Sunday, 10 October 2010

THE LAST TEMPTATION OF HOMER


SEASON 5 EPISODE 9 (EPISODE 90)

THIS IS IT:
Here you have Homer facing temptation and questioning his love for Marge which ultimately has never been in question at all.  It begins with Bart painting new parking space lines (“a mere one foot narrower”) in the school car park.  When the inevitable occurs it is Seymour and Edna that get into an argument is to who is poorly parked and too close to the other.  Bart gets his moment.  With this we cut to Miss Krabappel’s classroom where she is running the riot saying how American is a democracy where people are innocent until proven guilt except her classroom is not a democracy.  With a laugh she incriminates Bart saying that for the rest of the year he will be the first student called upon for every question.  And the first question is how to pronounce “photosynthesis” at which point it is revealed that Bart has bad eyesight as he is unable to read the blurred word.  With this revelation Krabappel debates whether poor vision is to blame for his bad academic record as Bart states “you mean it’s not me noggin, its me peepers?” in a Cockney accent.  Meanwhile at the nuclear power plant Homer, Lenny, Carl and another colleague (who it turns out is the Dangerous Emissions Supervisor) play a joke on a work colleague while he moves nuclear rods.  As the prank goes wrong and the area becomes contaminated with radiation they run away from the scene heading to hide at Lenny’s house as they attempt to escape through an emergency exit which actually turns out to be just painted onto the plant wall.  And with that they appear to perish.  The episode then cuts to their unnamed colleague stood in front of Mr Burns saying they had a “miraculous escape” without explaining it before telling him that need a real emergency exit.  Characteristically Burns responds with sarcasm before dispensing of the man by pressing a red button and having him sucked up a tube.  After the deed Burns asks Smithers where the tube goes as he states he doesn’t know “it was here when we moved in” as the scene cuts to India where the employee lands on a table and it encouraged/forced to dance for the six Indian gentleman sat before him.  Now an employee down Smithers states that they will now need a new Dangerous Emissions Supervisor as Burns instructs him to find someone cheap as he states that it has been a very lean year for the company before he and Smithers partake in a money fight.  The first person to be tested for the role is Zutroy a non-English speaking employee who works each day on the promise of earning a shiny penny.  Unfortunately at this point the Department Of Labour storm the company through the ceiling on ropes as Agent Wilson states that Zutroy is an illegal alien.  It is then stated that the plant violates every labour law in the book.  The Department Of Labour even found a missing Brazilian soccer team working in the reactor core.  In defence Burns does say that their plane crashed on his property.  Determined to bring about change the Department Of Labour tell Burns to begin by reversing his sexist employment policies and hire at least one woman.  With resignation Burns says that he will bring in a woman but still stand by his hiring policies at which point a duck in a hard hat called Stewart pulling a cart is ordered to get back to work.  Returning to Bart’s situation we cut to the HMO (Hibbert Moneymaking Organization).  As he asks Marge whether she has health insurance it transpires that he also has a suction tube similar to Burns as he preps for the possibility of her saying no.  After a visit with the optometrist it turns out that Bart has temporary condition called “lazy eye” as he is given a pair of dorky thick rimmed glasses to wear for two weeks.  At this point the optometrist notices also that his scalp is dry and states that he should see the dermatologist who gives him goo to put into his hair every thirty minutes as we then cross to the foot doctor who gives him heavy shoes followed by the dentist who states that his throat looks red and sprays him in the mouth which causes his voice turn a combination of high and old.  And with that Bart suddenly resembles a cross between Jerry Lewis and an old Jewish man.  Back to the plant where Lenny and Carl worry about the appointment of a woman (“we won’t be able to spit on the floor”, “yeah and we won’t be able to take off our pants when it gets real hot”) as Homer adds concern that “we won’t be able to pee in the drinking fountain” as his admission takes things a little too far.  At this point Smithers turns up to introduce their new co-worker Mindy Simmons (“she has a degree in engineering or something”).  Lenny and Carl are nonchalant in their reception but Homer finds himself transfixed by the redhead as he immediately fantasises about her which involves Lenny and Carl who asks “ain’t you never seen a naked chick riding a clam before?”  