This Little Wiggy
- "People will see me paired up with a doofus. You have no idea what that's like."
- ―Bart Simpson
| "This Little Wiggy"
| Episode Information
"This Little Wiggy" is the eighteenth episode of season 9 of The Simpsons and the one-hundred and ninety-sixth episode overall. It originally aired on March 22, 1998. The episode was written by Dan Greaney and directed by Neil Affleck. It guest stars Phil Hartman as Troy McClure.
- "Taking pity on the hapless Ralph Wiggum, Marge pairs him with Bart. But his association with Ralph quickly turns out to be more beneficial than burdensome when Bart learns that his father holds the master key to every store in Springfield."
At Springfield Elementary School, Principal Skinner comes into the fourth grade classroom to introduce a special guest, Robby the Automaton. Robby talks about the Springfield Knowledgeum and invites the students to go there. Bart then noticed the robot controller outside and throws an apple at him, knocking him out of the tree. The loss of control makes Robby go crazy and he starts to strange Skinner, which excites the kids.
The Simpson family then visit the Knowledgeum where they play with all the interactive exhibits that are there. When Bart is skateboarding on the Mars exhibit, Ralph gets in his way and Bart gets hurt. The bullies then come along and shove Ralph into a giant ear. After Ralph is gotten out, Chief Wiggum tells Marge that Ralph is always getting stuck in things. Marge then suggests that Ralph could use a friend. Later, as Bart is trying to leave the house, Marge tells him that he has a play date with Ralph, to Bart's dismay. Bart quickly gets sick of Ralph getting his sticky fingers all over Bart's toys and tells him to go play hide and seek alone. Marge then makes Bart take Ralph outside.
The bullies come along the road in a stolen parking enforcement vehicle when Bart shoves Ralph into a bush to keep the bullies from seeing that he was with Bart. After the bullies leave, Bart and Ralph go back to the Wiggum house and Ralph shows Bart around his back garden before they go back to his room to play. Bart then asks Ralph where all the cool police equipment is kept and Ralph shows Bart Chief Wiggum's closet full of police files, guns and riot gear. As Chief Wiggum returns home, Bart and Ralph hide in the closet. Wiggum then hurts himself trying to apprehend a possible criminal in his house but is relieved to find that it's Bart and Ralph. When Chief Wiggum finds out that Bart is on a play date with Ralph, he's happy as Ralph has a friend then gives the two of them riot gear to play with. He then hangs the police master key on the bedpost, which interests Bart when he finds out what it is.
Back at the Simpson house, Homer and Marge are trying to record answer phone messages. Bart tells Marge that he is having a sleepover with Ralph, which makes Marge happy as Bart's found something he likes about Ralph. That night, Bart and Ralph steal the master key and head into town, going to the toy store and a bakery. They then encounter the bullies again who are excited to find that Ralph has the master key. Bart takes them all to the Morningwood Penitentiary prison to break in, but Ralph gets scared. The bullies tell Bart to hurry up so Bart takes the master key from Ralph and tells him to go home, which Ralph won't do without the key. Ralph then falls into a muddy puddle and when Bart decides to help Ralph, he gets pushed in too. Nelson then throws the key through a window in the prison and the bullies leave whilst Ralph and Bart go in to find the key.
In the prison, a rat steals the key and takes it to a locked room. Bart and Ralph retrieve the key and go inside to find it's the electric chair room. They mess around with the chair, turning it back on, and frying a wedding cake topper before the guard shouts for them and they leave. The next day, Mayor Quimby decides to fake a test of the electric chair, assuming that it's still off. Bart and Ralph panic about this and they tell Lisa, who sets up Bart's model rocket to fire at the prison to warn them that the chair is on. However, the rocket goes off course and crashes into the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant where Mr. Burns and Smithers read the note. Upon finding that the prison has been getting free electricity for 30 years, Burns shuts the power to the prison off as Mayor Quimby is getting friend by the chair. The chair was turned off before anything too bad happened to him and the family all celebrate, cheering on Ralph whose idea it was to ask Lisa. After this, the leprechaun tells Ralph to burn down the house and everyone in it.
Executive producer Mike Scully approached Dan Greaney to write an episode about Marge making Bart be friends with Ralph. It was mainly done as a team effort despite Greaney being credited as the writer. Scully gave the idea to Greaney because he likes the character of Ralph and Greaney likes writing in the child mindset. Ralph's lines are often hard to write because they have to get the right tone for Ralph.
The robot Robby the Automaton comes from a time Dan Greaney, whilst working for USA Today, was at a baseball game and a robot was trying to lead everyone in singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game". The crowd started throwing their food at the robot as it wasn't received well. The robot operator was also attacked by kids. The Knowledgeum is based on similar museums that Mike Scully visited, including one that had velcro walls. Bart messing around with Frink's computer without knowing what it was doing is based on behavior that Greaney saw at the Exploratorium in San Francisco.
The line where Ralph says he saw a leprechaun who told him to burn things was made before the writers had the ending in mind. The ending with the leprechaun was added after the animatic. During storyboarding, director Neil Affleck acted out the scene of Chief Wiggum rolling around in pain so they animators would know how to draw it. Originally, the episode didn't see Lisa helping Bart and Ralph to save Mayor Quimby. Bart, Ralph and Homer originally worked together to come up with a plan.
Les Chappell on The A.V. Club said that the fact that the episode not only focuses on Ralph but also Bart is what makes it so interesting. He praised the relationship between Bart and Ralph when they were alone. Chappell however doesn't consider the episode a "classic", saying that he felt the third act of the episode "stumbles a bit" and that the final act seemed "almost clumsy", saying that it was "a crisis introduced for the sake of crisis".
- Greaney, Dan (2006). Commentary for "This Little Wiggy", in The Simpsons: The Complete Ninth Season.
- Scully, Mike (2006). Commentary for "This Little Wiggy", in The Simpsons: The Complete Ninth Season.
- Meyer, George (2006). Commentary for "This Little Wiggy", in The Simpsons: The Complete Ninth Season.
- Groening, Matt (2006). Commentary for "This Little Wiggy", in The Simpsons: The Complete Ninth Season.
- The A.V. Club - "The Simpsons returns to the unbearable lightness of being Ralph Wiggum"
- IMDb - "This Little Wiggy"