“Lemon of Troy,” season 6, episode 24
The Springfield/Shelbyville rivalry has always been a fun through line in The Simpsons, and no other episode covers it better than season 6’s exciting “Lemon of Troy.” Springfield has a lemon tree (apparently)! And Shelbyville steals it! Hijinks ensue! Also, there’s lemonade.
The episode begins with Bart ignoring a vault full of jewels and a flying motorcycle so he can write his name in wet cement. Marge catches him and it leads to a family discussion about town pride (“it’s been going downhill ever since the lake caught fire”). Marge urges Bart to remember that Springfield is a “part of us all… part of us all… part of us all.” And her repetition works! Bart realizes Springfield is great, so when he and his buddies encounter their Shelbyville dopplegangers on the edge of town they end up throwing lemons at them, causing them to vow revenge. Grampa gathers the kids around the lemon tree and tells them about its long history in Springfield (“lemons being the sweetest fruit available at the time”).
The next day, a school lesson on Roman numerals is interrupted by the news that the lemon tree has been stolen. They decide Shelbyville did it (“they’re always eating candy, they love the sweet taste”) and form a squad to get the tree back: Bart [in charge], Milhouse [trusty sidekick], Nelson [tough guy], Todd [quiet religious guy who ends up going crazy]. No intro for Data. When the parents figure out what the kids are up to, all of the dads pile into Ned’s brand new RV to track them down.
Bart goes undercover thanks to a black Beatles-esque wig and a facial scar. The Shelbyville gang tells him to spray paint “Springfield sucks” on a bluff but he writes “Springfield rules suckers” and runs for it. He ends up at the zoo in a room with lots of doors labeled with Roman numerals. He figures out which door is number 7 thanks to the Rocky movies and avoids being eaten by a tiger or being caught by the kids. Meanwhile, Milhouse bonds with his doppleganger also named Milhouse (“so this is what it’s like when doves cry”). This is truly a top-notch Milhouse episode.
Before he loses hope, Bart finds a lemon behind a yellow, lemon-shaped rock and spies the tree in a car impound lot. Their dads find them, but can’t get the tree back from the rude Shelbyvillians (Shelbyvillains?). They sneakily get the RV impounded and nab the tree, but are caught when they open the gate. They manage to speed away, totally wrecking Ned’s fancy RV, and tell Shelbyville to eat their shorts/shirts.
The classic episode ends with Grandpa telling this story to the kids by the lemon tree, and Bart and Milhouse enjoy a glass of lemonade (a drop of lemon juice along with heaps of sugar). Nearby, a Shelbyville grandpa is telling their side of the story, ending with “now let’s all celebrate with a cool glass of turnip juice.” Kids squeeze turnips into their glasses, swig, and gag. Gross.
Since it’s summertime already, it’s the perfect time to enjoy lemonade. I’ve got a couple of recipes, one drinkable and the other… not. Also turnip juice which is super gross! Read on for recipes and my thoughts on each.
Bart and Milhouse Style Lemonade
Add one squeeze of fresh lemon to a glass. Fill to the top with sugar. Drink I guess?? (You can’t drink it. You’ll end up with sugar all over yourself. There isn’t even water in this recipe.) Or make actual lemonade below.
Classic Kid-Pleasing Lemonade
Sweet and tangy lemonade can be made by the glass or by the pitcher-full with this simple ratio. It’s a summertime classic that’ll make you some real dough at your neighborhood lemonade stand.
1 part fresh-squeezed, strained lemon juice
1 part granulated sugar
6 parts cold water
Combine the lemon juice and sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the water and stir. Serve immediately over ice or chill until use.
Note: If you like your lemonade less sweet, add less sugar.
Shelbyville Turnip Juice
Here are some reasons why you should not make turnip juice:
- Turnip juice tastes like a bunch of radishes mixed with raw potato.
- Turnips are dry. The photo depicts all I got from one lousy turnip.
- You can’t squeeze them whole unless they are rotten. No fun.
- The kids are CLEARLY drinking beet juice in this episode.
- Shelbyville sucks!!!
If you still want to make it, ok dumdum! Purée a big turnip. Squeeze it dry (or use a juicer for this entire process).