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Posts tagged ‘Homer’

I’m big and yellow and serving Jell-O

Image

Father Knows Worst

Billboard gag: Principal Skinner with the caption: I paint houses

I will not put hot sauce on the CPR dummy

Couch gag: The Simpsons swim in a pool to the couch, except Homer is floating face down at the end of the pool.

Director: Matthew Nastuk

Synopsis: Homer tries his hand at helicopter parenting; by being with his kids all the time, he can help them succeed.

Discussion: I have two questions about this episode: 1) When Marge first discovers the sauna, there are already hot coals. Where did they come from? and 2) How does Homer know Geoffrey Chaucer, Oscar Wilde and Anne of Cleaves?

Apart from those worms in my brain, this was a thoroughly enjoyable episode with one huge laugh-out-loud moment: when Homer was actually demonstrating being a helicopter, “Helicopter Homer- Away!” and then slamming into a row of lockers; “Black Hawk Down!” Geez, that scene alone was worth watching the episode!

This is Homer’s episode, with a bit of Bart and Lisa. Marge and Maggie are largely forgotten (but it’s nice to see Marge taking some time to relax). Once you get past the “where’s the rest of the family?” bit, sit back and enjoy Homer at his finest. This is all thanks to writer Rob Lazebnik, who hadn’t written an ep for about 8 seasons. The ep is full of Homer-centric jokes, which really lifts it to a way above-average rating. Lisa and Marge’s storylines are quite weak in comparison, and really do feel like they’re there just to add the family into the ep. Homer helping Bart is really the highlight, even though Bart blends into the background, buoyed along by Homer’s antics.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen such a one character-centric episode, and I’m glad it’s Homer. He featured prominently in most of the early episodes but seems to have taken a step backwards while the family as a whole have taken a step forwards. This isn’t a bad thing- it reminds us of why we loved the show to begin with and also reminds us why the heck we keep watching (although, to be fair, I do put myself through some terrible episodes in order to find the gems; it’s entirely self-induced torture).

Who rigs every Oscar night?

Homer the Great

Adding “just kidding” does not make it okay to insult the principal

Couch gag: The living room looks like Relativity

Director: Jim Reardon

Guest voice:
Patrick Stewart as Number One

Synopsis: Homer discovers Lenny and Carl belong to a secret society named the Stonecutters, and wants in.

Discussion: This is easily one of the best episodes ever. Full of quotable lines plus a catchy song make this ep one of the best.

Homer discovers a secret society and joins, but he’s still feeling a bit left out. After desecrating the society’s parchment, he’s banished… until the members discover Homer’s birthmark revealing him to be the Chosen One. Power goes to his head, he acts like a dick, the society disbands and forms a No Homers club instead. And because it’s ho Homers (plural), they’re allowed to have one.

There’s not a lot to say about this ep. It’s instantly recognisable, memorable and quotable. The Stonecutters are clearly based on the Freemasons and the episode is a dig at them with their supposed secret history and goings-on. If I’m not mistaken, this ep was produced before Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, which brought Freemasonry into the limelight once again.

Everyone is stupid except me

Homer the Heretic

I will not defame New Orleans

Couch gag: The couch and wall swivel so a new, empty couch takes its place

Director: Jim Reardon

Synopsis: Homer refuses to go to church one morning, and after a visit from God in his dream, decides to create his own religion.

Discussion: Homer’s breaking another commandment, this time he refuses to honour the Sabbath. Previously we’ve seen Homer abandon the 8th commandment: Thou shall not steal, when he stole cable television (This post seems to have disappeared from the blog though… The divine at work?) Religion is treated somewhat fairly in this episode. Marge insists that the children be brought up “properly”, which means she wants Homer to set a good example and attend church. Homer hasn’t given religion away completely; he still believes in God, just in a non-conformist way.

Hinduism and Judaism are also acknowledged in the episode. Krusty comes to Homer’s door asking for donations for Jewish Clowns after several members were involved in an unfortunate tornado incident. Apu’s religion is mocked when Homer sees a statue of Ganesha in the Kwik-E-Mart and tells Apu that he lucked out with a stupid religion. When Homer is saved from his burning house, Reverend Lovejoy tells Homer that the hand of God was in each heart that saved him, whether the person is Christian (Ned Flanders) Jewish (Krusty) or “miscellaneous” (Apu).

