Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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Underrated Simpsons Moment: The Sweet Taste of Victory

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on July 27, 2007

When the hell is Rocky VII: Adrian’s Revenge gonna come out?

Everyone’s writing about The Simpsons today, and I see no reason why I should be the exception. Even though my expectations couldn’t really be too much lower–even with all the glowing press and reccomendations from otherwise trustworthy people–yeah, I’m still gonna see The Simpsons Movie. I’m not going to see ittonight, but that’s just because I actually won some free passes to it at a Simpsons trivia contest last night, and I can’t use ’em until Monday. In the meantime, I’m not gonna reflect on how The Simpsons is the greatest TV show of all-time, or talk about my favorite episodes, lines, scenes, characters, whatever. I’m just gonna talk about a moment that I didn’t really appreciate the genius of until I saw it again a week or so ago–one of the literally thousands of moments that provide a more convincing case for The Simpsons‘ genius than I ever could.

“Lemon of Troy,” the 6th season episode where the Springfield kids cross into Shelbyville to try to get back the town’s beloved lemontree, has been a fan favorite episode for some time now, and I’d agree, though I still have some misgivings. It’s too disjointed, too unlikely and fantastical a story–most of my favorite Simpsons episodes are ones that work as well as televised storytelling as they do a cavalcade of hilarity-inducing moments, but “Lemon of Troy” is one of the first Simpsons eps to function mostly as just a series of rapid-fire gags and profile-worthy quotes.

But while it, along with “A Star is Burns,” would set a dangerous precedent for the show to follow in its later seasons, goddamn does it have some funny fucking moments. Let’s just a couple of the more obvious classics out of the way:

  • “This town is a part of us all. A part of us all. A part of us all! Sorry to repeat myself, but it’ll help you remember it.”
  • “Now, Marge, you can’t blame all of Bart’s problems on your one little speech. If anything turned him bad, it’s that time you let him wear a bathing suit instead of underwear. And let’s not forget your little speech!”
  • “People, our search is over! On this site we shall build a new town where we can worship freely, govern justly, and grow vast fields of hemp for making rope and blankets!”
    “Yes, and marry our cousins!”
    “I was–what are you talking about, Shelbyville?? Why would we want to marry our cousins??”
    “Because they’re so attractive. I..thought that was the whole point of this journey.”
  • “I’m never going to find that tree. This whole raid was as useless as that lemon-shaped rock over there. Hey, wait a minute…ther’es a lemon behind that rock!
  • “And with that, a mighty cheer went up from the heroes of Shelbyville. They had banished the awful lemon tree forever…because it was haunted. Now let’s all celebrate with a cool glass of turnip juice.”

And that’s just a fraction of ’em. But my current favorite part of the episode is entirely non-verbal. It’s after Homer and the rest of the Springfield adults realize what the kids are up to, and Homer confronts his Shelbyville equivalent through the gates of an impound lot. After they have one of the episode’s least funny exchanges (containing Homer’s far-overquoted response to the insult “you must be even stupider than you look,” “Stupider like a fox!”), the ShelbyHomer gleefully takes a bite out one of the tree’s lemons to taunt the adults of Springfield for their defeat.

I wish I could find a frambegrab of the seconds that follow the moment pictured above, but after a half-hour of scouring the ineternet, it appears no such freeze frame exists. However, one mere frame couldn’t possibly do justice to the way ShelbyHomer’s face just quietly wilts after taking a bite out of the lemon–which, as anyone who’s ever let their curiosity get the better of them with a lemon and no other food around knows, is one of the least pleasurable experiences known to man. Luckily, there’s a YouTube of it, so you can watch SH’s face transformation in its entirety. Needless to say, it undercuts SH’s moment of triumph just a little bit, and it remains one of my all-time favorite Simpsons visual gags.

Does turnip juice actually exist, by the way? For some reason, I’m kind of craving some right now.

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One Response to “Underrated Simpsons Moment: The Sweet Taste of Victory”

  1. Jonathan said

    And not to mention:

    “Tute on, son! Tute on!”

    ” Homer! Come quick! Bart’s quit his tutoring job and joined a violence gang!”

    “So this is what it feels like… when doves cry”

    “Spring forth, burly protector!”

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