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Recap / The Simpsons S2 E17 "Old Money"

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Episode - 7F17
First Aired - 3/28/1991

Grandpa falls in love with an old woman named Beatrice, but when his family forces him to miss her birthday (and returns to find that Bea died of a burst heart vesselnote ), he angrily blames Homer and disowns him, but Grampa's attitude changes when he inherits Bea's money and must come up with a way to use the money for the benefit of his fellow man.


Tropes in this episode:

  • Bait-and-Switch: When Abe is looking at Bea's picture sadly, drops are falling on it, making it appear as if he's crying a lot. It turns out to be rain water from a leaky roof.
  • The Cameo: Among the people in line to tell Abe what to do with his inheritance are several characters from previous episodes, such as Princess Kashmir from "Homer's Night Out" or the sushi chef from "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish" (who however has been rendered as brown-skinned instead of Asian by mistake).
  • Cassandra Truth: Homer doesn't believe Abe when he says he's celebrating Bea's birthday; he thinks Abe's gone senile and is talking to imaginary people.
  • Death by Despair: Jasper and the others try to reassure Grampa that Bea's death was natural (she died when a ventricle in her heart burst and staff were unable to save her), but Grampa is convinced — and makes sure Homer knows it — that Bea died of "a broken heart" (because he wasn't there to celebrate her birthday).
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  • The Drag-Along: Homer and the others take Abe on a safari against his will. Not only does the trip suck, but thanks to Homer, Bea dies from thinking Abe broke his promise.
  • Haunted House: Lionel Hutz informs Abe that in order to get Bea's inheritance, he must spend one night in a haunted house.
    Hutz: (laughs) Just kidding.
  • Honest John's Dealership: Herman blatantly lies about his merchandise. First he claims that a Turkish-style fez is Napoleon's hat, and then he takes Grampa's abandoned fedora and sells it as the hat William McKinley was shot in.
  • I Have No Son!: Abe disowns Homer after the latter robs him of Bea's final moments. He makes up with him out of encouragement from her ghost.
  • Ignored Epiphany:
    Grampa: Has it ever occurred to you that old folks deserve to be treated like human beings, whether they have money or not!?
    Retirement Home Director: Yes, but it passes.
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  • It Always Rains at Funerals: It rains at Bea's funeral.
  • Jerkass: Homer behaves like a pig towards Grampa until he disowns him halfway through the episode, after which he realizes how much of a heel he had been, becoming more depressed after finding out he would not get a cent out of Bea's inheritance. He redeems himself, however when he stops Grampa from losing all the money at the casino.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Homer is despondent after Abe disowns him. When he gets a call from Abe, he thinks that Abe has forgiven him...only for Abe to tell him about inheriting Bea's $106,000, and that Homer isn't getting a dime of it.
    Homer: Oh, Dad, I knew you'd forgive me.
    Abe: I haven't forgiven you! I just inherited $106,000 and I just had to tell you that you're not getting one thin dime! Ha, ha!
    Homer: D'oh!
  • Literal Metaphor:
    • Bea's death due to a broken heart is made literal with a ventricle in her heart bursting.
    • When Abe returns to the retirement home after the safari, he says he has a date with an angel. Jasper tells him he didn't know how right he was.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: In hindsight, as Grampa tells Homer that he could have been with her when she suddenly fell ill and died, instead of trapped in their car overnight on the range of Discount Lion Safari and surrounded by hungry lions. Homer shows up with his father just in time to see the ambulance being loaded with what Abe will learn is a deceased Bea.
  • Nice Girl: Bea, very much so. Her ghost tells Abe that he should forgive Homer.
  • Nice Hat: Grampa purchases a fez hat for $400 with some of the inheritance money. Despite never wearing it again after this episode, many pieces of promotional artwork and character portraits continue to feature him with it.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Inverted: Abe chews out Homer for interrupting his roulette wheel bet, but as it happens, Homer managed to prevent Abe from losing all his money.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: When Abe first told the Simpsons about Beatrice, Homer thought she was imaginary.
  • Now Which One Was That Voice?: This is the only episode of the show to avert this (except in the cases of Maggie Roswell and Audrey Meadows). It also caused even the most hardcore Simpsons fans to wonder, "Who the hell is this Smitty fellow that Hank Azaria voiced?".
  • Off-Model:
    • "Old Money" looks and moves noticeably differently than any other season 2 episode, bearing a feel more akin to the style Film Roman (the studio that replaced Klasky-Csupo for domestic animation services) featured during the mid-90s episodes.
    • When Marge admonishes Homer for making fun of the way his father smells, her face briefly gets rubbery.
  • On One Condition: Hutz reading Beatrice's will told Grandpa he'd have to spend a night in a haunted house to inherit her money. He was kidding.
  • Say My Name: While still stuck in the car for the night, Abe looks at his watch:
  • Shout-Out:
    • Among the people in line to tell Abe what to do with his money are Darth Vader, The Joker and a woman in a Star Trek uniform.
    • Abe sitting in a diner in the slums recalls Edward Hopper's famous painting Nighthawks.
    • Grandpa and Bea eating their pills seductively is a reference to a scene from Tom Jones.
  • Something Completely Different: Not only is this one of the more dramatic episodes (akin to "Like Father, Like Klown," "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish," and "Bart vs. Thanksgiving"), but this episode (as of this date, and barring the feature film) is the only one to list the voice actors with their characters in the closing credits (meaning, you actually get to see who Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, and Harry Shearer voice on the show).
  • Special Guest: Phil Hartman as Lionel Hutz and Plato; Audrey Meadows as Beatrice "Bea" Simmons
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: The people lined up with suggestions for what to do with Grampa's inheritance, one of which is The Joker from the Batman franchise. Professor Frink (the Jerry Lewis-esque Bungling Inventor) made his first appearance in this sequence.
  • They Really Do Love Each Other: Homer is clearly broken up about Abe disowns him. When Bea's ghost urges Abe to reconcile with Homer, Abe admits that for all he's exasperated by his son's stupidity at times, he does love Homer.
  • Unexpected Inheritance: Abe didn't expect to inherit anything from Beatrice.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Bea dies not long after we first see her. It's quite sad.


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