Apu: Hindu. There are 700 million of us!
Reverend Lovejoy: Aww, that’s super.

That scene conveniently forgets the other rescue workers who have no assigned religion: Luann Van Houten, Barney and Otto, for example. Is the hand of God in their hearts as well?

It’s a good episode even if I don’t agree with the sentiment that children need religion to be brought up right. Highlights include Homer’s chats with God as well as his antics when home alone, missing church. Allusions to St Francis of Assisi are also good. 

I’ve got an enchanted jockstrap

Homer at the Bat

I will not aim for the head

Couch gag: As the family rush in, they knock heads and only Maggie ends up on the couch.

Director: Jim Reardon

Guest Voices:
Roger Clemens
Wade Boggs
Ken Griffey Jr
Steve Sax
Ozzie Smith
Jose Canseco
Don Mattingly
Daryl Strawberry
Mike Scioscia
Terry Cashman (singing the song over the end credits)

Synopsis: Thanks to Homer and his home-made Wonderbat, the nuclear power plant’s softball team are undefeated and through to the Championship game against Shelbyville. Mr Burns makes a side bet and has Smithers hire nine professional baseballers in order to secure the Championship. Eight of the nine players suffer misfortunes, taking them out of the game. Homer is on the bench but Mr Burns replaces Daryl Strawberry with Homer as he is right-handed, allowing Homer’s hit on the head to win the game.

Discussion: As previously mentioned, I’m not a sports fan. But thanks to the Umpire’s rules and Marge’s commentary, I am now totally confident in knowing how softball is played!

Despite the episode being about a game I don’t play and featuring people I’ve never heard of, it’s quite enjoyable. I think this is because much of the episode surrounds the players and characters, not the game itself. We have Smithers tracking down the players and then the various misfortunes that befall them. All of which are hilarious and kudos to the players for taking part. Wikipedia tells me that one of the players was somewhat annoying to deal with but his rewritten part of heroism works well and is one of the funniest misfortunes (“The dryer goes on the left…”).

It’s also nice to get away from the family dynamic again and focus on something else. The family bonding episodes so far this season are repetitive.

For those playing at home with the Simpsons Logo Quiz, I’m stuck on Level 2. The last character I need appears in this episode but his name isn’t revealed. He’s the guy who says, “My sister let me use her wooden leg”. I think his name might be Charles? Anyone here know?

I stared up at that hairy yellow drumstick

Flaming Moe’s

Underwear should be worn on the inside

Couch gag: Burglars are stealing the couch and the Simpsons hop on, but the burglars tip the couch to throw them off.

Directors: Rich Moore & Alan Smart

Guest Voices:
Aerosmith as themselves
Phil Hartman as Lionel Hutz

Synopsis: When Homer runs out of beer, he concocts a drink from leftover booze in the house. It’s OK, but when ignited, it tastes like there’s a party in your mouth and everyone’s invited. He shows Moe how to make it and Moe runs with the idea. His bar is now the most popular place in Springfield and he turns down million-dollar deals. Homer is furious.

Discussion: This is an all-round great episode. Two sequences in particular really shine: Eye on Springfield and the homage to Cheers. It’s the first time Eye on Springfield has appeared and it appears in a few future eps as well. Now, I’m not a fan of Cheers; when it was first-run TV, I was too young to watch it. Now that it’s doing the reruns, I just don’t get the attraction. Still, I can see the parallels between Moe’s new waitress Collette and Diane from Cheers. I guess someone had to be the moral conscience in Moe’s life at this point…

In this episode, Moe becomes a real character. He likes being the centre of attention, which is probably why he takes credit for Homer’s drink. Aerosmith’s appearance really brightens the whole episode, especially as they’re not invited to perform, they’re just having a quiet drink and are called to the stage. Flaming Moe’s is the coolest place to hang out, so I’m not really sure why Ned and Maude Flanders are there; perhaps they’re drinking Virgin Moes?

