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'The Simpsons': 5 Best Courtroom Scenes (and Lessons for Lawyers)

By Mark Wilson, Esq. | Last updated on

Hi, I'm Mark Wilson! You may remember me from such Greedy Associates blog posts as "What's for Lunch? 5 Foods That Won't Put You to Sleep" and "Post-Bar Blues? Join a Bar Committee!"

With so many great lawyer characters in "The Simpsons" (Lionel Hutz, the Blue-Haired Lawyer, and Judge Snyder, just to name a few), we thought we'd cash in on cable TV network FXX's "#EverySimpsonsEver" marathon to remember some of the Best. "Simpsons" courtroom scenes. Ever.

Here are our Top 5 -- along with a few lawyerly takeaways:

1. "The Devil and Homer Simpson."

In one of the shorts in 1993's "Treehouse of Horror IV," Homer sells his soul to the devil (Ned Flanders?) for a donut. Homer eats the donut, but demands a trial. The devil obliges, convening a skeleton judge and the "jury of the damned," which includes Lizzie Borden, Benedict Arnold, and Richard Nixon. Homer is represented by Lionel Hutz, who escapes out the bathroom window halfway through the trial. Ultimately, the jury decides Homer's soul already belonged to Marge, as evidenced by a notation on the back of an old photograph.

Your takeaway? Make sure when you're entering a contract that it's still enforceable.

2. "The New Kid on the Block."

In this 1992 episode, Homer gets kicked out of the Captain McAllister's all-you-can-eat seafood restaurant (The Frying Dutchman), even though he hadn't eaten all he could. So Homer sues the captain for fraud. After a trial in which Lionel Hutz convinces the jury that Homer really didn't have all he could eat, Homer and Captain McAllister reach a settlement where Homer can eat all he wants -- but only if he sits in the front window of the restaurant next to a sign that says "Bottomless Pete: Nature's Cruelest Mistake."

As seasoned negotiators may recognize, this episode is a great example of a settlement: Everyone wins (except Marge, who has to sit next to Homer as he eats all he can eat)!

3. "The Boy Who Knew Too Much."

While playing hooky from school in a 1994 episode, Bart walks into the Quimby compound and witnesses an altercation between Mayor Quimby's nephew, Freddy, and a waiter who refuses to say "chow-dah" with the appropriate New England accent. After the waiter ends up horribly injured, Freddy is charged -- but Bart knows he didn't do it. Bart must decide between letting an innocent man go to jail and admitting to Principal Skinner that he skipped school.

Remember, as a lawyer, it's important that you do the right thing -- even if, like Bart, you end up paying for it in the end.

4. "The Day the Violence Died."

In 1996, Bart and Lisa discovered that a hobo named Chester J. Lampwick was the actual creator of Itchy and Scratchy. During a trial, Krusty the Clown recognizes Chester: Krusty gave him a couple of blintzes in 1947 to paint his fence. (Abe Simpson also gave him a plate of corn muffins in 1947 to paint his chicken coop.) Ultimately, Bart proves that Roger Meyers Sr. stole the idea for Itchy and Scratchy from Chester. Chester demands $800 billion -- so he can buy a solid gold house -- causing Itchy and Scratchy Studios to go out of business.

In reality, of course, Chester's lawyer would have suggested he enter into a lucrative licensing agreement so that he could have a steady flow of cash forever.

5. "Das Bus."

Otto crashes the school bus into the water, stranding the Springfield Elementary children on a desert island. One day, their food goes missing and everyone blames Milhouse. At a trial on the island, Lisa defends Milhouse while Nelson prosecutes. Nelson's trial strategy is to punch Milhouse until he admits he stole the food. Bart, acting as judge, acquits Milhouse of stealing the food -- but that doesn't stop the others from trying to kill him. Ultimately, it turns out a wild boar took the vast majority of the food; Milhouse took only "two sandwiches and a bag of Doritos."

The lawyerly takeaway? There's a good reason why we place such a high burden of proof on prosecutors: Sometimes, the most intuitive explanation isn't always the right one (or, ignore "conventional wisdom").

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