Simpsons Tall Tales
| Simpsons Tall Tales
| Episode Information
"Simpsons Tall Tales" is the twenty-first episode of season 12. It originally aired on May 20, 2001. It was written by John Frink, Don Payne, Bob Bendetson and Matt Selman. Bob Anderson directed the episode.
- "The family wins a trip to Delaware, but Homer refuses to pay the tax on the ticket, so they ride the rails and meet a hobo who sings and tells them some tall tales. First is the story of Paul Bunyan, with Homer playing the role of Paul. Next is Lisa as "Connie Appleseed," who tries to convince the pioneers to eat apples instead of buffalo. The third story isn't really tall, but a Mark Twain-style tale about Tom Sawyer (Bart) and Huckleberry Finn (Nelson), who go on the run when Huck won't marry Becky Thatcher (Lisa)."
After the Simpsons win a trip to Delaware, Homer refuses to pay a $5 airport tax for his flight. The family jumps onto a freight train and meets a singing railroad hobo who tells them three tall tales.
The hobo tells the tale of Paul Bunyan, who was born to Abe and Mrs. Bunyan. Paul Bunyan was extremely large, thanks to a hopped-up pituitary gland. As Paul gets older and larger, the townspeople find him more and more of a burden, due to the fact he ate so much and accidentally crushed everything around him. Eventually, the townspeople got sick of him and decided to get rid of him by giving him a drugged beer before dragging him out of town.
Upon waking up, Paul realized that the town didn't want him any more. He got lonely and carved an ox out of a mountain. As he slept next to the ox, a bolt of lightning hit it, bringing it to life. Paul named his Ox Babe and the two went on adventures together, including fighting Rodan. Later, Paul saw and fell in love with a woman who he started to date and eventually got married to. Shortly after this, Paul's home town noticed a meteor was coming towards them. They ask Paul for help as he's the only one who can save them. The meteor lands in Paul's butt crack and the pulls it out and throws it at Chicago, causing the Great Chicago Fire, but saving the town.
After the hobo finishes his tale, Lisa points out that Paul's size kept varying throughout the story, and that several of the events he described were never in the original story. The hobo simply shrugs her off and asks for a sponge bath, which Homer reluctantly gives to him. The hobo then gives an impression of two people to the family, before making out with himself. He then goes on to tell his next story.
He tells the story of Connie Appleseed, an American pioneer. Connie and her family were part of a wagon train. On their journey, the pioneers find buffalo and kill them for food, to Connie's disgust. Connie tells them that they must stop the slaughter before the buffalo go extinct. The pioneers all ignore her and Connie leaves sadly. As she was walking away, Connie heard a voice calling to her, coming from an apple tree. She gathers apples to take back to the pioneers, missing that Hans Moleman was in a sinkhole behind the tree. When she gets back to the wagon train, Homer Bufflekill is disgusted that the apples aren't parts of buffalo and Connie tells them to go on without her if they don't switch to apples. The wagon train then leaves her behind.
After this, Connie wandered the prairie alone, scattering apple seeds as she went. Meanwhile, the pioneers managed to cause the buffalo to go extinct, to Homer's shock. One snowy night after this, the pioneers get ready to resort to cannibalism, choosing to eat Homer as he's the fattest of them. As they get ready to tuck in, Connie shows up with apples for the pioneers to eat instead. The pioneers are happy that they have food and spare Homer, as the pioneers celebrate Connie coming to save them.
After the story, the hobo tells the Simpson family about all the good things you can find apples in.
Tom and Huck
Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were painting a fence, when Milhouse comes along. Tom and Huck bully Milhouse and other kids into painting the fence for them. Huck was playing on the fence whilst they other kids painted, when he fell off. Worried about him, Becky Thatcher runs over to make sure he's okay, and they hold hands. Upon seeing this, Becky's father, Judge Thatcher, forces the two of them to get married. Since Huck doesn't want to get married, he and Tom escape and raft down the Mississippi River to get away from the angry mob.
When Tom and Huck run out of supplies, they stop by a 99¢ Store to get more supplies. When they leave, they find that they're both wanted criminals. The townspeople were hot on their trail too, leaving Tom and Huck to run and raft down the river again. As the two of them try to hide on a ship, they fall into the gambling hall on the boat. After a shootout occurs, they are thrown off the boat where they sink to the bottom of the river, where the townspeople wait for them. The townspeople take them back to town and execute them before lowering their bodies into coffins.
After this story, the train arrives in Delaware. As the family departs, the hobo tells them that he told three stories, so they owe him three sponge baths. Homer reluctantly gets back on to give him the extra sponge baths as the train departs again.
The opening of the episode and the wraparounds were written by Matt Selman. The idea for making an episode based on tall tales was pitched by John Frink and Don Payne. The family going to Delaware is a callback to the season 11 episode "Behind the Laughter". At the end of that episode, the family wins a trip to Delaware. The episode came around after "Simpsons Bible Stories" was fun to write, so they decided to write different anthology episodes. In the Paul Bunyan segment, the giant pill Moe had was originally supposed to read "Roofie", but it was removed. Another scene that changed was that after Paul puts Marge's hair on his ear, it was supposed to come out with earwax on, but they decided against it.
Jim Carrey was originally to be the voice of the hobo. However, due to scheduling conflicts, this didn't happen, so Hank Azaria voiced him instead. A lot of the buffalo deaths were done off camera as the producers felt there were too many killed on camera. Matt Selman wrote the Tom and Huck segment whilst listening to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer on tape, to get all the linguo down accurately. The ending dialogue of the episode was ad-libbed by Dan Castellaneta and Hank Azaria.
- Selman, Matt (2009). Commentary for "Simpsons Tall Tales", in The Simpsons: The Complete Twelfth Season.
- Maxtone-Graham, Ian (2009). Commentary for "Simpsons Tall Tales", in The Simpsons: The Complete Twelfth Season.
- Scully, Mike (2009). Commentary for "Simpsons Tall Tales", in The Simpsons: The Complete Twelfth Season.
- Anderson, Bob (2009). Commentary for "Simpsons Tall Tales", in The Simpsons: The Complete Twelfth Season.
- IMDb - "Simpsons Tall Tales"
- TV.com - "Simpsons Tall Tales"