The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special: In 3-D! On Ice! (2010) - full transcript

Morgan Spurlock examines the cultural phenomenon of "The Simpsons". - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food
(trilling high note)

Chorus: ¶ the simpsons... ¶

[playing theme on piano...]

[band playing theme...]

It was so, at the time, insanely edgy.

[theme continues...]

That show was a huge, huge influence.

[playing theme...]

Springfield is a magical land
that's built for comedy writers.

[tejano band playing theme...]

The simpsons actually made my career.

...This isn't about show business.

It's not the traditional liberal,

Politically correct family,

But how dull would that be?


[band continues theme...]

[hip-hop version of theme...]

It's hard not to love homer.

My favorite character is probably ralph.

I just can't say enough about brockman.

[hip-hop scratching]

I'd hire him.

[jug band version of theme...]

[horn honks]

To see something like this

Just rise out of the manure
pile that was animation

Was just... Pretty amazing.

[theme on kazoos...]

[humming theme...]

[rock version of theme, crowd cheering...]

If you want to be considered one
of the great writers in comedy,

You kind of have to take a little
tour through the simpsons.

[theme continues, crowd cheering]

[jazz/rock version of theme...]

[indian version of theme...[

Marge is one of a kind...

In many ways.

I never saw marge in that way.

I never looked at her as a sex object.

I do now.

[playing theme on bass...]

It's almost like if you like the

It's like somebody liking dogs.

You gotta be a little
distrustful of someone...

"I hate dogs."

How could you [bleeping] hate a dog?

[continues theme on bass...]

[theme ends]

Hi, I'm morgan spurlock.

When fox asked me to make a special

Celebrating the simpsons' 20th

Like any good simpsons geek, I immediately
said yes.

...But then I realized
how far I'd have to go

And how much ground I'd have to cover.

In an attempt to understand the
epidemic spread of yellow fever,

I'm gonna take you around the
country and across the globe

To find out why this show
has become both the cash cow

And sacred golden entertainment
calf worshipped by the entire world.

My dad loves the simpsons.
I love the simpsons.

Spurlock: I'll hear from the people

On the front lines of obsessive fandom...

If it says "the simpsons" on it,
I have to have it.

Explore how the simpsons have
undermined america's status

As the most beloved country in the world...

And discover how the show has
touched the lives of millions.

This is the simpsons 20th
anniversary special--

In 3d!

On ice!

It all started 22 years ago,

When a young cartoonist by
the name of matt groening

Was summoned to the altar of
hollywood legend, mister jim brooks.

[harp trill from theme]

I had been an underground
cartoonist for 10 years

Before I got the hollywood call.

It was about time! [laughs]

I had finished my first movie,

And as a gift, somebody I
was working with gave me

A framed copy of one of matt's life in hell

And it was "the 12 ways
to die in los angeles"

And the last two was "
failure" and "success."

And I just loved it and hung it up.

The thought was on the
tracey ullman show

To have our bumpers be
actually entertainment things,

And we decided to do cartoons,
and I thought of matt right away.

I got called into the office.

While I was waiting, I found out that maybe

Whatever I did, in this fledgling network,
I was gonna lose control of.

And I thought, I've got my comic strip,
life in hell.

That's what I was gonna do.

I said, "forget that,
I gotta save the bunnies for myself."

So I made up new characters on the spot,
I drew the simpsons,

Named them after my own family,
because that's a whole other psychodrama

And... The rest is history.


Homer: There's nothing to worry about.

Now everyone go to sleep.

Dan castellaneta and I were there,

And then they hired nancy
cartwright and yeardley smith

To play the two kids,

And lucky me, I think
tracey was too tired...

"tracey, you're busy rehearsing,"

'cause I was pretty much in everything,

"so julie, dan,

Would you come up to the
booth and do these voices?"

I read for bart,
and that was fairly short-lived,

And then they said,

"here's a picture of his
sister lisa-- she's eight."

So I went up... [higher voice]:
Like that, to lisa simpson.

It was just matt groening and me,
and I went in and I said,

"hey, do you mind...
I was here to read for the girl,

But do you mind if I read for bart?"

[as bart]: "blah blah blah blah blah...."

"oh, my god, that's him, that's bart!"

Hired me on the spot. [snaps fingers]

[as bart]: Behold! Neanderthal man!

Fox approached jim brooks about doing
these little, short simpsons cartoons

As a tv special.

I talked to him and I said, "no, no,
no, we gotta do a whole series."

They committed what for them was
an enormous amount of money,

You know, because they were almost broke.

There had not been a primetime animated
series on television for a generation,

And it was considered a risky thing to do.

I took the job here, I had fun,

But I didn't tell anyone what I was doing,

'cause I thought, "I've really
hit rock bottom." [laughs]

Sam simon called me and said,
"we want to make you

A regular on the show," and I said, "no."

