The Simpsons: There's No Disgrace Like Home   Rewatch 
February 1, 2023 10:06 PM - Season 1, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Homer does what he can to change The Simpsons into the ideal family.

Aired: January 28th, 1990
Written by: Al Jean and Mike Reiss
Directed by: Gregg Vanzo and Kent Butterworth
Production Code: 7G04

The Simpsons attend the annual Springfield Nuclear Power Plant company picnic at Burns Manor. Homer fails to impress his boss, Marge has too much to drink, and the kids misbehave. Embarrassed by his family, Homer resolves to take them to Dr. Marvin Monroe's clinic for family counseling. To pay for counseling, Homer pawns the living room television against his family's wishes. Dr. Monroe tries multiple therapies, including an electroshock session that failed before it even started. In the end, none of the therapies worked, and Dr. Monroe gives them double their money back per his guarantee. They talk about using their profit to buy a new television, and The Simpsons start making their way home while sweet music plays them off.

I call the big one “Bitey”
BURNS: But now it's time to say goodbye. Please get off my property until next year.
MARGE: Are you coming in, Homer?
HOMER: No, no. [sighs] I want to be alone with my thought.
HOMER: [praying] Dear Lord, thank you for this microwave bounty, even though we don't deserve it. I mean, our kids are uncontrollable hellions. Pardon my French, but they act like savages. Did you see them at the picnic? Oh, uh, of course you did. You're everywhere. You're omnivorous. O Lord! Why did you smite me with this family?!
  • The prefix "7G" in the production code encodes "The Simpsons, season 1". "04" refers to the fourth episode produced. Al Jean mentions in the episode commentary that the 7G in "Sector 7G" probably came from the prefix. More on production codes from The Simpsons Archive:
    [Production codes are] the single best way to refer to an episode uniquely and succinctly. "Season-episode" numberings could refer to production or broadcast seasons and orders, and broadcast orders can vary outside the US. In addition, the codes are not entirely numeric, so there is little chance of confusing them for another numbering scheme. Titles can work, if you know them, but they get translated overseas and often not directly, for example if the title is a pun, and they're not short; much of the time they're little more helpful in describing the plot or a specific scene anyway. (The Simpsons Archive)
  • The writers pointed out that the roles some members of the family changed in later seasons. Marge has too much to drink, Lisa is a "brat", and Homer worries that his family's behavior around his boss and co-workers will embarrass him. Bart and Maggie seem the same, though Matt Groening points out that she doesn't suck on her pacifier during dialogue anymore.
  • According to the Wikipedia article for this episode, this is the first episode of The Simpsons broadcast on the BBC. In 1996.
  • Mike Reiss said in the commentary that Burns didn't have a name when he and Al Jean were writing the script, so they called him "Mr. Meanie".
  • Al Jean said that they heard Dean Martin sing "Hey Brother, Pour the Wine" (Invidious, YouTube) and thought it would be funny if Marge sang it.
  • The Simpsons chanting "one of us" is a reference to the movie "Freaks". (Invidious, YouTube)
  • Eddie and Lou make their first appearance in this episode. Lou is based on Lou Whitaker, second baseman for the Detroit Tigers from 1977 to 1995. (Wikipedia)
  • Eddie and Lou do not have last names. (Invidious, YouTube)
  • Dr. Marvin Monroe was based on Dr. David Viscott, a psychiatrist who had radio and television shows through the 1980s and into the 1990s. (Wikipedia) Interview with Terrence Thompson. (Invidious, YouTube)
  • In Die Hard 2, the electroshock scene from this episode is playing on the plane (Nitter, Twitter)
I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder
  • The commentators mention that there's cel flare in the crowd scene while Mr. Burns is speaking in front of the gazebo. I can't find a great definition for it, but this blog post at Michael Sporn Animation mentions it as a specific animation mistake. My best guess is that something in the animation process causes the colors to change between cels, causing rapid flickers of color as the cels are reused during the applause. It's easiest to see in the hair.
Worst Episode Ever
Okay, you might ask, how can I give out a 2, two 2.5s and a 4 and then assign a 3? Because I think we're overwhelmingly hard on this first season these days, simply because they're not what they ultimately became. I know I am anyway. Now that I've watched each episode on this DVD set at least three times, then the commentary, I can feel comfortable with them on my shelf, but not watching them much more. They're there for completeness, and if you're a DVD collector like myself, it would just be strange to have several Simpsons seasons and not this first one. It's fairly cheap, especially if you go through an online retailer, and, hey, if nothing else, it's a trip down memory lane.

David B. Grelck, The Simpsons: The Complete First Season - DVD Review
You can't see it, but Grelck gave the episode 2 out of 5 stars if you look at the HTML.

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posted by chinesefood (3 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
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posted by chinesefood at 10:55 PM on February 1, 2023

The Simpsons manages to accurately predict conversations on Twitter.
posted by Paragon at 12:30 AM on February 2, 2023

The dysfunctional family in Marvin Monroe's commercial is a pretty funny bit, feels like the closest to what we think of as classic Simpsons. The parallel b/w Homer fighting Barney & the boxing match feels less developed, but something that could be in a later episode if developed more.
posted by Saxon Kane at 5:11 PM on March 14, 2023

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