"Take My Life, Please"
- "I'm going to find out what Dondelinger did last summer! Twenty-two years ago! In the winter!"
- ―Homer Simpson
"Take My Life, Please" is the tenth episode of season 20. This episode was the first episode broadcast in HD and the new show opening sequence.
- "Vance Connor is inducted into the Springfield Wall of Fame, and Homer recalls how he ran against Vance for school president. After discovering that the real ballot box was hidden, Homer searches for it and finds it - only to discover that he should have won. The family go to Luigi's restaurant, and meet a man who can tell people's fates by stirring tomato sauce, and Homer sees what his life would've been like had he been class president."
A man named Vance Connor is inducted into the Springfield Wall of Fame, and Homer recounts how he ran against Vance for class president in high school and lost. Later, at Moe's Tavern, Carl and Lenny confess to Homer that his old high school principal had ordered them to bury the ballot box containing the votes to the election. After Homer and Lenny dig up the ballot box, Lisa counts the votes, and Homer is shocked to see that the votes put him as the winner. Outraged, he meets his old principal in a retirement center, who explains why he had to hide the ballot box: Two student athletes had talked their classmates into voting for Homer so that, after he had won, they could laugh at him all the way through high school and at every reunion. Al Gore, himself, appears in Moe's Tavern and told Homer how he had felt when he had the 2000 presidential election stolen from him.
The Simpsons later have dinner at Luigi's, where Homer remains miserable. Luigi Risotto introduces him to his saucier, who he claims can tell what someone's life could have been like by stirring tomato sauce in a certain way. By using his magical tomato sauce, he helps Homer see what his life would have been like if he had won the election: Homer would have been rich, he would have had a better position at the nuclear plant, would have lived in a mansion on the site where the Flanders now live and wouldn't be bald. The kids would not have been born because Homer would have remembered to use protection before sex. Homer is depressed after seeing that his life would have been a lot better if he had won, even leaping into the pot to try to "live in the sauce".
Homer later agrees to take a walk with Marge to the Springfield Wall of Fame where his name has been put up (replacing Seymour Skinner). A boy then has his picture taken with him. Homer, now much happier, goes to a Korean restaurant that Bart says 'sells beef that spells the date of your death'.
The episode was written by Don Payne and directed by Steven Dean Moore. It was the first episode of The Simpsons to air in 720p high-definition television, though not the first time the show has appeared in high-definition, as The Simpsons Movie was rendered in HD.
New opening sequence
- See the full article of the opening sequence, here.
This episode marks the first time the opening sequence was used in HD. The differences include:
- A three-eyed crow flies past the Simpsons logo in the sky.
- Kearney and Jimbo are seen sawing off the head of the Jebediah Springfield statue during the swoop across town. The head lands on Ralph Wiggum, about to eat an ice cream cone.
- During Bart's chalkboard gag, the portrait on the classroom wall is now Homer as an astronaut
- As Bart skates out of school, he flies past a pile of Groundskeeper Willie's leaves, revealing Barney lying on the ground.
- Behind Homer is Carl and Lenny putting up the number three on a sign that says "Days Without an Accident." When the whistle blows, they fall off the ladder.
- Behind Marge is Patty and Selma checking out a bunch of cigarettes.
- When a box of Krusty-O's is scanned, the total amount on the register changes from $236.60 to $243.26, which means the price of the cereal is $6.66. Maggie is inadvertently scanned too, which doubles the register total to $486.52, as she is mistakenly packaged with the groceries.
- Marge does not sigh with relief when Maggie is appears in the shopping bag, instead she just turns around like this is an average everyday thing.
- When Maggie pops out of the shopping bag, she shakes her fist with Baby Gerald in a nearby cart.
- In the orchestra room, there is an added picture of Bleeding Gums Murphy on the wall.
- Sherri & Terri are playing video games, rather than playing the flutes.
- At the end of Lisa's sax solo, she ducks inside briefly and smiles.
- When Homer throws the bar out of the window, it lands near Otto Mann, who eats it.
- Bart now skates past Sideshow Bob, Helen Lovejoy, Apu with his children, the Comic Book Guy, Disco Stu, Crazy Cat Lady, The Rich Texan, and Chief Wiggum. Marge's car drives over Hans Moleman's manhole.
- Now Grandpa is shown in the car next to Maggie who sits in the middle. When she and Marge honk the horn, Grandpa wakes up and spits out his false teeth.
- The pan across Springfield features more characters like God and the Devil.
- After Lisa drives past Homer on her bike, he is too late to avoid Marge's car and gets shoved through the wall of the house.
- The old television set is now replaced with an HDTV. At the end of the theme, it falls, as if hanged on the wall.
UGO wrote: "When the self-referential jokes about the episode’s switch to HD were the things that made me laugh the most, and they last only a few seconds, I realized something was not good. This may be 'The Sharpest. Episode. Ever.' but is definitely not the funniest. Still, there are some genuinely endearing bitter-sweet moments in the episode, but still it’s not enough to drive the show into the un-chartable funny waters that it used to live in."