I used to say, "hey, guys,
we're 13 and out."

Like, "they're only gonna let us do 13,

We'll do 13, we'll have fun,
and then we're gone."

Maybe these 13 episodes
will be like a cult...

It will be a cult following.

The show premiered as the highes
t-rated show in the history of fox.

I remember a headline-- a headline!-- On
the front page of the new york post...

Owned by the same person who
owns the simpsons... [laughs]

That said, "simpsons beats cosby," then the
number one show in the country.

I'll never be in the beatles,
I assume, but... [laughs]

It's the closest thing I could
ever imagine to that happening,

Where....When this show came on the air,

I couldn't believe how
much attention it got.

I think it's been the most
successful spin-off... Ever.

[rhythmic drum beat...]

Spurlock: But it's a lot
more than just a spin-off.

The simpsons is an award-winning,
record-breaking machine

That has shattered
expectations at every turn.

And now, it's the longes
t-running primetime show on television,

Even passing both gunsmoke and the
adventures of ozzie and harriet.

Well, if you ask me,
that's a little too fast.

Spurlock: It's won 25 emmys,
26 annies, six genesis awards,

Six writers guild of america awards,
four people's choice awards,

Two british comedy awards,
two kids' choice awards,

A prism, a satellite,
and even a golden reel... Ooh...!

It's been called one of the
best tv shows of all time,

And the top show of the past 25 years.

Countless magazines have devoted their
covers to america's favorite family.

But it's not just america.

The simpsons has redefined the term "global

Airing in more than 90 countries
and in over 45 different languages.

[marge and homer voices
in different languages]

Spurlock: And it's more than comedy genius.

The simpsons is merchandising gold.

Just about anything under the
sun that can be manufactured

Has been sold with the simpsons logo on

Bed sheets... Bottle openers...

Lunch boxes.... You name it, they had it.

Spurlock: Quite literally,
the simpsons have taken over the world.

They have a star on the
hollywood walk of fame...

A house in vegas...
A ride at universal studios.

They've been in our homes,
on our streets, in our stores.

They've been on stamps, on planes,
and they've taken to the skies as balloons.

Man: In order to ensure that the
pig doesn't cause any trouble,

We do have a marksman on hand who'll
be able to bring the pig down to earth.

Spurlock: Today,
there's no escaping the grasp

Of those stubby little yellow fingers.

We wear simpsons clothing,

We get simpson tattoos,

We take simpson classes...

We even speak simpsonese.

D'oh! D'oh! D'oh!

Spurlock: In 2001,
the word "doh" was officially added

To the oxford english dictionary.

"'doh': Expressing frustration

At the realization that
things have turned out badly."

Spurlock: Quite simply,
it's more than just a show--

It's a multimillion-dollar comedic
freight train and marketing juggernaut

That's gone off the rails
and has completely altered

The cultural landscape as we know it.

This is the simpsons 20th
anniversary special.

A lot of shows give you
a couple of characters--

Maybe two or three guys, a couple of girls,
and if you're lucky, a monkey.

But the simpsons gives you an entire

From an enterprising entrepreneur
to a crack police squad

To a young, idealistic politician,

Springfield is populated by just
about every character known to man.

Dr. Nick... Comic book guy...
Lenny and carl...

Frank grimes... Milhouse...
Barney... Flanders...

Chief wiggum... Sideshow bob...
Hans moleman... The bouvier sisters.


They built this world of
relatable characters, you know,

Like mr. Burns and chief
wiggum and moe the bartender,

And it started to feel like people's towns.

Springfield becomes a great
place to parody and caricature

Any aspect of american town or city life.


Beautiful, huh?

You know, the one thing I was
thinking about springfield

Is that it's all the side characters,
too-- it's not just the family.

Apu, I think, is probably
my favorite character.

¶ homer's a delightful fella,
sorry 'bout the salmonella. ¶

I like apu 'cause he's
always in a great mood

And when you're writing him,
you have to be in a great mood.

You're always kind of smiling.

How much is your penny candy?

Surprisingly expensive.

Unlike every single other
person in springfield,

He works really hard.

I like moe because he reminds
me of a lot of my uncles...

[laughs] growing up.

If I'm not smiling when your check comes,
your meal's on me--

Uncle moe!

I just walked into a room with
matt groening and sam simon

To do moe the bartender,

Who I made sound like pacino, you know...

[imitating]: "I'm dying here!"

So I made this...

[rougher]: Sound gravelly,
and then that was moe.

Here, I, uh... Brung you some posies.

I love moe's sort of
misanthropic nature [laughs].

When I catch you,

I'm gonna pull out your eyes

And shove them down your pants

So you can watch me kick
the crap out of you, okay?!

