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"The Haw-Hawed Couple"
The Simpsons episode
Nelson and Bart.png
Bart and Nelson.
Episode no. 386
Prod. code JABF02
Orig. airdate December 10, 2006
Show runner(s) Al Jean
Written by Matt Selman
Directed by Chris Clements
Couch gag A pair of cartoon hands cuts a piece of paper into the shape of Homer; they pull it out to reveal the rest of the family holding hands.[1]

"The Haw-Hawed Couple" is the eighth episode of the The Simpsons' eighteenth season and first aired December 10, 2006.[2]. In the episode, Bart becomes Nelson's new best friend and under Nelson's protection no one dares to mess with Bart. It was written by Matt Selman and directed by Chris Clements.[1] In its original run, the episode received 8.29 million viewers.[3] The episode's title is a pun on The Odd Couple, emphasizing Nelson's style of laughing.



Marge and Homer are making love in their room while playing a tape of their arguments so the kids will not come in. When a flying article of clothing hits the tape recorder and plays America's "A Horse with No Name", Bart and Lisa decide to come in. Bart ends up traumatized by the sight and is an emotional wreck the following day. While he's coping, Nelson coerces Bart and Milhouse for their lunch money but also invites him and the rest of the class to his upcoming birthday party. Although Bart convinces all his friends not to go to Nelson's birthday party, Marge forces him to attend. After the party, Bart becomes Nelson's new best friend and under Nelson's protection no one dares to mess with Bart. There is only one drawback to his newfound friend/bodyguard; he can no longer pal around with Milhouse because Nelson has never had a best friend before and is overly protective and jealous. Eventually, Nelson discovers that Bart had been playing with Milhouse, which leads him to no longer consider Bart a friend. He eventually decides to forgive Bart, however Bart tells Nelson that he thinks he is a psycho. Later, during a field trip to some tidepools, Nelson confronts Bart in a cave, telling Bart that he is a bad friend. Suddenly, high tide comes and Nelson saves Bart (but only because they were field trip buddies). Later Bart goes home and remembers the good times he had with Nelson while hugging a "Nelson vest" he had received (a Brokeback Mountain movie reference). Nelson rides by on a bike and shouts "Haw Haw! I touched your heart!"

Meanwhile, Homer finds himself hooked on one of Lisa's fantasy books, choosing to read an Angelica Button book to Lisa, as opposed to snuggling with Marge. Homer eventually reads ahead and finds that one of the characters, Greystash, is killed while trying to save Angelica. Upon hearing that Greystash dying would be the end of Lisa's childhood, Homer is unable to bring himself to read the last chapter to Lisa, and improvises a happy ending instead involving Greystash defeating the evil wizard. Afterwards, Lisa reads the real ending and decides that Homer's ending was better. During the credits, Homer is seen at Moe's Tavern, still mourning the loss of the Headmaster ("No man should have to outlive his fictional wizard!") while Carl and Lenny look at him.

Cultural references

  • This episode's title is a pun on The Odd Couple.
  • The song played on the tape recorder is "A Horse With No Name" by America. When Lisa hears the song, she refers to it as "county fair music".
  • The scene where Martin illustrates in front of the other children that individually they are weak (by breaking a single twig), but as a bundle they are unbreakable (like a bundle of tweaks) is from the legend of the dying Bulgar ruler khan Kubrat talking to his sons.
  • Actors dressed as Spider-Man and Dr. Octopus make an appearance at Nelson's party.
  • Lisa's fantasy book is mostly a reference to Harry Potter, specifically the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, with Greystash being a parody of Dumbledore. It also contains elements of The Chronicles of Narnia and Deltora Quest while Angelica's trap, a giant hourglass, is similar to Disney's Aladdin. Malawishes Crump, the wizard that kills Greystash is a parody of Lord Voldemort.
  • The scene which follows Bart and Nelson as they enter the cafeteria through the back of the school and through the kitchens while Bart acts as a narrator is a direct parody of the celebrated three-minute tracking shot from Goodfellas which shows Henry and Karen Hill as they enter a nightclub through the back accompanied by Henry's narration. The song played is "He's a Rebel" by The Crystals.
  • When Bart comes to Nelson's home after he had played with Milhouse, Nelson gets mad, breaks his camera and says "Look what you made me do!" This is parody of Stephen King's movie Misery.
  • The scene with Nelson's vest and picture in the closet is a reference to the end of Brokeback Mountain with the guitar music of Gustavo Santaolalla.
  • The scene in which Bart and Milhouse play with kites may be a reference to The Kite Runner.


This episode was subsequently nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in 2007 for Outstanding Animated Program (Less Than One Hour) but lost to South Park.[4] Matt Selman was also nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award in the animation category; the award was won by The Simpsons episode "Kill Gil: Vols. 1 & 2".[5]


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