Crook and Ladder

"Crook and Ladder"
The Simpsons episode
The new Fire Department of Springfield save Luigi.
Episode no. 397
Prod. code JABF13
Orig. airdate May 6, 2007
Show runner(s) Al Jean
Written by Bill Odenkirk
Directed by Lance Kramer
Chalkboard gag "I will not look up what teacher makes."
Couch gag The TV moves aside as The Simpsons are put through a car wash, where they get sprayed with water, blasted with hot wax, and scrubbed with prickly brushes. In the end, Marge’s hair is puffy, the family looks miserable, and Maggie’s pacifier is gone. Three men come in, wipe the family down with rags, and give Maggie a new pacifier.

"Crook and Ladder" is the nineteenth episode of The Simpsons' eighteenth season, which originally aired May 6, 2007. It was written by Bill Odenkirk and directed by Lance Kramer.


Marge, following the advice of a parenting magazine, takes away Maggie's pacifier, leading Maggie to destroy the inside of the Simpson home. Marge decides to get Maggie a new pacifier, but can not find the right brand. Luckily, Santa's Little Helper gives Maggie his squeaky toy that quickly calms Maggie down, but also leads to Homer being unable to sleep. He takes sleeping pills and becomes, in Bart's words, "every boy's dream: a fat, suggestible zombie dad".

One night, Bart and Milhouse take advantage of him by having him take them places. Homer then wakes up while driving, though is initially unresponsive, causing him to crash into the Fire Department, injuring all the firemen and landing them in the hospital. While they recuperate, Homer, Apu, Moe, and Principal Skinner become volunteer firefighters (although Springfield already has a volunteer firefighting program as seen in "Homer the Heretic", "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons", and "Brother's Little Helper"). Mayor Quimby refuses to train them beyond a standard textbook or accept any other volunteers (as Carl and Lenny find out the hard way). The new team, however, is miraculously efficient. After the first few fires, though they initially insist against it, they are rewarded for rescuing the buildings.

This practice eventually spoils them, and when they save Mr. Burns' house and receive no reward, they feel cheated and decide to steal some of his abundant treasures, covering their tracks by claiming they were destroyed by the fire and thus would be of no use in any case. From then on, they start taking items from the places they save for their payment. No one doubts their lie of damage by fire. At first Skinner begins to feel guilty about this, but he chooses to look the other way, and on the one occasion he tries to convince Homer against it after they have begun regularly stealing, Homer ignores him. However, after a few more thefts, Marge and the kids come across Homer stealing; Marge gets them to make a very sad face around Homer. Everywhere he goes, the kids come out of nowhere to show him how sad they are. After the sad faces begin to get annoying, he decides to stop, and convinces the others to stop, after saving Moe and Apu's life. They then give all of their loot to the homeless. The episode ends with a homeless man on a Segway saying he is the "bum of the future".

Cultural references

  • Homer shows Maggie a pacifier that is called Bink 182 — a reference to the pop punk band Blink-182.
  • The song that plays when Bart and Milhouse abuse "Zombie Homer" is Edgar Winter's "Frankenstein".
  • When the tapes fall to complete the domino pattern of Homer's face, series creator Matt Groening's name can be seen at the bottom.
  • When Mr. Burns jumps out of the window, he floats like the feather at the beginning of the 1994 film Forrest Gump, with similar music.
  • Lisa is disgusted that Marge would take advice from a magazine that is published by Larry Flynt. Mr. Flynt is famous for his longtime stewardship of HUSTLER magazine; while he has been at the forefront of free speech and civil liberties issues related to this, it is evident Lisa does not approve of the hard-pornography contents from most of his publications. However, Marge disregards this, telling Lisa to "stop reading mastheads."
  • The song that plays during the montage of Bart, Lisa, and Maggie looking sadly at Homer is "Sad Eyes" by Robert John.
  • The scene where Homer wakes up in bed next to John Lennon is in reference to Lennon & Ono's "Bed-In for Peace", a non-violent anti-war message in the 1960s. In the same scene, when Homer is asked by Rod and Todd "Why he hurt the dollies", his reply is in reference to strict US rules on "illegal" drugs, and lax rules on prescription drugs ("Your uncle is like 80% of America: whacked out on prescription drugs"). It is also shown that, in his sleepwalking rampage on the "Rock n' Roll Wax Museum", Homer had defaced the statues of KISS and melted down a statue of Elvis Presley.
  • In the last fire seen in the episode, a comment Moe makes about a solid-gold grandfather clock indicates that he is quite taken with actress Ellen Barkin.
  • When Bart knocks down the domino-lined videotapes, the first one in line is a tape of the 1984 horror film C.H.U.D.
  • One of the items that Homer and Apu throw out the window of Costington's is a "Sorny" DVD player; a parody of Sony. "Sorny" was mentioned on the season seven episode "Scenes from a Class Struggle in Springfield" when Homer buys his TV at a gray-market outlet store that carries off-brand electronics (such as Magnetbox, Panaphonics, and Sorny).
  • Rainier Wolfcastle gives the volunteer firefighters a jacket promoting his film "Frankenberry 2: Frankenberry Wears Prada". This references the General Mills breakfast cereal Frankberry as well the 2006 film The Devil Wears Prada, based on the 2003 book of the same name. Rodd said the line from Mcgruff The Crime Dog's song when he told Homer that "users are losers".

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  • Hook ladder — Hook Hook (h[oo^]k; 277), n. [OE. hok, AS. h[=o]c; cf. D. haak, G. hake, haken, OHG. h[=a]ko, h[=a]go, h[=a]ggo, Icel. haki, Sw. hake, Dan. hage. Cf. {Arquebuse}, {Hagbut}, {Hake}, {Hatch} a half door, {Heckle}.] 1. A piece of metal, or other… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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