Having been the mayor of cincinnati,

And then I see mayor quimby,
he's... Very corrupt.

If you speak like a kennedy,
you're halfway home.

Ducking this issue calls
for real leadership.

He truly is the most patronizing politician

I've ever seen in my life.

I'm a bad wittle boy.

[crowd cheering]

Newsom: With the corruption, the graft,

The sexual escapades, the heavy drinking...

Yeah, no, it's just a
typical day at the office.

I think my favorite character
is probably mr. Burns.

Why is the richest and
oldest man in the world

Living in springfield?

Why isn't he in new york
city or buenos aires or rome?

No, he's in springfield.

He's gonna make a tuxedo out of our puppies!

If someone could just put me
out in a pasture somewhere,

In a beautiful part of Spain,

And say, "your job is just...
We'll pay you a dollar a year,

And you can have some cheap red wine,

And just think of weird things for mr.
Burns to say and do..."

[dentures click]

I would take that job.

Smithers is really funny because, you know,

You're really not sure about
his sexual preference.

Glaad counts smithers as a gay character

Because the show has definitely
told us that he's gay.

We would love the character of smithers

To progress by becoming more open

About his sexual orientation
in the community, you know.

Maybe he kind of starts a gay employee
resource group down at the plant.

Kent brockman has, in his own
little world, got it goin' on.

[rock theme music...]

If you can fake the everyman thing,
you've got it made,

And that's clearly what kent
has made his bones doing.

I don't know much, but I do know

A few things about television news,

And to get it bull's-eye, every time,
well, a tip of the stetson to them.

He's got a little bit of that
pomposity going, which we forgive,

Because television anchors
do something special.

We get to tell people what happened.

Spurlock: But as vast as the
world of springfield may seem,

It was all inspired by the gray, cold, wet,
and sleepy hamlet of portland, oregon.

Many of the characters on the show
are named after streets in portland.

I had this idea: The streets in northwest
portland are all in alphabetical order,

And I thought it would be really fun if
people would be driving down 23rd street

And they would see kearney, lovejoy,
quimby, flanders, terwilliger...

The only reason there are not more
characters is 'cause I just couldn't think

The names of the streets
off the top of my head.

Spurlock: I'm off to the city of roses
to see some springfieldian sites,

Including the real inspiration
for springfield elementary.

...So you are the principal
here at springfield elementary.

I am, yup.

How does it feel, you know, knowing
that you are kind of the model school?

It's all sinking in right now.

Are you different than principal skinner?

I'm a awful lot different than skinner.

I not having an affair
with any of the teachers.

[all gasp]

Not yet!

Not... Well, yeah-- we won't go there.

Spurlock: Another hometown icon that's
resurfaced in the simpsons is rusty

Rusty nails was the inspiration--

In a kind of vague, weird, creepy way--

For krusty the clown.


Matt was sitting in the studio audience,

And he was probably around 14 years of age,

And making notes.

I went to him and asked what he was doing

And he said, "well,
I'm gonna have a show of my own."

And I said, "great, go for it."

The difference is krusty is
jewish and totally corrupt.

Krusty, I... Shut your hole!

Groening: And rusty nails is a very,
very religious, christian clown.

He's really sweet and nice.

Hi, girls and boys!

Post the other clowns getting
involved in fast food,

Nobody came to you and said, "we'd love to
have you be the face of our food chain"?

And krustyburger is the official mea
t-flavored sandwich of the 1984 olympics!

No. No?

This is my apology to rusty nails,
if there's any inference

That the character of krusty
is anything like rusty.


Spurlock: Turns out, portland didn't
just inspire the simpsons...

The simpsons also inspired portland.

Homer: Donuts...

Is there anything they can't do?

Tell me about homer simpson.

Is he an inspiration for voodoo doughnuts?

How could homer not be an inspiration
to voodoo doughnuts?

I mean, the man could...

The man could keep us in
business for years alone.

Have all the donuts in the world!

[laughing maniacally...]

Homer donut.

Bacon donut.


The biggest reason the simpsons

Has been such a huge success

Isn't just the cast or the
great writing, it's the fans,

And some of them have interesting
ways of showing their appreciation.


So I hear you have a milhouse tattoo. I do.

I've always liked milhouse,
and growing up, like,

As a jewish nerd with glasses,
with divorced parents,

It's hard to have any representation on tv.

No matter what hits him,
you know what I mean...

He can watch his dad cry alone in,
like, an apartment,

But at the same time still,
like, have the gusto

To carpe diem the next day.


Milhouse?! A milhouse tattoo?!

How can someone with glasses
that thick be so stupid?

You've gotta be a committed fan
to tattoo milhouse on your arm.

But if you think a milhouse
tattoo shows commitment,

You ain't seen nothin' yet.

