The Simpsons' fifth season originally aired on the Fox network between September 30, 1993 and May 19, 1994. The showrunner for the fifth production season was David Mirkin who executive produced 20 episodes. Al Jean and Mike Reiss executive produced the remaining two, which were both hold overs that were produced for the previous season. The season contains some of the series' most acclaimed episodes, including "Cape Feare" and "Rosebud". It also includes the 100th episode, "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song". The season was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards and won an Annie Award for Best Animated Television Program as well as an Environmental Media Award and a Genesis Award. The DVD box set was released in Region 1 on December 21, 2004, Region 2 on March 21, 2005, and Region 4 on March 23, 2005.
While flipping through records at a flea market, Bart and Lisa discover an album by the Be Sharps, a barbershop quartet comprised of Homer, Barney, Apu and Principal Skinner. As Homer recounts the story, it is clear that the Be Sharps saga is a classic tale of four men who rise to the top of the entertainment business, only to find that the demands of fame and success destroy their friendships and strain their love for their art. After telling his kids all about the band, Homer gets nostalgic and the Be Sharps reunite for one last concert on the roof of Moe's Tavern. Guest Stars: George Harrison as himself; David Crosby as himself.
Bart begins receiving threatening letters from Sideshow Bob. When Bob is released from prison, Bart is terrified of being killed by the sociopathic former sidekick. To protect Bart, the entire Simpson family undergoes Witness Relocation and moves to a houseboat docked on the aptly named Terror Lake, just outside of Springfield. Bob tracks them down, ties up Homer, Marge, and Lisa, and tries to kill Bart. Bart outsmarts Sideshow Bob by asking him to sing the entire score to The H.M.S. Pinafore, thereby buying enough time to trap him in the mud beside a brothel where Chief Wiggum and other Springfield Police Department officers just happen to be spending some off-time. Guest star: Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob.
BWhen it is revealed that Homer is grossly unqualified to be a safety inspector at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, he goes to Springfield University to study nuclear physics. While there, Homer befriends a group of nerds and encourages them to steal a rival school's mascot pig. The prank backfires, getting the nerds expelled. In attempt to get them reinstated, Homer devises another brilliant prank. This one lands their dean in traction, but when Homer comes clean about the first prank, the nerds are once again allowed back on campus. And it's just in time, too, since finals are coming up. After a marathon study session, Homer still flunks nuclear physics, but his new friends hack into the school computer and change his grade to an "A.".
During a touching birthday slide presentation Smithers makes for Mr. Burns, we see the early life of Springfield's richest man and learn that despite all his power and money, he'll never be whole without Bobo, his favorite childhood teddy bear. Smithers dresses up in a giant plush bear suit in an attempt to replace Bobo in Burns' heart, but it doesn't work. Meanwhile, Bart buys a bag of ice at the Kwik-E-Mart that contains a stinky, rotting teddy bear. Bart gives the bear to Maggie, who falls in love with her new toy. Homer realizes that Maggie's new bear is the same one Burns is offering a reward for and negotiates to give it to his boss for a price. Negotiations break down when Homer sees how much Maggie loves the bear and to retaliate, Mr. Burns tries to force the issue by taking over the broadcasting of Homer's favorite shows and shutting off the beer supply to Springfield. Eventually, Burns and Maggie meet for a one-on-one meeting and Maggie gives the old man his bear back. Guest Stars: The Ramones as themselves.
In this year's tricky triptych of terror, Bart presents three Halloween treats based on paintings in the "Fright Gallery." In the first story, Homer sells his soul to the devil (played by Ned Flanders) for a doughnut. When the devil wants to uphold Homer's side of the bargain, it's up to Marge and Lisa to argue why Homer's soul shouldn't be sucked into hell for all eternity. In the second installment, Bart has a nightmare about the school bus crashing that might just be coming true the next day during his commute. Bart spies a goblin on the side of the bus that could cause a crash, but no one believes him until it may be too late. And finally, Mr. Burns invites the Simpson family over to his castle for dinner where he bites Bart, turning him into a vampire. As Bart and his newly minted vampire friends wreak havoc, Lisa enlists Homer to kill Mr. Burns, the head vampire. When Homer drives a stake through Burns' heart (after some near misses and some outright bad aim), Lisa realizes that Burns wasn't the head vampire and that there's still the mother of all bloodsuckers to dispatch.
Marge spends some time with her neighbor, Ruth Powers, and the two find that they enjoy each other's company very much. One night, Ruth picks up Marge in a cherry '66 T-Bird convertible that just happens to have been reported stolen by Ruth's ex-husband. Pursued by Chief Wiggum, Marge and Ruth take to the road, Thelma and Louise-style. Wiggum, with Homer as his passenger, tracks down the stolen vehicle, but loses it when Ruth smartly turns her headlights off. Ruth and Marge get away, but Homer and Chief Wiggum drive the squad car off a cliff. The only thing that saves them is a pile of garbage so high they barely crash at all. Guest Stars: Pamela Reed as Ruth Powers; George Fenneman as the Narrator.