And with this Homer announces “gotta go” as he tears out of the room in a panic before asking himself “what the hell was that?  I probably shouldn’t have eaten that packet of powdered gravy I found in the parking lot.”  Returning to school we catch sight of Bart stepping into class wearing glasses and heavy shoes with his hair pasted down as Sherri and Terri are the first people to mock him (“nice glasses four eyes”) before Nelson chips in “yeah nice shoes, er, two feet.”  Even Martin gets stuck in as he comments “your appearance is comical to me” as Bart looks at Milhouse catching his reflection in his glasses gasping “I’m a nerd” to which Milhouse responds “so am I” as he catches his own reflection in Bart’s glasses.  Back to Homer and after a day of work he returns to his car declaring “another day, another box of stolen pens” as he throws today’s gain onto a large pile on the back seat.  At this point Mindy shouts “have a good night Homer” as she speeds off on a motorbike and Homer gets in his car registering “no goosebumps.  No hallucinations.  That last time was just a fluke” and with that he drives home accidentally going in reverse as numerous cars veer off the road to avoid him until he finally winds up crashing into the Trout Hatchery where upon driving into a pool of trout that pop up and sing “Homer loves Mindy” before the cherub versions of Lenny and Carl return to tell him that he is hallucinating again (“not a good sign”).  And with that the first act clearly ends.  We next cut to Homer in the plant kitchen with Lenny and Carl as he cagily asks them what they think of Mindy.  Not responding to their actual answer Homer responds “yeah, that Mindy seems real nice”.  Concerned Lenny asks “what’s wrong with you, you’re talking through a coffee break” and Carl adds “yeah, you usually just take the box of doughnuts into the bathroom with you” as again not registering what they say Homer just states “Mindy has a motorcycle”.  Back to school and in an effort to prove to his schoolmates that he is still cool Bart pulls his skateboard from his locker and announces “look everybody, I’m the same person I always once” before his clunky new shoes prevent him for pulling off a stunt causing him to crash into lockers where a pile of books fall on him including a copy of Advanced Calculus which lands over his face.  At this point Jimbo, Kearney and Dolph appear with Jimbo accusing “hey, he’s learning on his own” before Kearney adds “get him”.  And with that a beating ensues.  With this we cut back to Homer who is now in Moe’s Tavern with Barney where he is asking Moe for his advice using the pretend name of Joey Joe-Joe Junior Shabadoo at which point he announces that is the worst name he has ever heard as in the background a patron exits crying as it turns out that Barney knows him as he calls for him to come back.  At this point Barney offers Homer the advice “your infatuation is based on a physical attraction.  Talk to the woman and you’ll realise you have nothing in common” as astounded Homer states how the advice is so insightful asking how he came up with it and he responds “it was on one of these bar napkins”.  Returning the nuclear plant pensively Homer engages Mindy in conversation in the staff kitchen while she is eating doughnuts (“lets have a conversation, I think we’ll find we have very little in common”) as initially she responds to his approach with “can’t talk, eating”.  At this point he notices she is eating his favourite variety of doughnut raspberry swirl with a double glaze as she proceeds to drawl Homer style at the concept of double glaze and with this Homer accept that they have one thing in common.  Then playing with reverse psychology Homer states “you know what I hate, drinking beer and watching TV” as Mindy responds how she loves those pursuits (“not me, that’s my idea of heaven”) as plainly the pair of them are soul mates waiting to happen.  As Homer concedes he likes those too Mindy leaves stating “I can see I’m going to love working with you” before adding that she is going to see if she can sneak in a quick nap before lunch.  Now in a confused place Homer declares “foul temptress, I bet she thinks Ziggy’s got too preachy too”.  Moving forward we catch Homer at the end of work sighing with relief how he made it the whole day without seeing Mindy as he presses the button of the elevator only for her to be aboard.  Awkwardness ensues as after Homer screams Mindy clumsily says “I guess we’ll be going down together, I mean getting off together” as equally embarrassed Homer adds “that’s OK, I’ll just push the button for the stimulator, I mean elevator”.  With tension in the air we cut to the inside of Homer’s mind where he is saying “think unsexy thoughts, think unsexy thoughts” as he cuts to the vision of Selma and Patty shaving their legs followed by Barney wearing a bikini where as he burps he pops and turns into Mindy wearing the same costume and blowing Homer a kiss.  