The Way We Was

The Way We Was                     Written by Al Jean, Mike Reiss and Sam Simon
                                                    Directed by David Silverman

Title sequence

Blackboard :- `I will not get very far with / this attitude'.
              `I will not get very' at cutoff.

Driveway   :- no oil on the driveway.
              Homer does not shake his fist at Bart.
              Homer says nothing when Lisa scoots past.

Couch:     :- Couch falls through floor.

Didja notice...

    ... After Marge is handed `Ms.' magazine, the dude with the purple afro
        she walks past has `JV' embroidered on the shoulder of his jumper?
        You get one guess. {cjb}
    ... by following Marge's eyes, it appears that she's reading the book
        rather fast (in the detention room)? [Dave Hall]
    ... the bucket of wings is labelled `Shakespeare's Fried Chicken'?
    ... Homer tries to break a wishbone... and it breaks into three
        pieces?  (What a loser.)
    ... the Pink Floyd Dark side of the moon, and the Led Zeppelin
        Poster in Homer's Room? [Michael L Weiss]  And the pyramid
        of empty beer cans?  [Dave Hall]  (``I just collect the cans,
    ... Homer's hair is so long, he has to push it out of his face?
        (while talking to the guidance counselor)
    ... the brochure for the nuclear power plant has a picture of
        Mr. Burns on the cover?  And that Homer threw it away?
    ... the shop teacher was missing his middle right finger?
        [Jerry Stamatopoulos]
    ... the boy sitting beside Marge, in Forensics class, also appears to be
        wearing a digital watch? [Dave Hall]
    ... Mr. Bouvier smoked?
    ... the band at the prom was the same band that was at the lounge
        when Homer and Marge went out on the town for a night,
        the Larry Davis Experience? [Jym Dyer]
    ... their lead singer looks like Tom Petty from the `Don't Come
        Around Here' video, complete with top hat and glasses? [Michael Doyle]
        [Dave Hall thinks it looks like Elton John.]

Movie (and other) references

    Norman Rockwell painting
       - Marge looking glumly at her reflection in the mirror while
         prettying herself up for a date. {abw}
    Happy Days
       - The necking spot is called `Inspiration Point'.

Freeze Frame Fun

Courtesy of Dave Hall (

The article titles that appear on the cover of Ms. are:
    - Inside: Why all men are bad
    - Hating and Dating: Do they mix?
    - 25 reasons not to shave your armpits
    - Must we be children to be free? (Not sure about this one.)

According to the calendar on the wall of the coach's room(?), there's only
4 days to a week.

Animation goofs

When Artie Ziff arrived at the door, Patty/Selma says ``Don't we look
handsome.''  Although we hear only one voice, Patty's mouth moves for
the first two words, and Selma's for the last two.  Warner Losh suggests
this was intentional (and that we really heard two voices).

General comments

Note that, since Homer was born in May 1955 (`Simpson and Delilah'), and
he graduated in the class of 1974 (`The Way We Was'), this means he was just
barely 19 years old at graduation.  Assuming he entered kindergarten at age
five, this means Homer had to repeat a year.

Shelbyville and the size of Springfield

I asked:

Exhibit A:
  Artie: Woe unto Shelbyville, should they underestimate our strength
         in dramatic interpretation.

Exhibit B:
  Marge:  You KNEW the city forensics finals are tomorrow, and you
          kept me here until 1am pretending to be stupid?

What does this say about the size of the city of Springfield?

1.  It's big enough to have more than one high school.  (Springfield High
    and Shelbyville.)  Perhaps Shelbyville is a private school?

2.  It's big enough to have regions of town with their own names.

3.  It's big enough that the writers goofed.

David Tamkin tries to explain:

Given that Shelbyville has its own baseball team in the same league as the
Springfield Isotopes (``Dancin' Homer'') and that the Shelbyville Orphanage
is in Shelbyville (``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''), we expected Shelbyville
to be a separate city.  Would a neighborhood of the city have a separate
baseball team while the other team in the same city called itself by the
entire city's name?  [Yes, I'm aware of the NL's former New York Giants and
Brooklyn Dodgers, but Brooklyn's relationship to the rest of New York City
can hardly be called a ``neighborhood''; it's more like a separate planet.
Let's consider that <both> teams were named for the boroughs they
represented, though I highly doubt that the Giants' home field was in
Manhattan.  ``Bronx Yankees''?  ``Queens Mets''?]

