Bill Oakley has done it again. Last Friday on Twitter, the former Simpsons showrunner revealed his personal top ten Simpsons episodes that were “pitched, discussed, [and] written,” but, for whatever reason, never produced and lost to the sands of time.
Now, most of our competition would just lazily copy & paste the list and call it a day, but we here at rubbercat.net/simpsons have much more respect for you, the reader. We have attempted to dig up as much information about these would-be episodes as possible, from audio commentaries, interviews, and story outlines, to bring you the most complete picture of these extra-bonus-non-episodes as possible. Let’s run through the list, shall we?
I have no idea what this is about. Surely I’m not the first person to have typed “Dan Greaney sexual fantasy” into a search engine.
No information on this one either. It’s such a simple, organic idea that you’ve got to wonder why it didn’t get produced.
This was among a list of potential plotlines from Oakley & Weinstein’s list of “Leftover Story Ideas & Fragments” that Oakley wikileaked back in 2010, as was the style at the time. It’s based on an old WWII-era urban legend. Supposedly advertisements in the back of magazines like Boy’s Life and Popular Mechanics said you could buy surplus Army jeeps that had been packed in crates for only fifty bucks.
Here’s all the notes about it from the list, as republished on Splitsider:
•Bart gets 144 Jeeps
-find old ads in Argosy or True
“WW2 Surplus Jeeps as Low as $1.00 each when bought in quantity!’
“Min. Order 1 Gross.”
Gets kids to give him $, Homer buys 10, Grampa buys 50
Some young army guy doesn’t know what to do, send jeeps
(maybe they’re packed in grease and unassembled)
“Grampa, come over and pick up your 50 jeeps”
Everyone, including the kids, are driving around in jeeps. Homer
wrecks his and just uses a new one.
This episode is mentioned a couple times in the audio commentaries, but never explained in any detail. In the last moments of the commentary for “Much Apu About Nothing,” Oakley and Cohen hold this exchange:
Oakley: “Homer the Narcolpetic” was one story that David wanted to do over and over and kept pitching many, many, many times and never appeared and maybe in the future commentaries he’ll tell you what would’ve happened… in “Homer the Narcoleptic.”
Cohen: I think you’ve summed up the entire story already, with the title.
Oakley: That was why it never got done, I guess.
A “thirtysomething” style look at Homer and Marge’s marriage, as contrasted by some yuppies who move in next door. It just wasn’t the style of the show, and much of the material got put into other episodes.
In an audio commentary for “Stark Raving Dad,” Mike Reiss, another former showrunner, described the plot of “thirtysimpsons” thusly: basically, Homer starts hanging out with a bunch of yuppies “and he loves their big screen TV, and that sort of thing.” He also said it was really funny and they had Stern go through four or five different drafts, but “it just didn’t click for us.”
It could a coincidence, but a “hipster” couple from Portland (voiced by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein from Portlandia) move next door to the Simpsons in an upcoming episode next season.
Absolutely no idea what this is. Surely Mt. Splashmore, Duff Gardens, Itchy & Scratchy Land, Storytown Village, and Krustyland all provided enough opportunity for amusement park jokes for one lifetime.
Some critics have noted that for all the satirization of American culture and modern society the show has done, The Simpsons has never really tackled race – which is admittedly not the funniest topic – in a big way. But it’s not from lack of trying. In the audio commentary for “Bart Sells His Soul,” Oakley mentions that writer Greg Daniels pitched a story exploring “the concept of race in Springfield” several times, but it was nixed because it was decided “The Simpsons may not be the right forum to deal with racism.” Daniels himself doesn’t seem to remember the story at all, asking “what was it?” when Oakley brings it up.
Apparently, Homer nearly had a really expensive suit at least a decade before GOB Bluth. Come on!
Through the astounding process of deduction, one could make the reasonable inference that “Lisa the Scientopteran” just might be the episode Oakley cagily described in the aforementioned 2005 Q&A:
A hilarious and fully worked out story by George Meyer. I can’t reveal the subject matter here but we never went forward with it because of 1) legal ramifications and 2) the fact that at least a couple of people on the staff/cast would’ve felt personally attacked by the episode and we just didn’t want to deal with the fallout. But it was hilarious and George is the funniest writer to ever live.
Nancy Cartwright, voice of Bart Simpson, is an enthusiastic Scientologist who has donated more money to the Church of Scientology than poster boy Tom Cruise. A few years ago, she landed in a bit of hot water when she did a few “robo-calls” for the church using her Bart Simpson voice without permission. She is also rumored to have put the kibosh on a line of dialogue implicitly slamming Scientology. Needless to say, Cartwright would have been among the Simpsons staffers who’d have likely felt personally attacked by the episode had it gone into production.
As far as legal ramifications go, Mark I. Pinsky, author of The Gospel According to The Simpsons, mentions in his book that the show’s producers had “vetoed an episode-length swat at Scientology in fear of the group’s reputation for suing and harassing opponents.”
Some elements of Meyer’s story may have been watered down and used in Season 9’s “The Joy of Sect,” written by Steve O’Donnell. That episode focuses on a fictional cult, The Movementarians, which was inspired by a variety of cults and religions in addition to Scientology.
In an audio commentary for “Stark Raving Dad,” the famed Michael Jackson episode, Mike Reiss talked the plans for a never-produced sequel to the episode. Executive producer James L. Brooks had suggested the bring back the character of Leon Kompowsky, the portly mental patient who believed he was Michael Jackson, for an episode the following year, only “this time he thinks he’s Prince.” Here’s Reiss’s description of the plot:
He comes back, he’s acting like Prince, he gets the whole town of Springfield to loosen up, become more flamboyant, everybody becomes more sexually open, and they’re dressing in paisley, and that kind of thing.
According to Reiss, some freelancers wrote the script, then writer Conan O’Brien did a week-long revision of the script, and finally the other writers did another rewrite. They sent it to Prince, who sent back a list of wardrobe notes describing what his character would wear in each scene. The writers noticed Prince’s notes didn’t actually correspond to the script they had written and eventually discovered that a friend of his (I’ve heard it was his driver, but I don’t remember the source) had apparently given him their own “The Simpsons meet Prince” fanfiction, which he’d mistakenly thought was genuine, or something. When the Simpsons writers discovered the mix-up, they re-sent the real script. Prince apparently hated that one, so that was that.
Well, that’s all the information I have. Maybe someday in season 30 we’ll finally discover the story behind Homer’s $1000 suit. Much appreciation to Bill Oakley, who over the years has been a great friend to the online Simpsons community, providing us with a veritable treasure trove of trivia.