A Tale of Two Springfields
| A Tale of Two Springfields
| Episode Information
- "We're officially a city. Now we just sit back and wait for an NFL franchise."
- ―Homer Simpson
"A Tale of Two Springfields" is the second episode of Season 12 and is the 250th episode of the series overall in both broadcast and production order.
While calling Animal Control over a badger taking residence in Santa's Little Helper's doghouse, Homer discovers that Springfield has two different area codes—and ends up leading a revolt that splits the town in two.
While feeding Santa's Little Helper, Bart finds a badger in his doghouse. Bart and Lisa try to get rid of it themselves, but are unsuccessful. After Homer suggests they blow up the doghouse with dynamite, Lisa tells him to call animal control instead. When Homer calls them, he gets a tri-tone and a recording indicating that he did not enter the correct area code. Marge informs him that the phone company ran out of numbers, so they had to split Springfield into two area codes. One half keeps the old 636 and the Simpsons' half get the new 939. He is outraged that they changed the code so suddenly (even though Lenny and Carl say that they had weeks of advance warnings, including two weeks at area code camp). While at a town meeting, Lindsey Naegle shows a film (starring talking telephone Phony McRing-Ring) that attempts to convince the audience two area codes are better. The whole town agrees with it. However, Homer stands up, reminding them how terrible it was and points out that the original 636 code was kept by the rich side of town. When Homer fails to blow himself up with the suicide belt he was wearing, he leads a rebellion of the poor and goes off to form a new town.
Homer names the town with the new 939 code "New Springfield", while the half of the town with 636 is now called "Olde Springfield". Homer is appointed mayor of New Springfield, but shows disrespect for the office by using his sash as a napkin. While unveiling the Olde Springfield town plaque, Mayor Quimby attempts to bond with New Springfield, but Homer throws a beer can at him. Rivalry quickly ensues between the two towns. On Channel 6, Kent Brockmen insults the inefficiency of New Springfield, and states that New Springfield is less attractive than they [Olde Springfield] are, and while they talk in a sophisticated manner, New Springfield citizens tend to use low-brow expressions like "Oh, yeah?" and "C'mere a minute". Homer says,"Oh, yeah? So they think they're better than us, huh? Bart, c'mere a minute." Bart replies,"You c'mere a minute." and Homer says,"Oh, yeah?" That night, Homer and Bart go to the Nuclear Plant and cut off the power to Olde Springfield. Olde Springfield retaliates by hijacking a beer truck and dumping its contents in the river. Homer and New Springfield strike back by cutting off the river supply into Olde Springfield; however, with the river drained, its inhabitants find gold in the riverbed and buy the Evian bottled water factory. Homer decides to build a giant wall right through town, just like the one Berlin had. When he tells his citizens they do not have enough supplies to get past tomorrow, and that a wave of disease will kill the weak (afterwards, they'll be forced to eat certain breeds of dogs), everyone except the Simpsons leave and join Olde Springfield.
Now the mayor of a empty town, Homer boasts to himself that The Who is coming to their town. Bart then points out that they are actually performing in Olde Springfield, making Homer cry,"D'oh!" Bart says that they could try to talk the band into playing in New Springfield. Before heading out, he smashes a shop window and grabs a bottle of chloroform. He and Bart go to the Hotel Pillowmint where The Who is staying, and Homer tells them that Olde Springfield would make them cut their hair, turn their music down, and wear frilly shirts like Keith Partridge. The Who believe him and agree to play in New Springfield. When Olde Springfield is waiting for the band, they find them in New Springfield and prepare to riot. While waiting for Olde Springfield to show up, Homer gives the band a list of songs to play. Roger complains that most songs on the list are by Grand Funk Railroad and that they don't know 'Pac-Man Fever'. Olde Springfield shows up and launches flaming garbage at Homer with a catapult. Roger and John then discover that the feud is over the town being split into two area codes. Roger suggests they buy phones with speed dial, and both towns agree. Homer yells," 'Magic Bus'!" prompting the whole town to shout in agreement. Roger says they'll play 'Magic Bus' if Homer tears down the wall of garbage. Homer then yells," 'Pinball Wizard'!" which makes it clear that he just wants to hear them play. John says,"Oh, hell, I'll do it myself." and turns his amplifier up to a 'whuh-oh!' setting. The Who then play the outro to 'Won't Get Fooled Again', which knocks Homer onto the ground and destroys a section of the wall, emerging the towns again. Homer then blames Marge for everything that happened. Before Marge can object, Homer dips a rag in chloroform and puts it over her face, making her fall unconscious and he dances with her until the credits roll.
