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Marge vs. the Monorail
Selma's Choice
Brother from the Same Planet
Duff Beer for me, Duff Beer for you
I'll have a Duff, you have one too!
―Animatronic Puppets in The Little Land of Duff

“Selma’s Choice” is the thirteenth episode of Season 4.

Synopsis

Selma becomes persistent to test her maternal instincts before having kids of her own by taking Bart and Lisa to Duff Gardens to try out her parenting skills.

Full Story

After Great Aunt Gladys dies, the Simpsons attend the funeral and subsequent reading of the will. On the video will, Great Aunt Gladys warns Patty and Selma not to die alone without a husband and children as she did. Selma starts to worry that her biological clock may be ticking, and chooses to find a way to become pregnant. Selma tries video dating and eventually considers an anonymous sperm donor.

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Meanwhile, Homer promises Bart and Lisa that they will go to Duff Gardens, a popular amusement park, but Homer becomes ill after eating a spoiled sandwich. Marge, in an effort to give Selma a chance to experience the responsibilities of parenthood, nominates her to take the two. Bart and Lisa wear Selma out at Duff Gardens. Lisa hallucinates after drinking some "water" in The Little Land of Duff and Bart is detained by park security after pantsing a George Washington robot, apparently causing it to malfunction, and faking his height to go on a roller-coaster-type ride he is not tall enough for and needing rescue. After these negative experiences caring for Bart and Lisa for a day, Selma proclaims that she can live without children, and adopts Jub-Jub, Gladys' iguana, instead (until "Goo Goo Gai Pan", when she adopts Ling Bouvier, but still keeps Jub-Jub too).

Production

Writer David Stern said he wanted to go back to a "Patty and Selma episode", because it was sustained so well when he wrote "Principal Charming". He thought it was important to "keep these characters (Patty and Selma) alive." The animators had trouble with the size of the characters' pupils during the season. In this episode, they are noticeably larger. When the family watches the video will, Julie Kavner did five voices in the scene. When Gladys Gurney shows off her collection of potato chips, the scene was inspired by Myrtle Young, who appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. During an interview with David Letterman, Young said she was working in quality control at a potato chip factory, and collected potato chips that looked like, amongst other things, famous people. The scene where Homer ate a chip is a reference to the Johnny Carson appearance, where, whilst Young was looking away, Johnny ate a chip from a separate bowl (not of the collection), Young, thinking Johnny had ate a chip from her collection, was shocked, before Johnny cleared up the misunderstanding. Jub-Jub made his debut appearance in this episode; the name of the iguana Jub-Jub came from Conan O'Brien.

Though research is usually done when real languages are used on the show, the language heard on Selma’s ham radio is fictional.

Reception

"Selma's Choice" finished 27th in the weekly ratings for the week of January 18–24, 1993 with a Nielsen rating of 14.2.

The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood said, "A nice episode for Selma and good for Marge and Homer as well. But it's the kids who provide the highlights in this one, with their antics at Duff Gardens.

The author of Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Documented an Era and Defined a Generation, Chris Turner said it "Fills in with the usual grab bag of great gags" and "The episode had some crowd-pleasing moments." He went on to say, "The last few minutes of the show played out to continuous laughter [in the pub he was watching it in]".


Season 3 Season 4 Episodes Season 5
Kamp KrustyA Streetcar Named MargeHomer the HereticLisa the Beauty QueenTreehouse of Horror IIIItchy & Scratchy: The MovieMarge Gets a JobNew Kid on the BlockMr. PlowLisa's First WordHomer's Triple BypassMarge vs. the MonorailSelma's ChoiceBrother from the Same PlanetI Love LisaDufflessLast Exit to SpringfieldSo It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip ShowThe FrontWhacking DayMarge in ChainsKrusty Gets Kancelled
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