One of the Funniest Characters in the Show and the Driving Forces
Jul 29, 2009
Everyone knows Homer Simpson. If I have to tell you about who he is you obviously weren't much of a Simpsons fan. I had to write a huge review explaining why Lisa is such a great asset to the show. I don't really have to do that for Homer. He has had an array of personalities. He's the main character of the series and often gets the most episodes (though in certain seasons Bart has been known to garner the most).
You all know Homer, he's an idiot. But just because Homer is an idiot doesn't mean he doesn't do smart things. He's a loving Family man who will do just about anything for his kids and family. Homer has always shown himself to Sacrifice things for the greater good of his family and the well being of his family. In a way, Homer was an iconic father figure in a satirical sense. I say "was" because as the show has gone on Homer has gone from being mostly a dunce to being borderline retarded. Homer is so stupid now Peter Griffin looks like he has a Ph.D. In the seasons following season ten or so, Homer has become so stupid that we don’t even know him anymore. As a result, this review seeks to focus on Homer before The Simpsons took a radical turn.
But we won’t focus too much because I shouldn’t have to talk too much about Homer to any Simpsons fan. He’s often labeled as the most popular character on the show. He’s the most well known of the Simpson clan. He often gets some of the best lines in the show, and is one of the most quotable characters. I sometimes argue that while Homer is an idiot he’s often one of the smartest guys on the show... he just doesn’t know it. I suppose it depends more on how you’re willing to interpret what Homer says. But he’s pretty self aware of his own limitations and does what he can despite not being much of a smart man.
He’s an iconic character in television because he often provides a lot of humor for the show. As I said under my review of Miss Lisa Simpson, Homer is often at his best when he teams up with his daughter... or his son. Lisa’s best episodes are certainly the ones where Homer is involved. But Homer is so diverse and out there. The Simpsons has over 400 episodes, and Homer is the focal point in well over half of those episodes. I gave Lisa a top ten. That’s what we’re going to try to do with Homer. We’re going to condense the nearly 450 Episodes of Homer down into TEN of the best ones. This list is in no particular order. So let’s begin.
1. Homer Defined This isn't exactly the phrase the was put in the dictionary, but wouldn't it be cool if it was? In this episode, Homer is said to be a hero for saving the Plant from Meltdown. But it was all just a matter of luck that he did so. The episode has a running gag in which Homer thinks about what word people would look up in the dictionary and see a picture of him. In the end, when people discover that Homer just didn't know what he was doing when he saved the plant in a funny exchange in which a man asks him "Homer, do you even know which button you pressed?" and he responds, "Mo." Because in order to figure out which button he simply played "Eenie Meenie Miney Mo." Sure enough people realize that Homer is no hero, just an idiot who got lucky. The phrase "Pulling a Homer" is added to the dictionary. The definition is as follows: "To succeed despite idiocy." Classic. In that case... I'm sure many of us have "Pulled a Homer."
2. Homer at the Bat This is a classic episode, but a lot of people don't actually see it too much. The eariler episodes haven't faded into obscurity, but it seems without buying the DVD set or watching it online, you won't see too many of them. This is one of the best episodes in the entire show. The nuclear Power Plant has a Softball team and Homer becomes the star player when he shows his team mates his "Wonder Bat." It looks like just a normal bat, but when Homer starts hitting several homeruns and gets the name "Home Run Homer" people realize that they'll probably win the whole season. But when Mr. Burns makes a million dollar bet he decides to higher people from the big leagues in one of the best All Star Guest Cast on television ever. We get: Roger Clemmens, Mike Socha (I'm surely spelling these names wrong), Wade Boggs, Don Mattingly, Jose Conseco, Steve Saxx, Ken Griffey Jr., Ozzie Smith and Daryl Strawberry who takes over Homer's spot.
Through circumstances no one could predict (seriousy, no one!) all of Burns's "ringers" get caught in strange situations rending them unable to play. Roger Clemmens is hypnotized and thinks he's a chicken... Mike Socha (that name is totally spelled wrong, I apologize) gets radiation poisoning from the Power Plant, Wade Boggs gets punched by Barney and lays unconcious in Moe's tavern, Don Mattingly gets fired because Mr. Burns thinks he has sideburns, Jose Conseco ends up rescuing a woman and ALL of her appliances from a house that takes over 24 hours to do, Steve Saxx gets arrested, Ken Griffey Jr. suffers from Gigantism (thanks to nerve tonic Burns gave him) and Ozzie Smith literally falls into a bottomless pit. The only one who doesn't get involved in a weird situation is Daryl Strawberry who has taken Homer's position. At the end Burns makes a decision to put Homer in for Strawberry (it's actually a really stupid decision) and Homer doesn't understand Burns's signals. While paying attention to Burns (and trying to figure just what he hell Burns is signaling to him) Homer is struck in the head with a softball and faints on the home plate. "Oh dear!" Marge screams, but Lisa reminds Marge that since the bases were loaded and Homer got hit, it counts as a walk... that means they win the game. Homer... by getting struck with a softball and getting knocked out by it... has won the game and is a hero! "I'm sure he'll be happy when he comes to," Marge remarks.
