The Front

The Front
                                                     Written by Adam I. Lapidus
                                                         Directed by Rich Moore

TV Guide Synopsis

Grandpa [sic] Simpson acts as a front man for Lisa and Bart after they
write an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon; Homer returns to school to make
up a missing credit.  Brooke Shields has a cameo.

Title sequence


    {I will not sell miracle cures.}
    {I will not sell mir} at cutoff.

Lisa's solo

   Bright and happy. [8[FG]10?]


        Homer yells, ``D'oh!'' when Lisa scoots past.
        Homer yells, ``Waugh!'' when the car closes in on him.


        The Simpsons, and a cast of thousands, form a kick-line.

Quotes and scene summary


 Cooking with Krusty.  The chef says he got Krusty's mother's
 recipe for matzoh brie.  Krusty angrily tells the chef, ``I don't
 do the Jewish stuff on the air!''
   Ixnay on the Oojay!
   -- Ustykray the Ownklay, ``The Front''
 As Lisa notes that Krusty is ashamed of his roots, Homer comes in,
 a plunger stuck to his head.
   What are you going to change your name to when you grow up?
   -- Bart to Lisa, ``The Front''
 Lisa chooses Laura Sandborne.  Bart likes Steve Bennett.  Up comes
 an Itchy and Scratch cartoon.  But it's awful.
   Eh, I could pull a better cartoon out of my a...heheheh-hey!  Whoa!
   Wasn't that great, kids?
   -- Krusty discovers the wonders of live television, ``The Front''
   Lisa: The writers should be ashamed of themselves!
   Bart: Cartoons have writers?
   -- I thought it was just a bunch of stuff that happened, ``The Front''
 Bart grouses, ``We could probably write a better cartoon ourselves.''
   Lisa: Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
   Bart: Probably not.
   -- ``The Front''
 And he's right.  Bart thinks about hijacking Santa's sleigh.

 Going through the daily mail, Marge finds (after a bunch of collection
 notices) an invitation to her high school reunion.  Oddly, there isn't
 an invitation for Homer.
   Homer's brain: This is it, Homer.  It's time to tell her the horrible secret
          from your past.
   Homer: Marge I ate those fancy soaps you bought for the bathroom.
   Marge: Oh, my God!
   Homer's brain: No, the other secret!
   -- One secret at a time, ``The Front''
   Homer: I never passed Remedial Science 1A.
   Marge: And you're a nuclear technician?
   -- But his job description clearly specified an illiterate, ``The Front''
 Lisa reads a book on writing cartoons.  The first thing is to find a
 setting.  Outside, Homer clips the hedges, and accidentally
 truncates Marge's do.  Bart suggests a barber shop.  Lisa and Bart
 put together a cartoon starring Itchy as a barber.  But they reach a
 sticky point: Whose name goes first?
   Lisa:  Look, there's only one way to settle this.  Rock-paper-scissors.
   Lisa's brain: Poor predictable Bart.  Always takes `rock'.
   Bart's brain: Good ol' `rock'.  Nuthin' beats that!
   Bart:  Rock!
   Lisa:  Paper.
   Bart:  D'oh!
   -- ``The Front''
 At Itchy and Scratchy, Intl., Roger Meyers bawls out one of his
 Harvard-educated writers.  His secretary delivers Lisa and Bart's
 script.  Meyers doesn't get past the second sentence.

 Rejected and dejected, Lisa suggests they put a grown-up's name
 on the script instead.
   What about Grampa?  He's pretty out of it.
   He let those guys use his checkbook for a whole year.
   -- Bart, ``The Front''
 Grampa types an angry letter.
   When I read your magazine, I don't see one wrinkled face or single
   toothless grin.  For shame!  To the sickos at `Modern Bride' magazine.
   -- Grampa Simpson writes a letter, ``The Front''
   Bart:   Hey, Grampa, we need to know your first name.
   Grampa: You're making my tombstone!?
   -- ``The Front''
   Whenever I'm confused, I just check my underwear!
   -- Grampa Simpson, ``The Front''
 Grampa removes his underwear directly and consults it.  His name is
 Abraham.  And he doesn't know how he removed his underwear without
 taking off his pants.

 Late at night, at Itchy and Scratchy, Intl., Roger Meyers reads
 ``The Little Barber Shop of Horrors'', by Abraham Simpson.  And he
 likes it.  When his secretary calls Grampa, he denies any knowledge
 of ``Ishy'', but quickly changes his tune when he learns that there's
 a check in it for him.

 [End of Act One.  Time: 6:33]

 Homer looks over his high school yearbook and reminisces on his high
 school years.  Somehow, Homer confuses his own life with that of
 Richie Cunningham.

