The Simpsons' 15th season began on Sunday, November 2, 2003, with "Treehouse of Horror XIV". The season contains five hold-over episodes from the season 14 production line. The most watched episode had 16.2 million viewers and the least watched had 6.2 million viewers.
REAPER MADNESS – The Grim Reaper has come for Bart, but Homer saves the day by “killing” him. When Homer then tries on the Grim Reaper’s robe, he becomes the new Reaper and starts wreaking havoc until he’s told he must kill Marge; he tricks God into thinking he’s killed Marge to get out of it.
FRINKENSTEIN – Frink wins the Nobel Prize, but laments that his father didn’t get to see him win it before they grew apart. The Simpsons track down Frink’s long-lost father only to discover that he’s dead and has been cryogenically frozen. They figure out a way to thaw him out and revive him, but once he’s alert, Frink Sr. still finds a way to disappoint his son. Finally, father and son are able to make up before he expires once more – this time for good.
STOP THE WORLD, I WANT TO GOOF OFF – Bart gets his hands on a magic stopwatch that can freeze time and uses it to mischievous ends. When he breaks the watch while time is frozen, he must figure out how to bring things back to normal.
Homer receives a cryptic message to meet someone at a special time and place, and that someone turns out to be his mother. They reunite, and Homer promises to never let her leave his side again. Eventually, the police catch up to Homer’s mother and take her into custody for old crimes. Homer busts her out of jail by taking control of the prison bus she’s traveling in. Finally, she slips away again, but leaves another secret message for Homer to reaffirm her love for him.
In order to reduce the school budget, Principal Skinner decides to put forth “Operation S.L.A.A.M.: So Long Athletics Art and Music”. Upon hearing this, the children of Springfield Elementary go on strike. Joining them in the ranks of protest are other art loving unions throughout Springfield including the police force, Goat Milkers, Hand Models Local 702, & the United Federation of Theme Park Zombies. In the end, Principal Skinner reinstates the banished programs by doing away with a less popular school necessity, flu shots.
When Bart finds $1000, Lisa is able to convince him to take the family on vacation instead of spending it on himself. They choose to go to England, where Homer promptly rear-ends the Queen of England with their rented car. Homer is then held prisoner in the Tower of London. He escapes prison only to be caught again, but he sweet-talks his way out of it. Tony Blair guest starred.
When Homer is caught on tape running away from a large bear at the town dump, he becomes the laughingstock of Springfield. Determined to win his dignity back, Homer devises a bear-proof suit that will protect him once he returns to the wild to hunt down the bear. When he confronts the beast, he realizes the bear is only upset because he’s been tagged with a painful tracking device. Homer reverses course and helps bring the bear to safety
Krusty comes to realize that he can’t find happiness in life because he never had a Bar Mitzvah, so he reunites with his father (a rabbi) and sets about having one belatedly.Homer fills in for him on the TV show while he’s away and becomes a celebrity for sharing his blunt observations with the world. When Lisa convinces her dad to use his new pulpit to preach social activism, Homer’s audience becomes bored and his fifteen minutes of fame dry up.
When Homer is given a Joe DiMaggio rookie card by an oblivious-to-its-value Burns, he sells it for a pile of cash. He spends most of the money on himself, only coming to realize his greedy ways when he sees “A Christmas Carol” on TV. Homer reverses course and starts to do favors for everyone he can, in-so-doing making Flanders jealous for becoming Springfield’s new king of being nice. He and Flanders engage in a “nice-off,” each trying to outdo the other to earn the town’s praise. Their feud escalates to ridiculous proportions.
A baby riot breaks out at a children’s “concert” in Springfield, causing the town’s childless contingent to become fed up with their behavior. An anti-youth lobby is formed, gains steam, and threatens to eliminate all child-friendly aspects of the city.Marge takes it upon herself to challenge the growing tide of anti-child sentiment and she fights back with an initiative of her own. Ultimately, the children win out when they show up at polling places on election day and charm entering voters with their youthful innocence.
In his ongoing effort to impress his son, Homer decides to build a robot that can fight on the mechanical gladiator show they enjoy watching on television. Without the technical skills to build it correctly, Homer decides to don a robot suit and fight for Bart’s affection – getting beaten to a pulp in the process. Bart discovers what his dad’s up to, but finds it extra-cool that Homer went to such great lengths for him. Meanwhile, Lisa is crushed when Snowball III dies, and is further distraught when she can’t keep a large number of replacement cats alive either.
Marge is inspired to write her first book, but Homer shows little interest or support because he’s fixated instead on the old ambulance he’s now driving around town, making house calls, etc. Annoyed by Homer’s tendencies, Marge channels her anger into her writing and produces a period piece that depicts a despicable Homer-like character and his wife who longs for a Flanders-like neighbor. The book is published, and Homer is upset when the whole town recognizes who the characters are in real-life. Homer goes to confront Flanders, but instead asks him for help on how to be a more caring husband.
With the Springfield library dangerously low on books, the kids don’t have enough resources to do their research papers for school. Instead, Marge gives verbal anecdotes about historical figures, and she regales the gathering with tales of King Henry VIII and his search for a woman who can produce a son, Sacagawea’s providing assistance to the Lewis & Clark expedition, and a very Bart-like Mozart’s feuds with his sister Salieri.
