Itchy and Scratchy and Marge

Itchy and Scratchy and Marge
                                                   Written by John Swartzwelder
                                                        Directed by Jim Reardon

Title sequence


    {I will pledge allegiance / to Bart.}
    {I will pledge allegian} at cutoff.


    Homer says nothing when Lisa scoots past.


    The couch is missing.

Quotes and scene summary


 Homer sees Marge making pork chops...
   Marge: [making pork chops]
          A dash of rosemary, a smidgen of thyme, a pinch of marjoram...
   Homer: You know, Marge, you make the best pork chops in the whole world.
   Marge: Oh, Homer, they're nothing special.  The extra ingredient is care.
          [continues her work]
          A sprinkle of chervil, a teaspoon of tumeric, and a whisper of MSG.
   -- How much care am I supposed to add?  ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 ... and offers to build her a spice rack.
   Homer: Marge, I'm going to build you a spice rack.
   Marge: Oh, you don't have to go to all that trouble just for me.
   Homer: It's no trouble!  I got a whole <garage> of tools I never use!
   -- ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 Meanwhile, the kids watch an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon on the Krusty
 the Klown show.  Downstairs, Homer sets to work...
   Ah, here it is.  The complete handyman's bookshelf.  Volume 1:  Spice racks.
   -- Homer sets to work to build a spice rack, ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 Homer produces a clump of wood and nails whose resemblance to a spice
 rack is tenuous at best.  Maggie appears and clonks Homer on the head
 with a mallet.  Upstairs, Homer's head is bandaged...
   Bart:  Hey Dad, can you move your head?
   Homer: No, I can't.  It's broken...
   -- Is it in a cast?  ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 Marge sees the I&S cartoon and concludes that was the cause of Maggie's
   Maggie: [picks up a pencil]  [wacko `Psycho' music plays]
   Homer:  Aaaaaaaaagh!
   Marge:  [picks up Maggie]  No, Maggie, bad baby!
   Homer:  Keep her away from me, Marge!
           She's got that crazy look in her eyes again!
   -- ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 She forbids the kids from watching the cartoons.
   Marge: You won't be watching these cartoons any more.  Ever.
   Lisa:  But Mom, if you take our cartoons away, we'll grow up without a sense
          of humor and be robots.
   Bart:  Really?  What kind of robots?
   -- ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 Milhouse invites Bart to watch I&S at his house.  Meanwhile, Homer phones
 in sick...
   You heard me, I won't be in for the rest of the week. ...
   I told you!  My baby beat me up! ...
   No, it is not the worst excuse I ever thought up. ...
   [sotto voce] Wise guy.
   -- Homer phones in sick after, well, you know, ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 Marge wonders why Bart and Lisa are so late from school (because they're
 watching I&S with Milhouse and Janie, respectively).  At the Simpsons
 residence, Marge watches I&S and takes careful notes.
   Marge: What kind of warped human being would find that funny?
   Homer: [laughs]
   Marge: Mm...
   -- ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 Marge decides to write a letter.
   Dear purveyors of senseless violence:
   I know this may sound silly at first, but I believe that the cartoons you
   show to our children are influencing their behavior in a negative way.
   Please try to tone down the psychotic violence in your otherwise fine
   programming.  Yours truly, Marge Simpson.
   -- ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 Mr. Meyers sends back his reply...
   Meyers: Take a letter, Miss White.
          Dear valued viewer, thank you for taking an interest in the Itchy
          and Scratchy program.  Enclosed is a personally autographed photo of
          America's favorite cat and mouse team to add to your collection.
          In regards to your specific comments about the show, our research
          shows that one person cannot make a difference, no matter how big
          a screwball she is, so let me close by saying...
   Marge: [reading the letter] And the horse I rode in on?
          I'll show them what one screwball can do!
   -- A letter from the CEO, ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 [End of Act One.  Time 5:30]

