Sunday, September 7, 2014

Top 5 Film References from The Simpsons

Guest contributor Kate Voss celebrates 26 seasons of The Simpsons with a look back at some of their best nods to movies.

The Simpsons will soon be entering into its 26th season. And while some recent seasons have left much to be desired, there's no disputing the fact that the early seasons were impeccable. By and large, the show has managed to remain relevant to current pop culture while racking up a slew of accolades, including 31 Primetime Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award.

The show has also always been rife with satire and references to television shows and films. And while it is difficult to pin-point the absolute "best of" anything when it comes to The Simpsons, here are our picks for the five best episodes laden with film references.

22 Short Films About Springfield

A loose parody of Pulp Fiction, this episode is comprised of a series of separate (but interweaving) skits and stories that look into the lives of Springfield residents. There is a scene where the local cops sit at a Krusty Burger, discussing how fast food is different in the neighboring town of Shelbyville. There is also a scene which references the military surplus store inhabited by the gimp. And although the episode itself is a take on Pulp Fiction, the title of the episode is itself a reference to the movie Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould.

Homer Vs. Lisa and the Eighth Commandment

Because of a church sermon on the importance of truth, Lisa becomes hypercritical of any act of stealing her parents commit. She even pressures Marge into paying for two stray grapes which she "steals" from a grocery store. When Homer acquires an illegal cable hookup, Lisa fears for her father's soul. She elects to no longer watch TV as a form of protest. Numerous film references are made throughout the episode. Among the films watched on the illegal cable hookup by the family during the episode are North by Northwest, Wall Street, Die Hard, and Jaws. Ultimately, Lisa's protest gets to Homer and he cuts the cable.

Revenge is a Dish Best Served Three Times

Originally airing during the 11th season, this episode focuses on what happens when the family's car is cut off by the Rich Texan and Homer decides to get revenge. In the process, his family tells three tales about what can happen during the pursuit of vengeance. Lisa's story parodies the film Revenge of the Nerds while Bart's story references Batman Begins. At the end of the episode, the credits pay tribute to everyone who died in the Star Wars films.

Treehouse of Horror VI

The second segment of the episode, entitled "Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace" is actually a parody of the film A Nightmare on Elm Street, which features Groundskeeper Willie as a Freddy Krueger-esque janitor turned dream invader. In the final segment of the episode, Homer becomes imprisoned in a "three-dimensional world". This segment is loosely based on an episode of The Twilight Zone entitled "Little Girl Lost," and culminates in a sequence where a computer generated Homer moves around in a live action sequence.

Bart's Friend Falls in Love

Airing during the third season of the show, this episode takes a romantic turn when Bart's best buddy, Milhouse, finds himself falling in love with the new girl at their school. When Milhouse begins to spend all of his free time with her, Bart begins to feel left out and jealous. The opening sequence of the episode is actually a parody of the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark. Other film references are also made throughout the episode, including during the closing sequence, which parodies the classic Casablanca.

As anyone who's been following the FXX Simpsons marathon knows (and in case you haven't been following it, you might have access to through the free "extras" trial through DTV) there are so many qualified episodes out there that could have easily made this list. Those are our picks. What are yours?

1 comment:

  1. Outstanding post. Sorry I can't say what i might add. I haven't watched the show in years and nothing is jumping to mind at the moment. Reading this, however, did jog my memories of some of these episodes. Thanks.