The Simpsons

Season 13 Episode 14

Tales From the Public Domain

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Mar 17, 2002 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
154 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Tales From the Public Domain
Homer gets a letter from the library telling him about an overdue book. He checked it out when Bart was born to have something to read his child. Lisa suggests that he read them some stories from it now. Homer starts by telling the tale of the… Odyssey Homer is Odysseus, who delivers a Trojan horse to the King. After his troops are victorious, Odysseus ticks off the gods by refusing to make a sacrifice. They take their revenge upon him when they blow him and his crew off course, where they almost meet the Sirens and finally Circe, who turns his men into pigs. After Odysseus eats his men, he has to cross the river Styx to return home. When he arrives he takes out the trash. Joan of Arc Lisa is Joan in this retelling of the story of Joan of Arc. Joan sets out to help lead the French army to victory against the English, which she does, until she is captured. Joan is found guilty and is about to be burned at the stake, when Marge, not much for tragic endings, changes the ending so that Joan lives. Hamlet Bart is Hamlet and Homer asks him to avenge his death. Moe (as Uncle Claudius) had Homer killed so that he could marry the queen (Marge) and take over the kingdom. Hamlet discovers the king\'s treachery and goes to avenge his father\'s death. When he kills the wrong man, he must duel with Laertes (Ralph). When Laertes dispatches himself, Hamlet kills Uncle Claudius, then himself. Rather than clean up the mess, the queen also dispatches herself. Everyone is dead. Bart can't believe how boring the last story was, but Homer reminds him that is also became a great movie called Ghostbusters. The family dances as the theme to that classic film plays in the background.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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  • Three stories about the Odyessey, Joan of Arc, and Hamlet.

    Well the Simpsons continue to keep producing amazing triology episodes, and this episode is no exception. All three stories were very solid and funny. My favorite part had to be the bit of Patty and Selma as the sirens in the Odyssey I thought that was hilarious. My favorite story would have to be Hamlet. The ending with Ghostsbusters was random but it was a nice touch and a fitting way to end a really random but funny episode. I love when the Simpsons parody history and great works of Literature, maybe this is why I love this episode so much.moreless
  • The Simpsons keep cranking out the amazing trilogy episodes!!!!

    When Homer gets a notice from the library that he has a book of classic tales that's years overdue, he finds it on the shelf and begins reading aloud.

    The first tale chronicles Homer as Odysseus and the battle of Troy. Ned is the King of Troy and Homer brings the Trojan Horse into the castle and slaughters the lot of them. But on his return home, he angers the gods and they send him off course where he encounters the sirens (Selma and Patty) as well as a trip through Hades and an encounter with a Cyclops. He finally makes it home to his wife Penelope (Marge).moreless
  • Average episode. Give it a watch.

    Although I didn't really like the repeated idea of the three different stories (from AABF14 Simpsons Bible Stories and CABF17 Simpsons Tall Tales), this episode wasn't bad.

    It wasn't as good as Simpsons Bible Stories, but it was a lot better than Simpsons Tall Tales, although that isn't exactly hard. I also do not know the original stories particularly well, so there are probably some jokes and similarities that I didn't get.

    It's been a while since I've seen the episode, but a few things stick out in my mind. Firstly, Hans Moleman appearing as God, but then opening the tap door and letting the real God in; Secondly, Marge looking at the picture of handsome Homer in the first story; and lastly, the ending of the last story when everyone dies in different ways was quite good.

    The ending, although unrelated to the story and completely off the wall had me in stitches! This was a decent episode, but I'd prefer it if they didn't make any more because the format gets a bit boring.

  • three hilarious stories

    just like simpsons bible stories, simpsons tall tales and the treehouse of horror episodes, this episode is made up of three stories, my favourite being hamlet with moe being uncle claudius. i like the fact that bart says "who'd have thought a story where every character dies would turn out to be so boring" and that homer mistakes the story for ghostbusters. my second favourite segment and the other one i'll review is Homer's Oddysey which has great gags such as the sirens being patty and selma and homer hating being suffocated as soon as he got home and goes to moes.moreless
  • The Simpsons take on history

    A 3-parter similar to Simpsons Tall Tales, this episode features stories from literature and history. In the first, Homer lives up to his namesake, recounting Homer's Odyssey (which Homer at first thinks is about that minivan he rented seven years before) from the end of the Trojan war to his reunion with Penelope (aka Marge). The impressive thing is, though this segment is only one act long, it still gets the gist of the Odyssey. The second story is better, with Lisa portraying Joan of Arc -- I especially like Lisa's helmet, which follows the shape of her spiky hair. The third story is the best, Bart as Hamlet, who must avenge the "fat ghost" of his murdered father Homer (aka the King of Denmark). This one's just as violent as Shakespeare's play, with Ralp Wiggum (as Laertes) getting the funniest exit -- offered one free stab in his climactic battle with Bart/Hamlet, Ralph says "Oh boy!" and impales himself.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

