"Selma's Choice" is the thirteenth episode of The Simpsons' fourth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 21, 1993. In the episode, Selma decides to have a baby, inspired by her late aunt's wish that she would not spend her life alone. She experiences what life with children is like by taking Bart and Lisa to the Duff Gardens amusement park, which does not go as planned. It was written by David M. Stern and directed by Carlos Baeza.
|The Simpsons episode|
|Episode no.||Season 4|
|Directed by||Carlos Baeza|
|Written by||David M. Stern|
|Original air date||January 21, 1993|
|Chalkboard gag||"I will not yell 'she's dead' during roll call".|
|Couch gag||The Simpson family is caught by a net on the ground.|
David M. Stern
After watching an advertisement on television for Duff Gardens, Homer, Bart and Lisa decide to go. As they prepare to leave, Marge tells them that spinster Great Aunt Gladys died and they will be going to her funeral instead. The Simpsons, along with Patty and Selma, drive to Littleneck Falls to attend her funeral and the reading of her will. On the video will, Great Aunt Gladys advises Patty and Selma not to die alone, as she did. Selma hears the ticking of her biological clock, and decides she wants a child. Selma tries video dating, but gets rejected by Groundskeeper Willie. She goes to a psychic who tries to sell her a love potion. The psychic ingests it, blurts out the innocuous ingredients and discovers that she accidentally drank a truth serum. Selma dates Hans Moleman after revoking his license at the DMV. All goes well until Hans tries to kiss her goodnight; Selma envisions herself as the mother of several ugly, blind children and kicks Hans out of the car to prevent that future from happening. Lisa then suggests to Selma that she go through artificial insemination.
When the day comes for Homer to take Bart and Lisa to Duff Gardens, he falls ill from food poisoning after eating a hoagie that became spoiled days, if not weeks earlier after he took it home from a company picnic. In an attempt to give Selma a taste of motherhood, Marge nominates her to take the kids to Duff Gardens while she stays home to look after Homer.
When the trio arrives at Duff Gardens, Bart and Lisa wear Selma out, especially when they go on the Little Land of Duff ride and Bart dares Lisa to drink the "water," but she's unsure. After a round of chicken clucks and "Quit it!"s Selma intervenes, shouting at Bart to shut up and ordering Lisa to drink the water. When Lisa takes a sip, she hallucinates, grows violent and paranoid, and wanders away from the ride, tripping out to the parade music. While Selma is looking for Lisa, Bart gets on a roller coaster called The Barrel Roll and ends up having to be rescued after the car stops in the center of one of the inversions. Lisa is soon found swimming nude in the Fermentarium by some workers and is returned to Selma as Lisa proclaims "I am the Lizard Queen!" Selma is then given pills by a man she assumes is a doctor, who informs her he isn't.
Writer David Stern said he wanted to go back to a "Patty and Selma episode", because it was sustained so well when he wrote "Principal Charming". He thought it was important to "keep these characters (Patty and Selma) alive." The animators had trouble with the size of the characters' pupils during the season. In this episode, they are noticeably larger. When the family watches the video will, Julie Kavner did five voices in the scene. When Great Aunt Gladys shows off her collection of potato chips, the scene was inspired by Myrtle Young, who appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. During an interview with David Letterman, Young said she was working in quality control at a potato chip factory, and collected potato chips that looked like, amongst other things, famous people. The scene where Homer ate a chip is a reference to the Johnny Carson appearance, where, whilst Young was looking away, Johnny ate a chip from a separate bowl (not of the collection), Young, thinking Johnny had ate a chip from her collection, was shocked, before Johnny cleared up the misunderstanding. Jub-Jub made his debut appearance in this episode; the name of the iguana Jub-Jub came from Conan O'Brien.
Selma would later be depicted adopting a baby, a permanent character development, in the 2005 episode "Goo Goo Gai Pan" from season 16.
The episode title is a take on the 1982 film Sophie's Choice. Marge's flashback of her and her sisters swimming in a lake is based on The Prince of Tides. The singers at Duff Gardens, Hooray for Everything, are a parody of the musical group Up with People. The group is seen performing a kid-friendly version of the Lou Reed song "Walk on the Wild Side". Homer and Bart start to sing "Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead" from The Wizard of Oz. The poem that Great Aunt Gladys reads at the start of her video will is "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost. Duff Gardens is a parody of Busch Gardens, originally developed as a marketing vehicle for the Anheuser-Busch brewing company. The song and ride that Bart, Lisa, and Selma go on, with animatronic kids from all over the world singing is a parody of the song "It's a Small World". The Duff Gardens parade is a parody of Disneyland's Main Street Electrical Parade. as Lisa's hallucination where she sees Selma after drinking the water on the ride is based on the work of artist Ralph Steadman, particularly in the novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. When Lisa says "I am the Lizard Queen!", it is a tribute to Jim Morrison's poem "Celebration of the Lizard". After acquiring Jub-Jub, Selma sings "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman", a reference to the season four finale of the sitcom Murphy Brown, in which reporter Murphy Brown sings the song after giving birth to her baby.
The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood said, "A nice episode for Selma and good for Marge and Homer as well. But it's the kids who provide the highlights in this one, with their antics at Duff Gardens."
The author of Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Documented an Era and Defined a Generation, Chris Turner said it "Fills in with the usual grab bag of great gags" and "The episode had some crowd-pleasing moments." He went on to say, "The last few minutes of the show played out to continuous laughter [in the pub he was watching it in]".
- Richmond & Coffman 1997, p. 106.
- Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (1993). "Selma's Choice". BBC. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
- "Selma's Choice". The Simpsons.com. Retrieved 2011-09-17.
- Stern, David (2004). The Simpsons The Complete Fourth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Selma's Choice" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Reardon, Jim (2004). The Simpsons The Complete Fourth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Selma's Choice" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Jean, Al (2004). The Simpsons The Complete Fourth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Selma's Choice" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Reiss, Mike (2004). The Simpsons The Complete Fourth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Selma's Choice" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- ""The Simpsons" Writers Reunion – Serious Jibber-Jabber with Conan O'Brien – CONAN on TBS". Team Coco. 17 April 2013. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
- "Nielsen Ratings/Jan. 18–24". Press-Telegram. Associated Press. 1993-01-27. p. C5.
- Turner 2004.
- Groening, Matt (1997). Richmond, Ray; Coffman, Antonia (eds.). The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family (1st ed.). New York: HarperPerennial. ISBN 978-0-06-095252-5. LCCN 98141857. OCLC 37796735. OL 433519M.
- Turner, Chris (2004). Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Defined a Generation. Foreword by Douglas Coupland. (1st ed.). Cambridge: Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-306-81341-2. OCLC 670978714.