Snowball I to Snowball II (the 2nd) – The Many Lives of the Simpsons’ Cat

Snowball is one of the least known characters of the television series The Simpsons, yet she is probably one of the oldest. She is the family’s first pet, which appeared much earlier than Santa’s Little Helper. In fact, Snowball I had died before the time period in which the show takes place. So let us now delve deeper into the strange and twisted world, only known to us as The Simpsons.

Snowball I

A young Lisa Simpson cried and cried when her beloved first cat Snowball died. Homer and Marge tried to fool her by replacing the deceased feline with an identical one (except for the fact that the original had white fur and the replacement had black), but Snowball II could never fill the void left in Lisa's heart. Like most cats, Snowball enjoyed playing with yarn, petting, and coughing up large chunks of her own fur.

There isn’t much information about Snowball I, though we do know that she had been around from the very beginning of the Simpson family, as proven by the photograph of a little Bart Simpson riding bareback on top of Snowball I, wearing nothing but a cowboy hat and boots. The cat had died early on, so the first bit of information that we received about the existence of Snowball I came from Lisa’s poem, “I had a cat called Snowball,” in which we learn that the cat had been run over by a Chrysler. At a later point it emerged that Snowball I was run over by Clovis Quimby, drunkard brother of Mayor Quimby (in a parody of what could be any of the Kennedy brothers).

Snowball I was seen in one episode, where Bart and Lisa tried to resurrect her, but ended up bringing all the dead people in the cemetery to life (Season 4-Episode 9F04 - Treehouse of Horror III). Snowball was so-named due to her white color. The cat has also been seen in heaven by characters who have undergone near-death experiences, such as Bart.

Snowball II (the 1st)

Snowball II was named after Snowball, who is often referred to as Snowball I. Though Snowball I was white (which obviously inspired her name), Snowball II is the black cat that you will see in almost every Simpsons episode. Snowball II is the scrappier, livelier replacement for the Simpson family's first cat. She has been known to dance upon a ball and perform minor tricks, almost never within the sights of any family member. She has a comfortably familiar relationship with Santa's Little Helper, the Simpsons' pet greyhound. So comfortable, in fact, that the two of them have been known to cuddle and pet one another when no one is watching. Like her namesake, Snowball II enjoys yarn, petting sessions and, as ever, coughing up large chunks of her own fur.

Until recently, Snowball II was a very ignored character in the series, and one of the few characters to not have an episode centered around her. This changed in Season 14-Episode EABF14 – Old Yeller Belly, when Snowball II saved Homer from a burning treehouse built by the Amish after Santa's Little Helper ran away.

Then, in quite a recent episode, Lisa Simpson experienced true anguish as she witnessed Snowball II being hit by Dr. Hibbert's Mercedes-Benz SUV, in Season 15-Episode FABF04 - I, (Annoyed Grunt)-Bot {the “Annoyed Grunt” in the title translates to “D'oh”, making the title “I, D’oh-Bot”}. In a small, family funeral, Snowball II was lowered into her grave in the backyard as Lisa said a few parting words. Here there seems to be a bit of confusion, since she was buried right next to a tombstone in which the name “Snowball I” was inscribed. But according to Treehouse of Horror III, Snowball I was buried in the Springfield Pet Cemetery. Snowball II was then replaced by Snowball III.

Snowball III

Lisa then went to an animal refuge, where she got Snowball III. She looked like the other 2 Snowballs, yet was brown and much more furry with a bushier tail. It reminded me of a squirrel with large ovalish, green eyes, the same type of eyes that all the Snowballs had (except for Snowball I, her eyes were yellow). Snowball III lived for only one episode in Season 15-Episode FABF04 - I, (Annoyed Grunt)-Bot. It died while trying to catch a fish in the Simpsons' fishtank and then drowned in it. The question I want answered is: when did the Simpsons get a fishtank? And how were they able to take care of the fish this long? It was probably added to make the stereotypical cat-fishing-in-fishtank joke complete with the unexpected twist of the cat drowning. These types of twists have become a trademark of The Simpsons. Then we cut to the tombstone of Snowball III, right next to the other 2 Snowballs before her.

Coltrane (Snowball IV?)

After another quick trip to the animal refuge, Lisa spotted a cute little kitten named Coltrane. It was similar to Snowball I, being a white cat, but had gray feet and a grayish, pointed tail tip. Though there was one major difference which made things hilarious: it had a Bart Simpson hairdo. Its forehead was quite extended upwards, with spiky pieces of fur on top and its ears blending in almost seemlessly. Coltrane suffered a similar fate as Snowball III, living for only one episode in Season 15-Episode FABF04 - I, (Annoyed Grunt)-Bot. While in Lisa’s room, Lisa decided to play her saxaphone. After hearing a few notes and being scared by it, Coltrane jumped out of the second-story window and died. A short burial followed with a shot of the other 3 tombstones in the yard. Things began looking like a cemetery in the backyard, and Lisa became depressed. I would too if I had managed to lose/kill 3 cats in one day, wouldn’t you?

Snowball V (Snowball II the 2nd)

After the death of her last cat, Coltrane, Lisa Simpson had given up on cats. Then, out of nowhere, the Crazy Cat Lady (proudly making her third appearance in the series, shrieking and howling nonsense as usual) threw her another cat, which looked EXACTLY like Snowball II. Lisa, being in an upset disposition, shooed the cat away, and it ran into the street. A car, driven by Gil, came close to running her over, but he swerved and hit a tree. Lisa, taking this as a good omen, took the cat and named her Snowball V. Though, at the end of the episode, “to save money on a new dish,” Lisa re-named Snowball V “Snowball II.”

Snowball V just happens to look exactly like Snowball II, and Lisa rationalizes calling the new cat Snowball II and pretending the whole thing never happened. This is a classic device that the Simpsons uses whenever a normal episode (non-Halloween), does something that changes the show in a significant but unpopular way. Similarly, in Season 9-Episode 4F23 - The Principal and the Pauper, the same thing occurred regarding Principal Seymour Skinner, or shall I say Armin Tanzarian. A quick synopsis of the episode: the real Seymour Skinner returns to town, so everybody discovers that the existing Skinner is a fraud. Everyone soon realizes that he is much better than the real Seymour Skinner, so they kick the real one out of Springfield. They forget the whole problem and accepted Armin as “Seymour Skinner.” In fact, Judge Snyder made a law stating that no one was to refer to Skinner as being a fake. Skinner was actually walking by as Lisa was renaming Snowball V to Snowball II in order to pretend that none of this ever happened, and told her how that wasn’t right. After a quite reference to Skinner’s real name, Skinner just became silent and walked away defeated.

So, from now on, any new episodes of The Simpsons contain Snowball V, not the original Snowball II.

http://www.tvtome.com - Episode Information
http://www.capefeare.com - Episode Pictures

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