"Itchy & Scratchy Land" is the fourth episode of Season 6 (originally going to be the first episode of season six).
The family's trip to Itchy & Scratchy Land, the "violent-est place on earth," proves heavenly until the Itchy & Scratchy robots want to keep the family there for real.
Bart and Lisa observe a commercial for the new amusement park named Itchy and Scratchy Land, and immediately want to visit it. Marge has already booked a family vacation to a bird sanctuary, but after revealing that the theme park has a place for adults, Bart and Lisa win their parents over, on the condition that they will not embarrass Marge as on previous holidays. After a long car journey (from Homer being impulsive and taking a "shortcut"), they reach Itchy & Scratchy Land parking lot, where they are then flown to the park by helicopter and told nothing can "possi-blie" go wrong.
Marge is slightly uneasy with the many references to violence at the park, but has an enjoyable time visiting the various violent attractions, which include a parade filled with Itchy and Scratchy robots. Homer and Marge eventually tire out and spend time away from the kids at the nearby "Parents Island" as Bart and Lisa continue having fun. Bart and Lisa also visit a movie theater, where a documentary about the history of Itchy & Scratchy is being presented, including clips of the old Itchy & Scratchy films "Scratchtasia" and "Pinitchio". Although going well, the family's vacation is ruined when Bart launches a stink bomb onto an actor in an Itchy suit and is arrested by park security. Homer is also arrested for "kicking an Itchy in the butt." Marge is informed of her son's and husband's transgressions and is immediately embarrassed.
Meanwhile, Professor Frink, chief of the animatronic robots in the park parades, tells the other staff that, according to chaos theory, all the Itchy & Scratchy robots will turn on their masters; this happens seconds after he makes the announcement. Bart and Homer are released and just as Marge is chewing them out, all power is cut and a horde of Itchy and Scratchy robots advance on them. The park is evacuated immediately. The last helicopter is about to take off, but the people inside hated Bart and Homer for pranking them. The helicopter takes off, leaving the Simpsons stranded and doomed to fall by the robots. Upon being threatened by the out of control robots, Homer angrily tells them that "Nobody ruins my family vacation - except me, and maybe the boy!" Homer frantically throws everything he can at them and discovers that the flash of a camera short circuits the robots' systems. The Simpsons then grab dozens of cameras from a gift shop and defeat the entire Itchy & Scratchy army. The family is thanked for saving the park and agree that it was their best vacation ever. Regardless, Marge tells them to never to speak of the trip again, as she is still embarrassed by Homer and Bart's previous actions. The owner thanks the Simpsons for stopping the robots by giving out two lifetime passes despite there being five of them. The next scene shows that nobody is coming to the Itchy & Scratchy Land in Europe. Back at the Simpsons' house, Marge tells her kids that TV violence may be funny but real violence is no good. Bart tells Marge that it would be funny if someone was watching them doing violence. Lisa agrees and demonstrates by throwing her shoe at Bart. They all laugh but Marge suddenly realizes what she is laughing at and tells Lisa to go to her room which she does.
Behind the Laughter
"Itchy & Scratchy Land", was written by the entire writing team but credited to John Swartzwelder, was a very difficult episode to produce. It involved creating an entirely new environment, which meant large amount of writing and all new sets. At the time that the episode was produced, new, more stringent, censorship laws had been put in place. As a result, the Fox network tried to stop the writers from including Itchy & Scratchy cartoons in episodes. In response, the writers created this episode, which they chose would be as violent as possible. The network threatened that if the episode was produced, they would cut the Itchy & Scratchy parts out themselves, but relented when show-runner David Mirkin threatened to tell the media. The writers nevertheless promised to try not to overdo the violence and in some scenes the violence was cut.
Although the episode was quite difficult to animate, "Itchy & Scratchy Land" was "a dream come true" for the animators, as they quite enjoyed animating scenes filled with violence and suspense.
"Scratchtasia" is one of David Mirkin's favorite Itchy & Scratchy cartoons. In 2003, Entertainment Weekly made a list of the Top twenty-five episodes, and placed this episode in seventh place, saying "When the animatronics attack, the showdown between man and machine -- okay, Homer and a giant robot mouse -- is an uproarious rebuttal to capitalism run amok." Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood called it "an untypical episode, with an especially thin plot. But anyone that's been to Disneyland will get the point." The episode is number six on MSNBC's top ten The Simpsons episodes list, compiled in 2007.