The Simpsons: Season 9 (1997 - 1998)

SEASON:

Season 9
The Simpsons

Critics Consensus

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67%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 6

93%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 153

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Episodes

Air date: Sep 21, 1997

When Homer Simpson (voice of Dan Castellaneta) and his friends arrive at Moe's Tavern for an evening of beer drinking, Moe Szyslak (voice of Hank Azaria) tells them that they need to name a designated driver before he can serve them. Barney Gumble (also voiced by Castellaneta) unfortunately gets the nod moments before Duffman (voice of Hank Azaria) arrives in the Duff Beer Party Mobile to present Moe's patrons with "a giant, bottomless mug of new Duff Extra Cold!" While Barney stays sober that evening, after dropping off his friends he takes off in Homer's car on a bender that lasts two months. Shortly after Barney returns, Homer gets word that his car is illegally parked in New York City, and that he has 72 hours to pick it up before it's tossed into the East River. Homer has only negative memories of the Big Apple after a brief visit when he was a teenager, but Marge (voice of Julie Kavner), Bart (voice of Nancy Cartwright) and Lisa (voice of Yeardley Smith) would all like to visit the big city, so they tag along as Homer heads to Manhattan to pick up his ride. While Marge and the kids see the sights and take in a Broadway show, Homer waits for one of New York's finest to arrive, which takes longer than he expected. "The City Of New York vs. Homer" was first aired on September 21, 1997, kicking off Season Nine of The Simpsons.

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Air date: Sep 28, 1997

Seymour Skinner (voice of Harry Shearer) is being feted with a special presentation to honor his twenty years as principal of Springfield Elementary School, but the party takes an unexpected turn when a man in a military uniform appears and announces he's the real Sgt. Seymour Skinner (voice of Martin Sheen). Skinner admits the man is telling the truth and shares his true story -- as a teenager, he was a greasy-haired delinquent named Armin Tamzarian, but a stint in the Army put him back on the straight and narrow when he met Sgt. Skinner and learned the value of discipline and small-town life. When Skinner was presumed dead in a mortar attack, Tamzarian decided to take his name and fulfill his great dream of becoming principal of Springfield Elementary. Disillusioned with the revelation that he's an imposter, Tamzarian is fired, and moves to Capitol City to live the sleazy life that was his destiny. Sgt. Skinner is appointed principal in Tamzarian's place, but before long everyone realizes they liked the old Seymour Skinner better than the real thing, including his mother (voice of Tress MacNeille). "The Principal and the Pauper" first aired on September 29, 1997.

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Air date: Oct 19, 1997

Bart Simpson (voice of Nancy Cartwright) has grown tired of listening to his sister Lisa (voice of Yeardley Smith) practice her saxophone, but she doesn't feel like stopping for the day; a fight breaks out between them, and the sax flies out the window, where it's soon crushed by a truck. Lisa becomes despondent, and Marge (voice of Julie Kavner) and Homer (voice of Dan Castellaneta) share the story of how she picked up the instrument in the first place. Years ago, Bart was starting kindergarten and was having trouble fitting in with the other kids; they took him to see child psychologist Dr. J. Loren Pryor (voice of Harry Shearer), and Pryor quickly realizes that Lisa is a gifted child. Pryor suggests Marge and Homer send Lisa to a pre-school for children of above-average intelligence, but they discover there's no way they can afford it. Someone suggests they could encourage Lisa's creativity by getting her a musical instrument, but Homer isn't eager to spend the money he'd earmarked for an air conditioner on his daughter. Meanwhile, Bart makes an important discovery that sends him on a long path of proving bad attention is better than no attention at all. "Lisa's Sax" was first aired on October 19, 1997, and featured a brief voice cameo from Fyvush Finkel, who is shown playing Krusty The Clown in a made-for-TV movie.

