Where did THOSE come from – Thanksgiving Balloons (Part 1)

Hey hey hey Tapperinos!  Wookiee here for more origin story fun and no I’m not here to discuss server issues.  For Thanksgiving, EA brought back the parade balloons from 2012 AND added a few more.

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Once upon a time in TSTO land, we did not have Krustyland and there were no pets running around the town.  For Thanksgiving 2012, EA remedied this by providing us with balloon versions of Santa’s Little Helper, Snowball 2, Itchy & Scratchy and Blinky.  It’s my opinion that we got these to calm the clamor for some of the more popular characters in the game.  Of course, SLH joined the fun during Christmas 2012 and the fight and bight duo appeared like crazy with the Krustyland expansion.

When I think of parade balloons in the Simpsons, I have to go back to this little bit of dialogue between Homer and Bart in Bart vs. Thanksgiving (S2, Ep. 7).  Bart has no clue who Rocky or Underdog are in the Thanksgiving Day Parade and states:

Bart: Well, I know it wouldn’t hurt them to use some cartoons made in the last 50 years.

Homer: Son, this is a tradition.  If you start building a balloon for every flash in the pan cartoon character, you’ll turn the parade in to a farce.


Well, EA must be laughing at us as they drop their little surprises on us, right?  In addition to old balloons, we also got Rusty the Clown, The Grumble, Poochie and Stampy.  Is the game a farce now?  Nah… the balloons don’t even go on roads so it’s not even a parade, unless you use the pavement to make your own road hint hint.

Fair warning, I am a complete nerd when I get the chance to write about all these items.  This one turned in to quite a journey so I’ve broken it up in to a 2-parter.  Before I tell you just where these come from, I have to point out that I was pretty spot on with several Thanksgiving Decorations and tasks this update.  While I don’t know how well my ESPN will continue to work, it’s nice to know that some days I’m on the same page as those wacky folks over at EA.  One of the things I predicted was the Rusty the Clown balloon.  The other balloon for Part one of this post is The Grumble.


The Rusty balloon comes from Season 12, Episode 5: Homer vs. Dignity.  After realizing just how in debt he was, Homer allows Mr. Burns to abuse him for his own amusement in return for cash.  Homer finally has had enough and decides he needs to get back his self esteem.  He uses the money he has earned from Burns to go to Costingtons to buy all the toys they have for the “needy kids”.  This gets the attention of Mr. Costington who tells Homer he would be the perfect size Kris Kringle in his Thanksgiving Day Parade.  During the parade, none other than the Rusty Balloon can be seen floating around.

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Rusty the Clown is truly the one of the only “real” parade balloons (there’s one more but that’ll have to wait for Part 2).  To spare you from viewing my ode to clowns (if you do want to read it, make sure you’re not afraid of them), let me just say that Krusty was based on a clown from Matt Groening’s childhood name Rusty.  In the episode, it’s really a quick little view of it, but EA got deeper than this with the other balloons.

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Don’t run away too quick because the next balloon I’ll ramble about is The Grumble.  This guy comes from Season 18, Episode 9: Kill Gil: Volumes 1 & 2.  The thief of holiday cheer appears in Krusty’s Kristmas on Ice.  Now he’s a guy to run from.

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In Krusty’s ice spectacle, The Grumple is attempting to capture holiday cheer in a net from the other Christmasy skaters.  His segment is cut short by the installation of the basketball court for a later Utah Jazz game.  The characters from Krusty’s show end up brawling with the Jazz and workers.  Homer jumps in by wrestling with The Grumple demanding he give back the holiday cheer.

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This episode is really about Gil and his 11 month squat at the Simpson house, but the Grumple makes several more appearances.  On Christmas Day, he is seen in the window outside.  You might think he harbors ill will towards Homer.

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Grumble: Grumpily grumpily groo… you’re blood will make my stew.

Homer: Do you think that’s the same Grumple from the ice show?  Because I do…

Nothing happens at this point other than some creepiness but things come to a head later when Homer is drinking at good old Moe’s.  The Grumple is still bent on revenge and threatens Homer with a broken pool cue.  Homer knocks him out with a beer bottle and the Grumple bleeds an eerie green substance instead of blood.

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The episode ends with one last appearance by the Grumple AND his family.  He’s apparently gotten over the fights with Homer and wants to spend Christmas with the Simpsons and Gil.

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Did I mention it’s in Prescott, Arizona?  Only in this show, right?

The Grumble also appears in Season 23 in two different episodes.  In Episode 1: The Falcon and the D’ohman, he appears in Little Ukraine.

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Homer has made an unlikely friend in the new security guard at the power plant.  Wayne (voice by Kiefer Southerland), is a haunted ex-secret service type.  When Wayne’s past comes back to haunt him, his adversaries kidnap Homer and whisk him away to Little Ukraine.  Amongst Tsarbucks, Insane in the Ukraine Mental Health Services and Cossack’s Fifth Avenue is Hot to Trotsky’s Ice Skating Rink.

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Inside, Homer is being held captive underneath the ice.  After Wayne dispatches the Ukrainian mobsters, characters that seem similar to the ones from Krusty’s show in Season 18 skate out onto the ice including the Grumble.  Wayne scares away the cast with a well placed flaming t-shirt cannon shot to the Grumble’s eye.

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The Grumble fortunately (if you like freaky possible aliens with homicidal bents) wasn’t hurt because he appears again in Season 23, Episode 22: Lisa Goes Gaga.  If only all of us were as indestructible as these cartoon characters, right?  Based on the sign, you can see he’s also a Lady Gaga fan in addition to a three time silver medalist and professional creepster.

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The Grumble’s last appearance (and my favorite just for the sheer parody of it) is in none other than the Homer Shake couch gag from Season 24, Episode 14: Georgeous Grandpa.  I found a couple cool images but figured nothing short of the video would suffice.

Ok… Let’s see… where was I.  Rusty… check… obvious Grinch rip-off… double check…. Point to be found somewhere amongst many words…. Oh yeah, I’m rambling as usual about where something comes from.  I’d say I digress but that’s Cranky’s deal.  I guess I’ll stick to rambling or verbal wanderlust lol.  That sums up the first two balloons.  Stay tuned for more words on Poochie and Stampy real soon.  TTFN… Wookiee out!

5 responses to “Where did THOSE come from – Thanksgiving Balloons (Part 1)

  1. Great job getting all of these pictures together. Wouldn’t it be awesome if for the Christmas update they did a skating rink?

  2. Wow…that was indeed very in-depth, wookiee!
    Prescott, AZ, huh? I’m from AZ myself, and lived there for a year. Pretty nice, though most people pronounce it Press-cot, when the locals call it Prez-kit. I miss it.
    Thanks for the run down, I’ll be waiting for the next set of balloons to get my Simpsons edjamacasion! (Education) 😉

    • Yeah… Gil makes it big in Prez-kit. Marge goes and ruins it for him but they make it up to him by buying a house? Seriously, I think I need to work at a nuclear power plant with the kind of income Homer has lying around. The boss hasn’t yelled at me yet for my rambling and honestly, as long as one person besides myself enjoys it, I consider the wanderlust a success lol. Check out the episode if for no other reason than it shows Christmas in Arizona.

      • Thanks, I’ll have to check it out…it’s been five years since I’ve spent a Christmas in AZ…born and raised there, now live in Michigan…and it’s currently been snowing for the past two days. Sometimes I miss the lack of a white Christmas…snow is such a pain in the ass! But it’s pretty…

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