The Simpsons' seventeenth season originally aired between September 2005 and May 2006, beginning on Sunday, September 11, 2005. It broke Fox's tradition of pushing its shows' season premieres back to November to accommodate the Major League Baseball games airing on the network during September and October of each year.
Homer agrees to let Fat Tony shoot a porno at his home in compensation for football gambling debts. He coyly sends the family for a July afternoon at Santa’s Village, but when they return ahead of schedule, Marge blows her top and storms out leaving Homer to watch the children. While camping at a rest stop, Marge befriends an attractive marine biologist who tells her that Homer will never appreciate her if she continues to run back to him. Homer and the rest of the family go in search of Marge and discover she has run away to save the manatees. The family is able to find Marge who shoots Homer down leading him to believe the only way he can win back his wife is by saving the manatees himself. While almost being killed by a gang of jet skiers and the mob (the porno tested poorly because Homer’s stomach growling ruined the audio), Homer proves to Marge that he’s not as self centered as she believed and the couple is reunited.
The Simpsons protest the next door construction of a stamp museum and successfully have it relocated to a cemetery lot. The family is dismayed to see the old cemetery moving into the museum’s place on their neighboring lot. Lisa soon finds herself suffering fright induced sleepless nights and attempts to stay in her parents’ bed. Homer and Marge attempt spending a night in Lisa’s room to convince Lisa that it is safe; however, they are quickly scared away. While Homer and Marge turn to a psychiatrist for advice, Lisa decides to face her fears alone one night in the cemetery. After losing her footing, Lisa hits her head on a tombstone and has an unconscious vision of herself standing up to a handful of monsters who ultimately let her know that it’s ok for her to act like a kid.
Homer capitalizes on Maggie’s Chicken Pox by throwing a Pox party and charging parents to infect their children. Kirk and Luann run into each other at the party and have a “Marge-arita” assisted hook-up which ignites a “trial un-separation”. Milhouse soon realizes he was better off when his parents competed for his love and launches “Operation Reverse Parent Trap.” Inspired by an episode of THE OC, Milhouse and Bart plant one of Marge’s bras in Kirk’s closet which causes Luann to confront Homer and break-up his marriage. Bart and Milhouse’s plan to correct the situation with a poorly thought out scheme (Homer and Marge will reunite over the tragedy of seeing a dummy of Bart fall from a cliff into a raging river) goes awry and The Simpson parents must join together to save Bart from the rapids.
BARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE - Bart ends up in a coma after attempting to jump from the roof to the swimming pool at Spinster Arms Apartments. In an effort to cope with the loss of their boy, the family takes in a robotic boy who quickly proves to be a better son. Bart awakes to discover the family wants to keep both sons. After repeatedly being shown up by the robotic boy, Bart is abandoned on the side of the road by Homer. Bart stumbles across a friendly band of discarded robots and harvests their parts to turn himself into a cyborg. While enacting his revenge, Bart accidentally cuts Homer in half and he too becomes a cyborg.
SURVIVAL OF THE FATTEST- While attending a hunting party at Burns Manor, Homer panics and believes the prey is the hunting party. Mr. Burns thinks this is much better than the planned grizzly hunt and orders the chase. After bringing bad luck to anyone he has contact with, Homer finds himself alone and running for his life. Marge witnesses the game on television and arrives in time to knockout Burns and Smithers just as they are set to execute Homer.
I'VE GROWN A COSTUME ON YOUR FACE - After losing a Halloween costume contest to Dr. Hibbert as Dracula, a real witch puts a spell on the people of Springfield causing them to take the form of their costumes. Lisa deducts that Maggie in her witch costume can reverse the spell; however, the residents with favorable costumes want to stay as they are. Maggie splits the difference by turning everyone into giant pacifiers.
Homer purchases a discount dumbbell and Marge purchases a bicycle built for two at the grand closing of Paradise Pier. While Homer focuses on toning one arm, Marge becomes upset she can't convince a family member to ride with her. After seeing the bike in the Goodwill pile, Bart’s conscience gets the best of him and he offers to take a journey with his mother. The duo bond on the trip and Bart soon ditches his friends to spend time with Marge. Homer is concerned with Bart taking up more of Marge’s time; but rather than address the situation, Homer and Moe enter Homer’s now massive bicep in an out-of-town arm wrestling competition. When his friends accuse him of being a mamma’s boy, Bart publicly denounces his relationship in front of his mother. Bart's conscience catches up with him again and he returns to Marge; however, Marge is happy enough knowing their time was genuine and she encourages Bart to return to his friends. After winning the tournament, Homer realizes he has been neglecting Marge and returns home.