 Marge and her family picket outside the Itchy and Scratchy International
 building.  She explains to Maude that she's founded S.N.U.H.,
 Springfieldians for Nonviolence, Understanding, and Helping.  Bart and Lisa
 excuse themselves to do wholesome childlike things.  [wink wink]  Marge's
 protest gains momentum...
   Marge: [through a megaphone]
          How many of you were hit on the heads with mallets last week?
          [crowd murmurs]
          [man with head bandaged raises his hand]
          [another man with head bandaged raises his hand]
          [and a whole bunch more]
   -- ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 Dinner is TV dinners, to Homer's annoyance...
   Homer: There's peas in my fruit cobbler!
   Lisa:  There's peas <everywhere>!
   -- The infamous TV dinners, ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 Marge apologizes for the dinners and forbids Bart from watching cartoons.
 Homer suggests making up for tonight's dinner by making pork chops tomorrow,
 but Marge realizes she's too busy running protests.
   D'oh!  Twenty million women in the world and I had to marry Jane Fonda.
   -- Homer, ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 The Krusty the Klown show is on the air...
   Krusty: Hi Kids! [laughs]  Guess what, Sideshow Mel!
   Mel:    [slide whistle three times]
   Krusty: It's time for Itchy and Scratchy!
   Kids:   [really, parents]  Boo!
   Krusty: Hey, hey, settle down boys and girls, or Krusty will
           have to bring out his old friend, Corporal Punishment, again.
   -- Krusty faces Kancellation, ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 Marge leads the parents in a chant...
   Marge: What do we want?
   Crowd: Less and less violence in children's programming!
   Marge: When do we want it?
   Crowd: Now!
   -- We're mad as hell, and we're not going to take it any more,
      ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 Krusty tries to contain the crowd, with no success.  Mr. Meyers
 reviews the videotape in his office, then holds a meeting.
   Meyers:  That screwball Marge Simpson, we've got to stop her.  But how?
   Man #1:  Drop an anvil on her?
   Man #2:  Hit her on the head with a piano.
   Woman:   Stuff her full of TNT, then throw a match down her throat and run?
   Meyers:  All your fancy degrees and that's the best you can do?
            You make me sick!
   All:     [agree meekly]
   -- ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 The crowd of protesters outside I&S Intl gives a cartoonist an idea...
 Homer and Marge watch I&S...
   You know, some of these stories are pretty good.
   I never knew mice lived such interesting lives.
   -- Homer watches Itchy and Scratchy, ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 ... and this cartoon features a squirrel with a distinctive hairdo who
 tells I&S to stop fighting.  They whack her head off.  Homer fails to
 see the connection.  Marge is invited to appear on `Smartline'.
   Hello, I'm Kent Brockman, and welcome to another edition of `Smartline'.
   Are cartoons too violent for children?  Most people would say, ``No, of
   course not, what kind of stupid question is that?''
   -- The value of objectivity in reporting, ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 His guests are Marge, Roger Meyers (CEO of I&S, Intl), and
 Krusty (``Hi, kids!''), and...
   Joining us live, via satellite from Vienna, home of Sigmund Freud, the
   world's greatest psychiatrist, to give us an insight into the human mind,
   Dr. Marvin Monroe.
   -- `Smartline', ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
      [Does that make Freud or Monroe the world's greatest psychologist?]
 After a brief clip of I&S, the debate begins...
   Meyers: I did a little research and I discovered a startling thing...
           There was violence in the past, long before cartoons were invented.
   Kent:   I see.  Fascinating.
   Meyers: Yeah, and know something, Karl?  The Crusades, for instance.
           Tremendous violence, many people killed, the darned thing went
           on for thirty years.
   Kent:   And this was before cartoons were invented?
   Meyers: That's right, Kent.
   -- `Smartline', ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 Dr. Marvin Monroe adds his two cents...
   Well, Kent, to me, the hijinks of a few comic characters absolutely pales
   in comparison to the crippling emotional problems a psychiatrist runs into
   every day.  I'm referring to women who love too much, fear of winning,
   sexaholism, stuff like that.
   -- Dr. Marvin Monroe on `Smartline', ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 Krusty is next...
   Kent:   For another opinion...
   Krusty: [laughs]  Hi, kids!  [laughs]
   Kent:   Krusty, please.  We're giving you the opportunity to participate in
           a serious discussion, here.
   Krusty: Oh, I'm sorry Kent.  Just that when the camera gets on me, I just...
           Hey! [throws a custard pie in his own face]  [honks horn]
   Kent:   Krusty!
   Krusty: [honks horn]  [cowers]
   -- `Smartline', ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 Marge get to make her concluding statement, in which she asks all concerned
 parents to write to I&S and express their feelings.  In his office, Mr.
 Meyers goes through the tons of angry mail he's received...  ``The
 screwballs have spoken...''

