The Simpsons
Season 20
DVD cover
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes21
Release
Original networkFox
Original releaseSeptember 28, 2008 (2008-09-28) –
May 17, 2009 (2009-05-17)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 19
Next →
Season 21
List of episodes

The twentieth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons aired on Fox from September 28, 2008, to May 17, 2009.[1] With this season, the show tied Gunsmoke as the longest-running American primetime television series in terms of total number of seasons.[2] The season was released on Blu-ray on January 12, 2010, making this the first season to be released on Blu-ray as well as the only one to contain both 16:9 widescreen and high-definition episodes. It was released on DVD in Region 1 on January 12, 2010, and in Region 4 on January 20, 2010.[3] The season was only released on DVD in Region 2 on September 17, 2010, in a few areas.

Production

It contained nine holdover episodes from season 19’s KABF production line.[4]

Production on the season was delayed because of contract negotiations with the six main voice actors.[5] The dispute was resolved, and the actors' salary was raised to US$400,000 per episode. The delay in production caused the planned 22 episodes to be shortened to 20.[6] In addition, voice actor Dan Castellaneta was credited as a consulting producer for the first time.[6] The main cast consisted of Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, and Harry Shearer. The recurring cast consisted of Marcia Wallace, Pamela Hayden, Tress MacNeille, Maggie Roswell, Russi Taylor, and Karl Wiedergott.

The Simpsons began high-definition production in season 20. The first episode in HD, "Take My Life, Please", aired on February 15, 2009. "Take My Life, Please" is also the first to feature the new opening sequence.

Also, more episodes were given the TV-14 rating than any previous season. The episodes that were given this rating were "Sex, Pies and Idiot Scrapes", "Treehouse of Horror XIX", "Gone Maggie Gone", "No Loan Again, Naturally", "Dangerous Curves", "Wedding For Disaster", and "Four Great Women and a Manicure".

20th anniversary

In 2009, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the premiere of The Simpsons, Fox announced that a year-long celebration of the show titled "Best. 20 Years. Ever." would run from January 14, 2009 to January 14, 2010. Several contests were run, including the "Unleash Your Yellow" contest in which entrants designed a poster for the show[7] and "Best. Couch Gag. Ever." where fans created their own live-action couch gag video.[8]

As part of the celebration, the Irish-themed episode "In the Name of the Grandfather" premiered on Sky1 in the United Kingdom and Ireland on March 17, 2009. It was the first-ever episode of the show to air in Europe before being seen in the United States. The American debut of the episode was on March 22.[9]

Reception

Critical reception

Robert Canning of IGN gave the season a 7.9 out of 10 improving 1.3 from the past season. He gave it a positive review saying that it was "Good" and that "With at least two more years of The Simpsons guaranteed, this unexpected but very welcome resurgence has come at a perfect time. If they can keep the momentum moving, the series is primed to once again approach perfection and go out at the top of its game."[10]

Awards

Main article: List of awards and nominations received by The Simpsons

Episodes from the twentieth season received five Primetime Emmy Award nominations. "Gone Maggie Gone" was nominated for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming less than One Hour) and Outstanding Music Composition for a Series. Dan Castellaneta won the Outstanding Voice-Over Performance Emmy for voicing Homer in the episode "Father Knows Worst"; Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer were also nominated for the episodes "Eeny Teeny Maya Moe" and "The Burns and the Bees", respectively. The winners were announced on September 12, 2009.[11] The Simpsons was the only series to be nominated in the Animation category at the Writers Guild of America Awards in 2010. The nominees were: Stephanie Gillis for "The Burns and the Bees", John Frink for "Eeny Teeny Maya, Moe", Billy Kimball & Ian Maxtone-Graham for Gone Maggie Gone", Don Payne for "Take My Life, Please", and Joel H. Cohen for "Wedding for Disaster".[12] The award was won by Joel H. Cohen.[13]