 Principal Dondelinger greets Marge, but mistakes Homer for a vagrant.
 Homer recognizes Bobby Mindix, the class clown, still up to his old
 tricks.  Along comes Artie Ziff, now stinking rich, but he admits that
 he'd trade his wealth for one night with Marge.  Homer considers the
 Homer is the only one laughing at Bobby's various impressions at the
 lectern.  Next come the awards.
   Bobby: First, the award for the alumnus who gaied the most weight.
          Homer Simpson!
   Homer: Oh, my God!
   Bobby: How'd you do it, Homer?
   Homer: I discovered a meal between breakfast and brunch.
   -- ``The Front''
 He continues to win unflattering awards.
   What can I say?  It hasn't been easy staying in my rut.
   -- Homer accepts an award, ``The Front''
 But Homer must return his awards when it becomes known that he never
 passed Remedial Science 1A.  He is laughed off the stage.  Homer vows
 to get his high school diploma and reclaim his awards.

 Roger Meyers is impressed by Grampa's experience and hires him for
 $800 a week.  He introduces Grampa to the staff.

 Krusty shows the kids his nicotine patch.  Unable to stand it any longer,
 he licks the patch directly.  Time for a cartoon.
   Bart!  Our cartoon's on TV!
   -- Lisa, ``The Front''
 Unfortunately, when Lisa clicks the remote to turn up the volume,
 she hits the channel-changer instead.  By the time she corrects her
 error, the cartoon has nearly ended.  Homer tells the kids that he
 didn't finish high school.  Bart's laughter (and subsequent
 strangulation) is interrupted by the doorbell.  It's Grampa (in an
 expensive suit), who tells Homer that he just stopped by on his way
 home from work.  His job is to tell a cat and mouse what to do.  Homer
 imagines carting Grampa off to the nut-house in a wheelbarrow.

 Bart and Lisa explain to Grampa what they did.
   Lisa;   Didn't you wonder why you were getting checks for doing nothing?
   Grampa: I figured, 'cuz the Democrats were in power again.
   -- ``The Front''
 Lisa suggests they continue the ruse, splitting the money three
 ways.  Grampa asks to sleep on it, and promptly dozes off.  Bart
 wakes Grampa from the arms of Morphius.  Grampa quickly agrees,
 so that he can return to his dream.  (I can't describe it.)

 [End of Act Two.  Time:  13:16]

 Roger Meyer offers to show Bart and Lisa around the studio.  Abe
 turns down the offer, since there is a flight of stairs involved.
 (He goes back to sleep.)  Meyers leads the kids down the animation
 wing.  ``Sometimes, to save money, our animators will re-use the
 same backgrounds over and over and over again.''  They walk down the
 hallway, past the same water cooler and cleaning lady several times.

 Remedial Science 1A begins.  Meanwhile, Krusty, his body covered in
 nicotine patches, asks Mel for yet another.  (Mel applies it to
 Krusty's butt.)  Another Abraham Simpson cartoon is shown.

 Mr. Dondelinger burns a donut to demonstrate how many calories it
 has.  Homer screams in agony.
   Dear Mr. President.  There are too many states nowadays.
   Please eliminate three.  I am not a crackpot!
   -- Grampa Simpson writes another letter, ``The Front''
 Grampa has been nominated for an award.  Meyers has fired the other
 writers.  ``From now on, the fate of the entire company rests on that
 delightful coconut of yours.''  Grampa confesses to being a complete
 fraud, but Meyers was momentarily distracted and didn't hear.

 Final exam, fifty questions, true or false.
   Homer: All right brain, you don't like me, and I don't like you.
          But let's just get me through this, and I can get back to killing
          you with beer.  
   Homer's brain:  It's a deal!
   -- ``The Front''
 Grampa preps for awards night.  The presenters for Outstanding
 Writing in a Cartoon Series are Krusty and Brooke Shields.  The
 prepared joke sucks.  Krusty storms off in disgust.  Brooke carries
 on by herself.  The nominees are ``Strondar, Master of Vacom: the
 wedding episode)'' [a He-Man knock-off], ``Action Figure Man: the
 how to buy action figure man episode'', ``Ren and Stimpy: season
 premi\`ere'' (clip not done yet), and ``Itchy and Scratchy''.
 Grampa watches the clip with horror.  And the winner is Itchy and
 Scratchy.  Grampa takes the stage and expresses his disgust,
 earning a resounding boo (and thrown fruit) from the audience.
   I'll never watch an awards show again.
   -- Bart Simpson, ``The Front''
 Homer proudly shows his passing test to Marge.  ``At our next high
 school reunion, I'll have nothing to be ashamed of.''

 Flash forward to Homer's 50th reunion, in 2024.  Homer arrives with
 a plunger stuck to his head.

 [End of Act Three.  Time: 19:30]

 The Adventures of Ned Flanders.  Ned Flanders in ``Love that God''.