Homer’s inability to embrace Lisa’s father’s day book the same way he does Bart’s father’s day Toolman causes Lisa to develop DDD (Disappointed Daughter Disorder). Bart steals the “Bart Boulevard” street sign and causes a huge pile-up. Mayor Quimby creates The Safety Salamander spokesperson in response to the accident; however, the town still forces the ineffective Mayor into a recall election. Homer believes he can win back his daughter’s love and takes the spokesperson position. After a heroic run as The Safety Salamander, Lisa encourages Homer to run for Mayor (along with every other unqualified Springfieldian). The popular and well worn salamander suit disintegrates during Homer’s final debate causing everyone but Lisa to turn on the previous frontrunner and Mayor Quimby retains his office.
Homer has an altercation with the Easter Bunny at the Mayor’s egg hunt and causes Marge to be shunned by a group she was befriending. A lonely Marge decides to join a women’s group called “The Cheery Red Tomatoes” and agrees to help with an upcoming charity drive… robbing Mr. Burns of his Faberge Egg collection. The women and Homer are caught in the act but released because no jury would convict the group. Lisa’s plans to spend a summer in Italy hit a bump when she learns the first requirement is being fluent in Italian. She takes on a teacher from a classified who turns out to be Milhouse and the couple has an Italian style teacher to student romance until Milhouse adopts too many chauvinistic qualities.
After crashing his Stutz Bearcat, Mr. Burns sends Homer and the family to pick-up a fancy sports car in Italy. While taking in the sites, they have an accident and end up stranded in a small village where a rehabilitated Sideshow Bob is the beloved mayor. Bob impresses the Simpsons with his new demeanor, wife and child so they keep his sordid past secret until a wine influenced Lisa spills the beans. Bob reverts to his old stabby self and, with the help of his family, tracks the Simpsons through an opera starring Krusty. At the last moment, Krusty whisks the Simpsons away from danger in his limo.
"THE FIRST (ANNOYED GRUNT) - EL" - Reverend Lovejoy's car breaks down en route to Christmas mass and Homer takes over the sermon by telling his version of the birth of Christ. Homer's adaptation features Joseph (Homer), Mary (Marge) and a spiky haired troublemaking baby Jesus escaping from the evil King Herod (Burns.)"I SAW GRAMPA CUSSING SANTA CLAUSE" - Grandpa explains why he plans to catch Saint Nick in a bear trap on Christmas Eve. As a fighter pilot in WWII, Grandpa was shot down with his gunner, Burns, and became stranded on an island. They thought Santa Clause was an enemy aircraft and shot him from the sky. When they discover their folly, they helped Clause repair his sleigh so he could complete the journey but Burns decided to steal the sleigh and escape the island. Grandpa returned the sleigh to Santa Clause and Clause promised to send help but never did."THE NUTCRACKER... SWEET" - The people of Springfield go about their Christmas days set to the tune of the Nutcracker. The activities include Moe attempting suicide, Marge struggling to make Christmas dinner and Homer frantically searching for Marge’s gift.
The Simpson family receives a long lost letter and discovers Abe may not be Homer's real father. Homer tracks down the author of the letter and takes a DNA test to prove that his biological father is Mason Fairbanks, a British treasure hunter. While the rest of the family awkwardly attempts to continue their relationship with Abe, Homer is injured while helping Mason salvage a sunken treasure. Homer's touch with mortality drives him back to Abe where he discovers that Abe switched the DNA test because he thought his son was happier with Mason.
While goofing around in the Springfield Elementary steam tunnels, Millhouse and Bart accidentally start an explosion which destroys Principal Skinner’s new used car. Homer is forced to miss a Moe’s Tavern sponsored trip to Vegas and drive his son to a juvenile delinquent boot camp. During the arduous trip, the duo bond and Homer keeps his son from hard time. Meanwhile, Marge is arrested for selling their old prescriptions during a yard sale.
In an attempt to payback an overly aggressive substitute gym teacher, Bart accidentally destroys Willie's shack with a solid ice dodge ball. Marge takes in the homeless janitor and Lisa decides to offer Willie a better life by refining him for her upcoming science fair. After an arduous regiment, Lisa turns the curmudgeon into the talk of the town. Willie lands a hosting position at a fancy restaurant where he learns that he was happier working with the thankless children at the elementary school. Homer fears changing trouser styles when he discovers the factory that makes his classic blue pants is going out of business. Homer saves his ass by walking around with “blue pants” painted on his head which creates a demand around town.
