|The Simpsons episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3|
|Directed by||Rich Moore|
|Written by||Robert Cohen|
|Original air date||November 21, 1991|
|Chalkboard gag||"Underwear should be worn on the inside"|
|Couch gag||Two thieves steal the couch.|
"Flaming Moe's" is the tenth episode of The Simpsons' third season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 21, 1991. In the episode, Homer tells Moe Szyslak about the Flaming Homer, an alcoholic cocktail of cough medicine and fire that he invented. Moe steals Homer's recipe, renames it the Flaming Moe and sells it at his tavern. The drink is wildly successful and boosts Moe's business, but Homer is angry at him for his betrayal and seeks revenge.
The episode was written by Robert Cohen and directed by Rich Moore, with assistance from Alan Smart. "Flaming Moe's" was the first episode of the show to feature Moe in a prominent role. The main plot of the episode in which Moe's Tavern becomes famous because of a drink is loosely based on the Los Angeles establishment Coconut Teaszer. The episode also parodies the television series Cheers, including the theme song "Where Everybody Knows Your Name", and a character named Collette is modeled after Shelley Long's character Diane Chambers. Catherine O'Hara originally recorded dialogue for the part of Colette, but the writers felt her voice did not fit the role and instead used a track recorded by regular Jo Ann Harris.
American rock band Aerosmith (Steven Tyler, Tom Hamilton, Joey Kramer, Joe Perry and Brad Whitford) appears in the episode. They were the first band to make a guest appearance on the show. Their dialogue was recorded in Boston with Hank Azaria, the voice of Moe, who flew over to record his part with them and help them with their lines.
Homer visits Moe's Tavern, where he learns Moe is struggling financially because people are drinking less and he neglected to pay his Duff Beer distributor. Homer tells him about the Flaming Homer, a drink recipe he invented when Patty and Selma made his family watch slides from their vacation. Homer mixed drops of liquor from near-empty bottles, inadvertently including a bottle of Krusty Brand non-narcotic cough syrup. When Patty dropped cigarette ash in the drink and set it aflame, Homer discovered that fire greatly enhanced the drink's taste.
Moe makes a Flaming Homer for a customer, who loves its taste. When the customer asks what the drink is called, Moe insists it is his invention, a Flaming Moe. Soon word of mouth spreads, leading to a business boom for Moe. To handle the extra customers, he hires a waitress named Colette. Moe renames his tavern Flaming Moe's, which soon becomes one of Springfield's trendiest nightspots and Aerosmith's new hangout. Homer is angry with Moe for stealing his drink recipe and vows never to return. Homer grows obsessed with Moe's betrayal, even hallucinating visions of Moe's face everywhere.
A restaurant chain which wants to buy the drink's recipe has identified all of its components except the secret ingredient. A company representative offers Moe $1 million for the recipe, but he refuses. After Colette learns that Moe stole the recipe from Homer, she makes him promise to apologize to Homer and compensate him. As Moe is about to accept the deal — and share half of the money with him — Homer arrives at the tavern, unhinged by resentment. He loudly reveals to everyone in the bar that the secret ingredient is "nothing but plain, ordinary, over-the-counter children's cough syrup." The representative quickly retracts his offer and leaves.
Soon nearly all bars and restaurants in Springfield are serving Flaming Moes, leaving Moe's business to dwindle again. Homer visits Moe's, where they reconcile after Moe serves him a Flaming Homer free of charge.
Al Jean said the opening two minutes of the episode were inspired by his own childhood where "My sister would have sleepover parties and her friends would always try to kiss me and stuff", something which should be taken with a pinch of salt.
The main plot of the episode, in which Moe's Tavern becomes famous because of a drink, is loosely based on the Los Angeles establishment Coconut Teaszer. According to IGN, "Flaming Moe's" was "one of the first [episodes] to really give Moe the spotlight". There was originally a joke in the episode in which a gay couple walked into "Flaming Moe's", assuming that it was a gay bar because of the name. Matt Groening feels that it was a good thing the joke was cut because he did not feel the writers should bring attention to the name.
Catherine O'Hara originally agreed to provide the voice of Collette the waitress, and went into the studio and recorded her part for the character. According to Mike Reiss, "Something about her did not animate correctly. The voice did not work for our purposes." Jo Ann Harris, a regular voice actor in the show, had recorded a temporary track using an impression of Shelley Long's character (Diane) from Cheers. The producers thought it fit the role better and used it instead of O'Hara, although O'Hara is still credited at the end of the episode. Sam Simon had previously written for Cheers, and contributed much of Collette's dialogue, as he was familiar with writing dialogue for Diane. Originally, there was more to the subplot featuring Moe and Colette, but it was cut because the writers felt it did not work. The third act opens with a parody of "Where Everybody Knows Your Name", the theme song from Cheers. The parody was written by Jeff Martin, and the sequence was designed by future Simpsons director Nancy Kruse.
