The Simpsons' 16th season began on Sunday, November 7, 2004 and contained 21 episodes, beginning with Treehouse of Horror XV. The season contains six hold-over episodes from the season 15 production line.
THE NED ZONE - After a head injury, Ned Flanders gains the power of foretelling people’s deaths. When Ned discovers that he is going to be the one to kill Homer, he tries to change fate. In doing that, Ned winds up blowing up all of Springfield.
IN THE BELLY OF THE BOSS - In a freak science accident, Maggie is shrunken inside a vitamin capsule and swallowed by Mr. Burns. The rest of the Simpsons family goes in to save her “Fantastic Voyage - style. When things start to go wrong, Homer gets trapped inside Mr. Burns forever.
FOUR BEHEADINGS AND A FUNERAL - Set in Victorian London, Master Detective Eliza Simpson (Lisa) and her faithful sidekick Dr. Bartley (Bart) attempt to catch The Muttonchop Murderer, a Jack the Ripper-type serial killer lose in the city.
When Bart fishes Homer’s vintage “Playdude” magazines out of the trash, he decides to adopt the ring-a-ding-ding lifestyle of the 1970’s portrayed in the magazines; based on his ten year-old knowledge. Marge enters the Ovenfresh Bakeoff, but when she finds that the other contestants play dirty, she decides to get back at them by sabotaging their dishes. Lisa discovers what her mother has done and is heartbroken. In the end, Marge confesses and loses the bakeoff, but wins back the respect of Lisa.
Marge, feeling her kids do not want to spend time with her anymore, takes in neglected son and town bully Nelson Muntz in as her surrogate child. Lisa develops an eating disorder after being teased about her weight on the playground. Bart is not happy about his tormentor now living in his room with him, so he finds Nelson’s parents and reunites the Muntzes. In the end, Lisa admits that she, like many women, still obsessed by her weight, has a long way to go to recovery.
When Marge’s old high school friend now successful newscaster, Chloe Talbot, comes to town to cover a story, Lisa is enamored with her worldliness. Marge quickly becomes jealous of the attention Lisa is paying to her and has Marge wondering if she made the right decision choosing family over a career. Ultimately, Marge realizes that she chose the right path when she courageously saves her daughter from an erupting volcano.
When Bart begins writing slogans on t-shirts, he catches the attention Goose Gladwell, a Willy Wonka-type gag gift entrepreneur and becomes a t-shirt mogul. With Bart now the breadwinner of the family, Homer realizes he no longer has a place in the family. In order to feel useful within the home, Homer begins spending time with Lisa. The balance of power is restored when Gladwell is revealed as a fraud after Homer threatens him with the nuclear bomb he built for Lisa’s science fair project.
When Mr. Burns terminates the employee prescription drug program, the citizens of Springfield are no longer able to afford their very expensive, yet much needed prescription drugs. In order to keep the town medicated, Homer, Grampa, Apu, and Flanders go to Canada and buy the town’s drugs with fake Canadian health care cards. When they are caught smuggling, all of Springfield rallies around them to fight for their freedom and they are released.
When Moe’s is shut down by the health department, Homer takes out a second mortgage without consulting Marge to finance the bar’s return. Marge finds out and decides to protect her investment by convincing Moe to renovate the bar into an English pub. The pub becomes a huge hit, and Marge and Moe become great friends – much to Homer’s chagrin. Convinced the two of them are having an ‘emotional affair’; Homer tries to intervene just as Moe professes his love to Marge while on their way to the Tavern and Restaurant Owners Convention in Aruba. Marge admits although she enjoys spending time with Moe; Homer is the one she loves.
After Homer inadvertently performs a wild crowd-pleasing dance at a local carnival, he is hired by several sports figures including Tom Brady, LeBron James, Yao Ming, Warren Sapp and Michelle Kwan to choreograph their victory dances. After his dances prove successful, Homer is soon tapped to choreograph the big show – the Superbowl Half-time Show. Meanwhile, Flanders, is disgusted by the filth on television, decides to start making Bible movies; ultra-violent, ultra-gory Bible movies à la Passion of the Christ. The movies are very disturbing, but nonetheless a hit; until the violence becomes too gratuitous and the audience turns on him. Homer panics during planning the show and the night before Superbowl XXXVIII still has nothing – so he teams up with Flanders and they put on a nonviolent and deeply meaningful Biblical half-time show which America chastises for it’s blatant display of decency.
