Thursday, April 16, 2015

What's To Be Done With This Homer Simpson?

Most syndicated off network programming is edited or compressed in some way. This allows local stations to fit in more commercials. Sometimes, in the case of programming that originally aired at a later time, television programming is edited for content. In two cases involving The Simpsons, a real world event caused not just edits, but also the entire elimination of one episode from syndication altogether.

After the attacks on New York's World Trade Center, jittery syndicators examined their catalogs and eliminated anything that could remotely be tied to the World Trade Center. Establishing shots that had the building in them were edited out. Sadly, The Simpsons was not immune. In the episode New Kids on the Bleech, which featured the rise and fall of Bart's boy band "The Party Posse", the climactic final scene features an insane Navy lieutenant trying to get even with Mad Magazine for publishing an issue mocking the band. He does this by firing a rocket at the Mad Magazine building, reducing it to rubble. Amazingly, nobody is hurt, but the band is upset that their issue of the magazine will not be released. Most syndicated versions of this episode omit the final scene, leaving viewers confused by the sudden ending. While the final scene is now available to local stations, they can still choose to air the cut version.

The episode that was completely pulled from the rotation was The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson. This episode merely takes place at the World Trade Center, where a drunken Barney has illegally parked Homer's stolen car. Aside from depicting the people in Tower One as being "jerks", this episode's only crime is prominently featuring the towers. Eventually, the episode was added back to the rotation, but only if the local station chooses to air it. Many still won't show it.