There being a Shelbyville Orphanage in Shelbyville doesn't require
Shelbyville to be a separate city.  Still, if it were part of Springfield,
wouldn't its director be familiar enough with the medical community to have
met Dr. Hibert or for someone far brighter and more observant than Homer to
have met them both and brought them together?

Consider these:

4.  Artie's ego was big enough that he assumed Springfield High would win the
    city forensics championship and go on to face Shelbyville in the regionals.
    (Shelbyville could have already clinched its spot.)

5.  Springfield High had two debate matches coming up: one for the city
    championship and one against Shelbyville High.  Neither was dependent on
    the outcome of the other.

6.  It's not unknown for a city to have a neighborhood with the same name as
    another municipality in the area.  (Here, Chicago has a Forestview and an
    East Chicago, while there are other towns named Forest View and East
    Chicago.  Morton Grove has a Prairie View, yet there is another suburb
    named Prairie View.  Meanwhile, my neighborhood has no name at all, and
    there are loads of suburbs whose names are so awful that they'd be better
    off without any.  And please don't ask me to detail how many different
    nearby areas are named ``Norwood Park.'')

7.  Same as #3.

John DeCarlo suggests that the `city forensics finals' invites
teams from outside the city.

Music (Julie Kozaczka Stahlhut):

"Do the Hustle" was a minor anachronism.  In fact, so was "Pick Up
the Pieces" by the WAverage White Band.  That one came out in either
late '74 or some time in '75.

I thought the FUNNIEST musical joke in the whole show was the fact
that the theme of the prom was "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"!  Ever
listen to the words of that song?  It's about a really nasty breakup! 
As far as I could ever figure out, it's the story of a love-hate
relationship between an uneducated backwoods type and an obnoxious
upperclass social climber.  All set to very pretty slow-dance music,
of course; Elton John and Bernie Taupin's reputation for bubblegum
was never deserved.


Homer's car:

David Moery: I think Homer drove a Duster, near as I can tell.  From the side
             it looked vaguely like a '70 or '71 Cutlass, but the taillights
             were definitely Duster-like.

Jym Dyer:    I wasn't too sure about Homer's car.  I thought it might have
             been a souped-up Maverick, but then again it might have been a
             Trans Am or somesuch.

Paul Masters: No, it was a '71 Cuda (or Charger).  Those were the days.

Andrew Roe:  I checked my tape again, and this time I agree that Homer's car
             was a Duster.  The taillights are wrong for a Torino.

John Kupec:  It was not a Duster or Torino!  Whoever posted that Homey's
             car was a 70-71 'Cuda was right.

Nick Rossi:  Certainly wasn't a Duster... I'm the proud owner of a Duster,
             and I would recognize it!
             It was definitely a Barracuda, or a Charger.  There is no doubt
             about it in my mind.  I have definitely seen enough of the
             vehicles to know it wasn't a Torino, and it was not a product of
             AMC at all.  Probably a Charger.

Marge's car:

David Moery, Robert J. Drabek, and Jym Dyer all agree:

            Marge definitely drove a Gremlin.