I spend so much time on this because this shows the same thing that Homer Defined shows... that Homer is often a guy who succeeds at what he does despite that often times he's usually lucky or in the right place at the right time. This isn't just one of Homer's best episodes... it's one of the best episodes in the series.
3. Mr. Plow "Call Mr. Plow/That's my name/That name again is Mr. Plow." Everyone knows the Mr. Plow jingle. This is one of Homer's best episodes. When he gets a plow through recklessness, he starts a plow business and does a good job. There's also a neat homage to The Godfather involving Bart. But beyond that Barney eventually becomes Homer's rival and steals his business... so Homer leads Barney on a dangerous mountain where Barney gets trapped... so Homer saves him. It's a neat little episode that shows that while Homer is selfish... he's far more selfless and willing to take responsibility for his actions.
4. Duffless You all probably expected this one to come up. Homer takes a day off work to go the Duff Brewery. He goes with Barney. Barney gets drunk, Homer has a bit. Barney isn't able to drive so Homer does. He's pulled over by the cops and everything is going okay until Barney suggests they give him the breathalizer test. So they do... and Homer fails. His license is taken away and he is sent to Alcoholics Anonymous. Marge finally convinces him to go for a month without beer after discovering that beers gives Homer a false perception of himself, that he hides beer and spends too much time at Moe's. Homer eventually does and it has good effects on him. He loses weight and saves money. Except it also has a bad effect on him... he begins to go a little crazy because of his addiction... he sees it everywhere. Everyone knows that when you have to let an addiction go it can be tough becuase you really DO start to see it everywhere. Yet the most touching moment is after Homer's month of Sobriety is up. He immediately heads off the Moe's against Marge's wishes. Yet when Moe puts the beer in front of him Homer eventually decides to tell Moe to leave it in the fridge. Spending time with his wife turns out to be more important. And they go for a bike ride, instead. Showing once again, that in spite of everything, Homer is more of a family man than anything else.
There's also a subplot with Bart and Lisa where Lisa asks the question, "Is my brother dumber than a Hamster." It's a great Lisa/Bart episode but this is mostly a Homer episode.
5. Last Exit to Springfield Along with the episode "Rosebud" (which is mostly a Burns and Maggie episode), "Last Exit to Springfield" is often voted as one of the best. I often can't decide which episode is better between the two, but Last Exit to Springfield is certainly among the funniest of the early episodes. It's also a great Burns episode (as Burns is often in some of The Simpsons best lived moments, we can do him later). Here Homer realizes that if the plant gives up its Dental Plan he'll have to pay for Lisa's braces. So he takes it upon himself to lead the union. And Burns thinks that Homer is quite a formidable opponent. What makes the episode hilarious is that Homer, uh, "Pulls a Homer." He succeeds in keeping the dental plan, despite idiocy. Homer hates being head of the union and actually doesn't get most of what Burns is talking about. In one instance when Burns is trying to offer Homer a bribe... Homer thinks Mr. Burns is hitting on him and turns him down... Burns thinks he was turning down the bribe. In another instance, Burns thinks Homer is exercising away when what Homer is really doing is trying to get a Sugar Daddy off his back. In ANOTHER instance Burns has Homer over to negotiate... and Homer has to go to the bathroom... and Burns keeps making references to water. "Now Homer, it doesn't take a WHIZ to see that you're looking out for NUMBER ONE! I'm sure you'll make a big SPLASH!" and this is happening as Homer is splashing coffee and there's a dripping pipe in the background. So Homer goes to the Bathroom but Burns thinks he didn't even hear him out.
There are two great moments. The first is when Homer becomes head of the union and Lisa asks Homer if he can really get the Dental Plan back. "That depends," Homer says, "on who's a better negotiator... Mr. Burns or me." To which Bart promply trades Homer a "delicious" doorstop from his "crummy old Danish." Homer makes the deal only to realize he can't eat a doorstop. This shows that Homer just isn't suited for this. In the end of the episode (the second best moment) Mr. Burns agrees to give in on one condition: Homer must resign as head of the union. Well, this is what Homer wants all along. So Homer wins and gets everything he wanted... through complete and utter idiocy. The best part? The only reason he did it was so that he wouldn't have to pay for Lisa's braces. This episode, more than any other, truly defines why Homer is one of the shows funniest characters.
