|Take My Life, Please||
"Take My Life, Please" is the tenth episode of Season 20, originally the first episode of that season in production order. This episode was also the first episode in the new 16:9 high definition format, both in airing and production order.
Vance Connor is inducted into the Springfield Wall of Fame, and Homer recalls how he ran against Vance for school president. After discovering that the real ballot box was hidden, Homer searches for it and finds it - only to discover that he should have won. The family goes to Luigi's restaurant, and meets a man who can tell people's fates by stirring tomato sauce, and Homer sees what his life would have been like had he been class president.
A man named Vance Connor is inducted into the Springfield Wall of Fame and Homer recounts how he ran against Vance for class president in high school and lost. Later, at Moe's Tavern, Carl and Lenny confess to Homer that his old high school principal had ordered them to bury the ballot box containing the votes to the election. After Homer and Lenny dig up the ballot box, Lisa counts the votes, and Homer is surprised to see that the votes put him as the winner. Outraged, he meets his old principal in a retirement center, who explains why he had to hide the ballot box: Two student athletes had talked their classmates into voting for Homer so that, after he had lost, they could laugh at him all the way through high school and at every reunion. This worked out well for Dondelinger, Vance and his friends.
Al Gore, as himself, appears in Moe's Tavern and told Homer how he had felt when he had the 2000 presidential election stolen from him, but admits some good still came out of it when he holds his Nobel prize up.
The Simpsons have dinner at Luigi's, where Homer remains miserable. Luigi Risotto introduces him to his saucier, who he claims can tell what someone's life could have been like by stirring tomato sauce in a certain way. By using his magical tomato sauce, he helps Homer see what his life would have been like if he had won the election: Homer would have been rich, he would have had a better position at the nuclear plant, would have a sports car and lived in a mansion on the site where the Flanders now live and wouldn't be bald. His relationship with his father, Abe, would have been much closer that he had let him stay in his guest house (where the Simpsons currently live) rather than put him in a cheap retirement home. He still would have married Marge who would be even more attactive, and the kids would not have been born because Homer would have remembered to use protection before sex.
During that time, Marge reveals that that was the one thing that was missing because their lives would've been more miserable without Bart, Lisa and Maggie. Homer proved to be more unconvinced and is depressed after seeing that his life would have been a lot better if he had won, even leaping into the pot to try to "live in the sauce" (which the saucier tells him that if people could live in the sauce, then he would have jumped in years earlier).
Homer still depressed by the entire thing remains in the house all day and to the concern of his family. Marge convinces him to take a walk with her and the kids to the Springfield Wall of Fame. Eventually, he agrees and learns that his name has been put up. Marge revealed that she and the kids blackmailed Dondelinger along with their former classmates to do the right thing by threatening to expose their dirty deeds to every resident in Springfield, which would have lead to both their eventual downfall and arrest. A boy then has his picture taken with him. Before leaving, Homer asks a brief, but smart question about what happened to the previous inductee next to his and why his plaque is missing. Bart tries to convince Homer not to worry about because these phenomana occur all the time. This was intended to keep Homer from finding out Bart's latest prank on Principal Skinner in getting rid of his plaque and replacing it with a gag name. Homer, now much happier, plans to have a meal at a Korean restaurant that Bart says 'sells beef that spells the date of your death', to which Homer thinks is fun.
Behind the Laughter
The episode was written by Don Payne and directed by Steven Dean Moore. It was the first episode of The Simpsons to air in 1080p high-definition television, though not the first time the show has appeared in high-definition, as The Simpsons Movie was rendered in HD.
New Opening Sequence
- See the full article on the Opening Sequences, here.
This episode marks the first time the opening sequence was used in HD. The differences include:
- A three-eyed crow flies past the Simpsons text in the sky.
- The sky looks more like the sky seen in mid Season 20-present episodes.
- The "THE SIMPSONS" text looks more three-dimensional and is improved.
- Kearney and Jimbo are seen sawing off the head of the Jebediah Springfield statue during the swoop across town. The head lands on Ralph Wiggum, about to eat an ice cream cone.
- During Bart's chalkboard gag, the portrait on the classroom wall is now Homer as an astronaut.
- As Bart skates out of the school, he lands on a pile of Groundskeeper Willie's leaves, revealing Barney lying on the ground.
- Behind Homer is Carl and Lenny putting up the number three on a sign that says "Days Without an Accident." When the work whistle blows, they fall off the ladder.
- Behind Marge is Patty and Selma checking out a supply of cigarettes.
- When a box of Krusty-O's is scanned, the total amount on the register changes from $236.60 to $243.26, which means the price of the cereal is $6.66. Maggie is inadvertently scanned as well, which doubles the register total to $486.52, as she is mistakenly packaged with the groceries.
- Marge does not sigh with relief when Maggie appears in the shopping bag, instead she just turns around, because she is used to this fate.
- After Maggie pops out of the shopping bag, she shakes her fist with Baby Gerald in a nearby cart.
- In the Springfield Elementary music room, there is a picture of Bleeding Gums Murphy on the wall.
- Sherri and Terri are texting on their cell phones, rather than playing their flutes.
- At the end of Lisa's sax solo, she ducks inside briefly and plays a bit more before smiling.
- When Homer throws the carbon rod out of the window, it lands near Otto Mann, who eats it.
- The characters Bart skates past this time are Sideshow Bob, Helen Lovejoy, Apu with his octuplets, Comic Book Guy, Disco Stu, Crazy Cat Lady, The Rich Texan, and Chief Wiggum. Marge's car drives over Hans Moleman's manhole.
- Grampa is seen in the car next to Maggie, who sits in the center. When she and Marge honk the horn, Grampa wakes up and spits out his false teeth.
- The pan across Springfield features more characters like God and the Devil.
- After Lisa rides past Homer on her bike, he is too late to avoid Marge's car and gets shoved through the wall of the house.
- The old television is now replaced with an HDTV. When the theme ends, it falls, as if hung on the wall. This does not happen anymore as of Season 21.
UGO wrote: "When the self-referential jokes about the episode’s switch to HD were the things that made me laugh the most, and they last only a few seconds, I realized something was not good. This may be 'The Sharpest. Episode. Ever.' but is definitely not the funniest. Still, there are some genuinely endearing bitter-sweet moments in the episode, but still it’s not enough to drive the show into the unchartable funny waters that it used to live in."