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"The Seemingly Never-Ending Story"
The Simpsons episode
The Seemingly Neverending Story.png
Promotional image for The Seemingly Never-Ending Story
Episode no. 369
Prod. code HABF06
Orig. airdate March 12, 2006
Written by Ian Maxtone-Graham
Directed by Raymond Persi
Couch gag The couch (with Marge, Maggie, Bart, and Lisa on it) is delivered to the living room via a conveyor belt and stops in front of the TV. Homer is added on by a mechanical arm and the couch continues onward.
Guest star(s) Maurice LaMarche

"The Seemingly Never-Ending Story" is the 13th episode of The Simpsons' 17th season. It originally aired in the United States on March 12, 2006. The title is a take-off from the 1979 Michael Ende book, The Neverending Story.



While visiting a cave, Homer meddles with a very fragile stalactite, with the result that the whole family ends up in a hidden cavern below the main tour—with Homer stuck in a narrow hole, half in and half out of the cavern. To pass the time, Lisa begins to tell a story.

Lisa tells how, the week before, she had been out for a walk when a bighorn sheep inexplicably attacked her. She ran to the nearest shelter, Mr. Burns' house. The animal bursts in, and she and Mr. Burns wind up in the attic. There, Lisa finds a photo of Mr. Burns as an employee at Moe's, and he tells her the origins of it.

Mr. Burns explains that once, he and the Rich Texan were involved in a scavenger hunt, the winner of which would get all the possessions of the loser. Mr. Burns was unable to find the last item on the list—a picture of himself with a smiling child. (Every child was terrified of him and Milhouse says he is the "boogeyman's grandfather".) The Texan won, and Mr. Burns had to go and work at Moe's. While there, he found a note to be opened when Moe died, which led to Moe's story of a hidden treasure.

Apparently, the summer before Mrs. Krabappel was to begin teaching, she and Moe met and fell in love, albeit without her knowing he owned a bar (she hates bar owners). Moe wanted to leave Springfield with her but had no money. He then discovered that Snake—who used to be an idealistic archaeologist—had discovered a large batch of Mayan coins he was going to donate to the museum. Moe ended up stealing them, turning Snake to a life of crime. He was then about to leave town with Edna, but when she went into the school to explain that she was quitting, she saw Bart. (This leads to her story.) Bart explained he had all-summer detention, and felt he was a lost cause because no one believed in him. Edna declared that come the next year, when she was to teach fourth grade, she would help him to succeed, and explained this to Moe. It turns out, however, that Bart was actually just distracting Edna while he and Nelson was stealing stuff from the classroom.

Moe put the coins in his jukebox. Mr. Burns (here ends Moe's story) opened it up and gave them to the Texan to buy back his things, but the Texan demanded that Mr. Burns produce a picture of himself with a smiling child before he could get the Plant back. (The Texan, he explained, has obsessive-compulsive disorder, thus feeling the need to complete the scavenger hunt.) End Mr. Burns' story—he explains to Lisa that he cannot get the plant back.

Just then, the goat burst into the attic. Mr. Burns hurts himself defending Lisa; however, it turns out that it doesn't want to kill them—in its story (which lasts but a few seconds) it explains that it found Lisa's pearl necklace and was merely trying to return it. Lisa, in gratitude to Mr. Burns for his attempted rescue, takes a photo of the two together with her smiling. This exits to the cave scene.

Just then, Homer breaks free of his trap, and suddenly reveals that he had an ulterior motive for bringing the family to the caves. He tells a story, explaining that while in the woods (hiding from babysitting duty), he saw the Texan hide the gold coins in the cave, and brought the family so they could search for the gold to pay for an operation for Bart (the need for which was unknown to the rest of the family, including Bart, who is now shocked by this). Just then, the Texan shows up, and the gold is found—just in time for Moe, Mr. Burns and Snake to also appear, and they enter a Mexican standoff. Marge grabs the bag and threatens to drop it down a deep pit if they don't end their standoff. When she discovers the depth of their greed, she drops it—and instantly, everyone realizes how greedy they had been, and go out to volunteer as a way of atoning for their sins, except Mr. Burns, who attempts to climb down to get the gold.

Suddenly, it is revealed that the whole episode has all been a story by Bart, being told to Seymour Skinner as an explanation for why he didn't have time to study for a test. The principal finds this ridiculous—until he sees Moe and Edna kissing outside the school.


In 2006, the episode won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming less than One Hour). At the 34th Annie Awards, episode writer Ian Maxtone-Graham won the award for "Best Writing in an Animated Television Production."[1]

Cultural references




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