Now resigned to sexy thoughts Homer snaps back to reality where he catches Mindy also saying “think unsexy thoughts, think unsexy thoughts” to herself.  Panicked Homer then presses the emergency stop button announcing “well, this is my floor” as he exits the elevator falling down one of the reactor towers yelling “see you tomorrow” on the way down.  From here he returns home where Marge greets him at the door all stuffed up and full of flu as Bart then plods over in his heavy shows and glasses as Homer pats him on the head only to earn himself a hand full of goo.  Then Lisa arrives with dinner announcing “I made fish sticks.  They’re burnt on the outside but they’re frozen on the inside so it balances out”.  Then Grandpa runs past chasing Santa’s Little Helper complaining “that racoon stole my lambchop”.  What kind of madhouse has Homer returned to?  In an effort to remain faithful and a good husband Homer says to Marge “let have a little quality time together, just you and me” as Marge shows him a t-shirt from a new place at the mall that puts photos on them.  She got a discount because her image was smeared in a manner that frightens Homer at which point he reverts back to the TV where on Eye On Springfield tonight Kent Brockman is looking at the secret affairs of Kennedy, Eisenhower, Bush and Clinton.  Spooked by this selection Homer proceeds to channel hopping for something different as all shows appear to concentrate on procreation and affairs as finally a sexy ad stating Just Do It freaks him out to the point of screaming and leaving the room much to the confusion of Marge.  The Just Do It message turns out to relate to examining your scalp for ringworm as it is from the National Ringworm Association (The Other N.R.A.).  Now feeling the pressure Homer goes to a phone box to call a Marital Stress Hotline.  Unhelpfully on the other end is Ned Flanders who immediately recognises Homer and in reckless but well intentioned measure suggests a conference call with Marge as Homer yet again screams and hangs up.  In his panic to leave the phone box he bangs into the side toppling the box and knocking himself out.  At this point another hallucination appears as his guardian angel taking the appearance of Sir Isaac Newton (“somebody you’d recognise”) offers to give him advice.  Homer responds blankly asking “Sir Isaac who?”  At this point his guardian angel resigns himself to a much more lowbrow, pop culture icon as Colonel Klink from Hogan’s Heroes.  More concerned with the past than his current predicament Homer asks Klink “did you ever get my letters?”  He then further annoys Klink asking “did you know Hogan had tunnels hidden all over your camp?”  Returning to the real agenda Klink proceeds to show Homer in an out of body experience how horrible life would be if he married Mindy instead of Marge.  It actually turns out that they would live in a big mansion, play tennis and have a butler called Jeeves as quick survey of who is happy confirms that they are all happy.  Failing to make his point Klink promptly drags Homer to where Marge now lives: The White House in Washington DC where she is the president with an approval rate that is soaring.  And having felt failure Klink declares “this dream is over” as Homer falls back into his body in the phone booth where Lionel Hutz promptly turns up and tells him to get out of his office.  Back at school Jimbo, Kearney and Dolph have now been joined by Nelson and a couple of other kids (including a bumpkin adding “you’re goofy looking”) in bullying/tormenting Bart.  Then finally Bart breaks free and runs for safety at which point a mysterious arm reaches out of locker and pulls him in.  It turns out to be Martin as he lights a candle and leads Bart through a secret passage to a room where geeks and nerds habitat safely as he asks “what is this place?” as an Asian kid responds “the refuge of the damned” as Martin adds “a place where we can work on our extra credit assignments without fear of reprisal”.  Now accepted into the club another nerd greets Bart as he calls for Oliver to bring him a hard boiled egg and some prune juice.  With this Martin declares “finally Bart is one of us” as they all yell “excelsior!”  Now seemingly with his mind made up Homer scrubs himself up spraying on deodorant while singing “Oh Mandy” with the words “Oh Mindy” instead before completely butchering the words.  Then as Homer closes the bathroom cabinet he spots Lisa stood behind who asks “dad, why are you singing?”  With this he brain kicks into action with “tell a lie, tell a lie” as his mouth says “because I have a small role in a Broadway musical, its not much but it’s a start” and his brain responds with “bravo” and applause.  