Apparently, this is the sickest,
craziest, biggest, best,

Most dedicated simpsons fan

With the best tattoo on
the face of the earth.

[drum roll...]

That is amazing.

All the way from this love handle
all the way over to that one.

That's my kind of crazy.

You think you're a fan?

That's a fan. That's a fan.

I've had guys chase me down
at conventions, telling me,

You know, "on episode gf5409,
what did that mean when..."

And I'm like, "oh, god, help,
somebody help me!" [laughs]

And there's no better place for these
guys to get chased by rabid fans

Than san diego comic-con.


...There's a certain uninhibited
sensibility that runs throughout comic-con,

And after spending five minutes here,

I could tell that these
were my kind of people.

All of my life lessons have
come from the simpsons.

Man: If I learned anything
from the simpsons,

It's that if anything goes wrong,
I didn't do it

And to blame it on someone else.

In this case, morgan spurlock. [laughs]


Spurlock: We held a special casting session

To find the truly devoted simpsons fans--

The cream of the obsessed crop.

...So tell us why you are
the simpsons super-fan.

At least 18 of the 30 days in any given
month, I'm wearing a simpsons shirt.

There's zero reasons not to be-
it's the greatest thing on tv.

Well, it comes on at 6:00, 7:30,
and 11, so I try to catch all those.

What's the cat lady's name?
Eleanor abernathy.

What's kent brockman's given name?
Kenny brockelstein?

How much does bart sell his
soul for? Five dollars.

Which of the bullies is jewish? Kearney?

I forget... No, dolph. [laughs]

Well, you gotta know the answer.

Which of the writers is jewish?

Oh, geez... [laughter]

Uh... All of them?

Have you ever been bullied by bullies?


I think everybody up here has.

Yeah. Yeah. [laughter]

This is lisa... In "
the secret war of lisa simpson."

If we air this on fox, they have to tattoo

Matt groening's name on every drawing.


[imitating marge]: Homer,
I think you should stop drinking.

[imitating homer]: Oh, sure, marge.

I'm gonna stop doing something
that makes me have fun.

Give us a "d'oh!"


"fox sucks!"

Fox sucks!

"I am an unauthorized homer."

I am an unauthorized
homer simpson. [laughter]

Now when you first saw comic book guy,

Did you say, "I'm gonna turn into that?"

Or were you already sort of like that?

[imitating comic book guy]: Well,
physically I was already like that.

How do you feel being at comic-con?

Worst... Insert noun... Ever. [applause]

Spurlock: As fantastic as comic-con was,

I had to get back on the
road to find more fanatics.

I had to meet the collectors.

I found jeremy wilcox in queens,

Who has stuffed his 10x10 bedroom
with simpsons memorabilia.

...You sleep in here at night, too.

Sadly, yes. [laughs]

...Then there's noel
bankhead of north carolina,

Who curates what he calls "
the simpsonian institute."

If it says "the simpsons" on it,
I have to have it. Yeah.

I don't care what it is-
it can be a used sock.

Spurlock: But if I was truly gonna
find the simpsoniest one of them all,

I'd have to head across the pond.

["rule, britannia" playing...]

...I'm going to the home of glynn williams,

Who apparently has the largest collection
of simpsons memorabilia on the planet.

Like, reportedly
-- this is what we read in the paper--

He's got, like, 30,000 pieces of
simpsons memorabilia in his house.

Hi, how are you? Hi, I'm morgan.

I'm glynn. Glynn, how are you?

Come on in, morgan.

[laughing]: Oh, my gosh...

It's already... It's already
here in the hallway!


It's everywhere.


Gosh, I mean, lookit-
they got life-sized marge.



It's unbelievable...
And a little frightening.

...His collection was pretty overwhelming.

That is, until I realized that this
was just the tip of the iceberg.

["also sprach zarathustra" playing...]

...No way. [laughs]


Glynn: Welcome to my world.

...This is the treehouse.

The treehouse of horror.

Glynn sacrificed christmas
presents and birthday presents,

So people in the family and friends
have bought him simpsons stuff.

It's an investment-- see that?

It's the grandchildren's
inheritance. [all laugh]

So does he have a list of things?

He's like, "if you're gonna
buy me something, buy me this,

And by the way, here's the link on ebay"?

[laughs] yes! You do that?! Yes.

This is mainly glassware and china.

This is kind of school stuff-- pencils,
pencil cases, desk tidies...

Car care kits, valet kits.

There is not a product that they
won't put their name on. No.

...I thought glynn was the
only crazy one in the house,

Until I was led into his wife's secret room.

Turns out, collecting runs in the family.

...You're not allowed to say anything.

No, no, I'm just as sad as him, I'm afraid.

Everybody says that.

...Sad or not, if it weren't
for people like glynn,

We probably would have lost homer years ago.

So cheers, glynn, and thanks.


