The Simpsons' fourth season originally aired on the Fox network between September 24, 1992 and May 13, 1993, beginning with "Kamp Krusty." The showrunners for the fourth production season were Al Jean and Mike Reiss. The aired season contained two episodes which were hold-over episodes from season three, which Jean and Reiss also ran. Following the end of the production of the season, Jean, Reiss and most of the original writing staff left the show. The season was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards and Dan Castellaneta would win one for his performance as Homer in "Mr. Plow". The fourth season was released on DVD in Region 1 on June 15, 2004, Region 2 on August 2, 2004 and in Region 4 on August 25, 2004.
After making a deal with Homer to get good grades in school, Bart and Lisa go away to Kamp Krusty, "The Krustiest Place on Earth!" While they're initially excited about their summer, they soon learn that Kamp Krusty is a run-down prison run by the tyrannical Mr. Black and his C.I.T. henchmen, Dolph, Kearney and Jimbo Jones. Worse yet, instead of sports and arts-and-crafts, the kids are expected to pass their days sewing counterfeit wallets. The only thing that gets Bart through this ordeal is the hope that Krusty himself will visit, but when that doesn't happen, the kids lead a rebellion against Mr. Black and take over the camp. With Bart as their leader, the kids speak to the media and reveal what a sham Kamp Krusty is. Meanwhile, with Bart and Lisa away from home, Homer and Marge are getting in touch with their relationship. Homer feels so good, he's even losing some weight and growing some hair. This all changes when he sees Bart on TV, condemning Krusty and his ramshackle camp. In the end, Krusty apologizes to the campers and takes them on a trip to Tijuana.
Marge is cast in the role of Blanche DuBois in Oh! Streetcar, the musical version of A Streetcar Named Desire directed by the flamboyant Llewellyn Sinclair at the Springfield Community Center. Homer isn't very supportive of Marge's interest in acting, so she uses her anger towards him for inspiration in some of the play's more emotional moments. Acting opposite Ned Flanders as Stanley Kowalski, Marge gets so absorbed in her role that at one point she nearly slashes Ned with a broken bottle. Meanwhile, Maggie has been placed in day care at the Ayn Rand School for Tots and leads a rebellion against the strict teachers. Watching Marge perform in the play, Homer is moved and realizes he should have been more supportive. Guest star: Jon Lovitz as Llewellyn Sinclair
One Sunday morning, Homer decides that he'd rather sleep late than go to church. Marge is disappointed, but doesn't argue with him. While home alone, Homer dances in his underwear, drinks waffle batter and loafs around watching TV. Having thoroughly enjoyed his morning, Homer decides to forgo church for good and start his own religion. Marge doesn't approve, but that night Homer has a dream in which God visits him and expresses his acceptance of Homer's new religion. While home on Sunday, worshipping in his own special way by reading Playdude and smoking cigars, Homer causes a fire that nearly destroys the house. Ned Flanders is the only one who can save Homer's life, and after speaking with Reverend Lovejoy, Homer realizes that he should give up his religion and return to church.
To help Lisa get over her insecurities about her looks, Homer enters her into the Little Miss Springfield Pageant. At first, Lisa looks down on the event, but when she becomes first runner-up after Amber Dempsey, Lisa begins to like being a beauty queen. Soon thereafter, Amber is struck by lightning and Lisa is crowned the official Little Miss Springfield, an honor she relishes until she discovers that she must sit atop a parade float sponsored by Laramie cigarettes. Lisa denounces smoking and is stripped of her crown by pageant officials. But in the end, they can't strip Lisa of her newfound confidence. Guest star: Bob Hope as himself
In this year's scarifying special, the Simpsons gather for a Halloween party and exchange ghost stories. In the first tale, told by Lisa, Homer buys Bart a talking Krusty doll with a few glitches: It tries to kill Homer with a knife and strangle him to death. No one believes that the doll is really trying to kill Homer, but when Marge calls the toy company's customer service numbers, it is revealed that the doll was accidentally set to 'evil' instead of 'good.' In the next story, told by Grandpa, Homer plays King Kong to Marge's Fay Wray. Mr. Burns plays a maniacal millionaire who plunders the jungle in search of mythical giant gorilla. The gorilla falls in love with the millionaire's beautiful assistant and carries her to the top of the Empire State building. After a messy confrontation with the army, the gorilla and the girl get married and live happily ever after. Finally, Bart tells a story in which a spell from a book of witchcraft bring Springfield's dead to life. The only thing that can send them back to their graves is the right spell.
