Saturday, July 27, 2013

Dancin' Homer

Hello from Albuquerque, New Mexico where I'm still recovering from last night's monsoon and tonight (weather permitting) I'll be throwing out the first pitch at an Isotopes game.  My partner, David Isaacs and I named the team as part of a SIMPSONS episode.   I get a lot of requests for reprints of our scripts. So here is a portion of the one in question --  “Dancin’ Homer”, dated 6/05/90.  It has the first ever mention of "Isotopes."   Notice that we had to be very detailed in our descriptions so the artists would have some sense of what we envisioned.

**********

EXT. STADIUM – EVENING

We open on a large stadium marquee that reads:

“SPRINGFIELD WAR MEMORIAL STADIUM, “ ‘TONIGHT BASEBALL, SPRINGFIELD ISOTOPES VS. SHELBYVILLE SHELBYVILLIANS, “ “NUCLEAR POWER PLANT FAMILY NIGHT, “ “SUNDAY AFTERNOON – COHEN BAR MITZVAH.”

A bus driven by OTTO comes roaring by the screen as it enters the stadium parking lot and screeches to a stop. We hear a blaring police car go by.

OTTO
Oooh, well, I think we lost ‘em. (LOOKING AROUND) Hey, and we’re at the ball park. All right! Two birds with one stone. Okay, everybody out!

There’s a loud CHEER from the bus.

INT. BUS – CONTINUOUS

It is crammed with excited NUCLEAR POWER PLANT EMPLOYEES AND THEIR FAMILIES, all with hats, pennants, thermoses, flasks, gloves, etc. THE SIMPSONS are jammed into two rows. Everyone starts to disembark.

ON THE SIMPSONS

As they cross with other fans to the front gate. BART has a mitt, LISA a transistor radio; MAGGIE wears a little baseball cap and uniform jumper. They pass souvenir stands and PROGRAM VENDORS. All the EMPLOYEES who work at the ball park are rundown and toothless.

HOMER
You know, boy, some of the players you see tonight may make it to the big leagues, one day.

BART
What? Aren’t we going to see any washed-up major leaguers?

HOMER
Sure, we get a nice mix here.

LISA
I can’t think of a better place to spend a balmy summer’s night than the old ball yard. There’s just the green grass of the outfield, the crushed brick of the infield, and the white chalk lines that divide the man from the little boy.

HOMER
(CHUCKLES) Lisa, honey, you’re forgetting the beer. It comes in seventy-two ounce tubs here.

MARGE
I hope you’ll space out the tubs this year, Homer.

HOMER
(DEFENSIVE) What are you getting at?

MARGE
Well, last year you got a little rambunctious and mooned the poor umpire.

HOMER
Marge, (HOLDING UP THE TICKET) this ticket doesn’t just give me a seat, it also gives me the right – no, the duty, to make a complete ass of myself.

ENTRANCE TO STADIUM

MR. BURNS and SMITHERS, who holds 3x5 index “prompt” cards, are perched at the gate, greeting the employees and their families, including THE GAMMILLS from “No Disgrace Like Home”.

BURNS
Ah, the Gammills. Good to see you.

GAMMILL
You’re an inspiration to all of us in waste management, sir.

BURNS
(CHUCKLES) Well, take your mind off contaminates for one night and have a hot dog. (LAUGHS)

Gammill and his brood kow tow and move on.

BURNS
(TO SMITHERS) Put a little smile on his card, Smithers.

SMITHERS
Already there, sir.

Burns spots the Simpsons as they approach. Smithers grabs a card and whispers in Burns’ ear.

SMITHERS
The Simpsons, sir.

BURNS
Ah, well, if it isn’t the Simps.

HOMER
Uh… Simp-sons, sir.

BURNS
(CONSULTING CARD) Hmm, oh , yes… Homer and Marge Simpson. Oh, and these must be Bart, Lisa, and “Expecting”.

SMITHER
(SOTTO) The card needs to be updated, sir.

Burns grumbles.

HOMER
Oh, that’s okay. The baby’s name isn’t important. Let’s go, Marge.

BURNS
Very well. (CHUCKLES) Take your mind off contaminates for one night and have a hot dog. (LAUGHS)

The Simpsons enter the park.

EXT. PARK – CONTINUOUS

It’s a typical wooden bandbox minor league ball park, seating maybe five thousand. Ringing the outfield wall are the usual billboards filled with local advertisements: “Springfield Savings – Safe from 1890-1986, 1988-“; “His Royal Majesty Clothing for the Obese or Gangly Gentleman”; “Moe’s Tavern – Hit this sign and win a free well drink”.

The only concession to the modern era is the JumboVision board in left field, which dwarfs the rest of the stadium. The PLAYERS are on the field, leisurely taking batting and infield practice as the stadium organist plays “ALEXANDER’S RAGTIME BAND”.

