Had a Little Lamb. [2]


In its original American broadcast, "Thursdays with Abie" was viewed by an estimated 8.65 million households and received a rating of 4.0 rating/10 share in the 18/49 rating being the most viewed and highest rated episode on Fox's Animation Domination . [4] The show ranked seventh in the 18/49 rating and was third on Fox for the week after The OT and The Allstate Sugar Bowl and made it 20th in the weekly ratings (it was still Fox's top rated scripted show). [5]

The episode got a positive review from IGN's Robert Canning giving it an 8.4/10 and saying that "Overall, the episode was a success, using one of the best Simpsons running jokes to tell an engaging and even sentimental tale". [2]

Emily VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club gave episode a C+ saying that "Most of the core relationships on The Simpsons have hung on to their ability to move us. Most Homer and Lisa episodes are still touching on some level, while most Bart and Lisa episodes play off the two's easy camaraderie. One of the exceptions to this rule is the relationship between Homer and his dad. The two had some great episodes in the show's early going, as the series examined the way that Abe's inability to be a good single parent reverberated down through the years (in a much, much funnier way than that sounds)." [6]

Jason Hughes of TV Squad stated in his review "I didn't find the episode particularly funny, but I appreciated that The Simpsons did bring a bit of that emotion back to the character's relations". [7]

Dan Castellaneta was nominated for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance for playing Abraham Simpson and Homer Simpson in this episode, but lost to Anne Hathaway who won for her role in another The Simpsons episode Once Upon a Time in Springfield. [8]

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  1. 1 2 "Fox Primetime". Fox Flash. Archived from the original on 2010-12-04. Retrieved 2010-07-31.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Canning, Robert (2010-01-04). "The Simpsons: "Thursdays with Abie" Review – TV Review at IGN". Retrieved 2010-07-31.
  3. Ponywether. Ariel (January 13, 2010). "Review – The Simpsons: "Thursdays with Abie"". FireFox. Retrieved 2010-07-11.
  4. "TV Ratings Sunday: Cold Case Ratings, NCIS Ratings, America's Funniest Home Videos Ratings, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Ratings, The Simpsons Ratings, The Cleveland Show ratings, American Dad ratings, Family Guy ratings, Football Night In America ratings, Sunday Night Football Bengals vs. Jets ratings, Desperate Housewives Ratings, Brothers & Sisters ratings, 60 Minutes ratings". 2010-01-04. Retrieved 2010-07-31.
  5. "TV Ratings: Pro and College Football and Desperate Housewives top weekly viewing". Retrieved 2010-07-31.
  6. Emily VanDerWerff (January 4, 2010). ""Thursdays with Abie"/"Field of Streams"/"Big Man on Hippocampus"/"Don't Look a Smith Horse in the Mouth" | The Simpsons, The Cleveland Show, Family Guy, American Dad | TV Club | TV". The A.V. Club. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  7. Hughes, Jason (January 4, 2010). "Review: The Simpsons – Thursdays with Abie". TV Squad . Retrieved 2010-07-11.
  8. "2010 Emmy Nominations: Outstanding Voice-Over Performance". Retrieved 2010-09-24.