Quotes and scene summary

 The family watch the idiot box.
   Homer:  Do you two have to sit so close to the TV?  Back up, or it'll hurt
           your eyes.
   Bart:   It will not.
   Homer:  [makes a fist] Yes, it will...
   -- ``The Way We Was''
 They're watching a movie review show.  Here's a clip...
   Captain: Senator Mendoza is one of the most respected citizens in this state,
            McBane.  And yet you ran his limo off a cliff, broke the necks of
            three of his bodyguards, and drove a bus through his front door?
   McBane:  But, Captain, I have prroof dat he is head of an international
            drrug cartel!
   Captain: I don't want to hear it, McBane!  You're outta here!
   McBane:  [pushes the Captain out his office window, who falls into the
            fountain in the plaza]  Dat makes two of us.
   -- Here's a typically brainless scene, ``The Way We Was''
 but the TV goes on the blink
   Homer:  Time for Doctor TV to perform a little surgery!
           [bangs on the TV and the picture gets worse]
   Bart:   Looks like you lost the patient, Doc.
   -- ``The Way We Was''
   Cheap Chinese TV, what did I ever buy it for...
   -- Homer tries to fix the TV set, ``The Way We Was''
   Homer:     [fiddling with the back of the set] Is that better?
   Lisa+Bart: NOOOO!
   Homer:     How's this? [picture gets worse]
   Homer:     Okay, everybody remain calm.
              [gives the TV a big whack; picture disappears]
   -- ``The Way We Was''
   Dear God, just give me one channel!  [dramatic camera angle]
   -- Homer can't fix the TV set, ``The Way We Was''
 Marge suggests they talk
   I'm livin' it, but I ain't lovin' it.
   -- Bart suffers through Homer and Marge's story, ``The Way We Was''
 and Lisa asks...
   Lisa: How did Dad propose to you?
   Marge: Oh, well... [ flashback ]
   Doctor: Well, uh, Miss Bouvier,
           I think we've found the reason why you've been
           throwing up in the morning.
   Homer:  Doh! [ end of flashback ]
   Marge:  Lisa, I'd rather tell you a different story ...
   -- ``The Way We Was''
 Begin flashback... Homer drives to school...
   Barney:  Hey, Homer, you're late for English!
   Homer:   Pffft, English.  Who needs that.  I'm never going to England.
   -- ``The Way We Was''
 Meanwhile, Marge talks to her friend...
   Friend: Don't you think you deserve to earn just as
           much as a man who does the same job?
   Marge:  Well, not if I have to do heavy lifting or math.
   -- ``The Way We Was''
 Homer and Barney duck into the boys' room for a smoke...
   Barney: [bell rings] Oh no, we're late for wood shop!
   Homer:  But... we're early for lunch!  Let's go grab a burger.
   Barney: Boy, you never stop eating and you never gain a pound.
   Homer:  It's my metabomolism.  I guess I'm just one of the lucky ones.
   -- Life as a high school senior, ``The Way We Was''
 but are found and given three days' detention.  Meanwhile, Marge leads
 a protest...
   Marge:  The first step to liberation is to free ourselves from
           these male-imposed shackles! [lights a bra] [foom]
   Friend: I didn't think it would burn so fast.
   Marge:  Mm, I guess it's the tissue paper inside.
   -- ``The Way We Was''
 and earns a day's detention.  Homer and Barney are in the detention room,
 where Barney tries to find a date for the prom.
   Barney:  Hey, Estelle?  Will you go to the prom with me?
   Estelle: I wouldn't go to the prom with you if you were Elliot Gould!
   Barney:  Oh, shot down again...
   Homer:   Hey, don't worry, Barney, it's a big school.  There's got to be a
            girl nobody <else> wants to take the the prom.
   -- ``The Way We Was''
 Marge comes in, and Homer is smitten.

