The ‘X’s’ and ‘Doh’s’ of Gambling

“Are you playing poker with my college fund?”

Lisa Simpson gasped at her brother once she realized he was up to no good. What would she expect? 10-year-old Bartholomew JoJo Simpson, star of The Simpsons, the longest running animated series in American television history, is a notorious prankster, who takes pride in underachieving. And, wherever he goes, with character traits like mischievousness, rebelliousness, and a stanch disrespect for authority, trouble isn’t far behind. So, for him to be sitting there, logged in and playing online poker on her account shouldn’t have come as a surprise to his younger sibling. Also, no shocker? He wasn’t phased in the slightest.

“I’m only down $62,” he said nonchalantly. “Not including my tips to waitresses.”

As the camera zooms in for a close-up of the computer screen, Bart clicks the ‘Tip Your Server’ button, a casino chip flies through the air, and lands inside the v-neck top of a well-endowed cocktail waitress. Incredulous, Lisa slams the laptop shut and screams, “get your hands off my future!”

As with all great comedy hi jinx, the scene is far from over. While attempting to log out after Bart left the room, Lisa finds herself staring down at pocket queens. “That’s a great start,” she said, as she proceeded to flop quads. Four queens, baby. Of course, she played the hand and won. With that, a poker career was born, and her college tuition was in play and at risk. No gamble, no future, right?

Fictional High Rollers

Team Maple has already brought you the individual exploits of Bugs Bunny, perhaps the greatest gambler ever, who once won a whopping $8 billion at Yosemite Sam’s Casino in the 2004 cartoon short Hare and Loathing in Las Vegas. What’s up Doc? Lucky rabbit’s feet, that’s what. We’ve also told you about the wagering woes of Fred Flintstone, a problem gambler who once lost a week’s wages at the dinosaur-horse races. When it comes to betting, Ole’ Freddie Boy should yabba dabba don’t.

This week, we turn our attention to one of the most popular sitcoms ever, The Simpsons. A satirical depiction of American life, it was created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company, and debuted all the way back on December 17, 1989. Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie have been delighting audiences ever since. Set in the fictional town of Springfield, the show parodies society, pop-culture and the human condition, gambling too.

On-air for 32 years now, The Simpsons library consists of close to 700 episodes. Team Maple has searched through the entire catalogue at imdb.com, and has compiled a list of ten episodes containing the search words ‘gamble’, ‘bet’, ‘wager’ or ‘poker’ in the either the title, or brief show description:

Lisa the Greek

Season 3, Episode 14, Aired January 23, 1992

Description: Homer uses Lisa (and her prognostic skills) to help him bet on football games.

Conversations:

Homer: Your mother has this crazy idea that gambling is wrong, even though they say it’s okay in the Bible.

Lisa: Really? Where?

Homer: Eh, somewhere in the back.

Lisa: (reading her school essay) The happiest day of my life was three Sundays ago. I was sitting on my Daddy’s knee when the Saints, who were four and a half point favourites but only up by three, kicked a meaningless field goal at the last second to cover the spread.

Ms. Hoover: (shocked) Dear God!

Lisa the Greek

Tidbit: The episode aired only days before Super Bowl XXVI, and correctly predicted that the Washington Redskins would win.

Homer at the Bat

Season 3, Episode 17, Aired February 20, 1992

Description: Homer and his co-workers qualify for the plant softball team’s league final, but Mr. Burns hires nine professional MLB players in order to win a $1 million bet.

$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)

Season 5, Episode 10, Aired December 16, 1993

Description: Mr. Burns builds a casino when Springfield decides to legalize gambling, with Marge becoming addicted to the slot machines.

Conversation:

Lisa: (about her costume) I’m a monster!

Homer: No, Lisa, the only monster here is the gambling monster that has enslaved your mother. I call him Gamblor, and it’s time to snatch your mother from his neon claws!

Marge Simpson at a slot machine

Viva Ned Flanders

Season 10, Episode 10, Aired January 10, 1999

Description: When Homer takes Ned to Las Vegas in an attempt to get him to loosen up, the two end up drunkenly marrying a pair of cocktail waitresses.

Bart to the Future (Season 11, Episode 17, Aired March 19, 2000)

Description: Bart gets a glimpse of the future while the family is on vacation at an Indian casino.

Tidbit: A disastrous Donald Trump presidency? Yes, in this episode Bart has a vision thirty years into the future, when Lisa is the President of the United States in 2030, and asked with fixing the economy Trump left behind.

We’re on a Road to D’ohwhere

Season 17, Episode 11, Aired January 29, 2006

Description: When Homer is on his way to Vegas to meet up with his friends, he has to make a detour to take Bart to an education camp. Meanwhile, Marge has discovered a surprising source of income.

Conversation:

Bart: Dad, if you take me to Vegas, I’ll teach you how to cheat at blackjack.

Homer: Boy, you don’t need to cheat when you got a system.

Bart: What’s your system?

Homer: [whispering] I don’t tell your mother how much I’ve lost.

We're on the Road to D'oh where

The Burns and the Bees

Season 20, Episode 8, Aired December 7, 2008

Description: Mr. Burns wins a professional basketball team in a poker game, and the new arena he plans to have Springfield build for the team threatens to interfere with Lisa’s new bee sanctuary.

Gone Abie Gone

Season 24, Episode 4, Aired November 11, 2012

Description: Homer invests Lisa’s college fund on an online poker site. Meanwhile Abe disappears from the Springfield Retirement Castle.

Gone Abie Gone

Sky Police

Season 26, Episode 16, Aired March 8, 2015

Description: The congregation, led by Marge, is forced to resort to gambling in order to collect money to fix the church, which Chief Wiggum destroyed with a jet pack he received by mistake.

Moho House

Season 28, Episode 20 Aired May 7, 2017

Episode aired 7 May 2017

Description: Mr. Burns makes a bet with his old friend that nothing can break Homer and Marge apart. But that’s where Moe comes in.

Conversation:

Homer: I hope you kids haven’t lost any respect for your old man.

Bart: You can’t lose what you don’t have.

Homer: Thanks, boy.

That’s what you might call the ‘X’s’ and ‘Doh’s’ of gambling.

Derrick Oliver

Derrick Oliver

Derrick Oliver Dewan is the founder of High Roller Radio, and has interviewed a number of the world’s top poker players including Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer and Barbara Enright. A former, long-time radio and television broadcaster, Derrick has always had a passion for all things gambling (and darts too). He has even played at the World Series of Poker and other cash games all around the world.

To see more of Derrick is up to on a day-to-day basis, go follow him on Twitter @HighRollerRadio

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