Bart sneaks out of the house to attend a forbidden rap concert. When Marge and Homer discover he is missing, Bart fakes his own kidnapping to prevent being grounded. It is up to Springfield's finest to save him. Of course, no one has any faith in bumbling police Chief Clancy Wiggum. Inspired by an apparition of Barney Fife, Wiggum vows to rescue Bart. Meanwhile, Bart is hiding out in Kirk Van Houten's bachelor pad unbeknownst to Kirk. Wiggum cracks the case, Bart is rescued, and Kirk wrongfully goes to jail. Wiggum is promoted to Police Commissioner and Kirk becomes a lady's man among the felon-loving singles of Springfield. Lisa searches for the truth and discovers that the kidnapping was all a hoax and everyone goes back as it was before.
To boost tourism in Springfield, the town decides to legalize same-sex marriages. Homer discovers the monetary value of gay marriages, becomes an ordained minister via the internet, and soon marries everyone and everything in town. Patty Bouvier then comes to Homer and asks him to marry her – to Veronica a professional women’s golfer. Selma is happy for her sister that she found love, but is sad that now she is all alone. While Marge is coping with the fact that her big sister is marrying a woman, she discovers that Veronica is a man disguised as a lesbian! When the truth is exposed, Veronica is kicked out of the LPGA and Patty is driven back into the arms of the one person who truly understands her, Selma.
Fed up with Bart’s endless taunting and torture, Lisa files a restraining order requiring him to stay at least 20 then 200 feet from her. To adhere to the restraining order, Bart is forced to live in the yard where he learns to commune with nature (you can pee anywhere!). Lisa eventually starts to miss her big brother and his teasing and after she is able to find three nice things Bart has done for her, she does away with the restraining order and Bart moves back in the house. Meanwhile, Homer takes over Grampa’s job at the Sprawl*Mart as a greeter. He loves his new job until he realizes they treat their employees terribly. When he attempts to plan a coup with the other Sprawl*Mart workers he discovers they have accepted the way they are treated and make up for it by stealing everything that is not nailed down. In the end, order is restored and the Simpsons have sixteen new plasma screen televisions.
When Selma hits menopause, she realizes that she missed her chance to have a baby and decides to adopt a baby girl from China, but comes to a bump in the road when the application asks for her husband’s name. In an act of desperation, she puts down “Homer Simpson”. So now, the Simpsons are off to China with Selma to pick up her Chinese baby girl with Homer pretending to be her husband. Their charade is revealed and their functionary, Madam Yu, takes Selma’s baby back. The Simpsons then devise a scheme to snatch steal her from the orphanage. Of course, they are caught, but Selma is able to reason with Madam Yu bureaucrat to bureaucrat and Selma is able to leave with her new baby girl, Ling Bouvier.
Marge pressures Homer into buying life insurance after he suffers a garage door to the throat accident while performing a little Sunday cleaning. When she learns that Homer is not insurable, Marge takes matters into her own hands by implementing across the board cost cutting in the household. Moe, Lenny and Carl convince Homer that all financial decisions should be made jointly which drives Homer to purchase a RV as an act of defiance. Homer's frivolous purchase infuriates Marge causing the parents to divide and fight for their children's love as Marge remains in the house and Homer lives in the RV parked in the backyard. While driving through Springfield with the kids, Homer befriends a convoy of fellow RV enthusiasts and invites them to dock in his backyard. Marge retaliates by shutting off the utility hook-ups resulting in a huge argument between the couple. In an effort to save their parent's marriage, Bart and Lisa steal the RV and head to the dealer for a refund. Homer and Marge decide to work through their differences to track down the children just as the kids lose control of the RV and crash onto a departing Turkish freighter. Marge's penny pinching comes in handy when she is able to use surplus cases of soup stored in the trunk to persuade the freighter to turn around and reunite the family.
