Animated Manhattan: The Simpsons
Part 4 in an ongoing series looking at New York City in animation.
During their ninth season, The Simpsons came to New York. And many of you will never see that episode again.
The episode, titled “The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson,” featured the Simpson family taking a trip to Manhattan to retrieve the family car. Barney had borrowed it, and left it illegally parked in front of the World Trade Center. While Homer goes to the WTC to straighten matters out, the rest of the family goes sightseeing.
This episode first aired in 1997. At that time, the twin towers were still standing. Much of the episode takes place at the base of the towers, with some funny moments inside, also. But after the attacks of September 11, 2001, would anybody want to see this episode ever again?
Now that several years have passed, some stations are beginning to show the episode again. A San Francisco station only showed it last year for the first time since 9/11. And according to a Wikipedia article about this episode, some stations are airing a version with all references to the WTC removed.
It’s too bad, too, because there are some truly funny moments in this episode. I loved Homer dancing in a field of toilets, his imagination’s depiction of what Flushing Meadows (a neighborhood in Queens) must be like. Sure, there are some neighborhoods in this town that smell like a toilet, but it’s not that bad.
Sometimes when tourists come to New York, they avoid the subway at all costs, even when taking a taxi is the slower, more expensive way of getting around. They’re afraid they won’t be able to manage it, or they’ve heard bad things about it. But not the Simpsons. Bart even tries his hand at panhandling, before realizing that it’s best left to the experts.
The Simpsons even manage to fit in a horse-drawn carriage ride in Central Park. I would have recommended against the carriage ride, as an overrated and overpriced experience, but I’m glad the episode manages to get the Park in there somehow.
And I love this shot of the
Chrysler Building Empire State Building (d’oh!). Of all the depictions of New York in the episode, this image has the most architectural detail. It’s one of the city’s most beloved buildings, so it’s fitting that it was given the extra attention.
(My rating is for the episode’s depiction of NYC only)