Moby, I'd love for you to tell me why

You are such a fan of the simpsons.

It's funny, and it's smart,
and it's social satire.

My personal favorite song is "the mr.
Plow theme song."

¶ call mr. Plow ¶

¶ that's my name ¶

¶ that name again is mr. Plow! ¶

You can imagine, you know, a zen monk

Sitting on the top of a
mountain for 15 years

Just thinking about that.

Like, "what is identity made
manifest through this mr. Plow?"

I've done seven interpretations of "
the mr. Plow theme song."

The blues version... The psychedelic
version... The punk rock version.

This is a really embarrassing,
old school hip-hop version of "mr. Plow."

[alarm rings]

[hip-hop version playing...]

Moby: ¶ said what's the name? ¶

¶ mr. Plow ¶

¶ what's the name? ¶

¶ mr. Plow ¶

¶ said what's the name? ¶

¶ mr. Plow ¶

¶ m-I-s-t-e-r plow ¶

¶ said what's that name? It's mr. Plow ¶

¶ you don't need to worry
if you don't know how ¶

¶ I'm there when you're
sleeping with my snowplow ¶

¶ it's how I got the name-
that's mr. Plow ¶

¶ after sunset, before the sunrise ¶

¶ I'm there with the plow
before you open your eyes ¶

¶ one [thump], two [thump],
three [thump] (ow!) ¶

¶ said what's the name? ¶

¶ mr. Plow ¶

¶ what's that name? ¶

¶ mr. Plow ¶

¶ said what's the name? ¶

¶ mr. Plow ¶

¶ m-I-s-t-e-r plow... Plow. ¶

Promise you'll never do that again.

All right.

If the simpsons were a live-action tv

They probably would have been yanked off
by minute three of their first episode,

But as an animated tv show,
they can get away with murder.


And a whole lot more.

This is for the United States of america!

Oh, no! Chinese fire drill!

Serious this time!

Shut up-pa your mouth!

So here's a show that comes on at a time

When most shows that breach
this kind of subject matter

Would have to be on later...

And it gets away with it.

You could make all kinds
of inappropriate jokes

And get away with it

Because they're big,
yellow people with googly eyes.

But being animated hasn't stopped them

From courting real-life controversy.

Remember george bush the
first was all upset about it?

Make american families a
lot more like the waltons

And a lot less like the simpsons.

Remember him?

You thought he was bad at the time.

Barbara bush, the first lady of america,

She called it the stupidest
thing she'd ever seen.

I think now, "hey,
look at your kid," you know?

Nowadays we get, you know,
you know, we get [beep]

For making fun of jesus and
for sodomy jokes and whatnot,

But back then it was, "this kid
is talking back to his parents!"

You don't think much of me,
do you, boy? No, sir!

I think the best comedy is
always offending somebody.

I think it takes kind
of a healthy disrespect

For everything americans hold dear.

And a lot of times we've been lucky
in offending exactly the right people.

We'd say, "well, this will certainly
offend these people who we don't like,"

And it does, and we're
quite thrilled with that.


Spurlock: And bill donohue
of the catholic league

Has made an entire career
out of being offended.

Donohue: The catholic league was
founded in 1973 by father virgil blum.

We're basically here just
to hold up a stop sign

When people may cross the line

Into disdain, disparagement, insult.

November of '98 in particular
was one of the first times

That the phones were ringing off
the hook about the simpsons.

Mom, can we go catholic so we can
get communion wafers and booze?

What are catholics supposed to be, a piñata?

Are we supposed to be like, like, the,
the guy that you can just beat up on?

One of my favorite offensive moments was one

When we were trying not to be offensive,
but were accused of it.

It was a super bowl episode. [horn honks]

Donohue: You got this gal, you know,
skimpily-- a buxom girl--

And she's running around
with the big cross, saying,

"hey, it's a great thing to be catholic--
look, everything is changing in our

It leaves an impression
in the mind of the viewer

That the catholic church really is something

That's fair game to be ridiculed
and mocked in some form or another.

The network calls and says,
"you can't say 'the catholic church'."

What it does is I think it eats away

At the moral prestige
of the catholic church.

And I tried to explain,
"that isn't the joke.

"we're not attacking their religion.

"it's just a crazy association
with this commercial--

It's about super bowl commercials,"

And they kept arguing the point, "no,
it's offensive, it's offensive,"

And finally, you know, he said, "all right,
I'll tell you, we can compromise.

Could you change it to methodist?"

How about methodist? No!

To all you catholics out there,
we meant nothing by it.

Bill donohue may be overly
concerned with the lasting effects

The simpsons has had on the catholic

But that's nothing compared to what the
simpsons have done to nuclear power.


Here I am at the nuclear power
plant in port gibson, mississippi.

