The Simpsons/Duffless

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Season 4, Episode 16
Airdate February 18, 1993
Production Number 9F14
Written by David M. Stern
Directed by Jim Reardon
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The SimpsonsSeason Four

Duffless is the sixteenth episode of the fourth season of The Simpsons, and the seventy-fifth episode overall. Homer is charged with a DWI and Marge asks that he give up beer for a month.

Special Guest Voice: Phil Hartman (Lionel Hutz, Troy McClure), Marcia Wallace (Miss Krabappel)

Also Starring: Pamela Hayden (3rd world children, female judge, Milhouse Van Houten), Maggie Roswell (Miss Hoover, Mrs. Phillips, Maude Flanders)

Vocal Performance: Kipp Lennon ("Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head")


Plot Overview

The episode opens on Bart dreaming about the school science fair, where he's devised a ray gun that makes people dance. After firing it on Principal Skinner, Mrs. Krabappel and other teachers, he's awarded first prize. When he wakes up, he finds Lisa standing over him chanting "First Prize! First Prize!" He asks her what she's doing and she replies, "screwing with [his] head." At breakfast, Lisa shows off her actual science project, a giant tomato fertilized with anabolic steroids. She brings it to school that day, but foolishly entrusts its care to Bart. Bart, when given an opportunity to make a fool out of Skinner, throws the tomato at the principal and smashes Lisa's hopes of solving world hunger.

Meanwhile, Homer is skipping out on work to go to the Duff Brewery with Barney. While leaving the brewery, Homer demands that Barney hand over the keys. He starts driving, but the Police catch him in a sting and arrest him for DWI. His license is revoked and he's forced to go to several months of AA meetings. He's also required to go to drivers education, which involves a screening of an incredibly violent movie featuring car crash victims. In bed after his first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, Marge asks that Homer not drink beer for a month.

Lisa has found a new science fair project. She vows to discover whether or not her new hamster is more intelligent than her brother. The first experiment shows the hamster pushing a tiny couch over to a bookshelf to get its food on top while Bart tries to climb the bookshelf, which falls on him. The second involves electrifying the food, the hamster learns its lesson and Bart doesn't. Eventually, the sight of a cupcake makes Bart go into seizures. He discovers Lisa's report and tries to hide it, but she finds to book without a problem.

At the science fair, Lisa sets up her project but is upstaged by her brother, who has put her hamster in a model plane. Skinner awards Bart first prize without bothering to see any of the other projects. Although her goal to win the science fair failed, Homer is still struggling with his decision to give up beer for a month. After 30 days, he's slimmer and has saved up more than $100. He rides his bike straight for Moe's at the end of his month but decides that he'd be better off taking a bike ride with Marge.


Title Sequence

  • Blackboard: "Goldfish don't bounce." The final line is cut off at "don't."
  • Couch Gag: The family, with the exception of Maggie who is already on the couch, misses their mark and accidentally runs off the frame and onto a empty white space.


  • It Was a Very Good Year by Frank Sinatra: The song which Homer parodies and turns into "It Was a Very Good Beer," was "It Was a Very Good Year," which was popularized by Frank Sinatra. The song recounts various relationships in the singer's life and, in the verse that was parodied, says that he was with small-town girls on the village green when he was 17.
  • Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head by Kipp Lennon: When Homer and Marge are riding the bike into the sunset, they're singing "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" by B. J. Thomas. The song was written by Hal Davis and Burt Bacharach and was one of the first hits of the 1970s. The scene is a direct reference to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which used the song in a similar scene. The song in this episode was sung by Kipp Lennon.

When I Was 17 Lyrics

When I was 17,
I drank some very good beer.
I drank some very good beer
I purchased with a fake ID
My name was Brian McGee
I stayed up listening to Queen
When I was 17.

Arc Advancement


  • Springfield: Homer's home address is listed on his driver's license with the zip code 49007. This would place Springfield in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Although, it's more likely that the writers thought "Kalamazoo" was a funny name for a town and the placement of Springfield here is inaccurate. The state abbreviation for Springfield is "NT," which is used as the abbreviation for "Northern Territory" in Australia.


  • Homer: According to the driver's license which is shown briefly in this episode, Homer was born on May 12, 1956 (coincidentally, a Saturday). As of the first broadcast of this episode, he was 37. Of course, Homer's actual age is in constant flux between episodes, so he's still 37 more than 10 years later.



The Show

  • Go Go Ray: The settings on Bart's Go Go Ray in his dream are: The Jerk, Monkey, Mashed Potato, The Swim, and The Freddie.
  • First Use: This episode has the first usage of the word "Yoink." It was coined by George Meyer as a verbal exclamation made when taking something from someone.

Behind the Scenes

  • Nazi Sympathizers: A prominent beer company, probably Budweiser, called the Simpsons offices after his episode broadcast in protest of the severed head of Hitler being in one of the beer bottles because they thought it was insinuating that their company was pro-Nazi. When a representative of the show called Mike Reiss, she informed him that their president was considered to be a very big hero in World War 2 to which he inquired "By the Germans?" The company threatened to pull their advertisements, but they couldn't advertise at 8:00 anyway because of FCC laws.
  • Cut Line: After Princess Diana's death, censors removed Barney's lines "Hey, that looks like Princess Di!" followed by "Oh, wait, that's just a pile of rags" in syndicated broadcast of this episode in Britain out of respect.

Allusions and References

  • Herman's Head: Lisa tells Marge that she was thinking of a joke she saw on Herman's Head. Herman's Head was a sitcom co-starring Yeardley Smith (Lisa's voice actress) and starred William Ragsdale as man whose psyche is fractured into four unique characters. These characters would come on screen whenever Herman had to make a decision, as if they were a Greek chorus.
Lisa: Oh, uh... I was just thinking of a joke I saw on Herman's Head
  • A Clockwork Orange: Bart having a fit after reaching for the cupcakes is a reference to A Clockwork Orange. In the movie and novel, after Alex receives the behavior altering Ludivico treatment, he goes into a similar seizure when he tries to grab a woman's breasts.
  • Around the World in 80 Days: Martin's entire science project is based on the Jules Verne novel Around the World in 80 Days, about a wealthy gentleman named Phileas Fogg who sets out to prove that, with the rail line in India now complete, it is possible to circle the globe in 80 days. He didn't count, however, for practical issues like finding transportation or, in this case, bullies with BB guns.

Memorable Moments