Milhouse moves away from town, and Bart comes to realize just how much his pathetic friend means to him. After a lot of moping, Bart comes to seek out friendship from an unlikely source: Lisa. As they start to hang out more, the siblings realize that they actually like each other’s company…until Milhouse returns and the status quo is restored. Meanwhile, Homer looks for innovative ways to drum up the money for an anniversary gift for Marge. He becomes a really adept panhandler, and earns enough to buy her diamond earrings
When Maggie is accepted into a gifted preschool (even though she has yet to say a word) Lisa feels she has lost her identity as ‘the smart one’. She then searches for a new one that people will accept and like her for. Distraught when she can’t find it, Lisa finds herself mis-teaching Maggie on purpose. In the end they discover that Maggie isn’t a genius, Lisa was subconsciously feeding her answers through hand gestures.
The Simpsons discover the squatter living in their attic is Marge’s old prom date and former billionaire Artie Ziff. When Homer wins Artie’s stock holdings in a poker game, he is sent to white-collar prison for ‘criminal accounting irregularities’. After a night of passion with Selma, Artie sees the error of his selfish ways and turns himself in to the Securities Exchange Commission, setting Homer free.
After a trip to a vineyard, Marge and Homer go on a drinking binge together. When Homer drives drunk and crashes, he places a passed out Marge in the drivers’ seat to avoid being arrested. Thinking she is an alcoholic, Marge enters rehab and soon realizes that she is not in fact addicted to alcohol, but instead to spending time with Homer.Meanwhile, Bart and Lisa confront a famous Star Wars-esque filmmaker about his latest film. They tell him that technology doesn’t make the stories better. He goes off to once again find his storytelling roots.
When Bart scams the town out of wedding presents he is finally sent to a juvenile detention center. While he is tethered to Gina, a female inmate (who is also his juvie nemesis), she escapes and the two of them go on the lam a la “The Defiant Ones”. During their time together, they discover they have much in common and when they are caught Gina admits that it was all her doing. Bart is exonerated for his crimes and set free.In the end, Gina reveals that she has no family, so Bart takes it upon himself to set up a Simpsons family dinner inside the prison just for Gina.
Right before the long awaited wedding of Mrs. Krabappel and Principal Skinner, Edna finds out that Seymour has doubts and calls off the wedding. While Marge is consoling Edna and convincing her she did the right thing Homer tries to help Seymour win her back. Marge then realizes that she herself is in a passionless marriage with a man that doesn’t care for her. Meanwhile, Edna rebounds and falls for Comic Book Guy. In a last desperate attempt to win her back, Skinner fights Comic Book Guy for Edna’s love. She decides that she wants neither of them and picks every woman’s choice, Matt Groening. In the end, Marge discovers that Homer cares for her very deeply when he offers her pie and a foot rub.
When Marge and Homer are caught by Bart and Lisa having a romantic weekend in Miami instead of having a boring family visit to Dayton, the kids embark on a cross country journey à la Catch Me If You Can in order to hunt them down and ruin their vacation. Meanwhile, when Grandpa is abandoned in Miami during the chase, he enjoys the company of Raoul, a gay Miami swinger who enjoys Grandpa’s stories.
Homer becomes a masked vigilante known as “The Pie Man” when he pies Springfield’s miscreants. Lisa asks him to retire when she discovers what he is up to, although she respects what he is doing. After Homer is pushed too far by Mr. Burns, he comes out of retirement for one last time, but unfortunately, Mr. Burns discovers what he is doing and blackmails him into pieing people that he does not like. Homer agrees, but when his next target is to be the Dalai Lama, Homer faces the music and unmasks himself.
When Homer admits that Marge was not his first kiss, we flash back to Homer in summer camp where his first kiss was with an anonymous girl who turns out to be Marge. Following their kiss, they planned to meet again, but Homer accidentally lands in fat camp and is unable to meet his mystery girl. Marge, unaware that he is locked up in Camp Flab-Away, thinks she is stood up and loses faith in men forever. In the end, they both discover that either one pined away for the other until they met their adult selves.
When Bart accidentally moons the American flag and Marge accidentally says on national television that all of Springfield hates America, the Simpson family is arrested for high treason and sent to Alcatraz. They escape from prison and as they swim to shore, a French ship who takes them to France where they are free to hate Americans picks them up. Although France is lovely, they miss home and decide to return to America as immigrants.
When Mr. Burns is reported dead incorrectly, all of the newspapers and news stations decide to report what they really think of him. In order to end the negative view the public has of him, Mr. Burns buys all of media outlets to brainwash the people of Springfield. There is one newspaper he did not buy however: The Red Dress Press, put out by Lisa Simpson. When she prints an article about Burns’ attempt to manipulate the public’s thinking, he goes after Lisa. After Lisa finally gives in to his torturous ways, Homer steps up and starts his own paper with front-page news being how great Lisa is. In the end, Mr. Burns is control of public opinion ends when everyone in Springfield each prints their own newspapers stating their views.