BART
Oh, wow – there’s Flash Bailor! I gotta get his autograph! He used to be a star.

FLASH BAILOR

He is playing catch. He’s 45, arrogant, and terribly out of shape. He looks like a giant pear. Bart leans over the railing, holding out a ball and a pen.

BART
Hey, Flash! Will ya sign my ball?

FLASH
No.

Bart rejoins the family.

BART
(MUMBLING) Lousy, washed-up, broken-down… old tub of guts… who does he think he is anyway?

HOMER
What’s the matter, boy?

BART
He wouldn’t sign my ball.

MARGE
Well, he’s a fine role model. Bart, give me that ball!

Bart flips her the ball and, with great resolve, she marches down the aisle to the field.

PLAYER #1
Hey, Flash, check out the mature quail heading this way.

FLASH
Hey there, little lady. What can Flash do for ya?

EXT. PARK – STANDS – A LITTLE LATER

Marge rejoins the family, holding the ball.

MARGE
Here you go, Bart.

She hands the ball to Bart.

BART
(READING) “Springfield Kozy Kort Motel, Room 26… How ‘bout it? – Flash.”

HOMER
Wow! Flash Bailor came on to my wife! (IMPRESSED) You’ve still got the magic, Marge.

MARGE
(SMALL GIGGLE)

EXT. BALL PARK – MOMENTS LATER

The plant employees are positioned way down the right field line in the bleachers. There’s a filled section of them… and just a mere sprinkling of other fans throughout the park. There are two empty seats next to the Simpsons. Lisa is holding up Maggie.

HOMER
(TO LISA) What are you doing?

LISA
Trying to get Maggie on the JumboVision.

SERIES OF QUICK CUTS – GRANDSTAND

We see that HUNDREDS OF BABIES are being held up.

BART
(POINTING) Hey, Dad, look!

Homer glances up.

HOMER
Whoa!

ON JUMBOVISION BOARD

Homer fills the screen. He stands up and waves with both hands.

HOMER
Hey, everybody! How you doing? Look at me! I’m Homer Simpson! Heh… heh.

Bart leans into frame and raises two fingers behind Homer’s head. The JumboVision camera starts to pull in on Homer’s open fly.

MARGE
(QUIETLY) Homer… Homer.. X.Y.Z.

HOMER
Examine my zipper? Why? (HOMER LOOKS DOWN) Whoops!

Homer, still on the screen, turns away, zips up his fly and receives a nice OVATION from the crowd.

P.A. ANNOUNCER (V.O.)
(HEAVILY ECHOED) Ladies and gentlemen, throwing out tonight’s first ball, the man whose name is synonymous with our nations’ safest and cleanest energy source, Mr. Montgomery Burns!

Burns and Smithers drive up to the mound in a golf cart that looks like a big baseball. Burns waves to the crowd. There is a slight SMATTERING OF APPLAUSE. As the golf cart brakes, divots of turf fly.

SMITHERS
Ah, they love you, sir.

BURNS
Heh, heh. As well they might. You know, Smithers, when I was a young buck, my patented fadeaway pitch was compared by many to the “trouble ball” of the great Satchel Paige. Spit on this for me, Smither.

Burns hands Smithers the ball.

SMITHERS
One hocker coming up, sir.

Burns rocks into his wind-up.

ON THE SIMPSONS

Who are heckling Burns from their very safe distance.

HOMER
Hey, Burns! Hey, “Rag Arm”!

BART
You throw like my sister, man!

LISA
Yeah, you throw like me!

They LAUGH conspiratorially.

BACK TO BURNS

He wheels and deals. He loses his balance and the ball goes maybe six feet before trickling to a stop.

SMITHERS
I think I could actually hear the air being torn, sir.

BURNS
Oh, shut up.

Homer and Bart are roaring with LAUGHTER. They can barely contain themselves.

BART
What a lame-o!

P.A. ANNOUNCER (V.O.)
Ladies and Gentlemen:, to honor America, will you please rise for our National Anthem…

Homer quickly composes himself.

P.A. ANNOUNCER (V.O.)
…sung tonight by Springfield’s rhythm n’ blues sensation, “Bleeding Bums” Murphy.

BLEEDING GUMS MURPHY steps up to the microphone at home plate. We see the scoreboard clock behind him reads 7:30. Bleeding Gums launches into a wildly improvisational version of the National Anthem.

BLEEDING GUMS
(SINGS) “O-oo-hhhhhhhhh… Oh Saaaaayyyyyy can you…” -- I’m askin’ – “Can you s-e-e-e? … by the d-a-a-a-a-a-wn’s”

DISSOVLE TO:EXT. BALL PARK - NIGHT

Bleeding Gums is still singing. The clock on the scoreboard now reads 7:46.

