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The Simpsons | Episode Guide | Season Eight
The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase

Three plots for shows that might have been.

Episode 4F20
Written by David S. Cohen, Dan Greaney, Steve Tompkins
Directed by Neil Affleck
Also starring: Pamela Hayden, Tress MacNeille
Special guest voices: Phil Hartman (as Troy McClure), Tim Conway (as himself), Gailard Sartain (as Big Daddy)

Premise: Troy McClure explains that every so often, TV network executives need to take elements from popular shows and spin them off into their own series. Three times this has happened with The Simpsons, although none of them has been picked up and gone to a series. As a special treat, here they are.

Features: Smithers, Lenny, Moe, Barney, Selma, Grampa, Jasper, Kent Brockman, Chief Wiggum, Skinner, Groundskeeper Willie, Jimbo, Dolph, Kearney, Ralph, Dr Hibbert, Captain McCalhister, Hans Moleman, Judge Snyder.


  • The only shows on Fox's current evening line-up are The Simpsons, The X Files and Melrose Place.
  • Amongst the shows Troy uses to demonstrate the power of spin-offs are The Ropers (out of Man About the House), Laverene and Shirley (one of three spin-offs from Happy Days) and Rhoda (out of two from The Mary Tyler Moore Show).
  • On their variety show, the Simpsons sing a variety of confectionery themed songs: I Want Candy, a 1965 hit for the Tremeloes; Peppermint Twist, originally by Joey Dee and the Starliters in 1962.
  • Jasper handles Lollipop, the 1958 song by the Chordettes, and Smithers, rather kinkily, goes for Devos' 1980 song Whip It, complete with cracking whip!

Homage: Magnum PI obviously, as well as sitcoms along the lines of Mister Ed, I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched. And in their own show, the Simpsons come over very much like the Partridge Family. And Grampa singing Daisy Bell comes straight from 2001:A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968).

Hi, I'm Troy McClure, you may remember me from: Such spin-offs as Sons of Sanford & Son and After Mannix.

Look out for: There are three spin-offs. Chief Wiggum PI sees Springfield's finest moving to bust crime in New Orleans, alongside Skinner, or Skinny Boy, as he's known. The Simpsons guest star. The Love-Matic Grampa sees Abe's spirit inhabiting a Love Machine in Moe's bar and thus he helps Moe find true love. Homer guest stars. And The Simpson Family Smiley-Time Variety Hour, a big variety show in which Lisa refused to take part and is replaced by a late-teens blonde beauty. Tim Conway guest stars. It also features the Waylon Smithers dancers and the Springfield Baggy Pants Players.

Notes: A very clever spin on the alternates offered by the Treehouse of Horrors run. Each of the spin-offs is very clever in its own way. The canned, and always inappropriate, laughter on The Love-Matic Grampa is inspired, the Partridge Family spin on The Simpsons family is great and although Chief Wiggum PI is the weakest, it still has a few good moments. Also a rarity: there's no couch sequence!

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I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons GuideThe information in this section is taken from 'I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide' by Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, published by Virgin Books. Content © 2000 Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood.

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