Chalkboard - I am not the reincarnation of Sammy Davis Jr.
Couch gag - the family gets beamed in Star Trek style...
Writer - John Swartzwelder
Director - Wes Archer
I think every episode I've written about has been a Swartzwelder episode, not be on purpose it just turns out that way. He does hold the title of most Simpsons episodes written. Today we are looking at Itchy and Scratchy Land, the Simpsons send up of cartoon violence and of course our favorite house of mouse(not maus).
Ask any fan and I'm sure this episode is in their top ten, endlessly quotable and one of the best "surreal" adventures that the family takes. The show starts off with Bart and Lisa watching TV and seeing an ad for Itchy and Scratchy Land and proceeding to berate Homer into taking them. At first he refuses because everything these days is so expensive, which leads to one of my favorite lines "check out this bible....ten bucks and talk about a preachy book....everyones a sinner....except this guy"
Eventually Homer gives in and the family is off on a road trip while Grandpa cares for the pets, an awesome exchange of glances from the pets is a classic Simpsons side gag. Always one to comment on the middle class American family, the writers take the family through such road trips mainstays such as "standing in five states at once" or the uber religious middle america with every am station counting down the seven signs of evil, to the always fun shortcut down a sketchy side road.
Upon arriving at the park the show begins to lampoon a certain theme park to perfection, mixing in bits of Jurassic Park and Westworld. First off we have the ridiculous parking lots, just remember though we're in the Itchy lot. Then we have the ominous helicopter ride to an island with a less than reassuring pilot, if they would have had John Williams playing in the background it'd be perfect.
At the park we are treated to a land dedicated to violence complete with killer robots that only attack each other thanks to "kill" sensors, rides involving buzzsaws(seriously if Marge and Homer were sitting in front their eyes would've been gouged out, restaurants with baby guts on the menu(don't worry it's only veal), and a great interpretation of the electric light parade, with walking axes and bleeding robots.
Of course things take a turn for the worse but not before Homer and Marge go to parents island where they can ring in the new year every ten minutes, or ride recipe related bumper cars, and not before Bart and Homer get arrested tfor messing with the park staff and get taken to the underground catacombs That house a whole team of scientists and some fascist looking guards who have a death hole.
Everyone loves this episode and they should, it takes the simpsons on a crazy adventure where they fight killer robots with camera flash bulbs. The show is never as blunt as South Park or random as Family Guy, but is always smarter than the both of them. Here they take jabs at the ridiculousness of cartoon violence, showing time after time just how absurd violence can be. This culminates in the final scene where even Marge can't help but laugh at her son getting hit by her daughter. The family said it best, they spent a lot of time together outside, got a lot of exercise, and have tons of memories.....they just happen to include embarassment, dangerous shortcuts and some blood being spilled. By the way in case you were thinking about it...don't even bother I hear they're out of "Bort" license plates anyways.
One last thought - Hans Moleman has another one of my favorite lines to quote....he's stuck in a phone booth more or less in the middle of Hitchcock's The Birds....and he's asking for a sea bell..."I need the largest sea bell you have.....noooo that's too big"...al while people are being eaten away by birds around him....Family Guy that's how you do a frakkin non sequitir.