"A Simpson on a T-shirt. I never thought I'd see the day." So remarks Marge Simpson in "Dancin' Homer," just one of 22 mostly classic episodes that comprise this series' brilliant second season. The Simpsons by that time was already a pop culture phenomenon, but instead of suffering a sophomore slump, this iconoclastic animated series was just hitting its stride. Series milestones include: first Oscar®-winning guest voice (an unbilled Dustin Hoffman in "Lisa's Substitute"), first Beatle guest voice (Ringo in "Brush with Greatness"), first "Treehouse of Horror" Halloween episode, first flashback episode ("The Way We Was," in which Homer meets Marge), and the first episode to make me cry (Bart's last frolic with obedience school washout Santa's Little Helper in "Bart's Dog Gets an F"). It's in this season the The Simpsons really finds its voice. The writing is sharper, and the upending of sitcom convention more subversive. "Perhaps there is no moral to this story," observes Lisa at the end of "Blood Feud." "Exactly," agrees Homer. "Just a bunch of stuff that happens." - Donald Liebenson, Amazon.com
If Bart fails another test, he may have to repeat the fourth grade. So he enlists the aid of the class brain, Martin Prince, to help him pass.
Due to the success of the first season of The Simpsons, Fox decided to switch the show's time slot to Thursday at 8:00 p.m. EST where it would air opposite of NBC's "The Cosby Show," the number one show at the time. Through the summer, several news outlets published stories about the supposed "Bill vs. Bart" rivalry and heavily hyped the first episode of the second season. Several critics predicted that "Bart Gets an F" would do considerably worse in the ratings than "The Cosby Show." However, the final Nielsen rating for the episode was 18.4 and a 29% share of the audience, finishing second in its time slot behind "The Cosby Show," which had an 18.5 rating and 29% share. It finished eighth in the weekly ratings, but was watched by an estimated 33.6 million viewers, making it the number one show in terms of actual viewers that week. It became the highest rated and most watched program in the history of the Fox Network and remained in that position until January 1, 1995. As of 2014 "Bart Gets an F" is still the highest rated episode in the history of The Simpsons.
After trying a hair-growing formula (charged to the company's health insurance), Homer gets promoted to an executive position, and gets a male secretary who helps him along in his job. Harvey Fierstein guest stars as Karl.
After helping the Springfield Isotopes win a game, Dancin' Homer becomes the team mascot, and the family gets invited to Capital City. Tony Bennett sings the Capital City song, a variation of New York, New York.
After watching an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon, Maggie bonks Homer in the head with a hammer. When this happens, Marge vows to eliminate violence in cartoons and shows Itchy & Scratchy Studios what one 'screwball' can do.
Fearing death, Grampa Simpson tells Homer that he has a half-brother. This half-brother, Herbert Powell, is a carmaker in Detroit, and wants Homer to design a car for the average man to save his car company. Danny DeVito guest voices as Herb.
While Homer tackles his weight problem, Marge takes up painting, a skill which she gave up due to an obnoxious art teacher in high school, and ends up being commissioned to do a portrait of Mr. Burns. Ringo Starr voices as himself.
Lisa's regular teacher falls sick, and gets replaced with a substitute teacher who changes the face of learning for Lisa. Meanwhile, Bart runs against Martin, the class brain, for president of his class. Dustin Hoffman voices as Mr. Bergstrom.
After being embarrassed by Homer during a house party, Marge signs up for Reverend Lovejoy's marriage retreat at Catfish Lake. However, Homer has fishing on his mind, and the only sitter they could get at the last minute is Grampa Simpson.
In order to earn enough money to purchase the very first Radioactive Man comic book, Bart takes a part time job with a neighbor. However, after discovering that working is for chumps, Bart enters into a partnership with Martin and Milhouse.