This is one of those episodes where I groan, thinking I’ve seen it a million times and could probably write this without watching it. But I do anyway, because this is Simpsons Every Day, not Simpsons When I Feel Like It. I’m reminded that this really is a very good episode, still able to make me laugh. I notice things I haven’t noticed before (in this case, the resemblance of Moe’s waitress to Diane) and I’m still able to thoroughly enjoy the show. This is what makes the Simpsons great.

Thankyou for making my last few minutes socially awkward

Homer Defined

I will not squeak chalk (while squeaking chalk, of course)

Couch gag: an alien is sitting on the couch but escapes through a trap door as the family enter.

Director: Mark Kirkland

First appearance of:
Luann van Houten, Milhouse’s mother

Guest voices:
Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jr as himself
Job Lovitz as Shelbyville Nuclear Power Plant owner
Chick Hearn as Lakers sportscaster

Synopsis: When the nuclear power plant starts going into meltdown, Homer saves the day through pure luck and is regarded as a hero although he sees himself as a fraud. Meanwhile, Milhouse’s mother tells him Bart is a bad influence and they’re not allowed to be friends anymore, making both boys miserable.

Discussion: This is a bit of a cerebral episode where Homer asks “who am I?” But of course, the question doesn’t appear to him until there’s a crisis. What I love about the episode is Homer’s definition appearing in the dictionary under various guises such as hero, fraud and “pulling a Homer”. His ethics are proven yet again when he feels like a fraud because it was pure luck in the power plant averting disaster, and doing it again when giving a pep talk to Shelbyville’s nuclear facility. Because of the dictionary cuts and two very different plots in the ep, it feels quite different to the previous episodes. I like it, I think it works.

Overall, it’s a great episode, well done and fantastic use of guest stars.

I got a job as a blood-letting tech dude

Blood Feud

I will not sleep through my education

Couch gag: The couch falls through the floor.

Director: David Silverman

Synopsis: Mr Burns desperately needs a blood transfusion and only Bart has the same rare blood type. Homer expects riches to be poured upon the family but receives only a thank-you card. Homer takes matters into his own hands as Mr Burns grapples with his near-death experience.

Discussion: This episode has some great quotes in it. For example:
Homer: Hello, my name is Mr Burns. I believe you have a letter for me.
Mail guy: OK Mr Burns, what’s your first name?
Homer: I… don’t know.

Homer’s motivation through the episode is greed, while Bart doesn’t really have a motivation other than doing what he’s told. Bart is also happy with the eventual reward, an Olmec head. It’s really the first time we see Mr Burns’ vulnerability and health issues, although he has appeared quite weak in earlier episodes. What really shines here is Homer’s sarcasm and lengths he goes to in order to prevent Mr Burns seeing his sarcastic letter. The final scene in which the family sit around the Olmec head discussing the moral of the story is also really well done; it goes against everything a half hour family sitcom stands for. TV’s standard formula is problem -> crisis -> resolution -> moral (or lesson learned). So by the Simpson family not having a moral (even though there’s a resolution), it’s taking the mickey from other half hour sitcoms.

It’s my metabamobilism

The Way We Was

I will not get very far with this attitude

Couch gag: The couch falls through the floor when the family sit on it

Director: David Silverman

First Appearance of:
Rainier Wolfcastle (as McBain)
Artie Ziff
Principal Dondelinger

Guest Voice:
Jon Lovitz as Artie

Synopsis: When the TV breaks, Homer and Marge relate the story of how they met.

Discussion: This is the first episode where we see Marge and Homer’s life before they married and had children. It messes with linear time, so don’t try to keep up (it’s a bit hard to keep track when the entire Simpson family remain exactly the same ages for 30 years).

This is another episode in which the viewer is all about “awww!” Despite knowing how the story ends (married with 3 children, in case you hadn’t gotten that far), Homer and Marge’s romance seems doomed from the start. She’s smart and political and Homer is smoking in the bathroom with Barney. After Homer admits he’s not really taking any French classes (negating the need for her to tutor him), Marge tells him she hates him and accepts a prom invitation with the school nerd, Artie Ziff.