...I'm gonna see if the simpsons does these
uranium jockeys justice.

I'm morgan. I'm richard.

Richard, pleasure to meet you.

So how do you think homer
and the simpsons

Portray nuclear power?

It's definitely not reality.

Gum used to seal crack in cooling tower.

Plutonium rod used as paperweight.

[drip, plop, sizzle]

I think it's probably fair
to say that most americans

Learn about nuclear energy
from the simpsons.

I don't think anybody in
our industry would tell you

That it's a fair representation.

Chair goes round, chair goes round...

Where is sector 7-g?

Female automated voice: Warning:
Problem in sector 7-g.

I don't know what that is.

That's where homer works.

There are no homers in the control room.


[scratches, gulps, belches]

Peterson: In fact, he wouldn't even
pass the psychology evaluation

To get into the pipeline to try to
be a nuclear power employee.

There's a problem with the reactor?!

We're all gonna die!

Ahh! Ahh! Run!

We hear a lot about blinky the fish.

Spurlock: And nothing irks
the nuclear power industry

Quite as much as springfield's
favorite little mutant.

Really, a lot of the facilities we have
today are home to endangered species--

Manatees live near the sites in florida.

Aah! An oogly-boogly!

No three-eyed fish around here?

No three-eyed fish.

No two-headed dogs?

No two-headed dogs.

Have you seen any three-eyed fish in
the water around the...? I have not.

I once saw a tw
o-headed cow in kansas. Did you?

I did. I've never been to kansas,
but I have seen a two-headed cow.



[music changes]

[film projector clicking...]

My name is professor paul halpern

Of the university of the sciences,

And I would like to talk about the episode

"two cars in every garage and
three eyes on every fish."

All right! Three-eyed fish!

In real life, three-eyed fish, whenever
they've been found, have been only hoaxes.

Here, we have an example of a fish. [ding]

As you can see... [ding,
ding] this fish has two eyes.

Therefore, the fish found near
springfield's nuclear power plant

Could not have been real.

[music ends]

There's a lot of reasons

Why the simpsons are loved by
so many different people...

But there's one reason in particular
that folks keep coming back to.

What do you love about the show? Homer.

Homer... Homer... Homer....

Homer... Homer... Homer.

Homer simpson.

Why do you like homer?

'cause he's such an idiot.

Shut up, brain,
or I'll stab you with a q-tip.

A guy like homer seems a lot of fun,
but really from a distance.

Mirkin: He just lives so in the moment.

He's so all-id.

He is as happy as anybody can be.

He is as angry as anybody can be.

He is as loving as anybody can be.

He is as petty as anybody can be.

Homer, you're not not talking to me,

And secondly I heard what you said.

I think it was john swartzwelder
who said that writing homer,

You have to approach it

As if you were writing a dog who can talk.

Homer: Ooh, floor pie! Whoa!

Spurlock: But as much as
we americans love homer,

Turns out that all around the world,
that love is universal.

Homer: Aw...

It's possible that they
look at homer and they go,

"that's what americans are like,"

So there's a little bit of
laughing at us and not with us.

Mmm... Fattening.

He's fat, he's lazy,
he's obnoxious, he's crazy.

Americans, they like the
finer things in life,

Like donuts and beer and
hot dogs and pretzels.

But you love him, yeah?

Everyone loves homer simpson.

I think everyone can see a
bit of themselves in homer

Or at least one of the other characters.

Stupid tv... Be more funny!

It's one of the shows that puts down
america, that makes fun of america,

That doesn't have to have the attitude,

"america's number one and
there's nothing wrong with us."

[honking horn]: U-s-a! U-s-a! U-s-a!

What does the show teach you about america?

[romantic music...]

Man: ¶ señor plow... ¶

Spurlock: No country has been more
outspoken in their love for the simpsons
than argentina.

Here in the land of tango, mate,
and copyright infringement,

The simpsons movie was the highes
t-grossing film of 2007,

And homer is everywhere on
the streets of buenos aires.

Argentines love the simpsons so much that
they actually have a duff brewery.

Lucas pouyau started it back in 2007.

How did you start bottling duff beer?

Uh... We was watching the simpsons.

Who wants to party?!

I went to the kitchen, I opened the fridge,

And I think, "why you no have a duff here?"

Yeah... I want a duff!

Yeah. Yeah.

What's been the response from america?

Are they happy that you're making duff beer?

Uh... I don't know.

Spurlock: Americans love
it so much, in fact,

That fox has a pending lawsuit
against the duff brewery.

Oh, yeah...

[both laugh]

[tango playing...]

Are they like your family?

Yes. Yeah?

We have, uh, people like moe,
people like seymour skinner,

Teachers like krabappel who are single
and desperately looking for a man.

[both laugh]

I have a... A tattoo.

You have a tattoo.