BLEEDING GUMS
(SINGS) “…and the rocket’s red glareeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee …the bombs burstin’ … shoot it out… poppin’way up in the air… rrrrrrrrrrr.”

At this, there is mild SCATTERED APPLAUSE from the crowd.

BLEEDING GUMS
(SINGS) “And.. the home.. of the-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e … brave-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e!”

We see the Simpsons amid the crowd. Exhausted the flop into their chairs.

INT. PRESS BOX - CONTINUOUS

DAN HOARD, wearing a loud multi-colored jacket, is at the mike.

DAN HOARD
Hi-de-hi, Springfield! Dan Hoard, mikeside. Tonight – our Isotopes take on the pesky Shelbyville Shelbyvillians. The ‘Topes are looking to snap that darn twenty-six game losing streak, longest in professional baseball. How ‘bout that? -- Our sleepy town is in the record book!

************
Trivia note: I played the voice of “Dan Hoard”. Dan Hoard was my broadcast partner in Syracuse when I was a minor league announcer. He's now the voice of the Cincinnati Bengals and University of  Cincinnati football and basketball. 

GO TOPES!

16 comments:

Matt said...


When writing a script for an animation show do you need to use more description so the animators can draw your vision?

Scooter Schechtman said...

"Mancini... the mascot's best friend."
The Simpsons, more quotable than Shakespeare! And what has he done for me lately?

Great Big Radio Guy said...

You laid the foundation for something they still return to at least once a season. Springfield War Memorial Stadium has been renamed Duff Stadium (of course). And if you watch the DVD of this episode with the commentary, you'll see that when Burns suggests they have a beer, Homer's eyes cartoonishly pop a little - the only time the character has ever done that.

I'll resist the temptation of asking if this will be your greatest pitch as a writer.

Chris said...

Friday question: why do you think so many British series are re-made for the American market, if american ones are usually just sold overseas as they are?

You mentioned some British shows that are among your top 10 favorites (and I think you also said how crappy the american remakes where, Coupling was one example, I think), don't you think just airing them in the States would work?

Aaron Sheckley said...

What a nice blast of nostalgia. Jeez, I really miss when The Simpsons was this good....

Igor said...

Ken, thanks. Funny stuff and educational. Like Certs.

One small thing at the top that made me writer-chuckle:

"A bus driven by OTTO comes roaring by the screen as it enters the stadium parking lot and screeches to a stop."

A rule-Nazi would say, "No! No passive verbs! 'A bus driven by OTTO' is passive. That should be, 'OTTO drives the bus...'"

First (of course), that's not a passive verb.

Second (of course), the way you wrote it tells us that the focus is the roaring bus... and Otto is driving.


Igor said...

^^^   At least, I think so.

Paul Duca said...

I asked this before...was the Flash Baylor scene based on something that happened to Debbie, if she ever joined you at the stadium?

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

Having recently rewatched the episode, I'm surprised it's pretty close to this particularversion of the script, minus the odd detail, here and there.

Now I realize the Gammills are an obvious reference to Simpsons writer/producer Tom Gammill.

One thing still puzzles me, though.

The script was dated 6/05/90? The finished episode aired in October. Isn't that a bit of a tight window for animation?

I'd love to know the date for your last Saturdays of Thunder draft.

tb said...

Never noticed the "Shelbyvillians" part before. Classic episode. When you throw out that 1st pitch, give 'em the back-door slider low and away!

MikeAdamson said...

Lively up yourself Dancing Homer!

One of my favourite lines ever.

Pat Quinn said...

Have a great day Ken. We are in Cooperstown this week with our 12 year old's team. Watching Jacob Rupert get inducted. As a Red Sox fan it is great seeing the man who bought Babe Ruth for the Yankees get celebrated. Great.

Michael said...

Friday question :
Which actor or actress you worked with was the best athlete (excluding pro athlete guest stars) ?

Baylink said...

Love the bank crash joke in the ad.

I do have one question, though: are the animation crew uniformly non-Americans, and did "jumper" give them any trouble? It is sort of an Americanism.

chuckcd said...

Thanks for posting this.

Storm said...

This is one of my all-time favourite episodes, even though I generally dislike baseball. "We wanna pitcher, not a belly itcher!" This one, and "Homer at the Bat", the one with the pro ringers filling up the plant's softball team ("Daaaaaaaryl! DAAAAAARRRRYL!") actually make me enjoy the game for a few minutes.

“His Royal Majesty Clothing for the Obese or Gangly Gentleman” tickles the crap outta me as a seamstress; that is beautiful.

@MikeAdamson: Me too! Every time my husband tries to boogie, that's what I yell at him, through a smoky haze.

In fact, I find I quote this episode rather a lot. When I first propositioned my now-husband years ago for a night of strange fun, I passed him a note that said "You. Me. Gettin' our perv on. How 'bout it?"

Cheers, thanks a lot,

Storm