 [End of Act Two.  Time: 13:00]

 While Marge makes her famous pork chops, she takes a phone call from Mr.
 Meyers who asks Marge for a nonviolent solution to their cartoon.
   Meyers: [explaining on the phone]
           Itchy just stole Scratchy's ice cream cone, and...
   Animator: Oh, make it a pie.  Pies are easier to draw.
   Meyers: [to animator] Okay, a pie!
           [to Marge]  Anyway, Scratchy is understandable upset.
   Marge:  Uh huh.
   Meyers: So we figured he could just, you know, grab Itchy and toss him into
           a bucket of acid.
   -- ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
   Marge:  Couldn't Itchy share his pie with Scratchy?
           Then they would <both> have pie!
   Meyers: [walks to storyboard, considers, steps back]
           It's different, I'll give you that...
   -- ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 Homer watches TV with the kids...
   Announcer:  It's a tool that every home handyman needs!
          It's a jigsaw!  It's a power drill!  It's a wood-turning lathe!
          It's an asphalt spreader!  It's 67 tools in one!
          How much would you pay for a machine that can do all this?
   Homer: One thousand dollars!
   Announcer:  Oh, don't answer yet...
   Homer: Oh, sorry.
   Announcer:  Because you also get...
   -- ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 Marge tells the kids they can watch cartoons again, and they eagerly do
 so.  But something is subtly different...
   They love! They share!
   They share and love and share!
   Love, love, love!
   Share, share, share!
   The Itchy and Scratchy Show!
   -- A kinder, gentler cartoon, ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 `Porch Pals' is completely devoid of content...
   Lisa:  Itchy and Scratchy seem to have lost their edge...
   Marge: Well, I think it conveys a very nice message about sharing.
   Bart:  I think it sucks.
   -- A kinder, gentler cartoon, ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 Homer is startled by Maggie, but she was just handing him a glass of
 lemonade.  The kids give up.
   Marge: Aren't you going to watch the rest of your cute cartoons?
   Bart:  Naah.  Come on, Li.
   Lisa:  Maybe there's something else to do on this planet...
   -- ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 The scene is repeated in TV rooms all across town, and (to the strains
 of the first 53 bars of Beethoven's 6th Symphony) the kids step outside,
 rub their eyes, and proceed to do wholesome childlike things.
 Krusty meanwhile, tapes his show.
   Krusty:  Hi, kids!  [laughs]
            [sees empty studio]
            Huh?  Is it Saturday?
   -- ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 At dinner, Marge asks the kids what they did.  Bart and the guys went
 fishing, and Lisa and Janie went bird-watching.  They excuse themselves
 to work on the soapbox racers.  Homer is amazed.  In Florence...
   Artist:   This will be the art event of the century.  The greatest
             masterpiece of the Italian renaissance, Michelangelo's David,
             on a coast-to-coast tour of United States.
   Reporter: Uh, sir, which cities will be included on your itinerary?
   Artist:   Eh, New York, Springfield, and if we have time, Chicago,
             Boston, Los Angeles.
   -- ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 Marge answers the door early in the morning.  It's Maude and Helen,
 recruiting Marge to protest with them against David.
   Helen: You've got to lead our protest against this abomination!
          [shows newspaper article]
   Marge: Mm, but that's Michelangelo's David.  It's a masterpiece.
   Helen: [gasp]  It's filth!  It graphically portrays parts of the human body,
          which, practical as they may be, are evil.
   Marge: But I like that statue.
   Helen: [gasp]  I told you she was soft on full frontal nudity!
          Come on, girls...
   -- ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 The crowd (sans Marge) storm to the airport and tell them to take the
 statue away.  This prompts another `Smartline' episode.
   Is it a masterpiece or just some guy with his pants down?
   That's our topic tonight on Smartline...
   -- Kent Brockman, on the coming of Michelangelo's David to Springfield,
      ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 But Kent is confused when Marge isn't opposed to the statue.
   Kent:  Aren't you Marge Simpson the wacko?
   Marge: Mm... Yes and no.
   -- ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 Dr. Marvin Monroe (via satellite from Athens, with a camera around his neck)
 points out the inconsistency in Marge's logic, since she supports one form
 of freedom of expression, but not another.  Marge concedes defeat.
   I guess one person <can> make a difference, but most of the time,
   they probably shouldn't.
   -- Marge, ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
   I'd like to alert our affiliates that we will be ending our show early tonight.
   Join us tomorrow, when our topic will be, ``Religion:  Which is the one true
   -- Kent Brockman on `Smartline', ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 The playfields lie unused as the kids are back inside watching cartoons.
 I&S pull out bigger and bigger guns until Itchy shoots Scratchy into the
 sun.  Maggie picks up a toy gun and fires a suction dart, hitting the
 photo of Homer square in the eyeball.  Marge and Homer go to the museum
 to see David.
   Well, there he is.  Michelangelo's `Dave'.
   -- Homer admires Renaissance art, ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 Marge is disappointed that the kids, rather than seeing a great piece
 of art, are watching a cat and mouse go at each other.  But Homer notes...
   Homer: Pretty soon, every boy and girl in Springfield Elementary School
          is going to come and see this thing.
   Marge: Really?  Why?
   Homer: They're forcing 'em! [laughs]
   -- On Michelangelo's `David', ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
 [End of Act Three.  Time: 20:50]

