First Aired - 5/11/1997
A Three Shorts episode.
Troy McClure reveals that Fox is desperately trying to create new shows for their Sunday night line-up, believing the "only" popular shows on the network were Melrose Place, The Simpsons and The X-Files.note
Initially, this episode was made due to FOX asking Matt Groening and his crew from The Simpsons to come up with a brand-new show. They didn't come up with anynote , but they did supply three pilots for Simpsons spinoffs:
Chief Wiggum P.I. (Police action shows from the 1970s and 1980s) — The corrupt, now-former Chief of the Springfield Police Department, Clancy Wiggum, has gone into business for himself in New Orleans with Seymour "Skinny Boy" Skinner (aching to return to his Big Easy roots) along for the ride. In this episode, Chief Wiggum's son gets kidnapped by a Southern crime lord and Clancy and Skinner must find him.
The Love-matic Grampa (Cheesy fantasy sitcoms of The '60s, 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 how to win over women.
The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour (Variety shows of The '70s, specifically The Brady Bunch Hour and Laugh-In): The Simpsons, minus Lisa — who declined to participate and is replaced by a blonde teenager — host a cornball 1960s sketch comedy show, 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:
- Acrofatic: Big Daddy rather handily escapes from the parade while being chased by Wiggum and Skinner.
- Backdoor Pilot: Parodied with all Three Shorts being alleged pilots for spin-offs but everything about them screaming that they wouldn't last long even if they were approved.
- Backstory of the Day: Seymour Skinner was suddenly born and raised in New Orleans. Too bad he can't seem to pronounce the city's name the same way twice, and he remembers Mardi Gras as "Marty's... something".
- The Big Easy: The setting of Chief Wiggum P.I., and according to its backstory, Skinner's birthplace. Wiggum uses two other nicknames for New Orleans: "Sweet Lady Gumbo" and "Old Swampy".
- 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.
- Black Comedy Burst: Twice in The Love-matic Grandpa Grandpa Simpson makes comments that really clash with the short's mood. Notably they pass without a laugh track.That's the second time he's pulled the plug on me.
I've suffered for so long. Why can't I die?
- Brainless Beauty: The replacement Lisa seems to have been held back in school... multiple times.Fake Lisa: I'm Lisa, peppy, blonde, and stunning! Sophomore prom queen five years running! Go-o-o-o, Lisa!
- 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 a moment later.
- A Day in the Limelight: For Chief Wiggum, Skinner and Ralph in Chief Wiggum P.I., plus Moe and Abe in The Love-Matic Grampa.
- 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.
- Everybody Laughs Ending: Chief Wiggum P.I. ends with one.
- 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 note in order to be able to say, "Hey, could you two close the damn door?".
- Great Gazoo: Ozmodiar is a parody, and the original Trope Namer for this trope.
- Impossible Thief: Big Daddy was somehow able to steal the Louisiana Governor's Mansion and relocate it to a swamp without being caught.
- It's 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: The original Lisa only has one line in this episode, and it's during her appearance in Chief Wiggum P.I.
- Missing Mom: Sarah, for some reason, is nowhere to be found in Chief Wiggum P.I.
- Never Smile at a Crocodile: Chief Wiggum gets menaced in his room by an alligator sent by Big Daddy, which gets taken out by Skinner.Skinner: Lucky for you this was just a warning gator. The next one won't be corked. (points to the gator's teeth, which have bottle corks stuck on them)
- Non Sequitur, *Thud*: Along with the below mentioned Shout-Out, after being beaten, the Love-Matic Grampa advised Moe to tell his date that "Her rump's as big as the Queen's, and twice as fragrant". Moe takes this situation seriously and ends up getting a bowl dumped on his head.
- Not Allowed to Grow Up: See Brainless Beauty.
- Overly Narrow Superlative: After the Love-Matic Grampa's advice results in Moe getting a bowl of food dumped on his head, Moe calls him the dumbest haunted love tester he has ever met.
- Poe's Law: Some fans mistook the Stylistic Suck throughout the episode for actual bad writing. Matt Groening was worried that fans would react this way.
- 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.
- Shout-Out: After being beaten up by the bully trio (for calling Kearney gay), the Love-Matic Grampa sings Daisy ala HAL 2000.
- Shown Their Work: The Brady Bunch Hour was actually like the Smile-Time Variety Hour.
- Smelly Skunk: Homer's boss (Tim Conway) on the Beaver Family sketch in The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour.
- 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.
- Stylistic Suck: All three segments are deliberately badly scripted bland and cheesy TV spin-off shows. The idea of "The Love-matic Grampa", for instance, is an obvious parody of the awful concept of My Mother the Car.
- Theme Tune Roll Call: The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour.
- The Other Darrin: In-universe and parodied with Lisa in The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour. Specifically, she's a parody of the fake Jan from The Brady Bunch Variety Hour
- The Parody: The spin-off shows are mostly spoofs of Miami Vice, Magnum, P.I., Starsky & Hutch, My Mother the Car, Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, The Osmonds, The Partridge Family, The Brady Bunch, the Smothers Brothers and The Flintstones.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Big Daddy has this reaction when he is spotted by Wiggum and Skinner and has to run.Big Daddy: Lord have mercy, I wish I weren't so fat.
- 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.
- Villains Out Shopping: Big Daddy.Big Daddy: New Orleans is my town. I got interests, and I ain't talkin' about stamp collecting, though I do find that extremely interesting.Skinner: Oh yeah? That makes two of us.
- 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.