 [End of Act One]
   Homer:   So, uh, what are you in for?
   Marge:   I'm a political prisoner.  Last time <I> ever take a stand...
   Homer:   Well, I'm here for being me.
            Every day, I show up, act like me, and they slap me in here.
   Teacher: Simpson, be quiet!
   Homer:   I haven't seen you in school before.
   Teacher: Okay, Simpson,
   Homer:                 What?
   Teacher:                     You just bought yourself
                                another day of detention.
   Homer:   Maybe we should get together sometime.
   Teacher:                                       Two days!
   Marge:   I'm sorry, I don't even know your name.
   Homer:   I'm Homer
   Teacher:            Three days!
   Homer:                          J.
   Teacher:                           Four days!
   Homer:                                        Simpson.
   Teacher:                                               Five days!
   Homer:   It was worth it!
   Teacher:                  Six days!
            Okay, Simpson, to the back of the room!
            [ return to present ]
   Lisa:    So it was love a first sight!
   Bart:    It was a jailhouse romance, man!
   Homer:   I reached Step One:  She knew I existed.
            The only problem was, she didn't care.
   -- The beginning of a beeootiful friendship? ``The Way We Was''
 Homer talks to his dad about the day's events...
   Grampa: What's the matter, boy?
   Homer:  Nothing.
   Grampa: You haven't said poo all night and usually I have to wrestle the
           bucket [of `Shakespeare's Fried Chicken'] out of your greasy mitts.
   Homer:  Dad, I'm in love.
   Grampa: Uh oh!  Why don't you grab yourself a beer, boy.
   Homer:  But Dad, I don't drink ...
   Grampa: Cut the crap!
           [in a mocking voice] I just collect the cans, Daddy.
           [in his normal voice] Now grab yourself a beer and get me one too.
           Now, this girlfriend of yours, is she a real looker?
   Homer:  Uh huh.
   Grampa: A lot on the ball?  [ie, intelligent?]
   Homer:  Yeah.
   Grampa: Oh, Son, don't overreach!
           Go for the DENTED car,
           the DEAD-END job,
           the LESS ATTRACTIVE girl.
           Oh, I blame myself.  I should've had this talk a long time ago.
   Homer:  Thanks, Pop.
   -- Grampa's three words of advice, ``The Way We Was''
 Homer has to recite the alphabet to himself to figure out whether he should
 go through the door `A-M' or `N-Z' to visit his guidance counselor.
   Hi, I'm Homer Simpson, I need some guidance, Counselor.
   -- Homer visits the school guidance counselor, ``The Way We Was''
   I just met this girl Marge Bouvier and I want to force her to like me.
   -- Homer visits the school guidance counselor, ``The Way We Was''
   The only advice I can give you is, uh,
   try to share common interests and spend, spend, spend.
   -- Guidance counselor dispenses advice, ``The Way We Was''
   Counselor:  Do you have any plans for after graduation?
   Homer:      Me?  I'm gonna drink a lot of beer and stay out ALL NIGHT.
   -- Homer visits the school guidance counselor, ``The Was We Was''
 The counselor gives Homer a brochure for the nuclear power plant opening
 soon, and Homer leaves with it.
   Heh, heh, Imagine me in a nuclear power plant. KaBOOM!
   -- Homer thinks about life after graduation, ``The Way We Was''
 Homer tosses the brochure into the trash.  Meanwhile, Marge practises
 her debating skills with the debate team.  Homer comes in...
   Homer:  My name's Homer Simpson, I'd like to sign up for something.
   Mrs. B: Well, we have an opening on the debate team.
   Homer:  Debate, like, arguing?
   Mrs. B: Yes.
   Homer:  I'll take THAT, you DINGPOT!
           Just warming up, Mrs. Blumenstein.
   -- Homer tries to share interests with Marge, ``The Way We Was''
   Mrs. B: This year's topic is
           `Resolved:  The national speed limit should be lowered
           to 55 miles per hour.'
   Homer:  55? That's ridiculous!
           Sure, it'll save a few lives,
           but millions will be late!
   -- Homer joins the debate team, ``The Way We Was''
 In his room, Homer studies the issue and writes his argument on an
 index card:  ``No Way.''  At the debate team practice, Homer gets
 mad at Artie for calling him an ignoramus.
   Homer: Wait a minute.  That word you keep calling me?
   Artie: Ignoramus?
   Homer: Ignoramus?  It means I'm stupid, doesn't it!
   Artie: There is a difference between ignorance and stupidity.
   Homer: Not to me, there isn't!
   -- Homer joins the debate team, ``The Way We Was''
   Mrs.B: Homer, would you like to present your rebuttal?
   Homer: With pleasure.  [turns around and moons the class]
   -- Homer joins the debate team, ``The Way We Was''
 Homer runs into Marge, who was jogging.  Marge says he isn't her type,
 but Homer pleads...
   Look, I'm not asking you to like me,
   I'm not asking you to put yourself in a position
   where I can touch your goodies,
   I'm just asking you to be fair.
   -- Homer smooth-talks Marge, ``The Way We Was''
 Marge talks to Coach Flanagan and the shop teacher for character references
 on Homer.  She also asks Barney.
   Barney: Wanna go to the prom with me?
   Girl:   Good God, no!
   Barney: Well-put.
   -- Negative feedback, ``The Way We Was''
 In the lunchroom, Homer asks Marge for her decision, and she says she
 doesn't have the time, so Homer pretends to need her help for French
   Bart:   Great story. [bangs TV]
           Positively spellbinding. [bangs TV]
           [to TV] Damn you.
   Homer:  Bart!  Pay attention,
           you may be telling this to your <own> son if something breaks.
   -- ``The Way We Was'' [double entendre alert]
 Homer prepares for Marge's arrival for her tutoring session...
   Ooh.  [spots hairs in his brush]  Lost a few.
   Well, there are plenty more where that came from.
   -- Teenage Homer isn't worried about male pattern baldness, ``The Way We Was''
 and Marge arrives.  After the tutoring session, she gets up to leave, but
 Homer suggests a study break.  Later that evening...
   Homer:  Marge, when I see you forming the vowels and continents
   Marge:  Consonants.
   Homer:  consonants, with your beautiful mouth,
           your beautiful breath pushing past
           your beautiful teeth...
   -- ``The Way We Was''
   So will you go out with me?   Please say `Oui'.
   -- Homer to Marge after a French lesson, ``The Way We Was''
 She does.
   Homer:  My tux is going to have the widest lapels, the most
           ruffles, and the highest platform shoes you ever saw!
   Marge:  And maybe I'll wear my hair ... up.
   -- Marge accepts Homer's invitation to the prom, ``The Way We Was''
 But when Marge learns Homer faked stupidity to get close to her,
 she storms out.  Homer calls his friend Barney and brags he has a date.

