Has Bart witnessed a murder through his rear window?
Written by Dan McGrath
Directed by Jim Reardon
Also starring: Pamela Hayden, Maggie Roswell, Russi Taylor
Premise: A heatwave hits Springfield, and the Simpsons' new 'Tinkler' pool makes Bart the most popular kid in town - until an accident leaves him bed-ridden and Lisa usurps his position. Idling at his bedroom window, Bart sees Ned Flanders digging a hole in his garden and crying 'I'm a murderer!'
Features: Hans Moleman, Spotty Boy, Principal Skinner, Otto, Martin Prince, Jimbo, Kearney, Dolph, Nelson, Sherri and Terri, Milhouse, Dr Hibbert, Krusty, Ned Flanders, Rod and Todd, Wiggum, Lou and Eddie, Ralph Wiggum, Wendell,
Grampa, Maude Flanders.
Couch: The Simpsons are already in the living room, sat on mid-air: the sofa is missing. Then the parts of the sofa rush in and sit on them.
- Springfield's 911 police phoneline is touchtone automated - 'If you are being murdered or have committed a felony, please stay on the line.'
- Springfield has a wax museum featuring the Beatles and the original cast of M*A*S*H.
- Bart's temporary mental instability brings out his cockney obsession once more.
- Martin Prince's sexual preference is briefly called into doubt.
- The episode ends touchingly with his rendition of Sinatra's The Summer Wind.
Homage: The episode is, in part, a homage to the movie Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954), adapted from a short story by Cornell Woolnch, in which the wheelchair-bound James Stewart spies a possible murder. Stewart's character pops up twice in lovingly re-created sequences.
The Simpsons' first attempt to construct the pool is a lift from Witness (Peter Weir, 1985), and comes complete with Amish bystander. The pool dance display features Lisa in an Esther Williams-esque role. Bart's surreal play has touches of Chekhov. And the Itchy and Scratchy episode contains references to Planet of the Apes (Franidin J. Schnaffner, 1968), Beneath the Planet of the Apes (Ted Post, 1970) - the mind-bending mutants and the Star Trek episode The Menagerie.
Itchy and Scratchy in: Planet of the Aches.
Look out for: Klassic Krusty, summertime reruns of Krusty's old shows, featuring (fictional) guest appearances from labour-leader George Meaney (in black and white, from 6 February, 1961) and sitar wizard Ravi Shankar. Also, Homer's instinctive response to anyone getting in the way of the TV screen.
Notes: This fine episode was made for the fifth season, but held over as the premiere for the sixth. For a moment you really believe Flanders has gone crazy. The eventual explanation for his murderous behaviour is hilarious.