While on a family trip to Shelbyville, Marge is dismayed to see how Springfield residents are perceived as hicks in a production of "SONG OF SHELBYVILLE". At the next Springfield Cultural Activities Board meeting, Marge convinces the townspeople to fund a Frank Gehry designed concert hall. The opening night hustle and bustle is cut short as Beethoven's Fifth Symphony drives the uninterested townspeople away in droves which leads to the bankruptcy of the hall. The ever generous Mr. Burns assumes the debt of the hall and turns it into The Montgomery Burns State Prison. At first, the prison benefits the townsfolk by offering jobs to almost everyone (except Homer who fails his urine test due to a mix-up with Otto); however, when Mr. Burns pressures Chief Wiggum to increase capacity from 99% to 100% Homer finds himself imprisoned for kicking a can down the street 5 times in a row. Homer doesn't adjust to prison life well and becomes a snitch after accidentally ratting on Snake during a breakout. Homer enjoys the benefits of snitch life (plasma TV, cell phone, segway, a chance at a free pair of socks) until Fat Tony puts a mark on his head for selling out the mob. The angry prisoners fake a jail break and start a riot as they hunt Homer. As president of the Activities Board, Marge uses her concert hall key to sneak into the prison and convince Homer that snitching is wrong. National Guardsman swoop in at the last moment to save the cornered couple and Homer decides to use his snitch powers for good by having the prison shutdown for practices like giving haircuts to inmates without regard to their personal preference and using mournful harmonica music while on hold.
Professor Frink uses an astrology machine to show Bart and Lisa what their last days as high school students will be like if they don’t mend their ways. In the not-so-distant future, robots are a part of life, Moe has a clone, Homer and Marge are separated, Lisa is dating a muscle-bound Milhouse and Bart is dating the girl of his dreams, Jenda. The Simpson kids’ relationships fall apart on prom night because Lisa doesn’t love Milhouse and Jenda has moved past Bart. In an effort to prove his maturity to Jenda, Bart takes a job at the Kwik-E-Mart. While on a routine delivery, Bart saves Mr. Burns from a robber. In turn, Mr. Burns rewards Bart with a Yale scholarship initially intended for Lisa. Bart uses the scholarship to win back Jenda and he later attempts to ease his conscience by encouraging Milhouse to reunite with Lisa. Bart and Jenda sneak away to an abandoned Frink’s house where Bart uses the astrology machine to peer further into the future. Bart is dismayed to see an unhappily married Lisa and Milhouse caring for geriatric versions of Homer and Kirk. Bart’s conscience causes him to leave Jenda, stop Milhouse’s advances and return the scholarship to his sister. In the present Bart and Lisa see how the selfless act reunites Homer and Marge.
The perfect storm hits Springfield causing the Simpson roof to leak. Marge doesn't approve of Homer's "Hot Wheels" gutter system and questions what type of father can't keep a roof over his family's head. A downtrodden Homer seeks companionship at Moe's; however, he is quickly driven away for accidentally announcing Lenny's surprise party. Homer's last option is Knockers, a Hooters style bar, where he befriends a beer and Curly Joe Derita loving roofer, Ray (voiced by Ray Romano). Ray and Homer attempt to repair the roof while Marge and the kids visit the Retirement Castle . While at the Castle, Santa's Little Helper gains immediate popularity and quickly takes on the geriatric qualities of the residents. After hours of drinking beer and shooting nails at Ned, Homer falls through the roof and lands in bed. Marge returns to discover Homer in bed alone under a gaping hole. The next day Homer runs into Ray at the hardware store who agrees to help finish the roof later that day. Ray never show's and just before Dr. Hibbert drugs him with a syringe, Marge sweetly tells Homer that Ray is a figment of his imagination. Homer awakes in a mental hospital to FIGHT CLUB styled testimonials from Bart, Ned and the Knockers' bartender (all people who allegedly saw Ray) that confirm the initial diagnosis. After a round of electric shock treatment, a cured Homer and family see Ray in the hospital lobby who explains the errors in the previous testimonials. An outraged Homer finds reparations as he and Ray sit on lawn chairs drinking beers while a malpractice shy Dr. Hibbert fixes the roof.