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Air date: Oct 26, 1997

In the eighth installment in The Simpsons' annual Halloween cavalcade of ghoulish tales, "Fly vs. Fly" finds Homer Simpson (voice of Dan Castellaneta) buying a matter transportation gadget from Prof. Frink (voice of Hank Azaria) at a garage sale. While playing with the gizmo, Bart (voice of Nancy Cartwright) accidentally combines his atoms with those of a fly, turning him into a fly-headed monster while a bug with Bart's head struggles to reverse the process. In "The Homega Man," a war of words between Mayor Quimby (also voiced by Castellaneta) and France turns ugly and Springfield is attacked by a Gallic neutron bomb. Homer turns out to be the town's lone survivor, and he enjoys the solitude until the recently deceased rise as bloodthirsty zombies. And "Easy Bake Coven" takes us back to 1649, when Springfield was a village ruled by Puritans and many lived in fear of being accused of witchcraft. At one town meeting, Marge (voice of Julie Kavner) is charged with dabbling in the black arts, but she has a surprise for everyone -- she really is a witch, and with her sisters Patti and Selma (both also voiced by Kavner) plans of wrecking revenge of the townspeople. "Treehouse of Horror VIII" was first aired on October 26, 1997.

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Air date: Nov 2, 1997

Professional soccer comes to Springfield when Portugal and Mexico's nation teams arrive for an exhibition match, and in the great tradition of British football Groundskeeper Willie (voice of Dan Castellaneta) starts a riot in the stands that sweeps through the city. Convinced he needs to protect his family, Homer Simpson (also voiced by Castellaneta) decides to buy a gun, though his wife Marge (voice of Julie Kavner) strongly objects to having it in the house. Homer decides to join the National Rifle Association and brings Marge along to a meeting to convince her guns are safe; however, the presentation does nothing to quell her fears, and when Homer starts using his pistol at the dinner table, she informs him either the gun goes or she does. Homer backs down, but hides the weapon rather than getting rid of it, and when she finds it in the refrigerator's vegetable crisper, she packs up the kids and leaves. Homer turns to his friends in the NRA for moral support, but they're as appalled by faulty grasp of gun safety as Marge, and soon he's left with nothing but his firearm for company. "The Cartridge Family" first aired on November 2, 1997.

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Air date: Nov 9, 1997

Pathologically cheerful born-again Christian Ned Flanders (voice of Harry Shearer) becomes coach of the Springfield Wildcats, a little league football team, and Bart Simpson (voice of Nancy Cartwright) joins the squad. True to form, Homer Simpson (voice of Dan Castellaneta) mercilessly heckles Flanders at every game even though he's guiding the team to a winning season, and Flanders quits in frustration. Homer takes over as coach, and cuts Bart from the team for his poor play; Marge (voice of Julie Kavner) urges Homer to give his son another chance, reminding him of his own dad's failure to encourage him as a boy. Homer reconsiders and not only brings Bart back but makes him quarterback. However, the team already has a star quarterback, noted bully Nelson Muntz (also voiced by Cartwright), while Bart has little talent for the position; the team's winning steak is soon a memory, and Bart can't convince his thick-headed father that being the quarterback is only earning him enemies. "Bart Star" also features voice cameos from gridiron stars Joe Namath and Roy Firestone as themselves, and Mike Judge as Hank Hill (from the series King Of The Hill); the episode first aired on November 9, 1997.

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Air date: Nov 16, 1997

Convenience-store magnate Apu Nahasapeemapetilon (voice of Hank Azaria) is drafted at the last minute into participating in a charity bachelor auction, and makes a surprising impression on the single women in attendance. Apu suddenly finds he's Springfield's most eligible bachelor, and is enjoying the attention until he is contacted by his mother (voice of Andrea Martin), who reminds him that's he's pledged to marry a girl named Manjula (voice of Jan Hooks) in a marriage that was arranged when he was a boy. Apu foolishly asks Homer (voice of Dan Castellaneta) for advice, and he suggests Apu tell his mother he's already married. Apu thinks he's off the hook until his mom appears at the Kwik-E-Mart, wanting to meet her daughter-in-law. Marge (voice of Julie Kavner) finds herself pretending to be Apu's wife as Homer hides out with his father at the Springfield Retirement Castle, where he finds assisted living agrees with him. But Mother eventually catches on that Apu is still single, and he's forced with great reluctance to marry a woman he hasn't seen in decades. "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons" first aired on November 16, 1997.