Naturally not believing the lie Lisa asks clearly “are you hiding something from me?” as Homer responds “like what?” as Lisa ever the observant states “judging from your song you’re infatuated with a woman named Mindy.  Or a man named Andy”.  Once again panicked Homer hops pointing “Lisa look behind you?” as she states “I’m not going to fall for that” but as he persists with a rapid response (“no Lisa I swear…..”) she gives a quick glimpse offering him opportunity to run off saying “sucker” as he exits.  Back at the plant Homer walks with a prepared speech of “Mindy because of our uncontrollable attraction, I think we should avoid each other from now” written on his hand.  Meanwhile Lenny passes in the opposite direction having his own speech on his hand “Max, what I did I did because of alcohol and anger” as passing him another employee with a giant hand has his own message of “I’m tired of these jokes about my giant hand.  The first such incident occurred in 1956 when…..”  At this point Mindy arrives and says hi to Homer as he accidentally smudges the messages and promptly forgets what he has to say to her stating “I’m sweating like Roger Ebert”.  Now while Homer is trying to give Mindy his message Mr Burns and Smithers are watching the pair of them on CCTV as Burns comments “look at those two inseparable chums Smithers, that’s exactly the teamwork we would like to showcase at this year’s energy convention”.  With this Smithers asks him if he is sure at which point Burns states “no one else seems to share the same spirit camaraderie” as the camera pans across various other CCTV feeds featuring employees fighting each other with chairs, holding each other by the throat and even Stewart the duck is pecking at a fellow employee’s eye as he lay passed out on the floor.  From here we cut to Burns telling Simpsons and Simmons that they have been chose to represent the plant at the National Energy Convention and how they will be spending two nights together in “glamorous” Capital City (“the Windy Apple”).  Mindy is excited by the news but Homer further stresses saying that “this is the worst crisis my marriage has ever faced” before calling out for Colonel Klink (“Colonel Klink, why have you forsaken me?”).  At this point his guardian angel in the form of Colonel Klink reappears asking “what is it?  Do you have a question?” as Homer laughs “did you know Kinch had a radio in the coffee pot?”  This does not exactly help things.  The second act ends.  We cut back to the Capital City Plaza Hotel where the sign outside boasts of being “Legionnaires’ disease free since 1990”.  Inside the bellboy shows Homer to room 61 which has a king size bed which he insinuates is for sex using various animal noises and expressions to represent the act.  In response Homer snaps “stop that, I love my wife and family.  All I’m going to use this bed for is sleeping, eating and maybe building a little fort”.  With this he steps into the bathroom and gasps for joy at the complimentary mouthwash, complimentary shampoo and the free shower curtain as from the next room Mindy reacts in exactly the same way.  Hearing each other they discover their rooms are open to each other as she states “if it weren’t for this wall we’d be sleeping in the same bed” before whispering “Homer, I’ve got a really wicked idea that could get us into a lot of trouble” to which he responds “Mindy, we got to fight our temptation” as she insists “no Homer, lets do it, lets call room service!”  At this point back at the power plant a red warning light marked Room Service Alert flashes as Smithers reports the act to Burns who promptly orders four flying monkeys to fly and find the culprits (“fly my pretties, fly!”).  Unfortunately, despite their wings, monkeys can’t really fly as they tumble to the ground into traffic as Burns resigns “continue the research.”  Back at the hotel Homer and Mindy sit on the king size bed surrounded by empty plates as Homer scoffs pizza and Mindy eats a hotdog declaring “I can’t believe we ordered so much” as Homer declares “something’s missing” before noticing that one of the turkeys fell behind the bed.  With this they both notice the foot long chilli dog sat in the middle of the bed as they both drawl and go for it eating from each end and inevitably winding up kissing Lady And The Tramp style at which point Homers bloated gut expands causing his shirt to burst open and expose the t-shirt of Marge’s distorted face on it (nice call-back).  In his head he can hear her sigh of disapproval as he runs out the room screaming “it’s a sign”.  However it just turns out to be the bell boy polishing the corridor floor.  Meanwhile returning to Bart as he sits alone and dejected in his room wearing his glasses and heavy shoes he is joined by Marge who steps into the room announcing “good news honey, two weeks are up you don’t have to wear your glasses anymore and your scalp and posture seem fine” at which point Bart yells “yes!” as he kicks off his shoes straight out of his window and through his neighbours window where Ned Flanders is sat reading a newspaper while Rod and Todd lay on the floor playing a board game.  