Yes, it's of the stonecu... Cutters.

Oh, the stonecutters.

Yes, it's on my back.

Oh, that.

It's just a birthmark...

And I'll thank you not to stare!

To the simpsons!

All: To the simpsons!

Why is the simpsons so successful?

People have a lot of theories,
as to why that's the case.

Here's the one thing no one talks about:

Their eyes look like boobs.

[pacifier pops]

I feel like I could go
anywhere in the world,

And if they were about to put a knife in me,

I could quickly draw, you know,
a bart and hold it up and go...

"uh... Uh uh... Write."

[indistinct accent]: And they'd be like,
"ah... Let him go.

Let this one go."

I'm not sure what country I'm
in when I do that, but...

This is the greatest thrill
of my life! Whoo-hoo!

Spurlock: But as much as
the world loves homer,

There's no question that
he's caused his family

A share of rocky moments over the years.

As a parent, what does the
show teach you about parenting?

What not to do. Yeah.

Homer's not a perfect dad,
bart's obviously not a perfect son,

Marge is just trying to
hold it all together...

It is so dysfunctional of a family!

[rip, crash]

What was that? Ah, who cares?

By having a nuclear family
and having them dysfunctional

Tapped into everyone feeling kind of like

Their own family is dysfunctional.

It's just hard not to listen to tv.

It's spent so much more time
raising us than you have.

I think the simpsons could
very well be on our show.

It'd be such a poster for dysfunction

That, frankly, I would
well up just watching them.

I need a hug.

All: Uh...

I don't want you even to
talk about dysfunction.

This is a perfect couple!

Cara mia...

Dr. Ruth: They love each other.

Jim brooks always said that
the reason we love homer

Is 'cause marge loves homer,

But I also think that we love
homer because homer loves marge.

No matter what else,

When it comes down to it,
the family sticks together.

I don't think the simpsons would work

If you didn't believe that marge and
homer loved each other, and you do.

The secret is that they talk to each other,
that they have a relationship.

i'm a lucky woman.

and i'm a wonderful man.

that they don't just have sex.


actually, the sex is really good... yeah.

[homer growls, marge laughs]

heh-heh. ooh...

one of the things i love
about current fandom

is that people are so invested in the show

that they are willing to
criticize the show to our faces!

the people who say,
as it was five years ago!"

it's like, "well, neither are you,
if that's the problem."

there's nobody who ever went online

to read comments about anything they've done

that doesn't come away with one...

one sullen [bleep] someplace... [laughs]

who says the thing that will...

that you have to have surgically
removed from your brain.

i think the internet message boards

used to be a lot funnier 10 years ago...

and i've sort of stopped, uh,
stopped reading their new posts.

spurlock: over the past 20 years,

the simpsons family has literally
traveled around the world.

10,000 yen for coleslaw?

[plays didgeridoo]

i'll endanger you!

and while most countries are
grateful to be featured on the show,

not every nation is in love with
america's first family of television.

the simpsons are going to antarctica!

next year.

this year, brazil.

spurlock: in 2002,  caused quite a stir

when the family visited rio de janeiro.

portrayals of teleboobies, kidnapping
and colored rats were not taken lightly.

ooh, they look like skittles!

[whistle blows, brazilian music plays...]

spurlock: i met with paula gobe,
former head of the foreign press in brazil,

to find out why the country of sex and samba

was so offended by the casual
observations of the simpsons.

...did the people of brazil understand

that  offends everybody?

no, they didn't understand it.

you know, like an adolescent,
they are still very sensitive to criticism.

the sore that it raised is still there
in rio de janeiro... seven years later.

spurlock: with limited time in rio,

i had to check out what the city is
most famous for: parties and beaches.

and if i learned everything from
this episode of  it's what to wear.

lifeguard: [blows whistle]

excuse me, americans,
there is a dress code on this beach.

when you're in brazil, we have a
thing that we call the brazilian way.

the drunkenness, the ambiguous sexuality.

we were born like this!

we're not, like, bad people.

well, i thought the people were
most offended by the monkeys.

[monkeys screeching...]

the fact of these monkeys running
after them in the shantytown.

child: i am like sugar to them!

it made rio look like a very backwards city.

do you feel like that episode hurt brazil?

very much, very much.

brazil has lots of structural problems.

so, like, problems with the security,
problems with the health system.

no monkey gangs?

