The Simpsons

Season 1 Episode 8

The Telltale Head

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Feb 25, 1990 on FOX



  • Trivia

    • Bart tells the towns people that his story will be 23 minutes and 5 seconds. (Actual length of this episode: 22 min. 45 sec.)

    • The movie marquee reads Space Mutants IV: The Trilogy Continues.

    • A member of the angry mob carries a sign with the likeness of Jebediah Springfield's head and the words "Have You Seen Me".

    • Bart's blackboard joke for this episode is "I Did Not See Elvis." However, one of the lines reads, "I Did See Elvis."

    • Before they head off to church, Marge searches Bart's person and confiscates some dice, a slingshot, and a Radioactive Man comic book.

    • Homer has an 8-track tape deck in his car.

    • The layout and the colors of Moe's Tavern aren't quite established yet in this episode. The interior is all red, and the entrance door seems to lead to another room and not outside.

  • Quotes

    • (While Reverend Lovejoy preaches in church, Homer listens to a football game using a personal radio and headphones.)
      Football Announcer: Now they're lining up for this crucial kick. One final tick of the clock remains. If they win, it will cap an amazing comeback. But, it's a 49-yard field goal into the wind.
      Homer: (Quietly) Make it! Make it! Make it! Make it!
      Football Announcer: The kick is up.
      Homer: (Quietly) Oh, please, please, please, please!
      Football Announcer: It's got the distance. Holy Toledo, it's good!
      Homer: (Homer stands up and shouts.) It's good! It's good! It's good!
      (The entire congregation murmurs and stares at Homer.)
      Homer: It's...good to see you all in church.

    • (Homer looks through his bowling ball catalog.)
      Homer: Ooh! Look at this one! "The Hammer of Thor: It will send your pins to...Val-halla." Lisa?
      : Valhalla is where Vikings go when they die.
      Homer: Oh, that's some ball!

    • (The topic of Heaven is discussed in Sunday School class.)
      Milhouse: Will there be cavemen in heaven?
      Sunday School Teacher: Certainly not!
      Bart: Um, ma'am, what if you're a really good person, but you get into a really, really bad fight and your leg gets gangrene and it has to be amputated. Will it be waiting for you in heaven?
      Sunday School Teacher: For the last time, Bart, yes!

    • Bart: Murderous mob, I beg you to spare our lives. At least until you've heard the story of how we ended up with the head of our beloved town founder.
      Barney: How long will this story take?
      Bart: Uh, about twenty-three minutes and five seconds.

    • (Moe consoles his patrons after hearing the news of the town statue.)
      Moe: Okay, come on, come on, everybody. We gotta get on with our lives. Let's try and put this tragedy behind us.
      Barney: You're right, Moe. A beer, please, and make sure there's a head on it.
      (Moe starts sobbing.)

    • (At breakfast the Simpson family listens to the radio report of the decapitation of the town statue.)
      Bart: It's just a statue.
      Marge: It's a statue of the trailblazing founder of our town.
      Lisa: It's a symbol of what we can all do if we put our minds to it.
      Homer: Just a statue? Is the Statue of Liberty just a statue? Is the Leaning Tower of Pizza just a statue?

    • (Grampa Simpson reacts after hearing the bad news about the town statue.)
      Grampa: I said it before, and I'll say it again. "Hell in a hand basket!" I hope they find the punk who did this, and I hope they cut his head off!

    • (Chief Wiggum leads a press conference about the town statue.)
      Chief Wiggum: (Clears throat) Well, we have no witnesses, no suspects, and no leads. If anyone has any information, please dial "0" and ask for the police. That number again, "0."

    • Jimbo: You know Bart, I've been kicked out of all four Space Mutant movies.
      Bart: Wow, man.

