Recap / The Simpsons S 14 E 5 Helter Shelter

The family ends up on an The 1900 House-type reality show after Lisa's newly-obtained hockey stick from a Russian player infests the house with termites.

This is the final episode aired to be animated with cels before permanently transitioning to digital ink and paint; digital animation had been experimented with before in a few preceding episodes, but after this episode, the technique became a mainstay.


  • Bowdlerize/Edited for Syndication: Recent airings of the episode in the UK have cut out the part featuring Bill Cosby, due to sexual allegations against him from 2014 onwards.
  • Gilligan Cut: When a pipe fell on Homer's head at the plant, Burns was afraid he'd hold out for millions. Cut to the next scene with Homer and the family going to a hockey game to enjoy the skybox. And Homer didn't even realize it was a hockey game before Lisa pointed it out. In fact, several people didn't realize they were going to a hockey game until they read the sign at the stadium.
  • Good Is Boring: The Simpsons soon become much nicer after living a 19th-century, but ratings plummet.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: When the Simpsons ask the writers of the show for food, they comment they're not allowed to interfere with the show, just after they had put the Simpsons' house in a river. And just to rub salt in the wounds, he orders all the leftover food will be burned.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The Simpsons team up with other groups that had also been abandoned by the television executives to get revenge on the writers.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The exterminator company's name was "A Bug's Death" and their truck had a design that resembled A Bug's Life.
    • While the Simpsons' house is being fumigated, the theme of King of the Hill is playing while they are waiting.
  • Take That!/Americans Hate Tingle: If the beginning is to be believed, hockey is very unpopular in Springfield.
  • Toilet Humor: One of the more interesting and literal examples in the series:
    Bart: [opens the kitchen door and the termite-damaged knob comes off] Hey Mom, our crapshack's going to Hell.
    Marge: [offended] Bart, watch your potty mouth!
    [Homer suddenly falls through the ceiling onto the kitchen table while still seated on the toilet]
    Homer: [notices Marge and Bart] Hey, get out! I'm in here! [beat] Oh.
  • You Monsters: Homer calls the television executives this through the confessional camera after learning they had put the house into the river, turning the show into a Survivor clone.