The episode was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Shaun Cashman. The episode was pitched by John Frink and Don Payne based on Don's mom area where one side would spread rumors of the other side. Larry Doyle then pitched it to because of area code. Originally there would not be Snob vs. Slobs, but accidentally happened. They was backlash from the internet with Homer's interals being visible. The phone from the educational cartoon was voiced by Dan Castellaneta. The decision for who's on whose side was difficult with one time it being between Ned and Homer's house. Pete Townshend did not guest in the episode as he did not know he would be providing his own voice and assumed someone else would like in Yellow Submarine. Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle and Pete's brother, Paul Townshend provided guest voices in the episode. "I knew they didn't do a lot of cartoon work. But I really wanted to meet them, so it was worth a shot," Scully said. After a number of calls were made by the show's casting director in Los Angeles to The Who's managers in London, the group agreed to appear on the show. The animated versions of the band members included Daltrey in his trademark tight t-shirt and long curls, even though Daltrey cut the curls in the mid 1980's as they wanted to use the image The Who they are best known for. The Who recorded their lines in England, but still weighed in on script details. During the production the staff decided to animate Keith Moon instead of the current drummer in honor of him since he died in 1978. There was later an website about What badgers eat.
Several parts of this episode are cut when it airs in syndication on Sky1 in the UK and Ireland:
- When KBBL are talking about a mattress on the freeway, the line 'Joan Collins must be in town' is cut.
- When Homer phones the radio station, it cuts from that scene to the town hall, missing out the scene with Homer strangling Bart, and Bart retaliating by hitting Homer on the head with the phone.
- Kent's 'Golden Showers' line is cut.
- All of the badger scenes (with the exception of the first) are cut.
- In other parts of the world, there is a scene right after the guard throws Homer and Bart Simpson into The Who's room, where Homer smashes a lamp to the ground, and Bart starts to kick the drum set.
- The entire episode was in fact heavily cut for syndication. Originally 22 minutes and 11 seconds long, two minutes and 10 seconds were cut, and the episode was expanded 46 seconds to a length of 20:47. This is still about a half-minute shorter than most syndicated versions.
- A deleted scene on the season 12 DVD shows that when Marge says that it's a little chilly, the singer replies "Oh, shut the fuck up, Marge." before smacking her with the microphone. This scene was cut because of the profanity. Even if it was aired, it would have been censored for the FCC.
The episode got a 3.96 out of 5 ranking 102 out of 373 episodes. Mort of the TV Legion said the episode is a memorable episode. Colin Jacobson of the DVD Movie Guide gave the episode a positive review saying "Maybe it’s the low expectations that accompany 21st century Simpsons episodes, but “Tale” works for me. It takes a simple premise and turns in a good number of strong comedic bits. Hey, and a mention of “golden showers” keeps the Season 12 perverted sexual practices streak going!" although he critizised the animaton of The Who other than Daltrey saying that "That’s particularly odd in the case of Pete, as he’d gone awfully bald and gray by 2000.". Jennifer Malkowski of the DVD Verdict said the Greatest Moment was A tie between "Sacred bond" and "Who huddle." Nancy Basile of About.com gave the episode a 5 writing "Finally! I loved this episode because, flashy guest stars aside, it got back to the heart and soul of the show."
- Whatbadgerseat.com A spoof site created after the episode.