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Air date: Nov 23, 1997

Lisa (voice of Yeardley Smith) learns that Springfield is soon to have a new shopping mall, but she's troubled by the fact that it's being built on a site where rare fossils had been discovered in the past. Lisa threatens to file suit against the developers with the help of cut-rate attorney Lionel Hutz (voice of Phil Hartman), but the businessmen agree to a compromise and allow Lisa to organize an archaeological dig on the property before construction is completed. While Lisa and her fellow students sift the soil looking for historical tidbits, someone finds what looks like a human skeleton with wings growing from its shoulders. Many Springfieldians are convinced the remains of an angel have been unearthed, and Homer (voice of Dan Castellaneta) wastes no time in taking the artifact home and charging people fifty cents a throw to see the artifact. Lisa, on the other hand, isn't so certain that they've found a divine creature, and takes a sample from the skeleton to eminent scientist Stephen Jay Gould (who provides his own voice) in hopes of determining just what the skeleton is. As a debate of faith versus reason sweeps the community, the "angel" disappears, only to reappear bearing a sign reading "The End Will Come at Sundown." "Lisa the Skeptic" was first aired on November 23, 1997.

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Air date: Dec 7, 1997

Tired of life as a stay-at-home mom, Marge Simpson (voice of Julie Kavner) is inspired by shyster lawyer turned real estate agent Lionel Hutz (voice of Phil Hartman) to pursue a new career selling houses. After passing the real estate exam, Marge is hired by Red Blazer Realty, but while she's excited about her new job, she soon discovers that her natural honesty is something of a liability -- her customers are grateful she tells the truth about a house's flaws, but it also keeps them from buying. Told she'll be fired if she doesn't make a sale soon, Marge has to unload a house where a multiple murder took place several years before. While Ned Flanders (voice of Harry Shearer) loves the place and is eager to buy, Marge feels guilty about not telling him about its bloody history. Meanwhile, Homer (voice of Dan Castellaneta) pays a visit to a police auction and buys a vintage muscle car confiscated from frequent jailbird Snake (voice of Hank Azaria), but when Snake sees Homer driving his pride and joy, he flees the honor farm to get it back. "Realty Bites" first aired on December 7, 1997.

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Air date: Dec 21, 1997

It's Christmas Eve in Springfield, and Bart Simpson (voice of Nancy Cartwright) can barely contain his excitement at the prospect of a big stack of presents. Waking up before the rest on the family on the big day, Bart starts opening gifts without them, but after getting a toy fire truck, he ironically sets fire to the Simpsons' artificial Christmas tree, destroying all the gifts under it in the process. Bart is able to hide the evidence before anyone can see him, but when Homer (voice of Dan Castellaneta), Marge (voice of Julie Kavner) and Lisa (voice of Yeardley Smith) ask what happened to their presents, Bart lies and says a burglar made off with them. Homer and Marge report the robbery to the police, and when newsman Kent Brockman (voice of Harry Shearer) puts the story of the Yuletide theft on television, the city opens up its collective heart (and wallet) and the family receive a windfall of fifteen thousand dollars. Homer impulsively spends the money on a new car, but he wrecks it while driving home, and Bart finally tells the truth about what happened to the tree and the presents. When the people of Springfield learn the truth, they turn on the Simpson family until Marge pledges to find a way to pay them back for their generosity. Featuring a voice cameo from Alex Trebek as himself, "Miracle on Evergreen Terrace" was first aired on December 21, 1997.

