Can the Simpsons endure the Land of the Rising Sun?
Written by Domck Carey and Dan Greaney
Directed by Jim Reardon
Also starring: Tress MacNeille, Maggie Roswell, Karl Weidergott, Denice Kumagai, Gedde Watanabe, Keone Young, Karen Maruyama
Special guest voice: George Takei (as Game Show Host)
Premise: In an effort to save money, the family scrimp and save and can eventually afford a last-minute holiday to Tokyo. However, they find the culture there particularly difficult and miss their flight home after Homer insults everyone and everything and loses all their money. Their only chance of escape is to take part in an Endurance-like game show and win their freedom.
Features: Mr Burns, Smithers, Carl, Lenny, Moe, Barney, barflies, Patty, Selma, Jasper, Chief Wiggum, Skinner, Miss Hoover, Groundskeeper Willie, Snake, Rev. Lovejoy, Helen Lovejoy, the Flanderses, Mr van Houten, Mrs van Houten, Dr Hibbert, Sylvia, Dr Frink, Android's Dungeon Guy, Apu, Sanjay, Cletus.
Couch: The couch turns into a shredder.
- At the Mega-Savings Bash (Bring your own chair) is the trademarked character from Monopoly. He leaves on the Monopoly train.
- Jim Belushi stars in Kanga Roommate and is currently filming Toga 2000.
- Homer quotes from Pass the Dutchie, a 1982 hit for kiddie group Musical Youth.
- The Internet café is called The Java Server and bears the legend: wel.com.
Homage: Game shows such as Endurance and Family Fortunes form the basis of the show the Simpsons must endure to get their tickets home.
Notes for Brits: Godzilla, Gamera, Rodan and Mothra are all famous Japanese movie monsters in gloriously tacky Japanese films from the fifties, sixties and seventies. Hollywood, of course, tried to remake Godzilla and failed spectacularly.
Look out for: Black humour at its best is always guaranteed to outrage. The series rarely gets more outrageously tasteless than the Hello Kitty factory.
Notes: A magnificent end to the season, which sees the Simpsons away from familiar turf and having to come together to find a way home. Thoroughly racist - as all overseas Simpsons episodes are - but completely inoffensive because it's simply very funny. And those poor cats.