Voice credits


    Dan Castellaneta    (Homer, Krusty)
    Julie Kavner        (Marge)
    Nancy Cartwright    (Bart)
    Yeardley Smith      (Lisa)
    \:    and
    Harry Shearer       (Kent Brockman)

Special Guest Voice

    Alex Rocco          (Roger Meyers)

Also Starring

    Pamela Hayden       (story editor, Helen Lovejoy?)
    Maggie Roswell      (Maude Flanders)

Didja notice...

    ... Homer's hammer still had the price tag attached?
    ... Marge's stationery is titled, ``From the mind of MARGE''?
    ... Krusty couldn't read the angry letter Marge wrote?
    ... when the children run outside to play, the music is ``Erwachen heiterer
        Empfindungen bei der Ankunft auf dem Lande'', or ``Awakening of happy
        feelings upon arrival in the countryside'', from Beethoven's 6th
        Symphony?  This is the music used in the movie <Fantasia>.
    ... the city skyline for `Smartline' includes two nuclear cooling towers?

    ... as they are crating David, one of the workmen pants are hanging a
        bit low, revealing a bit of his rear-end? @{dh}
    ... the peas in the TV dinners that managed to get into everything? @{sa}

    ... the newspaper photo is captioned `David in 1958'?  Why 1958? @{jd}
    ... Kent Brockman's ears stick out like Ted Koppel's? @{jd}

Movie (and other) References

    * Psycho
        - the scene where Maggie whacks Homer on the head comes from the
          infamous `shower scene'. \ddt
        - musical sound effect (which reappears later in the show)
        - Homer grabs the tablecloth (cf.\ shower curtain) as he falls
        - close-up of Homer's eye
        - red paint running down the drain (cf.\ blood)
        - image of Homer (cf.\ Janet Leigh) lying on the floor (cf.\ tub)
    ~ Miracle on 34th Street; Field Of Dreams
        - Piles of protest mail.
    * Fantasia
        - Children playing outdoors to the music of Beethoven's 6th Symphony
         (`Awakening of happy feelings upon arrival in the countryside.')
    * Tom Sawyer
        - Children whitewashing a fence during the Fantasia reference.
    . Richard Nixon saying ``The voters have spoken.  The bastards.''
        - Roger Meyers: ``The screwballs have spoken.'' @{hk}

Freeze Frame Fun

Protest signs

    * I'm protesting because Itchy and Scratchy are indirectly responsible for
      my husband being hit on the head with a mallet. [held by Marge]

    * Stop me before I kill my father again. [held by Maggie]

    * Please ban violent cartoons--next time I might not be so lucky.
      [held by Homer]

    * Ban Itchy and Scratchy [held by Lisa and Bart]
      [Bart writes the word `Don't' on his sign.]

