The Simpsons

Season 8 Episode 24

The Simpsons Spin-off Showcase

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM May 11, 1997 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
177 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The Simpsons Spin-off Showcase
Troy McClure introduces three possible spin-offs from the series. Chief Wiggum, P.I. Chief Wiggum is a detective in New Orleans and Principal Skinner is his assistant. Their first case pits them against Big Daddy, an operator in New Orleans who's kidnapped Ralph. The Love-Matic Grampa Moe's Love Tester machine has a special soul... Grampa's. He tries to put Moe's love life into order. The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour The family returns in a new variety show format a'la The Brady Bunch Hour with a side of Laugh-In. Their show even features a "new girl" playing Lisa the way a new girl played Jan on the Brady show.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Troy McClure shows Simpsons fans some proposed spin-offs of the long running series.

    "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase" is one of those episodes that would not rank as one of the series' best, but it is well done and very entertaining. The spin-off shows are well done parodies of popular television genres. The crime drama is the first to get the Simpsons treatment. Springfield Police Chief Clancy Wiggum heads to New Orleans with Seymour Skinner to start a private investigation business. The result is "Wiggum PI". The segment has the benefit of a well written script and does a great job poking fun at all of the formulaic plot devices we see in crime shows. Next on the chopping block is the situation comedy as viewers are presented with "Love-Matic Grandpa". Presumably because the writers of this episode were fans of "My Mother the Car", Homer's father Abraham dies and by some odd means his spirit ends up in the love testing machine in Moe's Tavern. I consider this the weakest of the three segments. That does not necessarily mean it is bad. The satire is spot on, I just think the jokes fell a little flat. In the third and final segment the variety show is in the cross hairs. This segment is the sole reason to watch this episode. Only "The Simpsons" can make a great parody of an absolutely horrible show. "The Simpson Family Smile Time Variety Hour" is pure delight from start to finish. It is one of the best parodies "The Simpsons" has ever done. A dead spot on parody of the so bad it's good variety show disaster "The Brady Bunch Hour". It hits the nail on the head right down to "Fake Lisa". Tim Conway does a very good job in his guest appearance. What would have made the segment even better is if the producers were able to get Geri Reischl, who played Jan on the variety show and became known as Fake Jan, to voice Fake Lisa. However the segment still works very well. The late Phil Hartman is once again in top form as Troy McClure. There are a good many reasons to see this episode. Make time for it if you have not already.moreless
  • This is where the Simpsons really spin off

    Horrible! That's what most non fans say about this awful episode. How do I respond that? well, I don't. It is really bad. There is just one thing that makes me wanna sit through the whole thing, and that is, of course, that I am a fan. A fan blinded by this family who will probably watch anything they produce. The three spin offs showcased here are not remotely fun, well, maybe, the first segment has its moments, but that is it. Still, I find, for me as a fan, this episode stinkingly aluring. Not many laughs, but a different look on our favorite tv show is always worth while.moreless
  • this was a good ep

    in this ep its the simpsons spin off veraity show . and it has like 3 big stories one is grampa simpsons get put into a love tester and he helps give love advice and helps people fall in love . this was a good story it had some funny ness to it. and another story was when chife wigum gets a cop show were him and his son are in the south and pricable skinner helps them out by taking down a drug lord this was a good story and the last one was when the simpsons get there own verity show and it does really good but lisa gets replaced and there is a new lisa this was a really good onemoreless
  • The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase

    Chief Wiggum P.I.- Chief Wiggum tries to find his son who was kidnapped by "Big Daddy." In the end he does and Big Daddy gets away. Grade- B+

    Love-Matic Grampa- Grampa's dead spirit gives Moe dating advice. Grade- B

    Simpsons Smile Time Variety Hour- Variety show of the Simpsons. A+

    A lot of fans did not like the overall tone, or plot of the episode, but I personally did not mind it at all. I thought all three stories were funny with original plots, but I kind of understand why some fans do not. My overall grade would be about a B+/A-moreless
  • 3 spin offs of the Simpsons are made.

