- "Wait a minute... Hang onto your monocles, 'cause Furious D is closing like a horse possessed!"
- ―Trevor Denman
| "Saddlesore Galactica"
| Episode Information
"Saddlesore Galactica" is the thirteenth episode of season 11. It originally aired on February 6, 2000. The episode was written by Tim Long and directed by Lance Kramer. The episode guest stars Bachman-Turner Overdrive as themselves and Trevor Denman as himself.
- "Homer and Bart adopt an abandoned racehorse, named Duncan, and soon discover the ups and downs of horse racing."
The Springfield Elementary School Band is practicing for a band competition, with Mr. Largo taking them through "The Stars and Stripes Forever". After they finish, the students discuss playing more complex songs as "The Stars and Stripes Forever" is too beginner for them. Eventually, Mr. Largo agrees to let the band do a different song. The Simpson family then go to the State Fair, where Homer talks his way past the gate by claiming to be a Vietnam veteran. At the State Fair, Marge goes shopping for all the products they have for sale whilst the rest of the family go to see Bachman–Turner Overdrive, who are performing at the fair. Homer annoys the band by demanding they play specific songs. After Bachman–Turner Overdrive, the band competition starts, with the Springfield Elementary band playing "Living in America". After their performance, the Ogdenville band plays, using glow sticks as a visual aid, which wins over the audience. Lisa is furious at this as visual aids are banned, but Ogdenville win anyway.
After the band competition, Lisa complains about the result, getting angry at an Ogdenville student. State Comptroller Atkins then says that her sportsmanship was bad so doesn't give her the Good Sportsmanship Award. The family then sees Duncan the Incredible Diving Horse. After Duncan is forced to dive into a small pool, the act is shut down by Chief Wiggum as it's animal abuse. The Simpsons then decide to adopt Duncan rather than have Duncan sent off to become dog food. Knowing that the family would struggle financially with Duncan, Homer and Bart try to get Duncan to earn his keep, first trying him out at football, until Homer realizes horses can't take part in the NFL. Bart then suggests that Duncan become a racehorse because he's fast. Meanwhile, Lisa is writing letters to President Bill Clinton about the band competition.
At the Springfield Downs, Duncan takes part in his first race but is too scared to leave the starting gate. Bart gives him a pep talk and Duncan finally starts running, only for the race to have already finished. Homer and Bart then give Duncan a makeover as Lisa tries calling President Clinton. Homer and Bart then reveal Duncan's new look and name, Furious D. Bart and Furious D start to win races as Duncan is now more confident, with Duncan being mean and intimidating to the other horses. Eventually, the other jockeys get annoyed at Furious D winning so much and kidnap Homer, taking him to their secret underground home. They sing "We Are the Jockeys" where they tell Homer that Duncan must lose or they'll eat Homer's brain.
Homer initially decides that Duncan must lose and tries to talk Bart into making it happen. However, Bart doesn't want to have Duncan lose and decides to try and win anyway. During the final race, the jockeys attack Bart and Duncan fights back, knocking them off and taking the victory. The jockeys then attack Homer so he and Bart ride off on Duncan as they lead the jockeys into a trap and capture them all, leaving them in a bin bag. Homer then helps Duncan find a mate to retire with as Bill Clinton comes to the door to talk to Lisa about the band competition. He tells Lisa that if things don't go her way, she should keep complaining until her dreams come true. As Marge points out that that's a lousy lesson to teach, Bill Clinton points out that he's a lousy president.
Ron Hauge pitched the title for the episode. Matt Groening was out of town for the table read and had never seen the episode before the commentary. Bachman-Turner Overdrive guest starred in the episode. However, the two of them had split up at the time and didn't come in together. During the band competition, the song "Living in America" was chosen as they wanted a patriotic song that was "hipper" than "The Stars and Stripes Forever". Donick Cary came up with the idea to have a secret underground world of the jockeys.
The idea of Duncan the diving horse came around because there was a real diving horse at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The animators had a postcard of the horse whilst they were doing the show. Lance Kramer also had to draw out a whole pack on how the horses ankles worked so the other animators would know how to animate Duncan properly. This was because they wanted Duncan to have somewhat of a personality shown in his animation.
The episode has a montage of Duncan winning races set to the song "The Distance" by Cake. At first, they couldn't get clearance for the actual song so used a soundalike in its original airing. Eventually, the song got cleared so it was replaced in later airings with the original.
- Long, Tim (2008). Commentary for "Saddlesore Galactica", in The Simpsons: The Complete Eleventh Season.
- Groening, Matt (2008). Commentary for "Saddlesore Galactica", in The Simpsons: The Complete Eleventh Season.
- Meyer, George (2008). Commentary for "Saddlesore Galactica", in The Simpsons: The Complete Eleventh Season.
- Kramer, Lance (2008). Commentary for "Saddlesore Galactica", in The Simpsons: The Complete Eleventh Season.
- Scully, Mike (2008). Commentary for "Saddlesore Galactica", in The Simpsons: The Complete Eleventh Season.
- IMDb - "Saddlesore Galactica"
- TV.com - "Saddlesore Galactica"