Soughting explanation Ned asks “kids, did anyone pray for giant shoes?” at which point Rod puts up his hand and says “I did”.  Returning to school we join Nelson, Jimbo, Kearney and Dolph in conference discussing how they have been working Bart over (“we’ve been doing a lot of upper body work on Bart.  Today, lets pound his kidneys”).  Then as Bart returns humming victoriously, Nelson is shocked by his change in appearance.  Now feeling confident again Bart approaches the group saying “gentleman the nerd you knew is dead.  Beat me and you will be beating one of your own” to which Nelson responds “whatever” as they proceed to wail on him once again.  Back to Capital City and outside the National Energy Convention at the Capital City Convention Center there is irony in the fact that the welcome sign is failing to power as it flickers above the street.  Inside there are many displays for sources such as Cold Fusion, Oil Power, What About Wind?, Coal And Water and Solar Energy (“Cheap, Clean Hope For Tomorrow”).  The Solar Energy stall is manned by Hans Moleman who we see speaking to a sharp tongued shaded businessman with a gangster demeanour who asks whether solar energy works as Moleman responds “certainly does” at which point he snaps “well lots of luck” as he knocks him out with a karate chop and clicks his fingers for various goons to “clean up” the display and turn it into a Fossil Fuel stall (“Use Us And Nobody Gets Hurt”).  With this we catch up with Homer and Mindy manning the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant (“As Seen On 60 Minutes”) stall as they have to deal with a heckler shouting “thanks for poisoning the planet bastard” to which Mindy responds “get bent” as another passing heckler shouts “no more Chernobyls” as Homer shouts back “go to hell” before throwing a brick at him which we hear is a direct hit.  At this point Homer confides in Mindy about being worried about attending the convention with her but “as long as we’re not alone together….” at which point the convention public address butts in and announces “and now the moment you’ve been waiting for: this year’s king and queen of energy are Homer Simpson and Mindy Simmons” for which they win a romantic dinner alone at Madame Chao’s, the sexiest Chinese restaurant in Capital City.  Sat concerned in his crown Homer enquires “is there any way to get out of this?”  “No!”  From here we cut to the evening and Madame Chao’s where Homer and Mindy have a nice meal which she describes as “what a perfect evening” adding “it sure was nice of them to make us cheeseburgers”.  Hesitant to agree Homer reaches for his fortune cookie which reads: “you will find happiness with a new love” prompting the response “even the Chinese are against me” as he concedes “what’s the point, I can’t fight fate”.  Meanwhile in the kitchen a waiter notices that they have just run out of “you will find happiness with a new love” fortune cookies and will now have to start using the barrel of “stick with your wife” cookies.  Upon returning to their hotel Homer opens the room to his room in resignation of Mindy wanting to join him.  At this point they sit together on his bed as Mindy says “this was a really nice night” while Homer mopes then cries.  Naturally Mindy enquires what’s wrong as he responds “oh yeah, like you don’t know.  We’re going to have sex”.  Seemingly disappointed and confused Mindy responds “well, we don’t have to” as Homer insists “yes we do, the cookie told me so” as in an understanding tone she states “desserts aren’t always right”.  Now with the mood killed Mindy says “Homer you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to” as he continues to hesitate stating “maybe I want to but then I think about Marge and the kids.  Well not the boy, he drives me nuts, sometimes I’d just like to…” as he makes a strangling gesture.  And then with one final throw of the dice Mindy says “you know how I feel, so its up to you, look in your heart I think you’ll see what you want” and they kiss.  With this the background music steps up a groove as we return to the exterior then interior of the Capital City Plaza Hotel where it is now Homer and Marge sharing the room and a moment as she states that “this was a wonderful idea Homie” as they discover another turkey behind the bed.  From here the lights go off as Homer once more changes the words to “Oh Mandy” this time to “Oh Margy” and “you came and you found me a turkey, on my vacation away from worky”.  At this point so as not to get too sentimental the bellboy returns whistling and making sex noises, much to Homer’s chagrin who we hear punches him.  The end.

