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Recap / The Simpsons S 14 E 5 Helter Shelter

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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 ("How I Spent My Strummer Vacation", which aired 3 weeks earlier, was the last produced episode using cel animation); 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.
    • When the show originally aired, the Wiseguy's line, "I had to use the good poison. It comes with James Coburn's picture on the bottle," was (crudely) redubbed to say "Lee Marvin" instead of "James Coburn", since Coburn had died nearly two weeks before the airdate.
  • Epic Fail: Several people don't realize they're going to a hockey game until they see the sign at the stadium.
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • Immoral Reality Show: The reality show that the Simpsons signed up to drops them without warning in the jungle (which destroys everything they own at the moment and kills actor David Lander (who played "Squiggy" in Laverne & Shirley and was placed in the home as a ratings stunt)) and the Simpsons team up at the climax with some people that were contestants in a Survivor rip-off that were left behind by another production team... because the prize for the final challenge was being taken back to civilization.
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  • 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.

Example of: