Founder / Editor


Associate Editor


Assistant Editor










Perfect Timing: Smothers Brothers Pop Up on "The Simpsons," and Are Dreamy
December 16, 2009  | By David Bianculli
simpsons-smos-2-top.jpgWhen I interviewed Matt Groening for my book Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,' about how strongly Tom and Dick Smothers had influenced his sense of comedy, Groening told me, almost in passing, that he was about to record the siblings for an upcoming episode of The Simpsons. So I knew their animated appearance was coming -- and Sunday, I featured it sight unseen as a BIANCULLI'S BEST BET.

What I didn't know, until it was sight seen, though, was how cleverly they were used, and, even in cartoon form, how funny they were...

The 21st-season episode was titled "O Brother, Where Bart Thou?," and dealt with Bart's sudden yearning for a younger brother. In a lengthy first-act dream sequence, Bart walks through a dreamscape populated by famous brothers: the athletic Manning brothers, the plane-flying Wright brothers, the cough-drop-sucking Smith Bros., even the videogame-playing Mario and Luigi.


Capping the dream, though, was when Bart came upon a bandshell in which Tom and Dick Smothers were singing "Cabbage," a song from their early nightclub act, as a Tiffany-style logo for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was displayed behind them.

In this dream world, the Smothers Brothers profess their love for one another, then Dick says that if Tom hadn't fought CBS so hard in the Sixties, the network never would have fired them. "We quit," Tom insists. When Dick doesn't buy that, Tom shifts to, "YOU were fired," and they argue some more, until Tom pulls out his yo-yo. Then, at the end of the show, their voices reappear in the closing credits, riffing with Dan Castelleneta as Homer.

For a limited time, this is available to see on Hulu.

To see just the dream sequence featuring the Smothers Brothers, click HERE.

Or, to watch the entire show and see the scene in context, and hear the goofy closing-credits dialogue, click HERE.

Meanwhile, the Smothers Brothers continue their current pop-culture resurgence. This month, The Simpsons. Next month, an induction into the Emmy Hall of Fame.

The month after that, who knows?




Gregg B said:

I thought the episode was one of the best of the past few seasons. The Smothers Brothers were hilarious and made me really appreciate how good they still are. I am more than half way through your book and it really was a surprising bright spot seeing them again on network television as I am becoming more and more nostalgic about the Brothers Smothers. BTW love the book and find the puns you throw in wonderful.

Comment posted on December 16, 2009 10:58 AM

Greg Kibitz said:

Synchronicity my friend, Synchronicity.

As in not just perfect timing but divine & cosmic coincidence (not that I believe in such things but wicked cool phrase/term so I went with it). If only a copy of your book could have been worked into the episode as well. Or, better yet, somehow with you as a curmudgeonly character yet again ripping Leno a new one on Ferguson. LOL

Comment posted on December 17, 2009 1:25 PM
Leave a Comment: (No HTML, 1000 chars max)
 Name (required)
 Email (required) (will not be published)
 Website (optional)
Type in the verification word shown on the image.