Although it’s typical boy-meets-girl-boy-loses-girl stuff, it works for the Simpsons. Firstly, the viewer already knows they end up married. Secondly, it was Marge who realised the error of her ways without Homer needing to do anything to win her back. It’s refreshing not to have a rehash of some stupid teenage romance movie (although if The Notebook had been released before this episode, it could have played out differently).

Favourite scene: Homer in the car singing to ‘The Joker’ (“Some people call me Maurice, woo woo!”)

He was a simple man…

One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish

I will not cut corners
I will not cut corners
”   ”    ”    ”      “

Couch gag: The couch tips backwards when the family are seated.

Director: Wesley M. Archer

Guest Voices:
Larry King as himself
George Takei as Akira
Sab Shimono as the sushi bar chef, Master.

Synopsis: Complaining about the monotony of eating the same dinners every week, Lisa prompts the family to eat at a new sushi bar. Homer finds the food delicious and tries everything on the menu, including the potentially deadly fugu fish. When cut correctly, it is delicious and safe, but when served incorrectly, can be fatal. Master is preoccupied (with Mrs Krabappel in the back of a car) and the apprentice takes over, but fears he has made a mistake. Homer is told he has 22 hours to live, and uses his last day to make amends with family and neighbours.

Discussion: I’d forgotten this episode. The major theme is again family, with various examples of where each member fits into their role. For example, when Homer tries to have a heart-to-heart with Bart, Bart jumps on Homer’s lap and pulls down his pants, expecting a spanking. When Homer tries the same with Lisa, she asks if he wants her to “turn down that infernal racket”. Meanwhile, Homer himself sees his own place within his family and his society; Barney won’t let him go without one last beer at Moe’s and Flanders invites him over for a barbecue “tomorrow” which Homer accepts, thinking he won’t be alive to honour the invite. I wonder what happened when Homer woke the next day and realised he was going to Ned’s for dinner…?

Gimme some nachos, Homersaurus

Bart the Daredevil

I will not drive the principal’s car

Couch gag: The couch tips on its side when the family sit down, Maggie squeezes out and lands on a cushion in front of the TV.

Director: Wesley Meyer Archer

Synopsis: The family go to see Truckasaurus at a local monster car rally and the climax of the show is a daredevil, Lance Murdoch, jumping over a pool filled with man-eating animals. Bart is inspired, despite visiting the severely injured Lance in hospital, and decides to jump Springfield Gorge on his skateboard. Homer does everything he can to stop Bart, but accidentally jumps the gorge himself and ends up injured and in the same ward as Lance Murdoch.

First appearance of:
Dr Julius Hibberd

Discussion: This is one of the most frequently self-referenced episodes in the entire series, particularly the scene where Homer falls into the gorge not once but twice. The scene is replayed during clip shows and is even referenced in the Simpsons Movie.

The episode begins with Lisa’s school band recital, which could be boring for the viewer as well as Homer, however Homer’s impatience makes the scene not only bearable but funny as well. My favourite part of the scene is where Homer is pointing to his watch and this exchange:
Principal Skinner: Welcome to the first in a series of Saturday night recitals.
Homer: *groan* Series?
Principal Skinner: Tonight, Sherbert’s *giggle* Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony.
Homer: Unfinished? Oh good, this shouldn’t take long.

There are so many good scenes in this episode; Truckasaurus demolishing the Simpsons’ car, Lance Murdoch’s attempt to jump over a pool of man-eating animals and of course, Bart’s own attempt at the Springfield Gorge. Homer’s failed attempt loses the humour only because I’ve seen it so many times not only in this episode but in future references within the show. Still, being pulled up by helicopter and bumping his head on the side of the gorge is still pretty funny.

As has become usual practice in season 2, there is family bonding. First, there’s the bonding over Truckasaurus (family bonding time was a main argument to Marge about going to see it in the first place) and secondly, Homer has some quality father-son time with Bart before the big Gorge attempt. I’m surprised there’s no “don’t try this at home, kids” disclaimers anywhere, not even from Dr Hibberd, although he does show Bart around the “kids who have done stunts” ward at the hospital.

The overriding message of the episode is something that Lance Murdoch says: Seatbelts save lives!

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