[laughs] no monkey gangs.

no? o.k.

there's monkeys in rio de janeiro,

and actually i think that's
something that's really beautiful.

the beauty, the sun, the people,
the music, the rhythm, the vibration.

the rats painted like skittles.

right. [laughs]

for stirring up controversy has
always been a badge of honor.

but it turns out brazil isn't the only
place where the show has sown the seeds of

[bagpipes and rock music playing...]

scotland's a far cry from the
tranquil streets of springfield,

but the country of haggis
and braveheart is home

to one famous springfieldian. willie?!

spurlock: while there's no question

scotland is willie's homeland,

his actual hometown is
still a matter of debate.

on opposing sides of the divide:
former glasgow provost liz cameron

and aberdeen football coach mark mcghee.

each of them is leading
their respective city

in a fierce battle to
claim willie as their own. do you know that groundskeeper
willie is a glaswegian?

some years ago, he fell in
love with an english nanny.

willie: shary bobbins and i were engaged
to be wed back in the old country.

she spurned him!

he was completely and utterly bereft.

suddenly, the ugliest man in
glasgow wasn't good enough for her!

spurlock: for glasgow,
that's all the evidence they need.

but 145 miles to the north,
in the highland town of aberdeen,

a very different story is being told.

the town and its very popular football team
know for sure that willie is one of them.

[sleepily]: muh? huh? what?

go, aberdeen! [snores]

all: go, aberdeen!

spurlock: i met with coach mark
mcghee to get the full story.

...apparently they say he's glaswegian.

i think all the evidence for me

points to him being an aberdonian.

he doesn't speak with a glaswegian accent,

he doesn't dress in any
sort of glaswegian way.

spurlock: and aberdeen football club
has more than just willie's word

as proof of where his allegiance lies.

we do of course have the
photographs that we've unearthed.

you can see clearly willie,
here celebrating a goal.

spurlock: even with mark mcghee's
photographic evidence, the feud shows no
sign of dying.

so the world may never know from
where willie actually hails,

but one thing is certain:
he definitely left his ginger-haired mark

in the hearts and minds of
those who know him stateside.

north americans were asked
what reminds them of scotland,

what do they associate when they
think of scotland and the scots.

over the years, scotland's given
a number of gifts to the world.

there's the tv, the telephone,
there's penicillin,

deep-fried mars bars, loch ness monster,
dolly the cloned sheep,

sean connery and even susan boyle.

and eventually when it came back,
there was only one winner,

and it was groundskeeper willie.

[crowd gasps in dismay]

ah, 'tis no more that what god gave me,
you puritan pukes!

spurlock: The Simpsons has been

on the air for such a long time

that even die-hard fans
probably take it for granted.

at this point, the show's like
running water or electricity

or the absence of the berlin wall,

but to truly appreciate the
impact the show has had,

we have to do the unthinkable

and imagine what it would be like
if The Simpsons never existed.

if The Simpsons never existed,

the world would have been destroyed in
a nuclear holocaust a long time ago.

this is the show that has kept the world
alive and the world laughing instead of


i mean, cultural desolation...
without The Simpsons...

it'd be like, you know,
a cormac mccarthy novel--

just scorched earth, nothing.

i think i would be loading
tires in a warehouse

and i'd be drawing pictures of the
foreman on the walls during my breaks.

i would be a professional ballroom dancer.

i'd probably be looking for acting jobs.

my world would be a lot worse...
[laughs]...i would have to say.

i'd be a lot poorer.

i wouldn't be living in malibu.

i would have a much uglier wife, i think.

i don't know what the world would be
like without beethoven's fifth, you know?

if had never existed, i think i
would probably be a math teacher.

probably be still back in colorado.

yeah, i don't think i'd be
doing a whole lot with my life.

yeah, i don't think so.
i don't know what we would have done.

we'd still have, uh,
So you think you can dance...

and America's next dance...

and, uh,  Now that's what I call dancing...

i don't want to imagine that-
it's a horrible thought.

a world without The Simpsons.
how ridiculous.


so my goal from the very beginning
was to invade pop culture.

that was my goal as an underground
cartoonist: see how far i could carry this.

and i consider every aspect of
The Simpsons beyond the show

as part of that whole strategy.

my advice to any cartoonist out there
is to try to make yourself laugh.

don't worry about what other people think
is funny; do what you think is funny.

that's where the best stuff comes from.

that wasn't even in 3-d!

and where were the ice skaters?

again, tv, you have misled us.

stupid, lying fox!

oh, wait! here comes something!

announcer: o.k., kids,
here it comes! put on your 3-d glasses!

3... 2... 1!

[dramatic music...]

[music ends]

i liked it!

[theme playing...]

spurlock: if you had to write the
ending of the Simpsons how would it end?

o'brien: marge is gonna take a good,
hard look at homer

and say, "he's so stupid.
and he'd screwed us over so many times."

it'd be humorless, it won't be funny...

it'll just be her looking
at homer and saying,

"you are such a stupid son of a bitch.

"i... you're endangering my children,

"you've destroyed the town 600,000 times,

"you... you're a threat to mankind.

i'm leaving you, i'm leaving you forever."

[door slams]

honey... the door blew shut...

oh, fine.