 [End of Act Two]
   Get off the edge of your seat.
   They got married, had kids, and bought a cheap TV, okay?
   -- Bart fails to enjoy Homer and Marge's story, ``The Way We Was''
 Marge's lack of sleep ruins her debating skills, and Artie wins the
 trophy.  After the competition...
   Artie:  Would you go to the prom with me?
   Marge:  Oh,
   Artie:  I can think of a dozen highly cogent arguments.
           Now the first is from Time Magazine, dated January 8th, 1974 ...
   -- ``The Way We Was''
 Marge pretties herself up for the prom...
   Mrs.B: If you pinch your cheeks, they'll glow.
          A little more, try to break some capillaries, dear.
   Marge: Couldn't we use just rouge for this?
   Mrs.B: Ladies pinch.  Whores use rouge.
   -- ``The Way We Was''
 Homer arrives...
   Selma: Marge's dates get homelier all the time.
   Patty: That's what you get when you don't put out.
     [Or maybe Patty and Selma.  It's hard to tell.]
   -- ``The Way We Was''
 Homer talks to Mr.B, then Marge comes in, and is shocked to find Homer
 in the living room.
   Homer:  You said you'd go the prom with me.
   Marge:  I also said I hated you, and we haven't even talked since then.
   Homer:  I was afraid you'd cancel our date, so I stayed away from
           you completely, even though it meant skipping school
           for three weeks and graduating this summer.  I hope.
   -- ``The Way We Was''
 Artie arrives, and Homer leaves dejectedly.  But he insists on going
 to the prom anyway.  At the prom...
   Wait a second.  Is that a bong-g?  [student points at his throat]
   You have asthma?  All right.  Move along.
   -- Mr. Dondelinger chaperones the prom, ``The Way We Was''
 Homer is in line for prom pictures, and has a picture of himself (dateless)
 taken.  At dinner, Barney streaks through the room.  The prom king and
 queen are announced: Artie and Marge.
   Hello, classmates.  Instead of voting for some athletic hero or a pretty boy,
   you have elected me, your intellectual superior, as your king.  Good for you.
   -- Artie Ziff's acceptance speech, ``The Way We Was''
 While Artie and Marge dance, Homer leaves and cries in the hallway.
 Marge asks him why he's putting himself through this, and he explains
 that he thought that they were destined to be together.  Afterwards...
   Driver: Well, where to now, Romeo?
   Homer:  Inspiration point.
   Driver: Okay, but I'm only paid to drive.
   -- Homer goes (alone) to Inspiration Point, ``The Way We Was''
 At Inspiration Point, Artie starts pawing Marge, and she slaps him when
 he tears her dress.  Marge asks to be driven home.  Homer walks home.
 Marge sees Homer walking along the road as she is driven home.
   Artie:  Marge, I would appreciate it
           if you didn't tell anyone about my busy hands.
           Not so much for myself,
           but I am so respected,
           it would damage the TOWN to hear it.
           Good night.
   Marge:  Yeah, right.
   -- ``The Way We Was''
 Marge overhears her parents talking about Homer...
   You know, when that Simpson boy showed up, it took years off my life.
   -- Mr. Bouvier, ``The Way We Was''
 She drives back to pick up Homer.  Homer gets in and gives her a corsage.
 Homer explains, ``I've got a problem.  Once you stop this car, I'm going
 to hug you, and kiss you, and then I'll never be able to let you go.''
 Back to the present, Homer concludes, ``And I never have.''  Lisa is
 touched, but Bart is ready to puke.

 Over the closing credits, Homer sings something.
   Episode summaries Copyright 1991 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

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