IS IT ANY GOOD:
Yeah, it’s a pretty sweet and solid episode.  Homer is funny and full of heart as is Michelle Pfeiffer as Mindy.

WHAT IT TAUGHT ME:
It confirms that old adage “never shit where you eat”.  The whole Bart appearance caper confirms that indeed it is not what’s inside that counts.  And that fortune cookies are mass produced and not the source of solid knowledge or fortune.

EXTERNAL REFERENCES:
The couch gag is them sat on the set of David Letterman.  Homer’s guardian angel initially takes the form of Sir Isaac Newton before changing into the form of Colonel Klink from Hogan’s Heroes as somebody Homer actually recognises.  Then there is the whole Barry Manilow songfest.  And the opening credits blackboard is a reference to The Shining.

BEST LINES:
“You mean it ain’t me noggin, its me peepers?”

BEST JOKES:
It is the reaction of Homer’s brain of saying “bravo” and clapping when he lies to Lisa about having a small part in a Broadway play when he has to explain why he is singing “Oh Mindy” in the bathroom.

PERIPHERAL MOMENT:
Dr Hibbert’s HMO is short for Hibbert Moneymaking Organization.  The National Ringworm Association is “the other N.R.A.”  The telephone number for the Marital Stress Hotline is KL5-1680.  Capital City is known as “the Windy Apple”.  The sexiest restaurant in Capital City is Madame Chao’s.

REALITY CROSSOVER:
Yes, this is very painful.  Years after Homer met a Mindy, I met a Mindy.  However the Mindy I knew was nowhere near as enthusiastic as the Mindy Homer knew.  What the real kicker was however was how on the day of her wedding to the guy she met after me Sky actually broadcast this episode of The Simpsons.  So not only was I being haunted by one Mindy, suddenly The Simpsons was reiterating its existence.  Such scars.

MVP:
Homer is a sweetheart.

GUEST APPEARANCES:
Michelle Pfeiffer as the aforementioned Mindy.  Werner Klemperer appears resuming his role of Colonel Klink from Hogan’s Heroes very much a reference for our parents’ generation.  This turned out to be his final television work.

SONGS:
Homer butchers and bastardises “Mandy” by Barry Manilow changing the title to “Oh Mindy” before changing lines to incomprehensible nonsense.

EPISODE LINKS:
No explicit links.  Obviously its neither the first or last visit to Capital City.

PERCULARITIES:
After this episode Mindy Simmons is never seen or heard of ever again.  Did Burns sack her for ordering room service?

BART ON THE BLACKBOARD:
All work and no play makes Bart a dull boy.

OTHER:
No Ralph in this episode.

FINAL WORDS:
Just more weight to the theory that Marge is the ideal woman.

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