Every kid in the world waits with bated breath for the Itchy & Scratchy movie, but Bart is the only one who's not allowed to see it. Marge and Homer ground Bart for his bad behavior, making him miss the most important movie of his life. In a vision of the future in which his son becomes a Supreme Court Justice, Homer imagines seeing a revival of the movie with Bart.
When the Simpsons' house begins sliding off its foundation, Marge is forced to get a job to help make ends meet. Where else can she turn other than The Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, where she is promptly hired. While on the job, Marge catches the eye--and the heart--of Mr. Burns, who falls madly in love with her. To impress her, he even hires her favorite singer, Tom Jones, to serenade her, but Marge rejects all of her boss' advances and stays faithful to Homer. Guest star: Guest Star: Tom Jones as himself
Evergreen Terrace welcomes two new neighbors, Ruth Powers and her lovely teenage daughter, Laura. Bart falls hard for Laura, but she thinks of him as just a little friend. Heartbroken, Bart has to watch as the girl he loves starts dating Jimbo Jones. One night while Laura is babysitting Bart, Lisa and Maggie, Bart devises a way to get revenge on Jimbo, who also happens to be over the house. Bart prank calls Moe's Tavern one last time and claims to be Jimbo and gives his address. Moe charges over to kill Jimbo, but when the little bully starts to cry, Moe reconsiders and leaves. Laura reconsiders, too, breaking up with Jimbo. Guest stars: Pamela Reed as Ruth Powers; Sara Gilbert as Laura Powers
At the auto show, Homer impulsively buys a snow plow and starts a business as Mr. Plow. An incredibly snowy winter sets the business rolling, making Homer a success and earning him the key to the city from Mayor Quimby. All is well until Barney sets up a rival business as the Plow King and wipes the streets with Homer. To cut out his competition, Homer calls Barney under an assumed name and dispatches the Plow King to clear a path on forbidding Widow's Peak. Barney foolishly drives up there and is caught under an avalanche. Only Homer can save him from an icy death and both men agree to work together as a team. Right at that moment, the sun bursts out and all the snow in Springfield melts into puddles, leaving them both without livelihoods. Guest stars: Linda Ronstadt as herself; Adam West as himself.
While trying to get Maggie to say her first words, Marge tells Bart and Lisa about what they were like as babies. In flashback, we see that Bart's first words were "aye carumba." When Lisa was born, Homer hoped that her first word would be "daddy," but instead she said "Bart," which always secretly broke Homer's heart. Back in the present, as Homer puts Maggie to bed, he tells her that it's okay that she doesn't speak yet. Just then, she looks up at him and says the word he's been waiting to hear, "Daddy." Guest star: Liz Taylor as the voice of Maggie.
In a series of terrifying X-ray shots of Homer's chest, we see that his heart is dangerously clogged with plaque and doughnut residue and that he is in need of a triple bypass operation. The operation costs $40,000, but Homer cannot afford that much, so he goes to Dr. Nick Riviera, who agrees to do the operation for $129.95. During the operation, Dr. Nick loses his nerve and only Lisa, who has been studying the heart, can talk him through the procedure. Homer recovers and is able to live a long, doughnut-filled life.
Mr. Burns is forced to pay a $3 million fine for illegally dumping toxic waste under trees in the park. At a town meeting where Springfield's citizens discuss how to best use the new funds, Lyle Lanley, a charismatic traveling salesman convinces them to build a completely useless monorail. Marge is the only one in town who disapproves of the project and when the monorail is complete disaster, her reservations are proved correct. Guest star: Leonard Nimoy as himself
Aunt Selma realizes that she might wind up dying all alone and thinks that having a baby can relieve her loneliness. To test her maternal instincts, she takes Bart and Lisa to Duff Gardens, an amusement park, where she realizes that parenthood isn't all it's cracked up to be. At the park, Lisa gets high by drinking the water in the Little Land of Duff ride, and Bart misbehaves in his own unique way. Shaken by the experience, Selma is pleased to have no kids of her own and accepts her life and everyone in it, including Jub Jub, her pet iguana.