    Chief Wiggum, P.I: Chief Wiggum is a detective in New Orleans with an associate named Skinny Boy. A man named Big Daddy kidnaps Ralph and Wiggum sets off to find him. 4/5 The Love-Matic Grampa: Grampa dies and his soul gets lost on the way to heaven. It falls to earth and inhabits a Love Tester machine at Moe's. Grampa gives advice to desperate lovers. 5/5

    The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour: In the guise of the Brady specials, the Simpson family minus Lisa participate in a series of musical comedy skits. Tim Conway drops in for a special guest appearance. 3/5

    12/15- B This is one of the most hated episodes for no reason. It was a parody on how networks tend to suck all the popularity out of great tv shows because of making spin offs. No reason to hate this episode. Watch it.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

Gailard Sartain

Gailard Sartain

Big Daddy

Guest Star

Tim Conway

Tim Conway


Guest Star

Pamela Hayden

Pamela Hayden

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

Recurring Role

Phil Hartman

Phil Hartman

Lionel Hutz, Troy McClure and Additional Voices

Recurring Role

Tress MacNeille

Tress MacNeille

Agnes Skinner, Brandine Del Roy, Dolph and others

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • In the opening credits of "Chief Wiggum, PI", all the scenes show real places: First, Wiggum is driving along I-10, and the Superdome can be seen in the background; Wiggum is shooting at Tipitina's, a real bar on Napoleon Ave. in the Garden District; and Skinner is shown with a pimp at the corner of Lafayette Ave and Camp St, not far from the Superdome. Also, the street sign for Bourbon St. is historically accurate, and the Mardi Gras parade float of a man's head resembles the figurehead for the Krewe of Bacchus.

    • When Kent Brockman introduces The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour he says "live". The clock behind him says 8:20 which was the time that part of the show aired in Eastern and Pacific Time zones.

    • Homer is the only character to appear in all three segments.

  • QUOTES (11)

    • Moe: You did it, Grampa! You really are a love expert.
      Grampa: Dang right. Fact is, I invented kissing. It was during World War I, and they were looking for a new way to spread germs… (Scene fades out)

    • Grampa: Son, it's me! I floated up toward Heaven but got lost along the way.
      Homer: Dad is that really you?
      Grampa: Darn tootin' you lousy creep! You buried me naked and sold my suit to buy a ping-pong table. What kind of a son …
      (Homer pulls the love tester's plug)
      Homer: (leaving) Call me when you get a karaoke machine.
      (Moe plugs Grampa back in)
      Grampa: That's the second time he's pulled the plug on me.

    • Principal Skinner: He's gradually getting away, Chief.
      Chief Wiggum: Ah, let him go. I have the feeling we'll meet again, each and every week. Always in more sexy and exciting ways.

    • Chief Wiggum: Sounds like there was some kind of party going on in the background. Are there any parties today, Skinner?
      Principal Skinner: Eh. Not really a party town. Though if I remember correctly they occasionally a function called Marty's... something.

    • Chief Wiggum: Listen up, Big Daddy! You don't scare me! I'm three steps ahead of you!
      Principal Skinner: Oh, Chief? Your boy has been kidnapped.
      Chief Wiggum: Oh, God!

    • Chief Wiggum: Oh, man, what a day. It's no cakewalk being a single parent, juggling a career and family like so many juggling balls--Two, I suppose.
      Ralph: Daddy, these rubber pants are hot.
      Chief Wiggum: You wear 'em until you learn, son.

    • Chief Wiggum: Ah, New Orleans. The Big Easy. Sweet Lady Gumbo. Old... Swampy.

    • Troy McClure: "Spin-off!" Is there any word more thrilling to the human soul?

    • (Lyrics for the "Love-Matic" Grampa Theme)
      While shopping for some cans,
      An old man passed away.
      He floated up toward Heaven,
      But got lost along the way.
      Now he's the love-matic Grampa!
      The wise Socratic Grampa!
      And he'll fill our hearts with looove!

