Let's talk about sax, baby.
Written by Al Jean
Directed by Dominic Polcino
Also starring: Pamela Hayden, Maggie Roswell, Doris Grau
Special guest voice: Fyvush Finkel (as Krusty the Klown)
Premise: After an argument between Bart and Lisa destroys the girl's beloved saxophone, Marge and Homer settle down to explain to her how it came about that she has one. Of course, there's a great deal of extraneous information to impart alongside this.
Features: Moe, Barney, Patty, Selma, Grampa, Skinner, Groundskeeper Willie, Lunchlady Doris, Milhouse, Nelson, Jimbo, Sherri and Terri, Lewis, Richard, Wendell, Ned Flanders, Todd, Rod, Dr Hibbert, Hans Moleman, Apu.
Couch: The family pop out from Homer like Russian dolls.
- In the TV movie The Krusty the Klown Story, he is married to Mia Farrow - shades of unsubtle digs at Woody Allen, one suspects.
- Lisa plays Gerry Rafferty's 1978 hit Baker Street on her sax, which is bought from King Toots.
- In the flashbacks to 1990, Homer is watching Twin Peaks, David Lynch's surreal TV show - although no such scene involving the Giant dancing with the White Horse ever actually occurred.
- Bart's first day at school moves along to the sounds of Bobby McFerrin's inexplicably popular 1988 novelty hit Don't Worry, Be Happy.
- Dr Hibbert is dressed like Mr T from the successful TV series The A Team.
- Lisa is almost sent to Miss Tillingham's School for Snotty Girls and Mamas' Boys.
- When younger, Milhouse drank soya milk as he had an allergy to the pasteurised stuff.
- He will also grow up, according to the school psychologist, to be gay.
Notes for Brits: 'The Simpsons is recorded in front of a live studio audience': a common phrase that preceded many US sitcoms of the seventies and eighties. It was an attempt to move away from the canned laughter track previously used. Here it is, of course, used ironically. There is no laughter track at all. Which might have been quite fun for once.
Look out for: Willie's sign: Ach! Keep off the Grass at school. Bart being read Curious George and the Ebola Virus, a pastiche of the popular books by H. A. Rey. Homer dreaming firstly of Lisa winning a Nobel prize for kickboxing and later of playing foozball with Michelangelo's David and Munch's Scream. Homer also dreams of Patty and Selma melting, which he rather enjoys. Best gag of all has to be the comment about good parenting, followed by Maggie wandering around with a power drill.
Notes: A terrific episode, full of amusing self-referential wit (in 1990, Tracey Ullman was singing, entertaining and using crudely drawn filler-material on her TV show apparently) and it is especially nice to finally discover what it was that caused Bart to go down the path to the darkside.