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I'm Spelling As Fast As I Can

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Season 14 Episode
302 "Barting Over"
303
"I'm Spelling As Fast As I Can"
"A Star Is Born Again" 304
"I'm Spelling As Fast As I Can"
Lisa spelling.png
Episode Information
Episode number: 303
Season number: S14 E12
Production code: EABF07
Original airdate: February 16, 2003
Couch gag: Homer draws the family on the couch using an Etch A Sketch.
Guest star(s): George Plimpton as himself
Showrunner(s): Al Jean
Written by: Kevin Curran
Directed by: Nancy Kruse
DVD features


"I'm Spelling As Fast As I Can" is the twelfth episode of season 14 of The Simpsons and the three-hundred and third episode overall. It originally aired on February 16, 2003. The episode was written by Kevin Curran and directed by Nancy Kruse. It guest stars George Plimpton as himself.

Synopsis[edit]

"Lisa participates in the Spellympics, but Homer is busy traveling cross-country as Krusty Burger test-markets a new sandwich. Lisa is confident that she will win, until she learns that the contest is rigged against her."


Plot[edit]

Bart is watching Matinee of Blood and Commercials, starring Booberella, where the film Frankenstein and the Harlem Globetrotters Meet the Mummy and the Washington Generals is shown. After the film, a trailer for Krusty Burger is shown, where the new Ribwich is revealed. Homer immediately decides that he wants the new burger. Soon after, the new school year starts. Principal Skinner makes every kid in school do a spelling bee. The final ended up between Lisa and Milhouse, and Milhouse messed up his word. Lisa then spelled her word correctly, becoming the winner. Lisa was then entered into the spelling bee state finales.

Homer goes past the Krusty Burger when he sees Rib-It, the mascot for the Ribwich. Homer goes up to Rib-It and tries some of the sauce on him, before he goes into Krusty Burger and orders several Ribwiches. At the state spelling bee, Lisa wins, moving on to the finals. Homer tells Lisa that he won't be able to go to her celebration as he has daddy stuff to take care of. Homer, Lenny, and Carl go to Krusty Burger to get Ribwiches, only to find that they stopped selling them at that restaurant. A man tells Homer that he's part of a group that goes on tour around the country to Krusty Burgers to eat Ribwiches, and Homer decides to join them.

Around town, Lisa has become a minor celebrity due to her competing in the Spellympics. She gets a bigger locker at school and Kent Brockman reports on her on the news. Lisa goes on a training exercise, running around town and spelling words for the townspeople to get ready for the competition.

The rock carving made for Lisa.

At the Spellympics, George Plimpton, the host of the event, announces the start of the Spellympics. Another of the entrants, Alex, proved to be a hit with the crowd as he was adorable. Eventually, the competition got down to three contestants remaining; Alex, Sun Moon, and Lisa. George Plipmton invites Lisa to go see him in private where he reveals that he wants Alex to win the Spellympics and wants Lisa to throw the contest for him. In return for throwing the contest, she would get entry to any of the Seven Sisters colleges that she wants. Lisa refuses, not wanting to throw the competition. That night, Lisa has a dream where each of the Seven Sisters, in human form, tells her that she could go to them. Lisa wakes up and doesn't know what to do.

In San Francisco, where the final day of the Ribwich is located, Homer and the other Ribheads find out that Krusty Burger will no longer be making the burger due to the animal used to make it having gone extinct. Krusty then throws the final Ribwich into the crowd, which Homer grabs. Before he eats it though, he is reminded of Lisa and trades the Ribwich for a car so he can go to the Spellympics finals. At the finals, Sun Moon is given the word "whether", which was intended to throw her off. She was then eliminated after she started to spell "weather". Alex then took the stage and spelled "rigged", getting through. When Lisa takes the stage, Homer enters the crowd and tells her that he made it to see her in the final. Lisa then decides to not throw the competition and tells everyone that Plimpton wanted her to throw the Spellympics. She then goes on to spell her word, but misspells it accidentally. Lisa gets eliminated and George Plimpton tells her that she gets nothing.

The Simpsons drive home where Marge and Homer try to make her feel better about doing the right thing. When they arrive home, they find that the people of Springfield have gathered outside to celebrate her getting through to the finals. Mayor Quimby tells Lisa that she's the biggest winner the town has ever seen and reveals that they carved Lisa into a mountain to commemorate her success.

Production[edit]

Al Jean decided to put "301st Episode" in the title screen of the episode because he thought it would be funny to celebrate the 301st episode as a bigger deal. However, the episode that the show called the 300th, "Barting Over", was actually the 302nd because Fox wanted to air it on a certain date. The episode was originally to have a segment where Bart realized it was the last day of Summer and he had a list of stuff to do before school started. This was cut because the episode was too long. However, it later got used in the season 17 episode "The Monkey Suit", although Al didn't tell the writer, J. Stewart Burns.[1]

The Ribwich side story was suggested by Matt Selman, and he wanted to do something where people similar to Deadheads followed the Ribwich around the country. Selman later found out that people did start to follow the McRib and other burgers around the country, just like in the episode.[2] The scene where Homer first tries the Ribwich is a parody of Requiem for a Dream and the animators watched the film to get the scene right.[3]

This is the first episode where Barney goes back to being an alcoholic after going sober.[4] The character Alex was originally a Russian boy called "Spellcheck".[5] Al Jean changed the character from the draft.[1]

Reception[edit]

Keith Plocek of LA Weekly's Squid Ink blog called the episode the second best food episode. He said that the star of the episode was the Ribwich, ignoring the episode's A-plot.[6]

As of April 2021, the episode has a 7.2 rating on IMDb.[7]

References[edit]


The Saga of Carl - title screen.png Wikisimpsons has a collection of images related to "I'm Spelling As Fast As I Can".
Season 14 Episodes
Treehouse of Horror XIII How I Spent My Strummer Vacation Bart vs. Lisa vs. the Third Grade Large Marge Helter Shelter The Great Louse Detective Special Edna The Dad Who Knew Too Little The Strong Arms of the Ma Pray Anything Barting Over I'm Spelling As Fast As I Can A Star Is Born Again Mr. Spritz Goes to Washington C.E. D'oh 'Scuse Me While I Miss the Sky Three Gays of the Condo Dude, Where's My Ranch? Old Yeller-Belly Brake My Wife, Please The Bart of War Moe Baby Blues