The Simpsons episode, which online fans often call one of the best moments of the long-running animated sitcom, secretly spoofs the Mad Max franchise with its story of small-town rivalry. Over the decades that the show has been on the air, the Simpsons have parodied a variety of famous movies and TV series. The Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror” series, which is a set of annual Halloween specials, is specifically dedicated to faking popular genre films using the titular family as the main characters of comedy retellings.
However, sometimes the Simpsons are more subtle about parodies of films. For every episode that shamelessly recreates the source material (for example, a step-by-step parody of Martin Scorsese’s classic cult thriller “Cape Fear”, presented in the fifth season), there are as many notable cases when The Simpsons offered less obvious parodies of famous films. For example, in one of the episodes of the 13th season of The Simpsons, most of the plot is taken from Stephen King’s short story “The Body”, but is not overloaded with homage, recreating famous scenes from the successful film adaptation of this story “Stay with Me”.
Similarly, the famous Simpsons episode “Lemon from Troy” (season 6, episode 24) is not a full-fledged recreation of the Mad Max series (what The Simpsons will offer decades later in a smaller-scale “Treehouse of Horrors”). Nevertheless, “Lemon of Troy” really functions as a hidden parody of the classic sci-fi franchise and a comedic refutation of the main themes of the “Mad Max” films. While all the plots of “Mad Max” tell the story of a heroic tramp who does not expect praise for his good work and is not tied to any place, “The Lemon of Troy” shows how Bart (and later Homer) trying to save his hometown. honor is in the plot, which, as the episode itself admits, is ultimately completely meaningless.
The Simpsons Explanation of the Trojan Lemon
“Lemon of Troy” begins with Bart bumping into wet cement and immediately sees this as an opportunity to prove to future generations how cool he is. Bart then gets in trouble for vandalism and starts firing Springfield, prompting Marge to teach him a lesson in local pride. Just as the Simpsons season 33 finale lectured Bart about the disintegration of America’s middle class, Marge proves to Bart that he should be proud of Springfield (ironically showing the viewer how shoddy and questionable much of the city’s infrastructure is). By the end of her speech, Bart believes and assimilates his mother’s dictum that “this city is a part of all of us,” and now sees this as his new path to future glory. Thus, Bart, along with his friends, is inspired to free a valuable Springfield lemon tree when it is stolen by some children from Shelbyville.
The Simpsons Has a lot of references to Mad Max
While most of the satire of the Mad Max franchise presented in “Lemon of Troy” consists of subtle permutations of characters and situations that can be seen in films, some of the episodes refer to the series more directly. As in “Bart vs. Australia”, in the episode “The Simpsons” there is a reference to “Road Warrior”, in which a specific frame from the acclaimed sequel “Mad Max” is taken. The scene where Bart and the boys spy on their lemon tree, confiscated and surrounded by Shelbyville kids riding around it on their bikes, is a direct reference to “Road Warrior”, while the earlier narration of the episode is a less obvious hint of the same sequel. The scene in which the grandfather tells the story of the lemon tree and the founding of the city is similar to the narration of “Road Warrior”, as is the episode finale, which says that the grandfather from Shelbyville told the opposite version of the same story to the children from their city. This idea of the story being rewritten by everyone involved to make themselves heroes is part of how the Simpsons episode targets the Mad Max movies.
How Lemon of Troy Parodies Mad Max
The plot of each Mad Max movie differs from the plot of its predecessors, but all four parts of the series (three of which were released before The Simpsons episode aired) follow the same basic plot structure. Although Mad Max never considers himself a hero, he spends every appearance in the film liberating the oppressed, and becomes a legendary figure because he stands up for the meek and weak, providing them with access to such valuable resources as water and fuel. On the contrary, Bart begins the episode with a fantasy that he is considered a hero, and then proceeds to create a situation that will allow this to become a reality. He starts a turf war over Springfield’s superiority over Shelbyville, and then sneaks into town to return a supply of lemons that he and the rest of the kids don’t care about.
The heroes of Springfield, like their enemies from Shelbyville, are more worried about the pride of their hometown than about the tree itself.