    • Hans Moleman: A poem by Hans Moleman. I think that I shall never see, my cataracts are blinding me.

    • Chief Wiggum: Well, if it isn't my old friends from Springfield, the Simpsons! What brings you folks to New Orleans?
      Bart: Mardi Gras, man! When the Big Easy calls, you gotta accept the charges!
      Lisa: Chief Wiggum, I can't wait to hear about all the exciting, sexy adventures you're sure to have against this colorful backdrop!
      Chief Wiggum: Well golly, I'd love to chat but my son's been kidnapped. You haven't seen him, have you? Caucasian male, between the ages of six and ten, thinning hair?

  • NOTES (3)

    • Osmodiar was originally written into an earlier script, but was then cut after the writers decided the idea of the little green alien appearing in an episode would be too crazy. Osmodiar appeared later in episode 12-9, "HOMR."

    • This episode was in the Simpsons comic #112.

    • A second Spinoff Showcase was proposed, but it was scratched shortly after the death of Phil Hartman, aka Troy McClure.

  • ALLUSIONS (14)

    • Cheers
      As the camera closes in on Moe's Tavern in the "Love-Matic Grampa" segment, the music is strongly reminiscent of the Cheers theme.

    • 2001: A Space Odyssey
      Grampa's singing of "Bicycle Built for Two" after being vandalized is a direct reference to the last words of HAL 9000 computer when disconnected in the 1968 Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    • The Sonny & Cher Show
      During the Simpsons variety show, there is a caricature of Marge and Homer in the background, just like the ones seen on The Sonny & Cher Show.

    • Laverne & Shirley
      Homer's entrance where he bursts in and says, "Greetings!" is similar to the entrances Lenny and Squiggy would make on Laverne & Shirley and say "Hello!"

    • Paul Prudhomme
      In Chief Wiggum's segment, the cook that brings that brings the food on a scooter bears a striking resemblance to Paul Prudhomme, the Louisiana chef.

    • Miami Vice
      While the title of Chief Wiggum's segment is obviously a reference to Magnum P.I., Principal Skinner's character is homage to Crocker in Miami Vice, right down to the 5 o'clock shadow and pastel clothes.

    • The Smothers Brothers Show: The opening credits animation for The Lovematic Grandpa imitate the animation style and theme song for this 1965 CBS show. Not to be confused with their more famous variety show, this was a one-season sitcom that featured Tommy Smothers as a bumbling guardian angel who was assigned to take care of his brother, Dick.

    • Moe: Kiss my dishrag!
      Moe's statement during the "Love-Matic Grampa" segment references Flo's frequent retort to her boss, diner owner Mel Sharples, in Alice.

    • Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
      The "Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour" segment also makes several references to Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In: Announcer Kent Brockman's set up, the blackout-style jokes told before a colorful wall and various reaction shots to the skits by members of the show's cast.

    • Classic Television Series
      The fictional spin-offs starring Troy McClure make reference to several shows "Son of Sanford and Son" is a spoof of Sanford and Son, while "AfterMannix" makes reference to both AfterM*A*S*H* and Mannix.

    • The Flintstones
      During the closing, Troy mentions a tiny green space alien named Osmodiar that only Homer can see. Osmodiar is a take-off of on The Great Gazoo, who appeared on The Flintstones and was someone only Fred could see. The two look very, very similar. This is one of a few mentionings of The Flinstones throughout the series, as it was what The Simpsons surpassed to become the longest running prime time animated series ever.

    • The Brady Bunch Hour
      The last spin-off short "Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour" is an obvious parody of the variety show The Brady Bunch Hour, which aired after The Brady Bunch was canceled. Lisa not appearing on the show and being replaced parodies Eve Plumb not returning in her role as Jan Brady.

    • My Mother the Car
      The second spin-off short "The Love-Matic Grampa" is a parody of the short-lived TV show My Mother the Car.

    • Magnum, P.I.
      The title, plot, setting, and credits in "Chief Wiggum, P.I." parody Magnum, P.I.