    • Bart: Dad, can I talk to you about something?
      Homer: Sure, boy. What's on your mind?
      (Homer puts Bart on his lap.)
      Bart: Well, I was wondering. How important is it to be popular?
      Homer: I'm glad you asked, son. Being popular is the most important thing in the world.
      Bart: So, like, sometimes you could do stuff that you think is pretty bad so other kids will like you better?
      Homer: You're not talking about killing anyone, are you?
      Bart: No.
      Homer: (Sternly) Are you?
      Bart: No!
      Homer: Then run along, you little scamp.
      (Bart's climbs down from Homer's lap.)
      Homer: A boy without mischief is like a bowling ball without a liquid center.

    • Marge: Lisa, Bart, what did you two learn in Sunday school today?
      Lisa: The answers to deep theological questions.
      Bart: Yeah. Among other things, apes can't get into Heaven.
      Homer: What? Those cute little monkeys? That's terrible. Who told you that?
      Bart: Our teacher.
      Homer: I can understand how they wouldn't let in those wild jungle apes, but what about those really smart ones who live among us, who roller-skate and smoke cigars?

    • (Bart skateboards down to the movie theater.)
      Jimbo: Hey, hot dog.
      Bart: What?
      (Bart crashes into a lamp post.)
      Jimbo: Nice dismount, man.
      (Jimbo and his friends laugh.)
      Bart: Didn't hurt.
      Kearney: Oh, yeah? Well, do it again!
      Bart: Nah. Might land on my face and end up looking like you.

    • (More discussion about Heaven.)
      Sunday School Teacher: (Exhausted) The ventriloquist goes to heaven, but the dummy doesn't.
      (Bart raises his hand.)
      Bart: Oh, oh, oh! Me!
      Sunday School Teacher: Bart?
      Bart: What about a robot with a human brain?
      Sunday School Teacher: I don't know! All these questions! Is a little blind faith too much to ask?

    • Krusty the Clown: (Grimly) There's someone out there in Krustyland who has committed an atrocity! If you know who cut off Jebediah's head--I don't care if it's your brother, your sister, your daddy or your mommy--(Cheerfully)--turn 'em in, and Krusty will send you a free slide whistle just like Sideshow Bob's!

    • (The angry mob reacts when Bart returns the statue head.)
      Dr. Marvin Monroe: Look! It's glorious!
      Otto: It's beautiful, man.
      Mr. Burns: I love you, Smithers.
      Smithers: The feeling is more than mutual, sir.

  • Notes

    • This is one of the few episodes to actually put the title of the episode at the start.

    • First and possibly only utterance by Bart on his skateboard of "cowabunga" in the series. For years many of the crew thought it was a line just added to T-Shirts out of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles craze.

    • First Appearances: Apu, Krusty, Sideshow Bob, Jimbo, Dolph, Kearney, Reverend Lovejoy, Ms. Albright, and first time anyone mentions Jebediah Springfield.

    • Blackboard Joke: I did not see Elvis.
      Couch Gag: The family runs in and squeezes into the couch. Bart pops up and out of frame and he comes crashing down seconds later while the credits are shown on the TV set.

  • Allusions

    • Wallace Wolodarsky
      The football commentator mentions a player named "Wolodarsky". Wallace Wolodarsky is a writer on The Simpsons.

    • The Whole Earth Catalog
      When Homer is selecting a new bowling ball, he flips through The Bowl Earth Catalog. This is a parody of The Whole Earth Catalog, which was published periodically between 1968 and 1998.

    • The Godfather
      Though it isn't as drawn out as other episodes have shown it, Bart waking up to see the head of Jebediah Springfield is a parody of the horse head incident in the 1972 film The Godfather.

    • The Tell-Tale Heart
      The title and the plot of this episode is an allusion to Edgar Allen Poe's famous short story, "The Tell-Tale Heart." In the short story, a man murders another man and hides the body under the floorboards of his home. He later confesses to the murder when his guilty conscience makes him "hear" the beating of the dead man's heart, and he thinks others can hear it too.

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