When new vending machines are installed in Springfield Elementary, Bart quickly becomes a junk food junkie. Bart’s steady diet of processed foods shockingly leads to his massive weight gain and ultimately a heart attack. He is then put on a strict diet but is unable to adhere to it. The Simpsons perform an intervention and he is shipped off to Serenity Ranch - - A Forced Starvation Facility. He cheats on his diet there as well until he finds out that his family has turned their home into a hostel working day and night to please demanding and unfriendly foreigners to pay for his stay at Serenity Ranch. In the end, Bart smashes the vending machine that made him fat in the first place and gives the money to his family.
Aside from Lisa, everyone in the family contracts food poisoning after eating organic produce from The Farmers’ Market. After nurturing the family back to health, Lisa agrees to participate in a Krusty sponsored “Li’l Starmaker” competition, with the first prize winner being animated into an Itchy and Scratchy episode. Lisa panics during the competition when a Christina Aguilera type performs a better rendition of “Mocking Bird” and Homer saves the day by hammering out a manipulative tune about Springfield that leads Lisa to victory. With a win under his belt, Homer becomes a stereotypical star- crazed parent and manager who ultimately drives Lisa to fire him. A distraught Homer counters by taking Lisa’s rival, Cameron, under his wing and grooming him for the finals. Lisa comes to realize that her relationship with Homer is more important than the competition and performs an apologetic song. Homer reunites with his daughter before Cameron performs an egotistical song Homer prepared to sabotage the young boy’s performance.
An apocalyptic movie followed by three real-life omens causes Homer to fear and begin researching the rapture. Homer deducts that the event is coming in a week and he believes the only way he can get into heaven is to warn others. A skeptical Kent Brockman does a report on Homer where Homer quotes a Biblical verse involving stars falling from the sky which later happens during a Krusty Special blimp accident. After a vision (or possibly an ice cream headache) Homer takes the new believers to Springfield Mesa and awaits a rapture that never comes. A discredited Homer returns home and discovers an error in his calculations. He then returns to the mesa alone after his friends and family turn their backs on him. At the mesa, Homer experiences the rapture (or maybe a heat induced dream) where he rampages in heaven and convinces God to delay doomsday and return Homer to his family.
Financial trouble inspires Ned to rent his rumpus room to a pair of college aged women. While searching the internet, Bart and Milhouse discover the women are running a soft-core web cam from their room without Ned’s knowledge. Homer quickly learns of the activities and spreads word of hot women and his ignorant neighbor. When Marge forces Homer to inform Ned of the charade, Ned becomes the laughing stock of Springfield . Homer later feels guilty and arrives at Ned’s front door equipped with a gift basket only to find the Flanders’ have moved to their dream town, “Humble, PA – Home of the Humble Figurines”. When an unruly neighbor moves in, Homer begs Ned to leave the not-so-ideal town and return to Springfield .
Enraged at being cast as the village idiot and having livestock disrupt his yard at the school's Medieval festival, Groundskeeper Willie sabotages the event and leaves Bart to take the blame. As a result, Bart's expulsion lands him in an affordable Catholic private school where Father Sean, an Eminem quoting Priest, uses graphic stories and comic books to turn Bart on to the cooler parts of Catholicism. Bart's increased interest in the religion alarms his parents and drives Homer to visit the church to put an end to the nonsense. Father Sean lures Homer to the religion over a beer and pancake dinner and closes the deal over a game of bingo. After a marathon confession session, Homer returns to a dismayed Marge who later enlists Reverend Lovejoy and Ned's aid in springing Bart from communion class. Set on bringing Bart back to Catholicism, Homer and Father Sean chase the gang to a Protestant Youth Festival where Marge and the prospect of playing paintball lure Bart back. After a heated public debate, all members agree to disagree under the banner of Christianity and Homer decides he'd rather return to the Protestant Church rather than divide the family.