A Tale of Two Springfields
- "We're officially a city. Now we just sit back and wait for an NFL franchise."
- ―Homer Simpson
| A Tale of Two Springfields
| Episode Information
"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. It originally aired in November 5, 2000. The episode was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Shaun Cashman. The episode guest starred The Who as themselves and Frank Welker as the Flanders' pet woodpecker.
- "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."
When trying to feed Santa's Little Helper, Bart finds a badger is living in the dog house. After some unsuccessful attempts at getting the badger out, including trying to feed it the Flanders' pet woodpecker, Homer decides to call Animal Control. However, Homer can't get through as the area code has changed, with Springfield now having two area codes. Homer gets annoyed at this and complains about it to his friends at work. Later, Homer is listening to KBBL Radio where they are giving away tickets to see The Who. They read out Homer's number, but the call goes to Mr. Burns instead, as the area code was no longer his.
A town meeting was called about the area codes, with Lindsey Naegle being the representative from the phone company. Naegle points out Homer in particular as being annoyed as he showed up wearing dynamite. To try and placate the crowd, she shows a movie featuring Phony McRing-Ring which satisfies most people without providing any answers. However, Homer isn't satisfied and goes on stage, and attempts to blow himself up. When this doesn't work, he riles up the crowd of people who had the area code changed and decides to form a new town, New Springfield. Homer is then made the mayor shortly after. At first, things seem to be going well, despite the rivalry between New Springfield and Olde Springfield. However, people start to get uncomfortable, with Marge feeling like people were glaring at her when she went shopping in Olde Springfield. Marge went home again, only feeling relaxed when she was back in New Springfield. The family then sat down to watch the news, where Kent Brockman insults the people of New Springfield.
In retaliation for Kent Brockman insulting them, Homer turns the power off to Olde Springfield. Olde Springfield then retaliated back, dumping a shipment of beer headed for New Springfield in the river. In retaliation to this, the people of New Springfield cut off the water supply to Olde Springfield, drying up the river. The people of Olde Springfield then find gold at the bottom of the river and use it to buy a water plant for the town. With tensions rising, Homer decides to build a wall between the two towns, cutting off all routes into and out of town. When the rest of the people figure this out, they all climb over the wall, escaping to Olde Springfield, leaving only the Simpsons in New Springfield.
To try and draw the people back to New Springfield, Homer goes to see The Who to convince them to perform in New Springfield instead. He gets them to accept and they start to put on a show on the wall between New and Olde Springfield. When the rest of the Springfieldians hear the music, they confront Homer and start to fire flaming trash over the wall at him. The Who then stop the angry crowd and convince them to knock down the wall and get on with each other again. They then play "Won't Get Fooled Again" to help with the demolition whilst performing. Meanwhile, on the edge of town, a large army of badgers gather to attack the people of Springfield whilst they are dancing.
John Frink and Don Payne pitched the idea of the town splitting in two. The episode was inspired by Don Payne's mother's neighborhood, where each side of the neighborhood would spread rumors about the other side. Larry Doyle then came up with the idea of the town splitting due to the area codes. After the episode, a website was set up called whatbadgerseat.com which has since been redirected to fox.com. The producers didn't want the episode to become "snobs vs. sloths", which eventually did happen with the rich and poor divide in the town. George Meyer pitched the chalkboard gag for the episode, which was a reference to the 2000 United States presidential election which was happening at the time.
The Who was the first choice for the band in the episode. The line of the split was changed several times, with one of the lines being between Homer and Ned's houses. Bart keeping his pants off in the scene after he had them taken was not in the script but was done by the animators. The Who recorded their lines in London, with Mike Scully and Dan Castellaneta going there to record. Pete Townshend didn't voice his character as he thought it would have been like Yellow Submarine where The Beatles had other actors imitate their voices. Roger Daltrey then got the idea to call Pete's brother Paul Townshend who looked and sounded like Pete and offered him money to voice Pete. Roger Daltrey had talked Pete Townshend into voicing his character, but on the day of recording, he didn't show up, having changed his mind.
The animators based the look of The Who on how they looked in the '80s. The band wanted them to put Keith Moon in, rather than their current drummer Zak Starkey, to immortalize him after Moon passed away in 1978. The Who also helped with the designs for their costumes.
- Payne, Don (2009). Commentary for "A Tale of Two Springfields", in The Simpsons: The Complete Twelfth Season.
- Jean, Al (2009). Commentary for "A Tale of Two Springfields", in The Simpsons: The Complete Twelfth Season.
- Scully, Mike (2009). Commentary for "A Tale of Two Springfields", in The Simpsons: The Complete Twelfth Season.
- Cashman, Shaun (2009). Commentary for "A Tale of Two Springfields", in The Simpsons: The Complete Twelfth Season.
- Castellaneta, Dan (2009). Commentary for "A Tale of Two Springfields", in The Simpsons: The Complete Twelfth Season.
- Daltrey, Roger (2009). Commentary for "A Tale of Two Springfields", in The Simpsons: The Complete Twelfth Season.
- Meyer, George (2009). Commentary for "A Tale of Two Springfields", in The Simpsons: The Complete Twelfth Season.
- IMDb - "A Tale of Two Springfields"
- TV.com - "A Tale of Two Springfields"