The Simpsons

Season 11 Episode 22

Behind the Laughter

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM May 21, 2000 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
233 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Behind the Laughter
A la VH-1's Behind the Music, a behind the scenes look is taken at the Simpson family's rise to fame, their successful years together and then their feud which resulted in a breakup and solo careers for the family members.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • The eleventh season ends with The Simpsons getting the "Behind the Music" treatment.

    I have always said that one of the strongest talents "The Simpsons" has is its talent for parody. With the huge popularity of the excellent VH-1 series "Behind the Music" it was pretty much inevitable that "The Simpsons" would go after it and that is certainly not a bad thing. However the end result is not one of the series' best in the field of parody. When I finished watching this episode I was disappointed. There were very few laughs and the whole thing felt unoriginal. Maybe because we have seen many parodies of "Behind the Music" before this. "Late Show with David Letterman" did an excellent parody in 2000 which made this feel old. One positive thing is that "Behind the Music" narrator Jim Forbes does the voice over here. That helps to a certain degree, but overall this episode is not one of the series best.moreless
  • Really Good.

    Great end to a mediocre season. In the episode you see the rise and fall of the Simpson family. It starts out with Homer starting a TV show in the 80's and they become famous and end up wasting all the money they earned from that. Homer becomes addicted to painkillers after getting injured filming a scene for their show. Then everything starts to fall to pieces and they end up breaking up and going their seperate ways. In the end, they end up getting back together again. I think it was pretty funny and it was definitely one of the best ones from this season. 9.5/10moreless
  • Perfect

    In this behind the scenes look at america's favorite family, we get to see the rise of the simpsons, the inside break-up, and the famous reconcilliation. I liked how they made the family seem real enough to get it's own "behind the music" sort of show, yet keep the surrealism of the show. I liked how they talked about how the guest stars were there just to pull in ratings, and yet they still continue to do it today. To be staright I liked this episode alot. Overall, a very good episode to end off a mostly mediocre/bad season. 10/10 A+moreless
  • Strong end to a bad season

    A really good episode, one where you don't necessarily have to see what is being parodied to enjoy it. At least I didn't.

    A lot of the jokes were metaphors made by the host. Some good, some bad.

    The thing I always find ironically funny is the part where they talk about "big guest stars were shamelessly in to grab ratings." Obviously you would think they would stop doing this, but they haven't. Maybe that was the joke. I just like that a lot.

    So, a strong ending to a mostly bad/mediocre season. This is certainly the most creative episode of the season.moreless
  • Was the dream really over? Yes it was. Or was it?

    Wow. I don't know where to begin. I think this is my second favorite episode of all time, after "22 Short Films About Springfield". "Behind the Laughter" is so funny because the content in it is half real and half fake! Narrated in a documentary-style, this episode touches on the rise and fall of the "first family of American laughter", The Simpsons. Not to mention the original storyline, this episode has some of my favorite Simpsons quotes of all time:

    "In a way, fame was like a drug. But what was even more like a drug were the drugs."

    "The dream was over. Next on Behind the Laughter: Was the dream really over? Yes it was. Or was it?"

    "Would Willie bring an olive branch of hope, or would it be pecked apart by Woodpeckers of Mistrust?"

    "For The Simpsons, everything was coming up roses. But those roses contained ready-to-sting bees."

    Etc. Truly an amazing episode, give it a watch!moreless
Julie Kavner

Julie Kavner

Marge Simpson, Patty Bouvier, and Selma Bouvier

Harry Shearer

Harry Shearer

Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, Waylon Smithers, Kent Brockman, and others

Dan Castellaneta

Dan Castellaneta

Homer Simpson, Grampa Simpson, Barney Gumble, Krusty the Clown, Groundskeeper Willie, and others

Nancy Cartwright

Nancy Cartwright

Bart Simpson, Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum, Todd Flanders, and others

Yeardley Smith

Yeardley Smith

Lisa Simpson

Hank Azaria

Hank Azaria

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy, Lou, and others

Buzz Aldrin

Buzz Aldrin


Guest Star

Gary Coleman

Gary Coleman


Guest Star

Jim Forbes

Jim Forbes


Guest Star

Tress MacNeille

Tress MacNeille

Agnes Skinner, Brandine Del Roy, Dolph and others

Recurring Role

Karl Wiedergott

Karl Wiedergott

Additional Voices

Recurring Role

Marcia Wallace

Marcia Wallace

Edna Krabappel

Recurring Role

Watch Online

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (15)

    • It's revealed that the Simpsons are from Northern Kentucky.

    • Walk of Fame stars near the Simpsons include: Milton Berle (with a symbol of a TV), Joan Jett (a typewritter), Nelson Mandela (a race car), and The Cheerios Honey Bee.

    • Tee Simpsons records that go mega-platinum are Simpsons Boogie, Lovely to Love Your Lovin, and Simpsons Christmas Boogie.

    • The various Bart sayings printed on T-shirts read: "Good Grief Man", "You Bet Your Sweet Bippy, Man", and "Life Begins at Conception, Man".

