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Heartbreak Hotel is the 641st episode of The Simpsons and the second episode of season 30.[1][2] The episode was written by Matt Selman and Renee Ridgeley. In the episode, Marge Simpson and Homer Simpson take part in a reality TV show.

"Heartbreak Hotel"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no.Season 30
Episode 2
Directed bySteven Dean Moore
Written byRenee Ridgeley
Matt Selman
Production codeXABF15
Original air dateOctober 7, 2018 (2018-10-07)
Guest appearance(s)

Joe Clabby as Curtis
Rhys Darby as Tad Tuckerbag
Renee Ridgeley as Honey
George Segal as Nick

Episode chronology
← Previous
"Bart's Not Dead"
Next →
"My Way or the Highway to Heaven"
The Simpsons (season 30)
List of The Simpsons episodes


The Simpson family are watching a reality TV show called "The Amazing Place", a parody of the survival show Survivor. Marge reveals her expert knowledge of the show’s contestant challenges comes from her lifetime of watching the past 47 seasons. Bart and Lisa heavily encourage Homer and Marge to audition, Marge breaks down and, in the attic, shows them samples from every season’s past tryouts for the show, which were all rejected. The kids decide to edit past efforts into a new submission behind Marge’s back. Bart feeds marshmallows to Santa's Little Helper while Lisa edits a video of Marge and Homer's rejection letter openings, which they also recorded, and shows it to the producers at an in-person audition. The producers are attracted to the idea of rewarding an ultimate fan of the show and the show’s host Tad Tuckerbag letsjoins them at home to deliver the news.

At the first trial, while still at “The Amazing Place”s tarmac, the contestants play ‘Suitcase Stowaway’ to find an item in their own luggage that doesn’t belong. Marge and Homer immediately lose and are “shelliminated”. Heartbroken they then find out they cannot leave for six weeks and are to be sequestered at the airport hotel.

While Marge is miserable and homesick, Homer is happy on all the freebies they are given including room service food, booze and movies. Homer tried to cheer Marge with a musical number “Airport Hotel”, sing to the 1956 Elvis Presley song “Heartbreak Hotel“. Back at home Bart has convinced a number of school friends to help dig a hole in the yard for a pool, Patty and Selma are babysitting but they approve of the plan.

At the hotel, the parents find the post production room where Marge discovers that Homer caused their loss, eating the “stowaway” item, infuriating her. In a black and white vignette, in homage to Edward Albee‘s 1962 play 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf', where a bitter and frustrated middle age couple entertains a younger couple, Marge and Homer have over a younger eliminated couple. Marge proceeds to make Homer jealous by flirting with Nick, the husband.

The next day, it is announced to all the then eliminated contestants, that they can re-enter the show, but only if they do the “Dead Weight Drop” by dumping their spouse if they screwed up. Everyone else declines but Marge selects Nick. The final “Mango Tango” challenge involves picking mangoes, creating mangorita cocktails with them, and crossing a log-covered trench while playing a penny whistle. Marge loses the contest by not following the recipe, but Homer is happy that this time it wasn't his fault.


Executive producer and co-writer Matt Selman stated that the inspiration for the episode was feeling bad for so many years for the first person kicked off of Top Chef, which he deemed to be "worse than not being on the show at all."[3] The idea to parody Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in the middle of the episode came from Selman's wife and co-writer of the episode Renee Ridgeley, who herself has a small cameo as the character Honey in the segment.[4] Actor George Segal was only asked to guest star and record his part within a week of the episode going to air. This was because it was only when a friend told Selman that George Segal had said Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was his favorite movie he was ever in they thought about getting him, so the staff tracked him down as fast as they could. Selman stated that he was "delighted to reprise the voice."[5] When directing Segal repising his role of Nick, Selman simply told him "just do it how Mike Nichols said to."[6]


Tony Sokol of Den of Geek gave the episode 3 out of 5 points stating, "Public humiliation is the best humiliation. The Simpson family may have bad memories when it comes to their own public appearances, but they thrive on the repressed anguish that comes from being under the microscope. The premise was fresh in showing us how hotel living could be the answer to all life's problems. 'Heartbreak Hotel' offers a diverse entry into the season, which is still underwhelming.[7]

Dennis Perkins of The A.V. Club gave the episode a B- stating, "‘Heartbreak Hotel’ does a fine job at supplying a motivation that—while new to us—is true to the characters. Especially Marge, whose decades-long addiction to the reality competition travel show The Amazing Place is seen to be rooted in the long Homer-less hours as a football-and-Moe's widow. Marge explains that, while Homer has his pursuits, she has hers in the form of an encyclopedic knowledge of every hashtagged event, stunt, and twist her favorite show can throw at its grasping contestants."[8]

“Heartbreak Hotel” scored a 1.8 rating with a 7 share and was watched by 4.60 million people, making “The Simpsons” Fox's highest rated show of the night.

Cultural referencesEdit

The Amazing Place - the fictional reality adventure game show, which provides basis of the episode - is based on similar reality shows such as Survivor and The Amazing Race. The show's host, Tad Tuckerbag, is based on veteran New Zealand television personality and host of American version of The Amazing Race, Phil Keoghan (and is voiced by fellow New Zealander Rhys Darby).

The episode parodies the 1966 film Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with George Segal reprising his role from the film.


  1. ^ "'The Simpsons' Showrunner Al Jean Addresses Disney Merger, Composer Shake-up and Returning Characters [Interview]". /Film. 2018-02-20. Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  2. ^ "Al Jean on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  3. ^ "Matt Selman on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-09-07.
  4. ^ "Matt Selman on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-09-07.
  5. ^ "Matt Selman on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-09-07.
  6. ^ "Matt Selman on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-09-07.
  7. ^ Sokol, Tony. "The Simpsons Season 30 Episode 2 Review: Heartbreak Hotel". Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  8. ^ Perkins, Dennis (October 8, 2018). "Marge and Homer go Virginia Woolf when The Simpsons does reality TV". The A.V. Club. London, England: Dennis Publishing. Retrieved October 9, 2018.

External linksEdit