Episode - 7F09
First Aired - 12/20/1990Marge leads a protest against The Itchy & Scratchy Show after Maggie whacks Homer on the head with a mallet, but viewer interest drops when the Itchy and Scratchy cartoons become Lighter and Softer and Marge gets branded a hypocrite when her anti-TV violence group wants to go after Michaelangelo's David for depicting male frontal nudity.
This episode contains examples of:
- Actually Pretty Funny: Despite the supposed abuse he suffered due to the show, Homer can't help tittering at Itchy and Scratchy himself.
- Amusing Injuries: Itchy & Scratchy are considered to be a funny, amusing cartoon by most viewers. Only when Marge actually sits down to watch the episodes she notices what most sane people in Real Life would immediately say: that these graphically violent cartoons are unsuitable for young children.
- Comically Missing the Point: When Marge bans Itchy and Scratchy, Lisa objects and says, without the cartoons, they'll grow up to be humorless robots. Bart replies, "Really? What kind of robots?"
- Continuity Nod: When Krusty gets Marge's letter, he holds it upside-down, looks at it with a confused look, then throws it away. This is because he is illiterate, as stated in "Krusty Gets Busted".
- Curse Cut Short: A version, with Roger Meyers' letter to Marge (see Getting Crap Past the Radar).
- Enemy Mine: Itchy and Scratchy break from their feud to brutalize a nagging blue haired squirrel, even happily shaking hands afterwards.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The penis of David's statue can clearly been seen (though later scenes do use scenery censors and creative camera work to block his crotch).
- At the end of the first act, Roger Meyers Jr. dictates a letter to Marge. He says, "So let me close by saying—" which abruptly cuts to Marge reacting to the letter: "...And the horse I rode in on?" The full version of that quote would be, "Fuck you, and the horse you rode in on."
- Grey and Grey Morality: The episode very notably doesn't take a side on the issue of whether censorship is good or bad (but it does have the moral of "Be prepared for consequences, hypocrisy, and opposing viewpoints if you choose to stand up for a cause."). Sure, Roger Meyers is a scumbag who doesn't care if his shows influence kids to hurt themselves and others, but he's just a man trying to entertain others. Sure, SNUH is a bunch of Moral Guardians who want to censor even masterpieces for offending their conservative housewife sensibilities, but they're kind of right in that kids should be exposed to real art and not just pop culture trash.
- Hypocrite: Marge is accused of this when she refuses to support the campaign to get Michelangelo's David banned from Springfield. Her opponents point out that she can hardly demand the banning of one controversial and potentially offensive form of expression because she doesn't approve of it, while refusing to support a campaign to get another controversial and potentially offensive form of expression banned because she does approve of it.
- Jerkass: The chairman of the Itchy and Scratchy franchise, Roger Meyers Jr, pivots Marge's tirade against the show by responding to her letter with a blunt, vulgar insult.
- Marge can be seen as one as well. If she had just kept an eye on Maggie, then she would have stopped her sooner from hitting Homer (or better yet, kept her from watching Itchy and Scratchy, since that show isn't appropriate for a baby).
- Kent Brockman News: Kent makes no attempt to hide his own viewpoint while hosting a debate on cartoon violence.
- Moral Guardians: Parodied almost to the point of deconstruction; Marge protests against cartoon violence, wins her argument by organizing a huge protest rally which forces the animators to make some changes. The newer, nicer episodes of Itchy and Scratchy are so boring that the kids actually go and play outside more often. According to the audio commentary the makers intentionally made this appear ridiculously harmonic.
- On top of that, Marge's anti-indecency group want to go after Michelangelo Buonarroti 's classic statue David for depicting male frontal nudity. Marge however feels this is art and is against censoring something that is not violent at all, only harmless nudity. She loses her credibility, Itchy and Scratchy return to being violent, and Marge despairs over her kids never knowing true art (until Homer says that the schools will eventually force them to learn to come and look at David's "doodle".)
- Noodle Incident: At some point, Homer tries to avoid work by using some excuse that sounds lamer than being whacked on the head with a mallet by a baby. Homer is angry for not being believed.
- "Psycho" Shower Murder Parody and Psycho Strings: Maggie hits Homer with a mallet in an clever parody of this iconic scene.
- Shout-Out: Maggie hitting Homer is a shot-for-shot spoof of the shower scene from Psycho.
- Ludwig van Beethoven: The music from his "Pastorale Symphony" can be heard when the children play outside.
- Nelson painting the fence with his friends is a reference to Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer.
- Itchy & Scratchy in their musketeer outfits is a clear reference to the similar Tom and Jerry cartoons set in this time period.
- The scene of the kids playing is a parody of the "Pastoral Symphony" segment from Fantasia.
- Special Guest: Alex Rocco as Roger Meyers, Jr.
- Take That: Marge is caricatured as a cranky squirrel that Itchy decapitates by a disgruntled animator.Homer: [chuckles] Take that, you dumb squirrel!
- The Television Talks Back: When Homer and the kids are watching a power tool commercial:TV: It's 67 tools in one! How much would you pay for a machine that can do all this?Homer: One thousand dollars!TV: Oh, don't answer yet!Homer: Oh, sorry.