Tress MacNeille

Tress MacNeille

Agnes Skinner, Brandine Del Roy, Dolph and others

Recurring Role

Karl Wiedergott

Karl Wiedergott

Additional Voices

Recurring Role

Pamela Hayden

Pamela Hayden

Milhouse Van Houten, Rod Flanders, Jimbo Jones, and others

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (11)

  • QUOTES (18)

    • Homer: (as Odysseus) Oh this truly is hell!
      (Styx music is playing in the background.)

    • Bart: The play's the thing, in which I'll catch the conscience of the king.
      Claudius (Moe): Catch my conscience? What are you talking about?
      Bart: Hey! You're not supposed to be able to hear me! It was a soliloquy.
      Claudius: Oh, then here's my soliloquy. Note to self, kill that kid.

    • Moe: Look at that, they're sleeping like babies… Spare no one. (Draws out a sword)

    • Homer: (reading next story) This one takes place in a make-believe kingdom called France. The French were fighting the English in the Hundred Years War, which was then called "Operation Speedy Resolution".

    • Bart: (in a low voice) Joan, give me your dessert!
      Lisa: (as Joan of Arc) C'mon, that was just you, Bart
      Lisa: Ok, God.

    • GildenLenny: If Hamlet touches either of us, he's dead!
      RosenCarl: BooYAH!
      (High five & immediately fall to the ground dead)

    • Lisa: I call my only witness: God.
      (The doors open expectedly, revealing Hans Moleman.)

    • Lisa: (as Joan of Arc) You can't stop me! I WAS SENT…BY GOD! (Willie grabs her and puts her into a bag) I want my mommy!

    • Bart: Cool. Does he get to marry his mother?
      Homer: I don't know, but that would be hot.

    • Homer: (after eating 4 pigs) Oh, I'm still hungry.
      Circes: Haven't you eaten enough of your friends?
      Homer: Those were my friends?!
      Circes: Yes, I've been saying that for hours.

    • Homer: (reading) Homer's Odyssey. Hey, is this about that minivan I bought?

    • Krusty: I wouldn't say King Milhouse is a loser, but that was the twelfth girl she struck out with this week!
      Milhouse: Boil him in oil!
      Krusty: So, no 10:30 show?

    • Barney: You used to be fun. Where's the Zeus who used to turn into a cow and pick up chicks?
      Zeus: He grew up. Maybe you should, too.

    • Moe: Remember, just 'cause their heads are off it don't mean they're dead.

    • King of Troy: (Flanders) Now, throughout history, when people get wood, they'll think of Trojans.
      Homer: (back home) Heh, heh, heh. Trojans!
      Lisa: What are you laughing at, dad?
      Homer: If I'm laughing at what I think I am, it's very funny!

    • Homer: I have returned from the dead.
      Bart: Looks like you returned from the buffet.

    • Homer: Victory? We're French! We don't even have a word for it!

    • Claudius: I didn't use that much poison!
      (Crowd gasps)
      Claudius: I mean, I didn't use that much poi, son! At the... royal luau.

  • NOTES (1)

    • Blackboard Joke: Vampire is not a career choice.
      Couch Gag: In flip book animation, the family enters the living room and sits on the couch, the camera then pulls back to reveal two human hands holding the flip book.


    • Moe: Greece IS the word!
      This is a line from the Frankie Valli song "Grease", which was featured in the movie of the same name.

    • Zeus: Ain't I a stinker?
      This is a line used by Bugs Bunny when he's being naughty in the tv show Bugs Bunny and Friends.

    • Marge: Morning bell's are ringing, morning bells are ringing.

      This is from the French song Frère Jacques.

    • Krusty: And if your idea of a first date is burning down her village, you just might be... a Viking!
      This is a take-off on the well-known "if (for example: you have more than four dogs sleeping under your porch)... you might be a redneck" routine by comedian Jeff Foxworthy.

    • Ghostbusters
      During the Hamlet segment, Homer's ghost flies through the wall leaving a slimy form on the bricks. This is a reference to Slimer from Ghostbusters.

    • Bart: Does he get to marry his mom?
      Bart asks if Claudius gets to marry Hamlet's mom, a reference to the Greek story Oedipus Rex, previously referenced in the episode "Tennis the Menace".