Simpsons Did It!: “The Springfield Files”

Man, this episode sure did come with a lot of dated references.  The Budweiser Frogs.  Boris Yeltsin.  And it is something of a crossover episode with another at-the-time Fox show, The X-Files.

The Simpsons is still with us.  The X-Files returned for a really awful final episode that cast a pall over the rest of the short run of new episodes.

What brought us to this point?  As explained by host Leonard Nimoy, the story was full of lies, but they were entertaining lies, so is that all that matters?  No.  But meanwhile in Springfield, Homer figures out a way to cut work early on Friday and heads off to Moe’s.  He gets good and loaded there, and Moe’s use of a breathalyzer tells Homer he has to walk home.  It’s a scary walk.  The Philharmonic plays the Psycho theme all the way home, there are rocks and things to trip over, and Grampa is lost in the woods needing help.  Then Homer sees it…a glowing figure that looks like an alien, bringing peace.

Homer reacts by running away screaming and practicing his penmanship.


The next day, no one will believe him.  But an unsubstantiated rumor of aliens in the heartland of America is enough to get Agents Mulder and Scully on the case. Voiced by David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, the two agents are playing things more or less straight like they do on their show.  They even have the Smoking Man watching a bad attempt to give Homer a lie detector test.  Homer doesn’t see the alien he spotted in a line-up consisting of Chewbacca, ALF, Marvin the Martian, Gort, and either Kang or Kodos.  A treadmill test was unnecessary, but Homer’s jiggling is hypnotic, like a lava lamp.

Finally, the thing to do is retrace Homer’s steps.  Going to Moe’s tells Moe he needs to do something quick about his orca smuggling operation, and Homer’s drunkenness mostly has him sort of hit on Scully, and when they finally go out to the field, they don’t find an alien.  They found Grampa, who apparently never left the forest and a turtle stole his teeth.  For Scully, it’s worse than the time they got the flesh-eating virus.

No one believes Homer, not even Marge.  Well, someone does.  Bart does.  The problem was Homer and the agents didn’t go out to the field on a Friday night.  Bart and Homer can stake the place out and wait.  And sure enough, the alien comes bringing peace, but Homer scares it off this time by stepping in a fire.  Bart got the thing on tape, so one week later the whole town is there, even Nimoy, Mulder, and Scully.

And then the alien comes bringing love.  Is it the love a man has for a woman or the type of love a man has for a good Cuban cigar?  The alien doesn’t know.  But it brings love, which means the townspeople decide to kill it.

Or they would if Lisa, skeptic that she is, doesn’t step forward to show it isn’t an alien.  It’s Mr. Burns.  As Smithers explains, Burns gets a series of medical tests to cheat death for another week every Friday, and afterwards he’s a bit disoriented and weird.  Working in the nuclear plant gave Burns the glow.  The only thing left to do is give Burns a booster shot and lead a singalong.

So, no aliens.  This time.  Keep watching the skis.  Or the skies.  Definitely the skies.

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