"Springfield Up" is the thirteenth episode of the eighteenth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 18, 2007. In the episode, filmmaker Declan Desmond (Eric Idle) returns to Springfield to film the continuation of his documentary series Growing Up Springfield, which chronicles the lives of several Springfield residents. He visits the town with a film crew every eight years to see how the lives of these people have changed, a plot which parodies the Up documentary series.
|The Simpsons episode|
|Episode no.||Season 18|
Episode 13 (391st overall)
|Directed by||Chuck Sheetz|
|Written by||Matt Warburton|
|Original air date||February 18, 2007|
"Springfield Up" has received generally positive reviews from critics.
Eccentric documentary filmmaker Declan Desmond offers an inside look at his documentary, Growing Up Springfield. His film follows the lives of several Springfield residents, returning to them after eight-year intervals to examine how their lives have changed.
Particularly featured is Homer, who had wanted to be rich as a child, started a family as an adult, and now lives in an enormous mansion. He explains that he became a success after creating a pen that dispenses condiments. As Desmond is interviewing Marge, Mr. Burns arrives; the mansion is his summer home, and he did not give them permission to use it. He has Smithers release attack dogs on the family, chasing them away. Desmond follows Homer, who fears that he now looks like a failure in the documentary.
Marge talks to Desmond and convinces him that Homer truly is a successful person. Feeling sorry for Homer, Desmond produces a compilation of people saying good things about him. When Homer watches it, he realizes that spending time with his family and friends has made him truly happy. Nevertheless, Homer pledges that, by the next Growing Up Springfield film in eight years, he will be a world-famous rock star, and then he and Desmond sing a duet of a song Homer wrote called “Satan You're My Lady” as an exasperated Marge looks on.
The episode was written by Matt Warburton and directed by Chuck Sheetz. It is based on Michael Apted's Up Series, a British documentary series that had followed the lives of 14 British children from 1964 to 2019, from when they were seven years old, and returned every seven years to document their lives up until Apted's death in January 2021. English comedian Eric Idle guest starred in the episode as documentary filmmaker Declan Desmond. Idle played Declan in two earlier episodes, "'Scuse Me While I Miss the Sky" (2003) and "Fat Man and Little Boy" (2004).
The episode has received generally positive reviews from critics.
Robert Canning on IGN named it as one of the three "outstanding" episodes of the eighteenth season. He gave it an 8.5/10 rating and commented that it was "by far one of the best Simpsons episodes from the past few seasons. Jokes and gags came fast and furious, all while telling a great story in a cleverly unconventional way," and added that "At its core, 'Springfield Up' was a simple story about Homer feeling the need to impress the snooty British documentarian, but then realizing his life wasn't as bad as he thought. It's a tale we've seen on The Simpsons time and again, but the fresh twist of having it presented within Desmond's documentary made it very memorable."
TV Squad's Adam Finley wrote: "I didn't love it, and I didn't hate it — for the most part, this week's episode was 'just okay' in my opinion. It was nice to see Eric Idle return [...], but the episode felt like two different episodes battling for the same thirty-minute space. [...] In this episode we spend a lot of time learning about those who grew up in Springfield, but Homer's story is also wedged into the mix — it seems the episode should have just been about Homer feeling depressed about his life, or a lighter episode focusing on all the resident of Springfield. I'm not saying the episode was a complete write off, because I think it was still funny, just a little thinner than I come to expect from this series."
- Canning, Robert (February 7, 2007). "The Simpsons: 'Springfield Up' Review". IGN. Retrieved August 8, 2010.
- "At Race's starting line". The Gazette. February 18, 2007. Archived from the original on November 9, 2012. Retrieved August 8, 2010.
- Hale, Mike (February 18, 2007). "The Week Ahead: Feb. 18 - 24; Television". The New York Times. Retrieved August 8, 2010.
- Sherrow, Rita (February 16, 2007). "Three-part miniseries, 'The State Within' looks at questions of trust among allies". Tulsa World.
- Finley, Adam (February 19, 2007). "The Simpsons: Springfield Up". TV Squad. Retrieved August 8, 2010.
- "Python Idle's Simpsons comeback". The Gold Coast Bulletin. April 3, 2003. p. T03.
- McDonough, Kevin (July 17, 2007). "Best Bets - Tomorrow's Highlights". The Jersey Journal.
- Canning, Robert (June 14, 2007). "The Simpsons: Season 18 Review". IGN. Archived from the original on June 22, 2007. Retrieved June 15, 2007.
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