American rock band Aerosmith were the first band to make a guest appearance on the show. The writers had heard that the band wanted to appear in an episode, so they wrote the guest spot for them. According to Al Jean, they later found out that part of the reason why Aerosmith agreed to appear was the drink's being called the "Flaming Moe". The band was recorded in Boston, and Hank Azaria, the voice of Moe, flew over to record his part with them and help them with their lines. In the original script, Moe tempted the band to play by offering them free beer, but the band members asked that the joke be changed. The writers changed the line to "free pickled eggs". The band is shown sitting at a table with a bearded man, who is modeled after their A&R man John Kalodner. One of the stipulations from the band was to include him in the episode. Kalodner also received a "special thanks to" credit at the end of the episode. Aerosmith's song "Young Lust" from the album Pump plays over the end credits. According to Al Jean, the band recorded a special shortened version of the song just for the episode.
The episode was directed by Rich Moore and Alan Smart. Moore's daughter was born during the production of the episode, and he missed several weeks of layout, which Smart oversaw. When Sam Simon was asked if the premise of the episode was inspired by the tumultuous relationship between himself and Matt Groening, Simon acknowledged, "That may be true."
- The basic premise of the episode is similar to the film Cocktail.
- Martin's presentation at school is about Archer Martin, developer of gas chromatography which is later used in the episode.
- Several references are made to the sitcom Cheers. Collette the waitress is a parody of Cheers character (Diane), and the "theme sequence" for Flaming Moe's, is a direct parody of the famous Cheers theme. Barney Gumble is given a Norm Peterson entrance.
- Aerosmith sings "Walk This Way" in Moe's Tavern and "Young Lust" during the closing credits.
- When Homer reveals the secret of the "Flaming Moe", the scene has many parallels to The Phantom of the Opera including Homer's standing high up in the roof, covering half his face.
- The scene in which Professor Frink analyzes a "Flaming Moe" is an homage to The Nutty Professor.
- The scene where Bart runs away from Lisa and her friends makes reference to the Alfred Hitchcock film North by Northwest.
- Lionel Hutz says a drink can not be copyrighted, citing the "Frank Wallbanger case of '78". This refers to the Harvey Wallbanger cocktail.
- Near the end of the episode, several bars with names similar to "Flaming Moe's" can be seen. This parodies Ray's Pizza in New York City, where dozens of individual establishments have similar names.
In its original airing on the Fox Network during November sweeps, the episode had a 14.4 Nielsen rating and was viewed in approximately 13.26 million homes. It finished the week ranked 29th, up from the season's average rank of 32nd. It finished second in its timeslot behind The Cosby Show, which finished 17th with a 15.9 rating. It was the highest rated show on Fox that week.
The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, called it "Possibly the best Simpsons episode, with a constant stream of gags, inspired animation (in particular the sequence when Homer begins to see and hear Moe everywhere, from Maggie's gurgles to the leaves on the trees), and a superb plot that twists about in every direction but the one you might expect."
DVD Movie Guide's Colin Jacobson wrote "From Lisa's slumber party at the opening through the Cheers spoof at Moe's, this episode's another real winner. Homer gets some of his all-time best lines, including a great run where he mocks Marge's attempts to have him accept his fate. We even find a great twist on Bart's prank phone calls when he asks for "Hugh Jass". All in all, "Flaming" provides a terrific show."
Nate Meyers of Digitally Obsessed gave the episode 5/5, calling it "another great chapter in the history of The Simpsons, with tons of laughs throughout".
Emily VanDerWerff of Slant Magazine called it "a very funny episode" and highlighted the plot's focus on Moe as "an example of the show gradually expanding its supporting townspeople into characters in their own right," as "Moe was just an angry bartender before this episode. After this one, he's the sad man who sometimes tastes success but always lets it slip away because of his inability to do the right thing until it's too late." VanDerWerff also interpreted the episode as a metaphor for Simon's relationship with fellow Simpsons developers Groening and James L. Brooks and Simon's belief that he was not receiving enough credit for The Simpsons.
The episode is on many lists of best Simpsons episodes.
In 2006, IGN named "Flaming Moe's" the best episode of the third season. They wrote, "This episode has tons of standout moments, from the appearance by Aerosmith (the first time a musical act of that caliber appeared as themselves on the series); a funny payoff for all Bart's prank calls to Moe's, when a man named Hugh Jass actually does turn out to be a customer; a deftly done Cheers parody at the height of Moe's success; and Homer turning into a Phantom of the Opera type lunatic."
