Recap / The Simpsons S 4 E 19 The Front
After watching a mediocre episode of The Itchy and Scratchy Show, Bart and Lisa decide that they know enough about the show and what's funny to pen their own episodes, but after getting rejected by Roger Meyers, Jr. because of their age, the duo use Grampa Simpson as a front. Meanwhile, Homer and Marge go to their high school reunion, where Homer is revealed to have never graduated because he failed remedial science (all the more disturbing when you realize that Homer is a nuclear plant safety inspector) and goes to night school to make up the lost credit.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Brick Joke: Homer has a plunger stuck to his head at the beginning of the episode. At the end, it happens again.
  • Comical Overreacting: Homer screaming and morning at the teacher burning a donut for a science experiment.
    Homer: This is not happening. This is not happening!!
  • Comically Missing the Point: Homer when Marge notices she received an invitation for a class reunion but Homer didn't.
    Homer's brain: This is it, Homer. It's time to tell her the horrible secret from your past.
    Homer: Marge I ate those fancy soaps you bought for the bathroom.
    Marge: Oh, my God!
    Homer's brain: No, the other secret!
  • Creator Backlash: In-universe, Though subverted: Abe accepts an Outstanding Writer Award for an episode of Itchy & Scratchy even though Bart and Lisa actually wrote it. During his acceptance speech, he clarifies that he hadn't even seen Itchy & Scratchy until he saw a clip of the episode nominated, and goes on a rant on how disgusted he was that such a violent cartoon passes off for entertainment in the modern era.
  • Curse Cut Short: Krusty after watching Itchy & Scratchy episode "Dazed and Contused".
    Krusty: Eh, I could pull a better cartoon out of my a...heheheh-hey! Whoa! Wasn't that great, kids?
  • Drugs Are Bad: The message of the Itchy & Scratchy short "Dazed and Contused". Itchy weakly hits Scratchy's head a few times with a hammer (Bart thinks they're building to something), and then the two tell the camera, "Kids! Say no to drugs!" End.
  • Filler: "Everyone Loves Ned Flanders" was added precisely because the episode was running short.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Bart and Lisa criticize Krusty for denying his Jewish heritage. Right after that, Homer shows up with a plunger stuck to his head and Bart and Lisa talk about what names they want to have when they become old enough to legally change it (Lisa will be Lois Sandborn while Bart will be Steve Bennett). Later, Barney learns that Homer failed remedial science and wonders how low can one get. Right after that, someone asks about Barney where his cummerbund (the sash on the waist of a men's tuxedo) is, with Barney dejectedly replying, "It fell in the toilet"
  • Imagine Spot: Bart has one about hijacking Santa's sleigh.
    • Homer has one about carting Abe to a loony bin and leaving him there after he says that in his job, he's paid "to tell a cat and mouse what to do".
  • Is This Thing On?: After the lame Itchy and Scratchy, the show cuts back to Krusty: "Ehh, I could pull a better cartoon out of my a— (Notices he's on, then chuckles) Hey! Whoa! Wasn't that great, kids?"
  • Kick the Dog: Roger Meyers Jr. really likes humiliating that poor Harvard grad.
  • Limited Animation: "Strong-Dar, Master of Akom: The Wedding Episode".
  • Lonely at the Top: Artie Ziff is a wealthy businessman and would trade everything for a night with Marge.
  • Mean Boss: Subverted with Roger Meyers. Although Meyers is an asshole to most of his writers, that's because the scripts they're producing for him are garbage. He's much nicer to writers who actually do their jobs and come up with scripts worth producing, like Grampa (allegedly).
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Grampa delivers one to the audience after winning at the Annual Cartoon Awards (as seen in the picture on top) and gets booed off the stage. It seems to strike a chord with a couple of guys though.
  • The Reveal: The viewers and Bart and Lisa learn that Grampa Simpson's given name is Abraham.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The idea for this episode came about because of the episode of Tiny Toon Adventures written by three teenage viewers. Adam I. Lapidus, the writer of the episode, thought the same thing could occur in-universe via Bart and Lisa.
  • Shout-Out: The Itchy & Scratchy ending logo is a parody of the Stephen J. Cannell Productions logo.
    • "Master of Akom" is a reference to AKOM, which did the animation for several Simpsons episodes, including this one. When the episode was dubbed for Brazilian audiences, Strong-Dar was renamed "He-Man".
  • Take That!: To The Ren & Stimpy Show creator John Kricfalusi, who trash-talked the show's animation style in Animation Magazine. The "clip not done yet" title card at the award ceremony is a crack at how he deliberately delayed production on episodes to avoid censorship.
  • Wraparound Background: Lampshaded when Roger Meyers Jr., Bart, and Lisa walk down the hallway.
    Roger Meyers Jr.: Sometimes, to save money, our animators will re-use the same backgrounds over and over and over again.