Homer and Marge are entranced by a charismatic self-help guru named Brad Goodman. While attending a Brad Goodman seminar with his parents, Bart is asked to appear on stage with the man himself and, as usual, misbehaves. Rather than be annoyed by Bart's sarcastic comments, Goodman uses Bart as a role model for his audience, a boy completely unafraid to listen to the squeaks and squawks of his "inner child." The people of Springfield take Goodman's words to heart, hosting a "Do What You Feel Festival." James Brown sings at the festival, but things go terribly wrong when the stage collapses because the carpenter responsible for building it didn't "feel" like making it sturdy. Soon, everyone realizes that the only person who can truly be like Bart is Bart himself and go back to repressing their inner children. Guest Stars: James Brown as himself; Albert Brooks as Brad Goodman.
Experimenting with a dangerous all-syrup Squishee, Bart and Milhouse get loopy and run around Springfield singing and having adventures. Waking up with a massive Squishee hangover, Bart remembers that he enlisted in the Junior Campers, the dweebiest after-school program in the world. Bart is prepared to quit the group, but decides to stay when group leader Ned Flanders leads a lesson on using a pocketknife. Bart becomes entranced by Junior Camping, attending meetings and becoming an expert at tying knots. When it comes time for the annual Junior Campers' father and son rafting trip, Bart is too embarrassed of Homer to invite him along. Homer comes anyway, and his terrible navigation and rowing skills land Bart, Ned and Todd way up a creak with no way home. Luckily, Homer saves the day when he's able to smell out a nearby Krusty Burger franchise. Guest Star: Ernest Borgnine as himself.
Homer finds he's falling in love with Mindy Simmons, the beautiful new engineer at the plant. Things only get worse when Homer and Mindy are sent to represent the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant at the National Energy Convention in Capital City. The more time they spend together, the more Homer begins to fear that there may be more fusion at the hotel than back at the plant. Mindy tells Homer how she feels about him, and even though he's tempted by her beauty and her love for doughnuts and sandwiches, Homer stays faithful to Marge. Guest Star: Michelle Pfeiffer as Mindy Simmons.
When gambling is legalized in Springfield, Mr. Burns opens an extravagant casino on the boardwalk. Homer is hired as a blackjack dealer despite his counting difficulties and Marge finds herself drawn to the slots, where she begins to spend all of her time. Meanwhile, cashing in on the trend, Bart opens his own casino in his treehouse. Luckily, Bart escapes the same fate as Mr. Burns, who starts to go crazy from owning a casino. Shut up in his sterile penthouse suite, Burns stop cutting his nails and hair and starts wearing tissue boxes as slippers. Down on the casino level, Homer must force Marge to give up her slot machine addiction. Guest Stars: Robert Goulet as himself; Gerry Cooney as himself.
A cunning cat burglar named Molloy is robbing Springfield's citizens of their most prized possessions. Homer forms a citizens' watch group that winds up breaking more laws than they protect. Molloy continues his crime spree uninterrupted, but when he sets his sites on the world's biggest cubic zirconia housed in the Springfield Museum, he winds up getting busted and returns everything he stole. Guest Star: Sam Neill as Molloy.
While working as Krusty the Clown's personal assistant, Bart accidentally steals the limelight when he knocks over a set on live TV and says four magic words: "I didn't do it." Bart becomes more famous than anyone, especially Krusty, could have ever expected, landing his own TV series, cutting a record, appearing on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and on T-shirts from Springfield to Shelbyville. Bart's fame comes to an end when his fans turn fickle and realize that "I didn't do it" isn't such a funny catchphrase after all. Guest Star: Conan O'Brien as himself.
After Homer eats tainted meat from the Kwik-E-Mart, Apu finds himself out of a job. As an apology to Homer, Apu moves in with the Simpsons and becomes their personal chef and valet. Meanwhile, actor James Woods becomes the new clerk at the Kwik-E-Mart. Apu begins to realize that he is not happy without his store, so he decides to go on a trek to the world's first Kwik-E-Mart, high up in the hills of India. Homer comes along for the ride, but foils Apu's chance at Kwik-E-Enlightenment and Apu returns to Springfield more depressed than ever. The only thing that lightens his spirits--and gets him his job back--is saving James Woods' life during a failed robbery at the Kwik-E-Mart. Guest Star: James Woods as himself.