    • Headline reviews in the Hollywood trades, Daily Variety, and The Hollywood Reporter read: "Yellow Fever" and "Bumptious Brood Boffo" respectively.

    • Words seen during the "Behind the Laughter" title sequences are: Success, Fame, Beer, Candy, Money, Drugs, Women, Donuts,Sex, Millhouse,Lawsuits, Redemption, Hormones, and Graphics.

    • Magazine covers the Simpsons are featured on include: TV Guide, Rolling Stone, Coin Laundry News, and Short Hair Ideas.

    • When Marge calls Lisa a little snitch, the closed captions says a little beep.

    • The lawyer looked different in this episode. In this one he was tanned and had black hair as opposed to him having a blue hair and a yellow face.

    • Marge called Lisa a "bitch" the first time around also it was bleeped out.
      In syndication they changed "bitch" to "snitch."

    • Ozzy Osbourne has his old permed hairdo from the 1980s rather than the current hairstyle he got circa 1992, and he has a cockney accent

    • Homer says winning a trip to Delaware would be the last season; there have been many more seasons since that episode was aired. The trip to Delaware was featured in the season 12's "Simpsons' Tall Tales."

    • When they are showing Bart filling up their gas tank with soapy water, they are living at 742 Evergreen terrace, however in "Lisa's First Word" they lived in their apartment when Bart was an only child.

    • Bart judges a Miss Hawaiian Tropic beauty contest at the Sheraton Haleakalualea. On the way home, he gets into a scuffle with the flight attendants on a Hawaiian Airlines jet. He's led off the plane in handcuffs, covering his face in shame.

    • when the simpsons were editing an upcoming episode, they use the same lines that are said at the very begining of The Simpsons Tall Tales

  • QUOTES (36)

    • Bart: The funniest stuff came right out of real life. (Flashes back to shooting a scene with Homer)
      Homer: Son, let's go out for frosty chocolate milkshakes.
      Bart: Cowabunga, dude!
      Director: And... cut!
      Bart: Dad, I've never said "cowabunga" in my life. Your script sucks!
      Homer: Why you little... (begins to angrily strangle him)
      Director: Hey, that's funny! (The two stop, then Homer and Bart continue with a fake strangling as they make mock grunting and gagging noises.)

    • Narrator: The Simpsons' TV show started out on a wing and a prayer. But now the wing was on fire, and the prayer had been answered by Satan.

    • Homer: It was the best Thanksgiving ever. I mean, emotionally, it was terrible, but the turkey was so moist!

    • Narrator: Marge put together a night club act..
      Marge: (singing) I shot the sheriff, but I did not shoot the deputy!
      Backup Singers: She didn't do it! She didn't do it!
      Marge: So the next time you see a sheriff, shoot him (audience gasps) A smile! Goodnight!
      Backup Singers: She didn't do it! She didn't do it!

    • Ozzy Osbourne: Right and the award for best hardcore thrash metal goes to "Simpsons Christmas Boogie"?!

    • Marge: Okay, the material was a little corny, but Homer and I had real chemistry onscreen.
      Homer: Every day I thought about firing Marge…you know, just to shake things up.

    • Simpsons: We're gonna groove tonight, we'll make you feel alright – Simpsons Christmas Boogie!

      We're dancing to the beat, we'll make you move your feet – Simpsons Christmas Boogie!

      Simpsons Christmas Boogie!

      Simpsons Christmas Boogie!

    • Simpsons: We're gonna grove tonight, we'll make you feel alright – Simpsons Boogie!

    • Lisa: To prolong the run of the series, I was secretly given anti-growth hormones.
      (Camera switches to Homer)
      Homer: That's impossible! How would I have gotten all four necessary drops into her cereal?
      (Long pause)
      Homer: What?

    • Narrator: But reckless spending and interracial homoeroticism were just volume one of the encyclopedia self-destructica.

    • Willie Nelson: I would do anything for Kegmeister Julius.

    • Lenny: Even Bart was throwin' dough around. He paid me and Carl $1000 to kiss each other.
      Carl: Hey, did we ever get that money?
      (long pause)

    • Bart: The script originally called for me to jump the gorge, but I'd been up all night payin' people to kiss, so Dad volunteered to do the stunt.

    • Narrator: Would Willie's fence-mending eggs bear fruit? Or would his olive branch be torn apart by woodpeckers of mistrust? That night, fate wore a cummerbund ... of suspense.

    • Bart: Oh, shut up! Always trying to look so mature. I'm glad you make the least money.
      Lisa: Oh that is it!
      (She chokes Bart)

    • Marge: I learned something; when people reach for their diaphragms, they don't want to see my picture.

    • Comic Book Guy: One time, Lisa bought a first edition of Susan B. Anthony Man. Her check bounced higher than rubber girl.

    • Lisa: Shut up or I'll sue.
      Marge: Oh, save it for your next book, you little snitch.
      Gloria Allred: That's assault! That is assault.

