'The Simpsons' Life-Size Replica House Kinda Sucked
In a sweepstakes that screamed both ‘90s and “Ay, caramba!” Fox and Pepsi came up with a real ‘Say What Now?’ plan to gift one lucky winner a close-to-exact replica of the home where Homer and Marge reared their never-aging children. It truly was the most American campaign for the most American show. The guys went through a hundred episodes of The Simpsons to figure out everything from the precise interior layout to just how many skewed paintings and portraits were hung inside that garish yellow home (spoiler: it’s a lot).
While the outside of the house’s biggest “D’oh!” features were the rounded front door and windows in spaces you wouldn’t normally put them (not even mentioning the piss-in-your-eye exterior color that had to be painted over eventually to comply with the housing community’s rules anyway), the interior was, just, really something. It came complete with psychedelic colored walls, mouse holes painted on the bottom of the floors to make it look cartoon-y, props literally glued to places, and those portraits...sweet Maggie, those portraits.
As a marketing campaign in the ‘90s, it was over-the-top greatness. In reality, no one wanted to live there. The “lucky” person who initially won the grand prize never came forward to claim it. A farmer ended up being drawn as the winner of the now-dubbed Crayola Box Home, but she didn’t want the house either, opting for a cash prize instead. Which was less than the value of the house, so that’s saying something too.
While its quirk factor was a solid 10, the functionality and actual livability of the house was severely lacking and, frankly, laughable. For one, there were doors that opened up to brick walls, the chimney wasn't connected to any actual fireplace, no bathroom on the first floor, and a serious lack of closet space.
In typical Matt Groening style, he contemplated blowing up the house on national television after it became clear that no one wanted to live there. Someone, of course, had to explain to him that the house was surrounded by other houses occupied by actual humans and not cartoon characters. While the stunt was a marketing success, the idea of people happily living there was probably doomed from early on, as the original sweepstakes winner was announced during the 1997 airing of “The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson” episode — the one that would later be pulled from broadcast following the 9/11 attack in 2001.
The woman who eventually bought the house wasn’t even a fan of the show, and she changed a lot of things to make it somewhat more livable. Her family’s had to deal with people constantly peering through the windows and banging on the front door because, entitlement, we guess. Still, she kind of made it work for them and thinks it’s funny that she has a Flanders-type character for a neighbor.
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Top Image: Fox