Nielsen ratings

The season ranked 77th in ratings with an average of 6.93 million viewers and an 18/49 rating of 3.4/9 and the rerun timeslot ranking 113th.[14] The most viewed episode was "Treehouse of Horror XIX", with 12.48 million watching it and a 4.9 Nielsen rating.[15] The least viewed episode was "Four Great Women and a Manicure" which is the second-least-viewed episode of the series, after Season 21's "Million Dollar Maybe".[16]

Episodes

See also: List of The Simpsons episodes

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
U.S. viewers
(millions)
4211"Sex, Pies and Idiot Scrapes"Lance KramerKevin CurranSeptember 28, 2008 (2008-09-28)KABF179.47[18]
After serving a jail sentence for starting a brawl at an alcohol-free St. Patrick's Day parade, Homer becomes a bounty hunter and tags Flanders along for the ride. Meanwhile, an Irish man gives Marge a job at his bakery, which Marge soon discovers specializes in sexually suggestive cakes.
Guest Stars: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Robert Forster and Joe Mantegna.[17]
4222"Lost Verizon"Raymond S. PersiJohn FrinkOctober 5, 2008 (2008-10-05)KABF157.41[21]
Bart feels left out after realizing he is the only kid in this day and age without a cell phone, so he tries to work in a country club as a golf ball finder to earn money for it—and finds Denis Leary's phone instead.
Guest Stars: Denis Leary and Brian Grazer.[19][20]
4233"Double, Double, Boy in Trouble"Nancy KruseBill OdenkirkOctober 19, 2008 (2008-10-19)[24]KABF148.16[25]
Bart meets Simon Woosterfield, a boy who looks exactly like him and is a member of Springfield's richest family. As a prank, the two decide to switch places, but the joke is on Bart when he discovers that Simon is being targeted for murder by his own siblings.
Guest Star: Joe Montana.[22][23]
4244"Treehouse of Horror XIX"Bob AndersonMatt WarburtonNovember 2, 2008 (2008-11-02)KABF1612.40[28]

Intro: Homer tries to vote for Barack Obama but the machine is rigged to place votes for John McCain—and kill anyone who reveals it.