While trapped in Springfield cave, Lisa recounts a day with Mr. Burns where she was chased into his mansion by a mountain goat and forced to hear how Monty gained possession of Maggie's pacifier. Burns tells a tale within the tale of losing his money to the rich Texan until Moe's treasure helped bail him out. Moe recounts the story of how he robbed a young Jailbird to impress Ms. Krabappel and tossed the priceless doubloons in a jukebox when she refused to run away with him. Mr. Burns used the doubloons to buy back his empire from the Rich Texan and Homer tricked Lisa into taking him to the cave to track down the buried treasure. All parties square off for the treasure and Marge saves them from themselves by throwing the loot into a chasm.
Marge offers her services as a babysitter and mother-figure to Rod and Todd but Ned question Marge's child rearing ability after she lets the boys play on a rock climbing wall. To add insult to injury, Bart gets pulled into a chimp cage at the zoo where he receives better treatment from a lonely ape than his own family. The Simpson and Flanders families join forces at the end to rescue Bart from the chimp who escaped with Bart to the church steeple.
Homer's obsession with Lenny's new plasma T.V. causes Marge to enter the family into a sweepstakes where they win a third prize trip to the FOX lot. Against Marge's judgment, Homer signs the family up for a "Trading Spouses" type show and is forced to take in a controlling wife, Verity, while Marge moves in with a beaten down husband, Charlie (Guest Star Ricky Gervais), and his perfect son. Charlie quickly develops a crush on Marge which drives her home but gives him the strength to confront his own wife where he discovers she has fallen for Patty.
After spoiling Homer's attempt to land a professional football team in Springfield, Abe signs up for assisted suicide. Chief Wiggum busts the doctor as Abe is going under and the brush with death inspires a newfound fearlessness in Grampa Simpson. The town converts the unused football stadium into a bull fighting arena and Grampa becomes the leading matador until Lisa's commitment to stopping the barbaric sport causes Abe to feel that his granddaughter is worth living for.
Homer takes charge of training an Indian workforce when Mr. Burns outsources the plant overseas. The workers humor Homer’s rants and keep up their already high productivity which leads Homer to develop a God complex. The family later arrives to an “Apocalypse Now” scenario and Mr. Burns discovers the workers have supported Homer for teaching them Union strategies which causes him to return the plant to Springfield. Meanwhile, Patty and Selma kidnap Richard Dean Anderson from a STARGATE convention but quickly grow tired of the guest who refuses to leave.
The Simpson family spins yarns of the sea as they await an order of fish ticks at the Sea Captain's restaurant.MAYFLOWER MADMAN is the tale of how a fugitive named Homer delivered the Mayflower safely to the New World.THE WHINE-BAR SEA features Bart and the other children in a mutiny against Seymour Skinner Bligh on the HMS Bounty.WATERSHIP D'OHN has the family working together to escape a sinking cruise ship during the 70's.
A chauvinistic remark from Principal Skinner to a former female student results in his demotion and the school being split between the sexes. Lisa is soon fed up with the new principal's coddling style towards girls and impersonates a boy in order to learn serious math under Professor Frink. After quickly being beaten up by Nelson, Lisa seeks Bart's guidance and becomes the coolest boy in school. She ends the charade after taking high marks in math only to realize that she lost herself in the manly tactics she used to achieve her goal.
Marge suffers retrograde amnesia after she inhales noxious fumes during a cleaning spree. In hopes of refreshing her memory, Homer takes her around town; however, it isn't until specific stimuli that Marge starts to remember everyone except her husband. Homer plans to kick-start her memory by taking her to the mini-golf course where Bart was conceived but his plans go awry when Marge realizes Bart was conceived at a mini-golf course and decides to leave Homer. After a period of separation and a jump into the singles pool, Marge realizes that Homer was always there for her and takes him back.
After visiting an evolution exhibit, Ned Flanders pushes Mayor Quimby to appoint Reverend Lovejoy as a "Morality Czar" in charge of spreading the theory of creationism. Darwin's theories are quickly outlawed and Lisa finds herself as the only supporter of the scientific theory. Lisa is later arrested for holding secret evolution classes and is forced to defend her beliefs in front of a judge. In the 11th hour, Marge stumbles across one of Lisa's textbooks, changes her view and helps her daughter to call Ned Flanders to the stand. Homer’s antics cause Ned to crack under pressure and call Homer an ape which leads the judge to believe that Homer resembles the missing link that the prosecutors were basing their argument and the case falls apart.
After a passionate kiss between Marge and Homer airs on the Isotope Jumbotron, struggling second baseman Buck Mitchell turns to the couple for marital advice. Homer and Marge are able to get Buck and his sexy singing wife, Fiona, on track and the Isotopes season turns for the better. Things seem to be coming up aces for the Simpsons until Buck catches Homer giving Fiona a post-show neck massage which results in both couples separating. Homer and Marge later save their marriage and reunite Buck and Fiona at a key Isotopes game.