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The Simpsons: Season 9 Photos

Tv Season Info

America's favorite bright-yellow family travel from Springfield to New York City in the opener of the ninth season. They're on a mission to find their car after Barney Gumble takes off with it during a wild bender (predictably, Homer decides to fight back when he discovers he's received a number of parking tickets). And that's just the first of Homer's many wild schemes this series. He also purchases a gun to protect his family after a soccer riot; enlists in the Navy and accidentally pilots a submarine into Soviet territory; coaches Bart's football team; joins a cult; and runs for sanitation commissioner of Springfield in the series' 200th episode, which features guest stars Steve Martin and U2. Season 9 also takes a renewed interest in Lisa, who might be the only member of the family capable of growing up, as she confronts religious hysteria after the skeleton of an angel is discovered, and later fears a genetic disorder might lead her to become as stupid as her father one day.

Cast & Crew

Dan Castellaneta
Homer Jay Simpson
Yeardley Smith
Lisa Simpson
Hank Azaria
Moe Szyslak/Apu Nahasapeemapetilon/Chief Clancy Wiggum/Dr. Nick Riviera/Carl Carlson
Nancy Cartwright
Bartholomew Jo-Jo "Bart" Simpson/Nelson Muntz
Julie Kavner
Marge Simpson
Harry Shearer
Principal Seymour Skinner/Ned Flanders
Pamela Hayden
Milhouse Van Houten
Marcia Wallace
Mrs. Krabappel / Others
Maggie Roswell
Maude Flanders / Helen Lovejoy / Others
Russi Taylor
Dr. Hibbert's Daughter / Sherri / Terri / Martin Prince
Phil Hartman
Man in Radio Commercial / Mobster / Troy McClure
Hank Williams Jr.
'Canyonero' Singer
Michael Dees
Performer - 'Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral (That's an Irish Lullaby)'
Jan Hooks
Manjula Nahasapeemapetilon
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News & Interviews for The Simpsons: Season 9

Critic Reviews for The Simpsons Season 9

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (1)

From here on out, we're in The Simpsons' decline phase, though there's plenty of room to disagree just how stark the drop-off actually was.

Nov 15, 2017 | Full Review…

Season Eight is hard to surpass, given its wealth of classic episodes. But Season Nine as much celebrated the series' strengths as it did begin to exploit them...

Oct 31, 2017 | Rating: 9/10 | Full Review…

What stands out now is how mean-spirited it is... One of the smartest shows ever was knowingly being stupid, and for what?

Nov 6, 2018 | Full Review…

It's my honor to start spreading the news. If you only watch one television program this weekend, make sure it is the "New York, New York" season premiere of "The Simpsons"

Sep 18, 2018 | Full Review…

While The Simpsons had previously sent up the big city in the guise of Capital City ("the Windy Apple!"), this was the first time that the show took on New York for real, and and it turned out to be a major nemesis for Homer...

Jun 13, 2018 | Full Review…

... "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson" is a classic, as are "The Cartridge Family," "Bart Star," and "The Joy of Sect," among others.

Oct 25, 2017 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Simpsons: Season 9

  • Oct 26, 2020
    It's just so awesome
  • Dec 26, 2018
    El de Nueva York es ahora un clásico.
  • Nov 26, 2016
    The last season in which every episode was golden. Season 9 is the first season with Mike Scully as showrunner and he started with a bang. Beginning with a top 5 episode done by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein, The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson never lets go in its humor. The season finishes brilliantly too with the risky episode Natural Born Kissers. Mike Scully's first Treehouse of Horror and first regular episode (The Cartridge Family) are stand-outs too with many other brilliant episodes that make season 9 a top 5 season.
  • Jan 30, 2014
    Funny at times but sometimes it isn't funny at all, show has been going on too long now i think, overall it is isn't too bad
  • Jan 05, 2014
    It started out good, but teetered very quickly. There are some very good episodes (like "The Cartridge Family"), but overall, the show is suffering from what is likely creative burnout.
  • Nov 30, 2013
    While it's technically where the Golden-era of the Simpsons started to go funny, no thanks to the infamous 'Principal and the Pauper', the series still shows us that they can go the distance.

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