Episode - 4F20
First Aired - 5/11/1997
A Three Shorts
episode. Troy McClure reveals that Fox, desperate to plug up all the holes in their schedule (The Simpsons
, Melrose Place
, King of the Hill
, and The X-Files
can only do so much, and, at the time, Married... with Children
, Living Single,
were either coming to an end or already canceled), asked the creators of The Simpsons
to come up with some new shows. They didn't come up with any, but they did
supply three pilots for Simpsons
spinoffs:Chief Wiggum P.I.
(Action shows of The Eighties
) — The corrupt, now-former sheriff of Springfield, Clancy Wiggum, has gone into business for himself in New Orleans with Seymour Skinner (aching to return to his Big Easy roots) along for the ride. They pursue a crime lord who kidnapped Clancy's son, Ralph, through Mardi Gras madness (and meet up with The Simpsons, who just happen to be there), and although he gets away, Wiggum expects to encounter him again and again for years to come.The Love-matic Grampa
(Fantasy sitcoms of The Sixties
, My Mother, the Car
in particular) — Having "got lost along the way" to Heaven, Abe Simpson's spirit now inhabits the "love tester" machine at Moe's Tavern and gives the bartender tips on wooing a pretty new patron. Moe's lack of confidence leads him to take the machine with him on his restaurant date with her (he hides it in the men's room), but all works out well.The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour
(Variety shows of The Seventies
, specifically The Brady Bunch Hour
): The Simpsons, minus Lisa — who declined to participate and is replaced by a blonde teenager — reveal a hitherto-unknown "gift" for cornball 1960s sketch comedy and musical numbers, with special guest star Tim Conway.
McClure ends the show with a mock preview of the upcoming ninth season, which will include magic powers, multiple weddings, long-lost triplets, and Homer befriending a tiny, green space alien named Ozmodiar that only he can see note
This episode contains examples of:
- The Big Easy: The setting of Chief Wiggum P.I., and according to its backstory, Skinner's birthplace.
- Biting-the-Hand Humor: The end of The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour:
Homer: I wish our special guest Tim Conway didn't have to leave so soon.
Tim Conway: I'm still here. Fox wouldn't spring for a decent hotel room.
Marge: (laughs) He's just kidding. We'd like to thank Fox and the good people at Budget Lodge.
- Calling Card: Played with in Chief Wiggum P.I.. Near the beginning, while Wiggum and Skinner are discussing about their current situation, a skull is thrown through the window, and the duo realise they have an enemy. Later on, another skull was left behind after Ralph was kidnapped. Cue Skinner: "Big Daddy's trademark calling card... it's right here inside the skull."
- Chair Reveal: Played with in Chief Wiggum P.I., as we see Big Daddy run into his office and get into position so he could pull off this trope when Wiggum comes in shortly after.
- Department of Redundancy Department: The Framing Device takes place in the "Museum of TV and Television".
- Dinner With The Boss: The beaver sketch in The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour.
- Expository Theme Song: The Love-matic Grampa.
- Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit: Big Daddy
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Beaver Bart taking advantage of the fact he lives in a dam to be able to say "dam door".
- Its Always Mardi Gras In New Orleans: And the Simpson family makes their cameo in Chief Wiggum P.I. at a Mardi Gras parade.
- Laugh Track: The Love-matic Grampa has one.
- Mandatory Line: Lisa only has one line in this episode, and it's during her appearance in Chief Wiggum P.I.
- Required Spin Off Crossover: Parodied by the family showing up in New Orleans in Chief Wiggum, P.I. and Homer dropping by the bar in The Love-matic Grampa.
- Special Edition Title: This is one of the few episodes between the first season and the high-definition episodes to not have the traditional opening with Bart writing lines and/or a Couch Gag.
- Theme Tune Roll Call: The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour.
- The Other Darrin: In universe and parody with Lisa in The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour.
- To Be Continued Right Now: "Chief Wiggum P.I. will return... right now!"
- Variety Show: The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour.
- Villain Exit Stage Left: Parodied in Chief Wiggum P.I., in which Big Daddy swims away through the river... slowly.
Skinner: He's gradually getting away, Chief.
Wiggum: Ah, let him go. I have the feeling we'll meet again, each and every week. Always in more sexy and exciting ways.
- What's a Henway?: In The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour, when Homer learns that their special guest is Tim Conway:
Homer: What's a Tim Conway?
Tim Conway: Oh, about 120 pounds.