The Seven-Beer Snitch
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|"The Seven-Beer Snitch"|
|The Simpsons episode|
|Episode no.||Season 16|
|Directed by||Matthew Nastuk|
|Written by||Bill Odenkirk|
|Original air date||April 3, 2005|
|Couch gag||The Simpsons sit down on the couch. A roasting spit skewers the couch and the floor below pulls back to reveal a fiery pit. The Simpsons are then spun around over the heat. Marge's hair is soon on fire.|
Steven Dean Moore
The Simpsons go to Shelbyville to see a musical, which paints Shelbyvillians as smart, sophisticated people and Springfielders as hicks and morons. Afterward, an angry Marge goes to Springfield's Cultural Advisory Board to brainstorm a plan to make Springfield more sophisticated and gets the idea to hire architect Frank Gehry to build a concert hall. The $30 million project is eventually finished, but opening night proves to be a bust when everyone in Springfield leaves after hearing the first five notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Eventually, the building falls into shambles from abandonment.
At the town meeting, Mr. Burns agrees to buy the hall and turn it into a state prison. Homer applies for a job as a guard, but is rejected after Otto switches his thoroughly drug-laded urine sample with Homer's. Mr. Burns soon forces Chief Wiggum to reinstate old and forgotten laws to fill his prison with convicts and make more money. Homer becomes one of those convicts after getting caught kicking a can five times down the street.
Meanwhile, Bart and Lisa find out that Snowball II has been gaining weight. Lisa follows her and discovers she has been regularly visiting and eating food from another family, who believe she is theirs and nicknamed her "Smokey". Snowball prefers her second family to the Simpsons, to Lisa's dismay. Bart goes in to set the record straight, but instead the family fills him up with good food and teaches him the same trick they had taught Snowball.
Homer is sent to work in the prison kitchen and becomes a prison snitch after unwittingly alerting the guards of Snake's escape attempt. Soon, Homer is rewarded with food, special treatment, and a new plasma TV, but the other prisoners soon learn he is a snitch after he openly reveals this to Marge in the visitation room. After using a fake claim of a prison break to lure out all of the guards, the prisoners attack Homer. Using the key to the concert hall given to her as head of the Springfield Cultural Activities Board, Marge finds Homer in the kitchen with the other prisoners on his tail. They take refuge in the gas chamber, where Marge scolds Homer about the lives he ruined with his tattling.
Before the prisoners can attack Homer and Marge, the guards come in with tear gas and riot gear. As they are released, Homer uses his snitching for good by telling Governor Mary Bailey about the prison's deplorable conditions and food. Bailey tells the prisoners that since there is no room left in the prisons they were transferred from, they will be put on a garbage barge and bare-knuckle box until someone emerges as their king, a plan the hardened convicts applaud.
Homer is eventually released, which pleases Marge, and heads out to Moe's after she falls asleep. Before entering the bar, he bumps into Snowball, who is still overweight and also approaching the bar at the same moment. He promises not to tell on her if she doesn't tell on him.
During the end credits, Homer runs into the concert hall, claiming the building is a death trap. Bart tells Homer that the entire scene is a dream Homer had after he fell asleep watching The Towering Inferno, at which point Homer asks Bart how he knows the name of his prophetic vision.
Frank Gehry guest starred in the episode of himself, becoming the first architect to appear on The Simpsons. According to Matt Chaban of The New York Observer, "Because of his successful style, Frank Gehry sometimes comes under criticism for being a hack whose buildings all look the same—even if in their 50th iteration, those waving bands of metal still look amazing, fresh and different. This sensibility was, like so many other things, immortalized on The Simpsons." The episode makes fun of Gehry's architectural style in a throwaway gag, which sees Gehry becoming unintentionally inspired for the design of the concert hall after crumpling up Marge's letter and hurling it to the ground. The crumpled letters becomes the model for the building. As a result of the scene, according to Gehry, many people believe this is how he actually received the inspiration for his real-life buildings, particularly the Walt Disney Concert Hall, though this is not the case. He told the public affairs show Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN in September 2011 the gag was just "a fun – fun thing. But it has – it has haunted me. People do – who've seen The Simpsons believe it." He also commented that "Clients come to me and say crumple a piece of paper, we'll give you $100 and then we'll build it."
- Chaban, Matt (2011-09-05). "Frank Gehry Really, Really Regrets His Guest Appearance on The Simpsons". The New York Observer. Retrieved 2011-09-10.
- "Transcripts - Fareed Zakaria GPS: The Role of Women in the World; Interview With Robot Comedian". CNN. Retrieved 2011-09-10.
- Crerar, Simon (2007-07-05). "The 33 funniest Simpsons cameos ever". The Times. Retrieved 2010-08-09.