Episode - 7G01
First Aired - 5/13/1990After Homer hears Marge call a radio psychology show about how she feels unappreciated by her husband, Homer decides to make it up to her by taking her out on a romantic evening at a roadside hotel. The trouble comes when Homer hires a babysitter for the kids whose last jobs were a prisoner of Springfield Pentitentary and a "guest appearance" on Springfield's Most Wanted as a wanted fugitive.
This episode contains examples of:
- And I'm the Queen of Sheba: In the original cut, the babysitter receptionist gives this sort of retort when Homer defends the Simpsons on the phone.
- Animation Bump: The episode was extremely erratic in terms of animation quality, largely due to the exported studio doing a poor job and the worst scenes being ordered to be redone. Even the style of the show is not quite perfected yet (certain shots such as that of Ms Botz's Tranquil Fury threat towards Bart are done with unusual fluidity and rubbery-ness than ever seen in the series). Though one could argue that the rubbery-ness (animated by animation master Dan Haskett) looks more creative and fluid than the overall conservative animation from the series later on.
- Babysitter from Hell and Badly Battered Babysitter: The Simpsons kids (at least in this season) are so bad that no babysitter from the "Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers Babysitting Service" wants to care for them (they also don't like Homer — or, as they call him, "that big ape father"), so Homer has to change his name to Sampson to trick the agency. Justified with Ms. Botz, as she's actually a wanted criminal who tied the kids up and is planning to rob the family blind, so the Simpson kids team up to get rid of her.
- Buffy Speak: Homer refers to Marge's negligee as the "blue thing with the things."
- But He Sounds Handsome: While trying to convince the "Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers Babysitting Service" that he's "Homer Sampson" instead of "Homer Simpson", Homer defends "Simpson" against the bad things they say about him.
- Continuity Nod: When she calls Dr. Monroe, Marge says she's 34 years old, and when Ms. Botz raids the Simpsons' homemade pickled beets, Bart attempts to drop a bowling ball with "Homer" engraved on it. Both are elements from "Life On The Fast Lane" (Marge had her 34th birthday in that episode, and Homer gave her that bowling ball as a present), which of course weren't in the original cut of this one.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment:
- The kids hogtie Ms Botz and force her to watch "The Happy Little Elves".Ms Botz: Please turn off the TV...
- Ms. Botz threatening some unknown punishment is enough to make even Bart behave.Ms. Botz: You're going to do what I say or else I'm going to do something to you. And I don't know what that is because everyone has always done what I say.
- The kids hogtie Ms Botz and force her to watch "The Happy Little Elves".
- Disproportionate Retribution: The original script (and deleted scenes) had Marge start the day optimistic and with expectations of a cheery, friendly morning with her family, and then calls a hotline after receiving slightly unaffectionate behavior from Homer and the kids, ready to give him a Toilet Seat Divorce. The final episode fixes this by depicting Marge as clearly haggard and downbeat, implying she had been through this for quite a while already.
- "Home Alone" Antics: The Simpsons kids are left with a Babysitter from Hell (a serial, Springfield's Most Wanted-caliber thief called "The Babysitting Bandit") while Homer and Marge are out celebrating their anniversary and they knock her out.
- Jerkass: In the opening scene, Homer is particularly thoughtless towards Marge.
- Karma Houdini: Homer frees Ms. Botz, who gets away seconds before Bart returns with the cops. In the season 8 episode "Hurricane Neddy", Ms. Botz is seen in a mental hospital cell. Maybe they finally caught her and she copped an insanity plea?
- Little Miss Badass: Maggie manages to untie Bart and Lisa and acts as a lure to get Ms. Botz off her game long enough to knock her out.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Homer has this reaction when a TV news crew informs him that he just let loose a wanted criminal.
- Off Model: Scenes from the original version of the episode look rather distorted than the reanimated scenes (the original version can be found as a special feature on the season one DVD set for the show).
- Out of Order: The episode was originally designed as the pilot (hence the opening breakfast scene introducing each family member) but ended up as the season finale after the entire thing had to be re-animated several times. This also explains why the opening credit sequence has no Couch Gag, but ends with the family merely taking their seats on the couch and smiling as they watch TV. The original intent was that the pilot would play this scene straight, while every subsequent episode would subvert it.
- Special Guest: June Foray as the voice of the Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers Babysitting Service receptionist; Penny Marshall as Ms. Lucille Botz a.k.a. "The Babysitter Bandit"; Paul Willson as the florist
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: When Homer persists in getting a babysitter.Receptionist: Rubber Baby Buggy Bumper Baby-sitting Service.Homer: Hello, this is Mr. Sss...Sampson.Receptionist: Did your wife just call a second ago?Homer: No, I said Sampson, not Simpson.
- Take That: Miss Botz is named after a babysitter Matt Groening once had as a child who used him as a guinea pig for a child psychology class she was taking.
- Through the Eyes of Madness: While waiting for Homer to get home from work, as Marge thinks about how mad she is the background slowly starts to shift to match her anger, becoming a rather hellish setting.
- Toilet Seat Divorce: As mentioned above, the original cut made it look like Marge was ready to leave Homer just for not being affectionate during breakfast.
- Would Hurt a Child: Ms. Botz.