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Pulpit Friction
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"Pulpit Friction" is the eighteenth episode of Season 24.


A new, younger, more charismatic preacher helps Springfield during a bedbug crisis, leaving Reverend Lovejoy to give up sermoning for hot tub selling. Meanwhile, Homer becomes a deacon, and Marge loses her wedding dress.

Full Story[]

When the couch breaks (from the family landing on it in the skydiving couch gag), the family plans to get a new one. Homer orders one from Brooklyn, New York. When the couch arrives, it is discovered that there are bedbugs and soon Springfield is overrun by them.

Reverend Lovejoy attempts to calm the residents, but then the Parson arrives and brings in Elijah Hooper, who is appointed reverend. The town soon takes a liking to Reverend Hooper and the cultural references that he makes in his sermons, except for Flanders who prefers Lovejoy’s sermons.

Marge is deinfesting her clothes when she finds that her wedding dress has been switched with one from Krusty's skits. When Marge finds Krusty, he explains that he doesn't have Marge's dress anymore. Lisa soon finds it in the hands of another couple who Marge gladly accepts to keep the dress.

Homer and Hooper start to bond and Homer is made a deacon and eventually puts Flanders to work in the church with the worst jobs. Bart becomes jealous and even angry when Homer spends less time with him (or rather has actually started to like doing something he never would have done), and he soon sets off with Flanders (who cannot stand Hooper’s preaching methods), to find Lovejoy. They find Tim working at a Jacuzzi store, and he doesn't want to go back to his old job as a reverend. Bart and Milhouse find dead insects and lead a herd of frogs into Springfield. The town looks to Hooper, but he is of no help with his pop culture references. Tim soon arrives and saves the town by making the frogs fall asleep. The townspeople, including Homer, accept Tim back as the reverend as Willie uses a rake and puts the frogs in a bag, walking away before he meets Lunchlady Doris with a pot with boiling water labeled "Springfield Elementary School".

Before the episode finishes, a van associated with Oogle drives by the Simpsons' house, where Bart and Homer (who is no longer deacon), moon the members and laugh.

Behind the Laughter[]


Robert David Sullivan of The A.V. Club gave the episode a B, saying "The two things that are still usually enjoyable in the show’s 24th season are musical numbers and stories about Springfield under siege." Rob Dawson of TV Equals said "Is “Pulpit Friction” the first time a couch gag has led directly into the plot of an episode on The Simpsons? I don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of the series, but it certainly feels unique; And the opening segment, all stemming from that broken couch, is a lot of fun. It’s basically an extended montage of the bedbugs spreading across town." Teresa Lopez of TV Fanatic gave the episode three out of five stars, saying "Other than a rather useless subplot involving Marge's missing wedding dress, this week's installment was fairly enjoyable with some great The Simpsons quotes."


The episode received a 2.1 in the 18-49 demographic and was watched by a total of 4.54 million viewers. This made it the second most watched show on Fox's Animation Domination line up that night, beating American Dad!The Cleveland Show and Bob's Burgers but losing to Family Guy with 4.89 million.


Season 23 Season 24 Episodes Season 25
Moonshine RiverTreehouse of Horror XXIIIAdventures in Baby-GettingGone Abie GonePenny-WiseguysA Tree Grows in SpringfieldThe Day the Earth Stood CoolTo Cur, with LoveHomer Goes to Prep SchoolA Test Before TryingChanging of the GuardianLove is a Many-Splintered ThingHardly Kirk-ingGorgeous GrampaBlack-Eyed, PleaseDark Knight CourtWhat Animated Women WantPulpit FrictionWhiskey BusinessThe Fabulous Faker BoyThe Saga of CarlDangers on a Train