Untitled Robot Parody: In this light parody of Transformers, Lisa gets a Malibu Stacy car that turns into a robot bent on fighting the mortal enemy of his race (more transforming robots).[26]
How to Get Ahead in Dead-Vertising: After accidentally killing Krusty the Clown over the destruction of a daycare mural that used his image without his express permission, Homer is hired by two ad agents who have discovered a legal loophole in using celebrity likenesses in their advertising campaigns.[27]
It's the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse: In this parody of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Milhouse summons a demon pumpkin, who goes berserk when he discovers that humans carve his brethren into jack-o-lanterns as Halloween tradition.[26]
4255"Dangerous Curves"Matthew FaughnanBilly Kimball & Ian Maxtone-GrahamNovember 9, 2008 (2008-11-09)KABF188.01[30]
Homer and Marge remember their dating years where a young Ned and Maude tries to keep them apart and their early years of marriage where Homer and Marge almost cheated on each other.[29]
Guest Star: Maurice LaMarche.
4266"Homer and Lisa Exchange Cross Words"Nancy KruseTim LongNovember 16, 2008 (2008-11-16)KABF198.48[32]
Homer, who has since recovered from his crash, Lisa becomes obsessed with crossword puzzles and enters a contest, where Homer places bets against his daughter in order to earn money lost from his couples break-up business.[31]
Guest Stars: Will Shortz, Merl Reagle and Scott Thompson.
4277"MyPods and Boomsticks"Steven Dean MooreMarc WilmoreNovember 30, 2008 (2008-11-30)KABF207.80[34]
Bart makes friends with a Muslim boy named Bashir and his family, but Homer fears the family may be terrorists because of their religion. Meanwhile, Lisa is given a MyPod and becomes addicted to downloading songs on it.[33]
Guest Star: Shohreh Aghdashloo.
4288"The Burns and the Bees"Mark KirklandStephanie GillisDecember 7, 2008 (2008-12-07)KABF216.43[36]
After winning the "Austin Celtics" in a game of poker, Mr. Burns builds a new stadium in Springfield in the same place where Lisa has built a bee colony to save honeybees from extinction.[35]
Guest Stars: Mark Cuban, Jeff Bezos and Marv Albert.
4299"Lisa the Drama Queen"Matthew NastukBrian KelleyJanuary 25, 2009 (2009-01-25)KABF225.74[39]
Lisa meets a new girl named Juliet and helps her write stories about a fantasy world called Equalia, but spending too much time with Juliet (and the story) begins to warp Lisa's sense of reality.
Guest Stars: Emily Blunt[37] and Fall Out Boy.[38]
Note: This is the last episode to be broadcast in standard definition, the last episode to include the old opening (which had been used since season two), and the first episode to begin immediately after the credits without a commercial break.
43010"Take My Life, Please"Steven Dean MooreDon PayneFebruary 15, 2009 (2009-02-15)LABF016.73[41]
After an old high school rival named Vance is honored on the Springfield Wall of Fame, Homer becomes depressed when he discovers that Principal Dondelinger rigged the student council election so Vance would win. While at an Italian restaurant, a mysterious chef shows Homer how his life would have turned out had he actually won.[40]
Note: This is the first episode to broadcast in 720p high definition and to use the new opening (which is similar to the old one, only it includes new characters and slight changes to some of the sequences).
43111"How the Test Was Won"Lance KramerMichael PriceMarch 1, 2009 (2009-03-01)LABF026.53[43]
Bart gets a perfect score on Springfield Elementary's latest standardized test, leaving Lisa worried that Bart may be smarter than her when Bart is rewarded with a field trip—that turns out to be an elaborate trick into getting the low-testing students (and Principal Skinner) out of the way. Meanwhile, Homer forgets to mail off his insurance payment and must keep himself and the house accident-free until his coverage can be reinstated at 3:00pm.[42]
43212"No Loan Again, Naturally"Mark KirklandJeff WestbrookMarch 8, 2009 (2009-03-08)LABF035.96[45]
The Simpsons get into a mortgage crisis of their own when Homer cannot afford to pay off the money he borrows from his home equity loan (so he can finance his extravagant Mardi Gras parties) and the Simpsons sell their home to Ned Flanders.[44]
Guest Star: Maurice LaMarche.
43313"Gone Maggie Gone"Chris ClementsBilly Kimball & Ian Maxtone-GrahamMarch 15, 2009 (2009-03-15)LABF046.03[47]
Homer leaves Maggie on the doorstep of a convent, setting off a Da Vinci Code-style chain of events involving Freemasons and the hunt for a rare jewel. Meanwhile, Marge goes blind after viewing an eclipse without an eclipse shoe box viewer and Homer tries to cover up Maggie's disappearance.[46]
Guest Star: Ed Begley, Jr.
43414"In the Name of the Grandfather"Ralph SosaMatt MarshallMarch 22, 2009 (2009-03-22)LABF116.19[50]