After years of loving her Malibu Stacy doll, it begins to dawn on Lisa that her favorite toy sets a bad example for little girls. Lisa tracks down Stacy Lovell, the original creator of the Malibu Stacy doll, and together they design and market a positive, pro-girl doll named Lisa Lionheart. The toy is almost a breakout success, but the sneaky corporate henchmen and women behind Malibu Stacy quickly create a new Malibu Stacy that knocks Lisa Lionheart out of commission. Guest Star: Kathleen Turner as Stacy Lovell.
Homer and Barney are recruited to be NASA astronauts, so the organization will be more appealing to the common man. It looks like Barney will actually be the one shot into space, but when he falls off the wagon, Homer goes instead. In the space capsule, Homer causes all forms of accidents and conflicts with other astronauts like Buzz Aldrin, until he actually endangers the lives of everyone by breaking the handle off of an outer door. The only thing that can save the day is a heroic inanimate carbon rod. Guest Stars: Buzz Aldrin as himself; James Taylor as himself.
When Homer discovers that Ned Flanders has season football tickets, the two men begin spending a lot of time together. Homer takes a real liking to Ned, but Ned isn't so sure how he feels about his new best friend. When the Simpsons and the Flanders go on a joint camping trip, Ned's animosity for Homer grows until he finally realizes that he hates his neighbor. Ned tries to shake Homer at every turn, finally blowing up at him at the Springfield Community Church. When the entire congregation looks down on Ned for his outburst, Homer defends him and the two decide to remain friends. That is, until Homer remembers that he hates Ned and everything goes back to normal .
Bart wins first prize in a wacky radio contest and becomes the proud owner of a giant elephant he names Stampy. Stampy, as you might imagine, turns out to be quite a handful for the Simpson family, but Bart loves his new pet more than anything. Homer, on the other hand, finds Stampy's upkeep too expensive and sells the elephant to an ivory dealer. Bart intervenes and sets Stampy free to go on a destructive rampage through Springfield. Eventually, Stampy finds a nice home at an animal refuge.
Well into his eighth or ninth decade, Monty Burns realizes that he has no children and therefore no heir for his vast fortune. After an audition process in which every child in Springfield vies for the coveted position as Burns' kid, Bart is selected for his attitude and scrappiness. Taking the boy under his wing, Burns tries to turn Bart into the son he never had. When he returns home to his boring old family, Bart resents them for not being rich and overly indulgent like Burns. Torn between loyalty to Homer and Marge and hunger for all the toys and money Burns throws at him, Bart must decide which family he wants to keep. When Mr. Burns insists that Bart fire his own father as an act of loyalty, Bart rebels and fires Burns instead.
Principal Skinner must learn to live without his beloved elementary school when Bart gets him fired. Ned Flanders is brought in to act as principal in Skinner's place. Coping with life outside of the locker-lined halls isn't easy for Skinner, but when he befriends his one-time nemesis, Bart, things start to look up. Years of hostility between the two give way to friendship and Bart eventually comes up with a plot to get Flanders fired and Skinner reinstated. The plot backfires, but Flanders ends up getting fired anyway for using the school PA system to make a prayer.
In a case ripped right out of the headlines, Bart is the only witness when Mayor Quimby's ne'er-do-well nephew, Freddy, allegedly assaults a snooty French butler. Hiding under a table in the kitchen of the Quimby Compound, Bart can plainly see that Freddy didn't harm a single hair on the butler's head. When the case goes to trial and Freddy is sure to be sized-up for a holding cell, the only thing preventing Bart from coming forward and clearing him is the fact that he'll have to admit that he was cutting school that day and receive a stiff detention sentence. As luck would have it, Homer is sitting on the Quimby trial jury and causes a delay of the proceedings because he enjoys being sequestered in a hotel. After Lisa's urging, Bart comes forward and clears Freddy. And as a reward for his honesty, Bart only has to serve four months in detention.
Having already fallen hard for Marge, Mr. Burns now finds himself smitten with Marge's mother, Jacqueline Bouvier. Competing for the old lady's affection is Grandpa Simpson, who also thinks that she's the bee's arthritic knees. Burns is the more dashing suitor and proposes to Mrs. Bouvier, who surprises everyone and accepts. In a scene straight out The Graduate, Grandpa crashes the wedding just before Mrs. Bouvier becomes Mrs. Burns and whisks her away and onto a bus where they awkwardly face their future together.
Somehow Homer comes to teach an adult education class on how to have a successful marriage. Even stranger, he turns out to be pretty good at it, dispensing homespun advice that his students find useful. He also dispenses quite a bit of personal information and gossip about his marriage to Marge, which causes his better half to go half-crazy. Homer apologizes but can't seem to stop airing their dirty laundry in class. Marge kicks Homer out and he begins sleeping in Bart's treehouse. Under these conditions, Homer begins to degenerate. After listening to her husband apologize profusely, Marge realizes that Homer needs her more than anyone else in the world and accepts him back.