 A truly Flanders-like short follows.

 [Time: 0:32]

Voice Credits


    Dan Castellaneta        (Homer, Grampa)
    Julie Kavner            (Marge)
    Nancy Cartwright        (Bart, Todd Flanders)
    Yeardley Smith          (Lisa)
    Hank Azaria             (Artie Ziff)
    \:    and
    Harry Shearer           (Roger Meyers, Dondelinger, Ned Flanders)

Special Guest Voice

    Brooke Shields          (herself)

Also Starring

    Doris Grau              (Roxie)
    Maggie Roswell          (?)


Yours truly @{rjc}: Another strong showing.

Didja notice...

    ... the U. S. flag is hanging backwards at the reunion!
        A-S-U!  A-S-U!  Woo-hoo!
    ... flies buzzing around Barney?
    ... when Grampa won the award, the band played the Simpsons theme?
    ... Brooke announced the winner as Abraham Simpson Reiss?

Movie (and other) References

    ? Galen's drawings of a human body, sans skin
        - Scratchy's fur-less appearance.
          (At least, I *think* it was Galen.  I'm probably mistaken.)

Freeze Frame Fun

Homer's high school yearbook entry

    - Photo: a paragon of sloppiness
    - ``I can't believe I ate the whole thing.''
    - Activities: None.
    - Sports: None.
    - Honors: None.

Itchy and Scratchy writers

    | The Itchy and Scratchy writers are in fact caricatures of members
      of the actual Simpsons writing team.
      This information courtesy of Bill Oakley.
    - John Vitti:  Fired by Roger Meyers.
    - John Swartzwelder:  Eating a donut and drinking coffee.
    - George Meyer:  Sitting at a computer, tossing a pencil.
    - Jeff Martin:  Pouring coffee.
    - Sam Simon: Smoking a cigar.
    - Al Jean: Rocking in a chair.  ``I wrote my thesis on life experience.''
    - Mike Reiss:  Reading the paper.
    | At the awards ceremony
    - Jeff Martin, John Swartzwelder, Matt Groening
    - Mike Reiss:  ``He's right, we've been wasting our lives!''
    - Al Jean: ``I'm gonna wrote a sitcom about a sassy robot.''
    | Another interesting note...
    * The dilapidated room where the writers work is literally drawn
      from a photo of the real Simpsons re-write room.  It looks
      exactly like that, right down to the broken lamp on top of the

Itchy and Scratchy credits

    - Assistant to Mr. Itchy:  Dee Cappelli
    - Assistant to Mr. Scratchy:  Jacqueline Atkins
    - Scratchy's Wardrobe Provided by:  Botany 500
    - For a transcript of this episode, send $25 to this station
    - A huge credits panel.  (Four of the Simpsons regular
      credits panels combined.)
    - Stephen J. Cannell-style signature.


    - Itchy and Scratchy:  ``Dazed and Contused'',
      written by Milt Fineburg and Hy Levine
    - ``How to Get Rich Writing Cartoons'' by John Swartzwelder
    - Springfield Civic Center
        * Friday: Annual Cartoon Awards 
        * Saturday:  Closed for roach spraying

Animation and continuity goofs

Comments and other observations

References from the obvious to the obscure

Previous episodes

[7[FG]12] Homer and Marge ``Do the Hustle''.

Matzoh Brie

Matzoh brie (rhymes with `pie') consists of broken-up matzohs soaked
in hot water, mixed with egg, fried, then served with sugar, jam or
syrup for breakfast.  Yum! @{dsr}

Inside jokes

John ``the kid who dies with the most references to himself wins''
Swartzwelder shares his secret as the author of ``How to Get Rich
Writing Cartoons''.

The lampooning of Harvard grads is a jab at those members of the
Simpsons writing staff who indeed hail from that fine institution.
(Rather than naming them here, I'll invite them to step forward
and embarrass themselves in public.)

Elvis shooting a television set

Nothing to write, really.  Just had to mention it.

I can't believe I ate the whole thing

A tag line from old Alka-Seltzer commercials.  (Alka-Seltzer is a
brand of effervescent antacid tablets.)

Indecent Proposal

The airing of this episode came shortly after the heavily-promoted
premi\`ere of a movie involving Robert Redford's offer of $1 million
to spend the night with Woody Harrelson's wife, Demi Moore.  Any
resemblance to Artie Ziff or cartoon shows is surely coincidental.

Stephen J. Cannell

The Itchy and Scratchy signature is a spoof of the Cannell signature.
Stephen Cannell is responsible for such quality fare as ``The A Team''
and ``Greatest American Hero''.

Distribution notice and Acknowledgments

Blah blah.

HTML conversion by
Howard Jones( on Sat 10 Sept 1994