    • Willie Nelson: (Referring to the hair braider) Time saver, my ass!

    • Apu: Yes, I finked on Homer, but, you know, he deserved it. Never have I seen such abuse of the take-a-penny/leave-a-penny tray.

    • Homer: Then came the rocks -- jagged rocks, hitting me with their jags.

    • Homer: Why did I take so much punishment? Let's just say that fame was like a drug. But what was even more like a drug was the drugs.

    • Narrator: Next week on Behind the Laughter.
      Huckleberry Hound: I was so gay, but I couldn't tell anyone.

    • Narrator: The dream was over. Coming up, was the dream really over? Yes it was. Or was it?

    • Narrator: For America's favorite family, everything was coming up roses. But in those roses were ready to sting bees.

    • Lisa: Dad, I want to go to bed! Aren't there child labor laws?
      Homer: Who told you about those laws? Was it Marge?
      Marge: Oh, you've been riding me all day. Why don't you poop in your hat?

    • Moe: Oh, Homer was spending money like a teenage Arab. He bought me a Rolex and cashmere jeans. I felt kinda guilty 'cause I was always trying to score with his wife. So, when do we start filming? (looks at camera) Oh.

    • Narrator: Before a riot could break out, Jimmy Carter came to the rescue with his comedy break-dancing.
      Jimmy Carter: Got a brotha' named Billy... and my teeth look silly! Break it down now!

    • Marge: They told us what to wear, how to dress, what clothes to put on . . .

    • Marge: Fortunately, I had a network connection. The man who cut my hair was also the president of FOX.

    • Homer: (About choking Bart) And that horrible act of child abuse became one of our most beloved running gags.

    • Homer: I want to set the record straight. I thought the cop was a prostitute.

    • Marge: We were using $50 bills as toilet paper and toilet paper as dog toilet paper.

    • Marge: Either (Bleep) or get off the pot!

    • Marge: Nobody told us how difficult it was to raise kids. They almost drove me to fortified wine.
      Homer: Then we figured out we could just park them in front of the TV. That's how I was raised and I turned out TV.

    • Lisa: I had no business hosting the Oscars. After the show, Meryl Streep spit on me.

  • NOTES (6)

    • Blackboard Joke: I will not obey the voices in my head.
      Couch Gag: The couch is now a vibrating bed and jiggles the family out of frame.

    • In 2000, this episode won an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming One Hour or Less), as well as the 2000 Annie Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement for Music in an Animated Television Production.

    • It is revealed by the Narrator at the end of the episode that the Simpson family lives in .... [ Editor's note: Lots of discussion on this lively topic is documented at the Simpson's Archive. ]

    • Buzz Aldrin, Tom Kite and Butch Patrick were credited as "Special Guest Appearances". Not only it's the first time someone has received that credit, but also the first time actors have been credited, even though their characters had no lines, nor made any sounds.

    • Jim Forbes, who provides the voice of the narrator for this episode, is the actual narrator of VH-1's Behind the Music as themselves in the episode, NRBQ also appears live (i.e., unanimated) over the end credits of this episode.

    • There is a montage of Homer's past injuries over the end credits.


    • Narrator: The Simpsons' star continued to rise, like a plastic bag caught in an updraft.

      The shot of the plastic bag caught in an updraft is similar to the video Ricky Fitts shoots in the 1999 film American Beauty.

    • Homer: I'm king of the world!

      This was one of Leonardo DiCaprio's lines from the movie Titanic.

    • The scene with the young female "Simpsons" fans in the Hysteria Ward is accompanied by the Beatles' song "Twist and Shout."

    • When making his first short the narrator refers to Homer as a "penniless Peckinpah." This is a reference to the late maverick film-maker Sam Peckinpah.

    • The episode title is a spoof of the VH1 series, Behind the Music.

    • Krusty: "Krustophenia went nowhere"
      Krusty's "Krustophenia" album, is a direct reference to the classic Who album "Quadrophenia." Even the cover is the same.

    • The Simpsons' attempt to record albums to tie into their TV series is a direct spoof of other domestic sitcoms that had done the same thing – most notably The Partridge Family and The Brady Bunch. Most of the songs recorded by the Barry Williams-led Brady's were covers of late 60s and early 70s pop songs that became popular by other artists.

    • Richie Rich replacing Bart in the role, and Bart later returning to the role, spoofs Roseanne, where actresses Lecy Goranson and Sarah Chalke alternated the role of Becky (Conner) Healy during the latter years of the classic ABC sitcom.

    • Willie Nelson (Springfield New Awareness: Thank you, Taco, for that loving tribute to Falco.
      Synth-pop performer Taco is best known (only known?) for his 1981 cover of Irving Berlin's "Puttin' On The Ritz."

      Austrian-born Falco topped the charts in the mid-'80s with "Rock Me Amadeus" (butchered by the songwriter(s) of Troy McClure's "Stop the Planet of the Apes, I Want to Get Off!" (3F15, "A Fish Called Selma")).

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