When Homer leaves Bart waiting in the pouring rain after soccer practice, he must earn back his son's love. Bart expresses his anger by going to a Big Brother program and claiming to be an abandoned child so he can get a new "father." He's paired with Tom, a motorcycle-riding fighter pilot who spoils him. To get revenge on Bart, Homer signs up to be a Big Brother and "adopts" Pepi, a needy child. When Homer and Tom clash over Bart, they fight viciously and Bart realizes how much his father loves him. Bart returns to Homer and Tom winds up adopting Pepi.
Trying to be nice to Ralph Wiggum, Lisa gives him a Valentine's Day card. Ralph misinterprets the gesture and thinks that Lisa is in love with him. Soon, he begins to pursue her the only way he knows how: foolishly. Lisa tries to let him down nicely, but Ralph won't get the hint until she yells at him in front of a live television audience at the Krusty the Clown anniversary special. Heartbroken, Ralph channels his feelings into his performance as George Washington in his school's Presidents Day show. Ralph's acting is superb, and after a thunderous applause he is able to accept Lisa as just a friend.
Lisa conducts a secret experiment for the Springfield Elementary School science fair to see who's smarter, Bart or a hamster. Meanwhile, Homer is forced to swear off beer after being arrested on a D.U.I. Bart realizes what Lisa is doing and ruins her plans for the science fair by winning first prize for his own, more sensational, hamster experiment. Homer manages to stay off of beer for an entire month and, instead of drinking to celebrate his sobriety, he decides to stay on the wagon and enjoy a bike ride with Marge.
Homer finds himself filling in for the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant's union leader when it comes time to negotiate their new contract with Mr. Burns. Homer is a tough negotiator, despite not knowing the first thing about union organizing, and forces Burns to accept the union's demands on the condition that Homer be removed as leader.
Bart's April Fools' prank backfires and lands Homer in the hospital in a coma. At Homer's bedside, The Simpson family reminisces about all of the good times they've had over the years. A half-hour of precious screen time is filled with clips you've seen before and Homer eventually emerges from his coma.
Convinced they can write better Itchy & Scratchy scripts than the writers who currently work on the cartoon, Bart and Lisa set out to write their own shows. Their scripts are rejected by Roger Meyers, the show's producer, until Bart and Lisa use Grandpa's name as their pseudonym. As "Abraham Simpson," the kids are hired to write for the show and eventually win an Emmy award for their work. At the awards, Grandpa accepts his Emmy from Brooke Shields, but goes up to the podium and makes a rambling, anti-cartoon speech that gets him fired. Guest star: Brooke Shields as herself.
Everyone in Springfield is excited for Whacking Day, but as the holiday approaches, Lisa condemns it as violent. Whacking Day is a decade-long tradition which calls for the townspeople to beat snakes to death with sticks. Lisa decides to save the snakes with the help of Whacking Day's honorary MC, Barry White, who uses his sonorous bass vocal style to lure the snakes to safety, where no one can whack them Guest star: Barry White as himself
Marge gets busted for shoplifting at the Kwik-E-Mart and is sentenced to thirty days in prison. Bart concocts a brilliant scheme to break her out that involves a party dress, a wig and a crowbar. But what finally springs Marge is the rioting townspeople of Springfield, who desperately need the inmate's patented marshmallow squares for the Springfield Park Commission's annual bake sale. Guest star: David Crosby as himself.
WAfter the most successful advertising campaign Springfield has ever seen, The Krusty the Clown show gets bumped in the ratings by Arthur Crandall, a droll ventriloquist, and Gabbo, his excitable dummy. Gabbo is a huge hit, and Krusty's show is cancelled as a result of falling ratings. Bart and Lisa enlist the help of Krusty's Hollywood pals like Hugh Hefner, Bette Midler, Elizabeth Taylor, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and others to save his show. After an emotional TV special, Krusty's show is brought back for good. No one ever hears from Arthur Crandall or Gabbo again. Guest stars: Hugh Hefner, Bette Midler, Elizabeth Taylor, Luke Perry, Johnny Carson, Barry White and the Red Hot Chili Peppers as themselves.