|"Mad About the Toy"|
|The Simpsons episode|
|Episode no.||Season 30|
|Directed by||Rob Oliver|
|Written by||Michael Price|
|Original air date||January 6, 2019|
|Chalkboard gag||My new year's resolution was to quit school.|
|Couch gag||The Simpson family takes a break during a football game, with their friends cheering them on.|
"Mad About the Toy" is the eleventh episode of the thirtieth season of the American animated sitcom The Simpsons, and the 650th episode overall. It aired in the United States on Fox on January 6, 2019.
Homer and Marge celebrate their anniversary, leaving the kids at home with Grampa. Marge points out that Grampa needs to be home in an hour, so she and Homer do all their activities as fast as possible. At home, Bart and Lisa are bored and ask Grampa if they can play a game. Bart finds some plastic army men toys in the basement, which causes Grampa to panic.
The family takes him to the VA, but the doctor is unable to find out what's wrong. Lisa notices that the molding of the soldier toys resembles Grampa, then asks if the company that used him for the photos of the plastic army men paid him. Grampa recalls that in 1947 he was paid to model for the original army men, including a promise of a royalty for each toy.
Grampa ends up on Channel 6 news and shortly after reaches national headlines on NBC. After the headlines, the toy company that used Grampa for their toys invites him to visit their headquarters in New York City. The chairman tells Grampa that he missed out on millions of dollars because he never signed his contract. Grampa remembers that he ran out of the shoot because the male photographer kissed him. The company then fired the photographer for being gay. Realizing that he may have ruined the photographer's life, Grampa makes his next goal to visit him to apologize.
Lisa discovers that the photographer, Philip Hefflin, now lives in Marfa, Texas. The drive is long and the family encounters the Marfa lights and Prada Marfa. When they get to Philip's hometown, Grampa stumbles into a gallery filled with paintings of him in his army uniform. Philip greets Abe, stating that he was better off being true to himself. They enjoy time together before Abe has to head back to Springfield.
In the backyard during the final scene, Bart, Milhouse, and Nelson are playing with the soldier toys. After Bart gets bored, he suggests melting them in the microwave, which the kids end up doing. A montage of Abe and Philip is then shown.
Tony Sokol of Den of Geek gave the episode 3 out of 5 points ranking, stating "The Simpsons' 'Mad About the Toy' plays too far to the inside and tries to have it both ways. Like Grampa's stories it takes a very circuitous road, but goes nowhere, besides Texas and New York. Grampa gets the last word, but like many of his never-ending asides, it is too much rant but not enough rave. That's what they used to say back in his day before raves were raves and Molly was just what you called a girl who went out with a gangster."
Dennis Perkins of The A.V. Club gave the episode B+ ranking, stating "It's a risk—not for addressing homosexuality, but for putting the story in the hands of Grampa, a supporting character used most often for the sort of quick-hit swipes at reactionary codgery mocking internet memes were invented for. But few characters on The Simpsons exist just as their initial stereotypes at this point, and there’s a longer-than-most history of the show finding just the right touches of grudging humanity in the old coot to make 'Mad About The Toy' work."
Texas State Representative Poncho Nevárez tweeted, "If you ever wondered how Marfa would look like in the world of the Simpsons. Here you go. Nice shot of the Presidio County Courthouse", along with screenshots of Marfa as rendered in the episode.
The episode featured the CliffsNotes version of things people know about Marfa. The “Prada Marfa” art installation outside of town was represented (Homer pees on it), the magic of the Marfa lights was highlighted (Lisa attempts to over-explain it), and the man that Grampa Simpson was looking for was one of the many artists who call Marfa home.