In Entertainment Weekly's 2003 list of the top 25 The Simpsons episodes ever, it was placed sixteenth. In 2003, Rich Weir of AskMen.com placed the episode in second on his list of his ten favorite episodes of the show. He wrote, "As one of the early episodes that helped solidify the show's sharp wit and satirical ability, "Flaming Moe's" has everything a classic Simpsons episode should have: gut-busting humor, nifty parody, and some superstar cameos to seal the deal. [...] highlights include a performance by Aerosmith (in a guest-starring role), Bart's actually apologizing to Moe for one of his infamous prank calls, and a memorable spoof of Cheers' theme song."
The episode is also a favorite of crew members. In 2003, executive producer Al Jean listed the episode as one of his favorites. When The Simpsons began streaming on Disney+ in 2019, former Simpsons writer and executive producer Bill Oakley named this one of the best classic Simpsons episodes to watch on the service.
In 2006, the members of Aerosmith were collectively named the 24th best Simpsons guest stars by IGN. The song "Flaming Moe's", which parodies "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" from Cheers, was well received. Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly named the song the "Best Theme Song Parody" of 1991. It was later included in the 1997 album Songs in the Key of Springfield, a compilation of songs from the first seven seasons of the show.
Food based on food shown in The Simpsons is sold at Universal Studios Florida, including the Flaming Moe.
- Purple drank, a real life beverage made from cough syrup and soft drink
- Groening, Matt (1997). Richmond, Ray; Coffman, Antonia (eds.). The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family (1st ed.). New York: HarperPerennial. pp. 72–73. ISBN 978-0-06-095252-5. LCCN 98141857. OCLC 37796735. OL 433519M..
- Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "Flaming Moe's". BBC. Retrieved 2008-04-12.
- Ortved, John (2009). The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History. Greystone Books. p. 251. ISBN 978-1-55365-503-9.
- Jean, Al. (2003). Commentary for "Flaming Moe's", in The Simpsons: The Complete Third Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- Goldman, Eric; Dan Iverson, Brian Zoromski (2006-09-08). "The Simpsons: 17 Seasons, 17 Episodes". IGN. Archived from the original on March 2, 2007. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
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- Castellaneta, Dan. (2003). Commentary for "Flaming Moe's", in The Simpsons: The Complete Third Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- Reiss, Mike. (2003). Commentary for "Flaming Moe's", in The Simpsons: The Complete Third Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- Moore, Rich. (2003). Commentary for "Flaming Moe's", in The Simpsons: The Complete Third Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- Evans, Guy. (2013). Interview with Sam Simon, Smells Like Human Spirit [Podcast].
- "CBS predicts ratings victory for season". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. 1991-11-30.
- "Nielsen Ratings/Nov. 18-24". Long Beach Press-Telegram. The Associated Press. 1991-11-27.
- Jacobson, Colin (2003-08-21). "The Simpsons: The Complete Third Season (1991)". DVD Movie Guide. Retrieved 2010-01-07.
- Meyers, Nate (2004-06-23). "The Simpsons: The Complete Third Season". Digitally Obsessed. Retrieved 2009-06-06.
- VanDerWerff, Emily (2007-08-01). "5 for the Day: The Simpsons". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2011-09-08.
- Harvey, Niel (September 4, 2003). "'The Simpsons' Is A Consistent Slam Dunk". The Roanoke Times. p. 8.
- "The Family Dynamic". Entertainment Weekly. 2003-01-29. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
- Weir, Rich (2003). "Top 10: Simpsons Episodes". AskMen.com.
- Potts, Kimberly (2006). "'The Simpsons' Best Episodes: No. 10 - 6". AOL. Retrieved 2010-01-07.
- Sim, Bernardo (2019-09-22). "The Simpsons: The Best Episode In Every Season, Ranked". Screen Rant. Retrieved 2019-09-22.
- "15 writer favorites". USA Today. 2003-02-06. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
- Katz, Mathew (2019-11-11). "The best classic Simpsons episodes on Disney+". Digital Trends.
- Goldman, Eric; Iverson, Dan; Zoromski, Brian. "Top 25 Simpsons Guest Appearances". IGN. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
- Tucker, Ken (1991-12-27). "The Best & Worst Television". Entertainment Weekly.
- Weitz, Matt (1997-04-03). "Out There". Dallas Observer. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
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- "Flaming Moe's" at The Simpsons.com
- "Flaming Moe's episode capsule". The Simpsons Archive.
- "Flaming Moe's" on IMDb
- "Flaming Moe's" at TV.com