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Behind the Laughter

Wikisimpsons - The Simpsons Wiki
Season 11 Episode
247 "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge"
"Behind the Laughter"
"Treehouse of Horror XI" 249
This article is about the episode. For the television show, see Behind the Laughter (TV show).
Donut Homer.png This episode is considered non-canon and the events featured do not relate to the series and therefore may not have actually happened/existed.

The reason behind this decision is: The episode is set out like a documentary about the Simpson family and their rise to fame.

If you dispute this, please bring it up on the episode's talk page.

"The Simpsons' TV show started out on a wing and a prayer. But now the wing was on fire, and the prayer had been answered by Satan."
Jim Forbes
"Behind the Laughter"
Behind the Laughter.png
Episode Information
Episode number: 248
Season number: S11 E22
Production code: BABF19
Original airdate: May 21, 2000
Chalkboard gag: I will not obey the voices in my head
Couch gag: The Simpsons sit at the couch as normal. Bart puts a coin in a slot on the arm of the couch and the couch vibrates away, taking the family with them.
Guest star(s): Willie Nelson as himself
Jim Forbes as the narrator
Buzz Aldrin as himself (archive footage)
Gary Coleman as himself (archive footage)
Stephen Hawking as himself (archive footage)
Tom Kite as himself (archive footage)
Butch Patrick as himself (archive footage)
Showrunners: Mike Scully
George Meyer
Al Jean
Written by: Tim Long
George Meyer
Mike Scully
Matt Selman
Directed by: Mark Kirkland
DVD features

"Behind the Laughter" is the twenty-second and final episode of season 11 of The Simpsons and the two-hundred and forty-eighth episode overall. It originally aired on May 21, 2000. The episode was written by Tim Long, George Meyer, Mike Scully and Matt Selman and directed by Mark Kirkland. It guest stars Willie Nelson as himself and Jim Forbes as the narrator whilst archive footage of Buzz Aldrin as himself, Gary Coleman as himself, Stephen Hawking as himself, Tom Kite as himself and Butch Patrick as himself is used.


"In the style of VH1 show "Behind the Music", this documentary takes us back to the beginning of the show. We see Homer's shoddily directed 'pilot' episode, before Homer becomes addicted to prescription drugs, Marge makes bizarre business investments, and Bart goes to rehab. The show is put on hiatus after the family split up, and Lisa writes a book about her ordeal. A phony awards show manages to reunite the Simpsons."


Done in the style of Behind the Music, the popular VH1 biography show, this non-canon episode begins with the Simpson family history and how they got into show business. The first part of the mockumentary follows the family from their weak beginnings to their exceptional prosperity. A television show, a recording contract, a lot of awards, and countless wealth follow Homer's inadequate video "pilot."

However, problems begin to arise as the Simpsons' fame continues. After a funny stunt causes him injury (the cliff plummet from "Bart the Daredevil", after a montage of Homer injury clips), Homer becomes addicted to prescription painkillers, Marge makes some senseless business investments (Marge Simpson Diaphragms for example), and Bart goes to rehab (His friend Richie Rich once had to substitute for Bart). The IRS examines soon after and takes away their house (called "Homertime", since it belonged to rapper MC Hammer before he went bankrupt and was called "Hammertime"). Then, the family gets into a big dispute and splits up at the Iowa State Fair.

Fox is forced put the show on hiatus, since none of the Simpsons will talk to each other. The members go their independent ways: Homer follows a career in the theater; Bart replaces Lorenzo Lamas as the star of the syndicated action show Renegade; Marge makes a nightclub act; and Lisa writes a tell-all book about her experiences on the show. Bringing the family back together seems hopeless until country singer Willie Nelson puts on a phony awards show in order to reconcile the family (and also patch things up with Van Halen and Sammy Hagar). At the award show, Willie calls out the whole family to present one award. Lisa deduces that the award show is fake and they refuse to even look at each other. However, after Willie and the audience encourage them, they hug and forget past wrongs in a sensitive reunion. Again, they look with hope to the many years of episodes of The Simpsons to come... or not...

The last images show Homer giving orders regarding the editing of "the last season" of the Simpsons series. The sentences we can hear on the editing screen were used for season 12's last episode, "Simpsons Tall Tales".


According to TV.com user ratings, this is the best Season 11 episode with a 9.0/10 rating, followed closely by "E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)" which has a 8.9/10 rating. The Simpsons writing staff voted this in their list of Top 15 Simpsons episode becoming the newest episode in the list.[1]

"Behind the Laughter" won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program in the 52nd Primetime Emmy Awards.[2] Composer Alf Clausen won a 2000 Annie Award in Outstanding Individual Achievement for Music in an Animated Television Production for the episode.[3]

In other languages[edit]

Language Name Translation
Germany.png Deutsch "Hinter den Lachern" Behind the laughters
Italy Flag.png Italiano "Dietro la risata" Behind the laughter



The Saga of Carl - title screen.png Wikisimpsons has a collection of images related to "Behind the Laughter".
Season 11 Episodes
Beyond Blunderdome Brother's Little Helper Guess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner? Treehouse of Horror X E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt) Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder Eight Misbehavin' Take My Wife, Sleaze Grift of the Magi Little Big Mom Faith Off The Mansion Family Saddlesore Galactica Alone Again, Natura-Diddily Missionary: Impossible Pygmoelian Bart to the Future Days of Wine and D'oh'ses Kill the Alligator and Run Last Tap Dance in Springfield It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge Behind the Laughter