After neglecting his father during a wheelbarrow race, Homer makes it up to Grampa Simpson by taking him to a pub in Ireland, only to learn that pubs are not popular in Ireland anymore.[48]
Guest Stars: Colm Meaney, Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová.[49]
43515"Wedding for Disaster"Chuck SheetzJoel H. CohenMarch 29, 2009 (2009-03-29)LABF056.62[52]
When Reverend Lovejoy reveals to Homer and Marge that they are not legally married, Homer and Marge decide to have another wedding to legitimize their union once and for all. But when Marge begins acting like a bridezilla and Homer mysteriously disappears, it is up to Bart and Lisa to save the day.[51]
Guest Star: Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob.
43616"Eeny Teeny Maya Moe"Nancy KruseJohn FrinkApril 5, 2009 (2009-04-05)LABF066.50[54]
Moe once again searches for love and falls for a woman named Maya over the Internet. However, when Moe meets Maya face-to-face, he discovers it is more like face-to-knee, as Maya is only three feet tall. Meanwhile, Maggie is put in a playground full of hostile babies.[53]
43717"The Good, the Sad and the Drugly"Rob OliverMarc WilmoreApril 19, 2009 (2009-04-19)LABF076.58[56]
Bart sets up Milhouse to take the fall for a prank the two of them pulled, and the duo's friendship becomes strained when Bart falls for a charitable girl named Jenny. Meanwhile, Lisa becomes insane and depressed after reading Internet articles predicting that Springfield will be a barren wasteland in fifty years, and is given anti-depressants that turn her into a mindless zombie.
Guest Star: Anne Hathaway.[55]
43818"Father Knows Worst"Matthew NastukRob LaZebnikApril 26, 2009 (2009-04-26)LABF086.01[58]
Marge discovers a sauna in the basement of their house and shuts herself off from the rest of the world. Meanwhile, Homer becomes a stricter parent after meeting a helicopter mom who criticizes Bart for being an academic failure and Lisa for being a social outcast.[57]
43919"Waverly Hills, 9-0-2-1-D'oh"Mike Frank PolcinoJ. Stewart BurnsMay 3, 2009 (2009-05-03)LABF106.66[59]
While desperately searching for a bathroom during her morning jog, Marge discovers how low-rent Springfield Elementary School really is and moves Bart and Lisa to Waverly Hills Elementary by having Homer rent an apartment there so the city inspector of Waverly Hills does not get suspicious. Meanwhile, Bart helps Lisa become popular by telling others that Lisa is friends with a teenage pop star named Alaska Nebraska.
Guest Stars: Elliot Page (credited as "Ellen Page") and Maurice LaMarche.[1]
44020"Four Great Women and a Manicure"Raymond S. PersiValentina L. GarzaMay 10, 2009 (2009-05-10)LABF095.19[60]
While at a nail salon, Marge and Lisa argue over whether or not a woman can be smart, beautiful, and powerful all at once, which leads to yet another Simpsons anthology show, featuring four stories of women trying to survive in a man's world: Aunt Selma defending England as Queen Elizabeth I, Lisa in a non-copyright-infringing retelling of Snow White, Marge pushing Homer to be a great Shakespearean actor in a modern-day version of Macbeth, and Maggie fighting against conformity in a parody of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead.
Guest Star: Jodie Foster.[1]
44121"Coming to Homerica"Steven Dean MooreBrendan HayMay 17, 2009 (2009-05-17)LABF125.85[61]
The citizens of Ogdenville swarm into Springfield in search of work after their local economy plummets, but when the Ogdenvillians' Norwegian culture begins rubbing off on others, Mayor Quimby hires citizens to act as border patrol.[1]

Blu-ray and DVD release

The DVD and Blu-ray boxset for season twenty was released by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in the United States and Canada on January 12, 2010, eight months after it had completed broadcast on television. As well as every episode from the season, the Blu-ray and DVD releases feature hand-drawn menus by Matt Groening.

The Complete Twentieth Season
Set Details Special Features
  • 21 episodes
  • 4-disc set (DVD)
  • 2-disc set (Blu-ray)
  • 4:3 1.33:1 Full Screen (episodes 1–9)
    16:9 1.78:1 Widescreen (episodes 10–21)
  • AUDIO (DVD)
    • English 5.1 Dolby Digital
    • Spanish 2.0 Dolby Surround
    • French 2.0 Dolby Surround
    • Portuguese 2.0 Dolby Surround
  • AUDIO (Blu-Ray)
    • English 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio
    • Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
    • French 5.1 Dolby Digital
    • Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital
  • SUBTITLES
    • English SDH
    • Spanish
    • Portuguese
Release Dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
January 12, 2010 September 17, 2010[62] January 20, 2010

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