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Moaning Lisa
The Call of the Simpsons
The Telltale Head

The Simpsons have entered the forest.
Lisa Simpson

The Call of the Simpsons" is the seventh episode of Season 1. It was planned to be the ninth episode of the first season in production order, but became the seventh in broadcasting order.


It is a camping misadventure for the Simpsons. First, they get lost in the woods, and lose all their camping equipment. Bart and Homer go for help, but get washed down a waterfall, and lose all of their clothes. In the meantime, Maggie meets with some bears, while Homer is mistaken for Bigfoot after sinking in a mud hole.

Full Story


Act One

The episode begins with Homer and Bart outside doing yard work when Ned Flanders pulls up in his brand new RV and gloats to Homer and Bart. In an effort to try to keep up with Ned, Homer takes the family to Bob's RV Round-Up in search of an RV of their own. Bob the RV salesman comes out and introduces Homer to an RV called the Ultimate Behemoth, and gives the family a tour. During the tour Homer and the kids express their awe of the RV, whereas Marge worries about the cost and is constantly ignored by Bob when she asks for the price tag on the RV, presumably aware that she knows her family can't afford it. Convinced in wanting to buy the RV to one up Flanders, Homer asks him for the price. Bob takes him into the office and goes over the rules. He reveals that though he owns the place, Bob still has to run a credit check on his computer for business and security protocol before they can proceed with the deal for the Ultimate Behemoth. A siren alerts him, but Homer assumes its sound means he has been approved. However, Bob tells Homer that he's been rejected and it was the computer's way of warning the owner not to proceed with the deal. It turns out the Ultimate Behemoth is out of Homer's price range due to his poor credit rating. In desperation, he begs Bob to show him an RV that isn't out of his price range and says he doesn't want to go home empty handed. So, he shows Homer the most run down, beaten up, and smallest RV on the lot. Marge, Lisa and Bart shows their disapproval of the RV as it is too used and dilapidated. They attempt to get him to refuse and leave empty handed. However, Homer ignores his family's warning and gives into Bob's pressure in buying the dilapidated RV.

Later, after loading up their "brand new" RV Homer gloats to Flanders about his purchase and the Simpson family head out on an excursion to go camping. On the way, Homer makes an unwise decision to take a less beaten path instead of staying on the interstate. Marge suspects something is wrong and advises Homer to stop and turn back. However, he ignores Marge when she suggests they look at the map or stopping for directions. Calling his RV an all-terrain-vehicle and much to the worry of everyone else, Homer plows through a forest and chooses to stop randomly in the middle of nowhere. When the RV finally comes to a screeching halt, it ends up teetering over a precipice. The Simpsons bail out of the RV and it plummets over the edge and explodes at the bottom.

Act Two


The family is now left with nothing but the clothes on their backs and they are lost in the middle of the forest. Homer tells everyone to relax because he is "an experienced woodsman" (Yeah right, Homer). He then builds a makeshift shelter for Marge, Lisa and Maggie, and takes Bart along with him to find help. Marge and Lisa watch as Maggie follows behind Homer and Bart; however, they are not aware of Maggie behind them. When Homer and Bart hear Maggie sucking on her pacifier they think it is a rattle snake and take off running scared leaving Maggie far behind. Homer and Bart then stumble through some brush and end up falling off another cliff and into a raging river below. Meanwhile, Marge and Lisa seem to be just fine. They are tidying up their camp and have built a much better shelter for themselves. It seems that Marge and Lisa are more experienced in camping than Homer is. Cut to Maggie who has been left all alone, a bear approaches her on its hind legs and roars; Maggie unafraid sticks an extra pacifier in the bear's mouth which calms the bear down. After Homer and Bart fall down a waterfall Homer sees Bart's lucky cap float by and assumes Bart has drowned, but is relieved to see Bart alive and they both realize they are now naked after falling over the waterfall. Back to Maggie, who is being carried by the bear back to its cave where she is accepted as one of the group by three other bears. Meanwhile, Homer and Bart look for food after clothing themselves with shrubbery. Homer's attempts at catching rabbits for food fail. Back to Maggie, the bears find another family of campers and steal things from their site, like a bottle and baby toys and bring them back to Maggie. Meanwhile it is nighttime and Marge and Lisa have made themselves a fire and get ready for bed, while miles away Homer and Bart shiver without a fire and try to go to sleep and Maggie is sleeping warmly with her new family of bears.

Act Three

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The next morning Homer and Bart look for food and come across a bee hive. When Homer steals some honey the bees attack him, but he evades them and jumps into a muddy stream where a naturalist cameraman is filming footage of a deer. The cameraman runs off scared after seeing Homer covered in mud and screaming incoherently due to the big glob of honey still in his mouth. Cut to a breaking news report claiming the existence of Bigfoot and using the footage of Homer as proof. A $5,000 reward is offered for "Bigfoot's" capture. The next day at the edge of the forest Bigfoot mania has set in, people are selling Bigfoot memorabilia and the press is everywhere covering the event. Marge and Lisa, who have been found by a park ranger, are surprised to see all the excitement and they realize it is Homer and not Bigfoot everyone is after. Meanwhile, Homer (still covered with mud) and Bart accidentally come across the bear cave with Maggie inside. Just before the bears are about to maul Homer and Bart, Maggie communicates to the bears that it is okay. Homer takes Maggie back and along with Bart they wander back out into the woods. After awhile Homer is spotted in the forest by hunters looking for Bigfoot and is shot with a tranquilizer gun. After being tested and studied Homer is released to go back home. Dr. Marvin Monroe announces at a press conference that the evidence is inconclusive as to whether or not Homer is Bigfoot. Homer and Marge watch the press conference just before going to bed and Marge consoles a crestfallen Homer, who is worried about the teasing he is going to receive at work.

Behind the Laughter

International Airdates

  • UK, September 2, 1990



In the episode's original American broadcast on February 18th, 1990, the episode finished third that day, with a Nielsen rating of 14.6 and 22 percent audience share.

"The Call of the Simpsons" received mixed reviews from critics. Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, both criticized and praised the episode saying: "This episode is a bit less than the sum of its parts. The early stuff at the RV Round-Up is much better than the main camping story, although there's some nice Marge-Lisa bonding, and who could resist Maggie and the bears?"


Shorts: Season 3 Season 1 Episodes Season 2
Simpsons Roasting on an Open FireBart the GeniusHomer's OdysseyThere's No Disgrace Like HomeBart the GeneralMoaning LisaThe Call of the SimpsonsThe Telltale HeadLife on the Fast LaneHomer's Night OutThe Crepes of WrathKrusty Gets BustedSome Enchanted Evening