    * Erase Itchy and Scratchy
    * Join S.N.U.H.
    * Save the Cartoon Animals.   [held by Ned Flanders]
    * Destroy All Violent People
    * Death Isn't Funny Anymore
    * Bring Back Wagon Train      [held by Moe]
    . For those who don't get it, `Wagon Train' was a TV Western from the 60's.
    * What if a cat blew up and nobody laughed
    * Kancel Krusty

    | \smallskip

    * Kancel David
        [The sign is the old `Kancel Krusty' sign with the word `David'
         pasted over the word `Krusty'.]
    * No Nudes is Good Nudes
    * Ban Renaissance Art!
    * David, Get Off Your Pedestal

Marge's list of violent cartoon things, courtesy of Jon Byrd \ddt

    . vvv CATS BLOWN UP
    . vv  DOGS TRICKED

Comments and other observations

Itchy and Scratchy

Cartoons shown

    - Hold That Feline (Itchy kicks Scratchy an exploding football)
    - Kitchen Cut-Ups (Itchy tries to stab Scratchy with a knife)
    - Messenger of Death (Itchy blows Scratchy's head off with a bazooka)
    - (untitled) (Itchy bops Scratchy's eyes out)
    - (untitled) (Itchy and Scratchy attack a Marge look-alike)
    - (untitled) (Itchy blows up Scratchy with TNT)
    - Porch Pals (Itchy and Scratchy drink lemonade)
    - (untitled) (Itchy and Scratchy dance)
    - (untitled) (Scratchy reads Itchy a bedtime story)
    - (untitled) (Itchy and Scratchy pull larger and larger guns on each other)


    * Promoting Duff beer
    * Itchy and Scratchy On Ice (an ice show)
    * Itchy and Scratchy Cologne

For further information

See J. D. Baldwin's ``Itchy and Scratchy Episode Guide''.

The UCLA visit

On 4 Mar 92, Matt Groening and Nancy Cartwright paid a visit to UCLA.
This episode was shown, followed by an hour of questions and answers.
John Heidemann @{jh} says that, when Groening was asked for his
favorite, he answered that ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge'' was one of
his favorites.  David Silverman admitted to being the basis for the
animator character working at Itchy and Scratchy, Intl.

Left and right

Some concern has been raised for the tendency for episodes to begin by
promoting a liberal point of view, then turning around and going to
the opposite extreme at the end.

Amitava Biswas@{ab} tries to help out:
I recall hearing an interview of two of the writers (sorry, can't
rememeber the names, some Harvard guys) on Fresh Air with Terry Gross
(National Public Radio) in which they spoke about this very issue of
beginning with a left-wing thing and ending with a right-wing thing.

Their point was that they wanted to show how silly the extremes of
anything can be, left or right.  Concerning this episode (``Itchy and
Scratchy and Marge''), the wanton violence in the cartoons is
certainly uncalled for.  (It's a crazy thing, isn't it? <If> they
actually made cartoons that were violent and <nothing else>, they
probably wouldn't be very funny, but ``Itchy and Scratchy'' is funny
almost precisely <because> it's not funny...)  But censorship has its
down side too.

I do see the point, though, that if you always <end> on the right-wing
message, even if it's patently silly (like the one in ``Mr. Lisa Goes
to Washington''), it can give the implication that [they are
apologizing for their leftist leanings].  Perhaps they should try it
the other way around---starting with a right-wing message and winding
up apologizing for that.

Ultimately, though, it has no meaning.  It's just a bunch of stuff that

Boring distribution restrictions

Episode summaries Copyright 1991--1993 by Raymond Chen.
Not to be redistributed in a public forum without permission.
(The quotes themselves, of course, remain the property of The Simpsons,
and the reproduced articles remain the property of the original authors.
I'm just taking credit for the compilation.)

HTML conversion by
Howard Jones( on Sat 10 Sept 1994