“Well, get a last look at the beautiful ocean scenery, kids.” – Homer Simpson
A few weeks ago I noticed something peculiar about Season 7: half the episodes end with a sunset or something similar, often with someone heading off into it. As near as I can tell, it’s not like that in any other season. Even Season 8, which was run and written by most of the same people as Season 7, features a more typically random assortment of endings. These are the endings of the Season 7 episodes that were done under Oakley and Weinstein:
Radioactive Man – Movie safely back in Hollywood.
Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily – The family walks into the sunset.
Bart Sells His Soul – Bart and his soul row into a sunset like gleaming emerald city.
Lisa the Vegetarian – Homer and Lisa walk into the sunset.
Treehouse of Horror VI – Erotic cakes.
King-Size Homer – Homer doing sit ups at night.
Mother Simpson – Homer watches his mom drive into the sunset.
Sideshow Bob’s Last Gleaming – The ending happens at sunset (which Grampa drives off into).
The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular – Hard core nudity!
Marge Be Not Proud – Marge and Bart hugging.
Team Homer – Homer stealing the bowling trophy.
Two Bad Neighbors – Gerald Ford and Homer walk off to Ford’s house . . . at sunset.
Scenes From the Class Struggle in Springfield – Family eating at Krusty Burger.
Bart the Fink – Krusty, Bart and Lisa walk along the beach at sunset.
Lisa the Iconoclast – Homer marching in the parade.
Homer the Smithers – Family eating Smithers’ gift basket.
The Day the Violence Died – Bart staring down Lester.
A Fish Called Selma – Selma walking into a moonrise.
Bart on the Road – Homer giggling in bed as Marge keeps getting weird phone calls.
22 Short Films About Springfield – Frink complaining.
Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in "The Curse of the Flying Hellfish" – German guy drives into the sunrise.
Much Apu About Nothing – Willie is deported.
Homerpalooza – Family in the car discussing being cool.
Summer of 4 Ft. 2 – Crab with Homer’s Buzz can walks off into the sunset.
Now, look at this:
There are twenty-three Oakley & Weinstein episodes in Season 7, and that’s ten of them. Now, as tempting as it is to work this into a metaphor about the sunset of the show’s good years, I don’t think there’s anything profound or insightful here. I have no idea if it was intentional, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t even notice they were doing it at the time. But when you line them all up like that, and all those sunsets are staring you in the face, it does seem like they were on a bit of a theme.
I’m just curious as to whether or not anyone’s ever noticed that before. I’ve been watching these episodes for years and years and never put it together before now.