Splitsider

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

List of Jokes and Story Ideas by Former Simpsons Showrunners Hints at What Might Have Been

Ned Flanders writes a Christian sci-fi book. Grampa Simpson visits the set of Matlock. Jimbo finally graduates from Springfield Elementary, leaving Bart all of his troublemaking supplies.

These are ideas for early Simpsons episodes by former showrunners Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein from a document they recently unearthed from an old hard drive. "Unused Stories and Premises" is an incredible look at the writing process from the golden years of the show, one that shows how tiny jokes were turned into classic episodes.

Some of the ideas were turned into full episodes and are seen here in their most embryonic form — one line simply says "Bart vs. Australia," another says "Homer gets Smithers' job." But it's mostly ideas for stories or one-off jokes for the show that, for one reason or another, never made it on air. And they're so clearly from the minds that helped create those golden era seasons of The Simpsons. You can immediately visualize lines like "People at the photo lab have a big collection of photos of Homer in embarrassing situations," and it almost makes you sad to never get to see that scene on the show.

Click here to see the full document, or just check it out below:

Leftover Story Ideas & Fragments
-Bill Oakley & Josh Weinstein

•Crawlspace or small room over the garage

•Homer vs. Mr. Muntz

•Homer gets Smithers job

•Speed limit raised to 100 miles per hour

•Martin’s parents throw him a really fancy birthday party in hopes of
making him more popular.

•Grampa has a emergency switch installed in his rest home room. Bart
pulls it?
-The fire department comes

•Oh Calcutta or something at the Springfield playhouse. Something
that sounds like it might be for kids and is actually really raunchy.
Maybe the family goes.

•Lisa vs. the History of the United States of America.
-Lisa unearths some fact that debunks some famous event in U.S. (or
Springfield) history and causes a big controversy.
-She’s at center of this big controversy.

•Moe, in desperation, finally gets his phone number changed.
First, to 867-5309
-then teenagers call him
-then to Pennsylvania 6-5000
-and old people call him
-then to Beechwood 4-5789
-and Motown women call him

-and so forth

•Krusty gets married
- maybe to Selma or something
-Rabbi Krustofsky
-maybe something with Krusty's ex-wife

•Rodney Dangerfield

•Sequel to some famous thing, a la "Scarlett"

•Sideshow Bob, now a free man, is shot. Everyone thinks Bart did it.
(JFK)

•Grampa wins a trip to Los Angeles to visit the set of Matlock. (or
maybe Matlock films in Springfield)

ACT ONE
Newspaper headline: "MATLOCK CANCELLED"\
Grampa sees it and has a heart attack
then he starts a write-in campaign, petition drive, etc.
and gets it back on the air

-Grampa is a Matlock nerd and knows all the little details of the show.

The producers and Matlock are so grateful that they invite him and the
family to L.A. so that Grampa can have a walk-on role.

ACT TWO

In L.A.

ACT THREE

Grampa goes to the show.
All the producers and staff are 70 years old, with canes and pipes and
sweaters

He has a small part

•Costume party at the plant. Smithers dressed as Elton John.
(Halloween segment)

•Bart/Playdudes.
Lisa wins contest to perform at Playdude Jazz festival

•Lisa takes the cat to a cat show. (The weird world of cat lovers.)

•Grampa's birthday
Bart gives Grampa the novelty trophy that says "World's Worst
Grampa" and he's really hurt.

•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.

***Kids urban myths
-i.e. Mikey exploded from eating space dust.

Bart wants to try “MoonRocks”
Older kid tells him not to
Howie, the kid from moonrocks

Finally, Howie goes on tv all sick.

Start with commercial for “MoonRocksZ” with funny astronaut
-That’s one small piece for a kid, one giant bag for a buck.” (?)

•People at the photo lab have a big collection of photos of Homer in
embarrassing situations

•Flanders writes a Christian sci-fi book

•Piece of mail for Hobart Simpson

•Homer sees one of those old ads from the 60s that says "Be the Life of
the Party! Learn to Play the Piano!" So Homer takes piano lessons,
maybe with some cranky old lady, i.e. Mrs. Glick, and really does
become the life of the party. Or perhaps he finds that nobody cares if
you play the piano, and people tell him to stop doing it.

•Marge and Homer singing at the piano like Archie and Edith bunker.
Close with "Remembering You" going doing the street.

•Sinkhole

•Historic Preservation

•Jimbo is finally graduating to Jr. High School. He bestows on Bart the
troublemaker things that have been passed down through the
generations, including a key to the school, an old xerox with the
teachers's home addresses and phone numbers, etc.

•Lisa becomes one of the kids on Zoom
-"I'm Martin"
-"I'm Milhouse and I'm here with today's droodle."
"What's this? A witch drowning. Help, help, says the witch."
-"Springfield 02134."

•The cat story

•Homer and Generation X

•Bart vs. Australia

  • saythatscool

    Loved this Adam. Thanks.

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  • Mark Karayan

    The Simpsons, in my opinion, is like the family dog: We all grew up with it, loved it and cherished, but now it's in pain and needs to be put down. We'll always have the memories though of its finer days.

  • joeclark
  • gentlemanstimes

    I know this post is almost 4 years old, but let's try to spot all the ones that actually became episodes:

    •Homer and Generation X – -this is the Lollapallooza one

    •Bart vs. Australia — this was actually the title of that ep

    •Jimbo is finally graduating to Jr. High School. — this is kind of like the much-later ep where Bart meets the school's number one pranker.

    •Rodney Dangerfield — was on the show, playing Burns' son

    •Krusty gets married – check, although much later and to Anne Hathaway

    •Bart/Playdudes and
    • Homer sees one of those old ads from the 60s that says "Be the Life of
    the Party! Learn to Play the Piano!" — kind of melded into the episode where Bart gets only the articles from Playdude and starts throwing swinging '60s parties

    •Grampa wins a trip to Los Angeles to visit the set of Matlock. (or
    maybe Matlock films in Springfield) — Radioactive Man films in Springfield (is that reaching?)

    •Lisa vs. the History of the United States of America. — there's both the ep where she fights corruption in Washington AND the one where she discovers the truth about Whacking Day.

    •Martin’s parents throw him a really fancy birthday party in hopes of
    making him more popular. — Happened, but swapping Martin for Nelson.

    •Homer gets Smithers job — happened!

    • Graeme Edgeler

      The Martin's Birthday episode happened (more than once, but especially the episode where Skinner and Krabappel become a couple), though I'm not sure it was about popularity. Martin's parents doing something to boost his popularity happened with his swimming pool.

      There's been a crawl space more than once, though perhaps not over the garage. E.g. Homer Cubed, The PTA Disbands

      Does the idea behind Krusty's ex-wife include the story involving Krusty's daughter?

      Kids' urban myths came up at least once, but I'm a failure as a Simpsons fan, as I can't place an instance of it.

      Marge and Homer singing at the piano like Archie and Edith Bunker was in Lisa's Sax.

      The cat story could be the one which Armand Tanzarianed Snowball II.

      Sinkhole was the Simpsons Movie (and there was also one in Adventures with Baby-getting).

      Historic preservation could be Bart After Dark, and I doubt that's the only one.

      It would be easier to list the ones that hadn't happened. Simpsons Did It!