6. Homer's Phobia Ironically enough, this was one of The Simpson's most controversial episodes. Homer meets a guy named John. And Homer enjoys John until he discovers that John is gay. His worries are even worse when he realizes that Bart is acting a bit more... "festive." So he decides he must make Bart into a man. And soon before John "corrupts" him. Here Homer has some neat moments such as telling John that straight people need the word "queer" to make fun of gays. He screams "We need it!" It's hilarious. Many of his attempts to turn Bart straight backfire mostly through Homer's interpretations. He shows Bart a billboard with two hot women and a pack of cigarettes. So Bart wants to smoke. When Homer asks him what his brand is Bart replies "Anything slim." Damn. So he takes Bart to a steel mill... but it turns out to be a gay steel mill. Finally he decides that he'll take Bart hunting along with Barney and Moe to which Bart remarks: "Something about a bunch of guys alone in the woods... seems kinda gay." In the end, it is Lisa who has to explain to Bart that Homer thinks he's gay. But, on the upside, Homer learns a valuable lesson and John earns his respect. That's right, The Simpsons was advocating for gay rights before MSNBC!
7. Homer's Enemy This is perhaps one of the best Simpsons episodes ever made. Mr. Burns sees a great man on television named Frank Grimes... who had to work very hard to get to where he is in life. While at the plant, Frank meets Homer. And realizes that Homer is nothing more than a lazy, bumbling slob. And yet Homer seems to have everything. A beautiful wife, a girl with a 156 IQ, a lovely baby. And to make matters worse, Bart got lucky and bought a factory for a buck (of course Frank doesn't know it's rundown). And in the midst of all this Frank discovers that Homer has won a grammy (a reference to Homer's Barbershop Quartet), has been into outerspace (a reference to Deep Space Homer) and had a beer with former President Gerald Ford (in the episode Two Bad Neighbors). How is it that a man as bumbling of an idiot as Homer could've coaxed through life as easily as Homer while Frank has had to work hard? Eventually Frank begins to acting like Homer and meets his own demise. Matt Groening has often labeled this as one of his favorite episodes. Frank Grimes himself has become a cult favorite character in the show.
8. The Last Temptation of Homer In this classic episode, Homer meets a woman named Mindy while at work and realizes that Mindy seems to like just about everything he likes. Mindy is the quintessential soul mate for Homer. She loves food (especially donuts) and enjoys beer and whatnot. It's as if Homer has found a long lost relative. For a conference, Burns choose Homer and Mindy to go. And while there, Homer is tempted. Things aren't helped either when things happen to his family that he can't fathom. Bart having to become a temporary nerd thanks to a lazy eye, Lisa burns fish sticks and Marge is awfully sick. More than that, he gets a vision in which he sees what his life would be like if he married Mindy instead of Marge. Everything points to Mindy just being all around better for him. Even Marge would be better off. With all this presented to him... what is Homer to do? When alone in a hotel room Homer begins to cry. And it is revealed that Mindy does feel the same way about Homer. But she leaves the choice to him. When Homer makes his decision, we see that indeed he decides to stay faithful to Marge. 9. Secrets of a Successful Marriage This little gem of an episode focuses on the problems of Marge and Homer's marriage. Homer becomes a teacher to teach a marital course. He is pretty bad at it until he begins telling very private stories. When Marge finds out she's appauld. Homer promises to stop and then doesn't. Eventually Marge gets so upset that she kicks him out. After just a day, Homer looks awful. Lisa tells him that he must give Marge something no one else can. But what can Homer give? In the end Homer says he can give Marge pure and utter dependency. "Homer," she quickly remarks, "that's not a good thing." But to Homer it is the best thing. He compromises by saying he can't afford to lose Marge again, and can make a promise never to reveal their private moments again. Marge also compromises and discovers she likes how Homer can make her feel needed. Homer Simpson, in another episode, comes to his sense because of family.
10. HOMR Choosing the last episode to include on the list is always hard. Especially with Homer. People can argue all the time, but I chose this one because it centers on my two favorite characters: Homer and Lisa. But it's definitely a Homer episode. Homer agrees to get drug tested in order to make some money for his family. It is then discovered that he has a crayon lodged in his brain. Through a surgical procedure the crayon is removed. And what do we discover? That Homer is actually a genius! In fact, he is smart enough to match wits with his daughter! It could be that Lisa actually DOES get her smarts from her dad! However, Homer comes to realize that being a brain is tough. When he actually does his job right, the plant lays off all the workers until it's up to code and people don't particularly like him. In a movie he spoils a movie for everyone in there saying it's "predictable" and even corrects someone who doesn't know who Bill Pullman is. The pressure of being smart and not wanting to reveal that he is so pushes Homer to the extreme decision of getting the crayon reinserted into his brain. Much to the disappointment of Lisa. He writes her a note just before he does so. Lisa discovers her dad is (once again) very thoughtful, and Homer realizes that a special bond with Lisa is entirely possible. The episode says a lot abut intellecuals and anti-intellectuals, but mostly it serves as one of the better episodes of the second half of the Simpsons because we see Homer as he was in the early episodes. He's an idiot, but certainly capable of more... and we know that he is for certain now. Lisa came to admire him as a hero. It's ironic that I didn't put this among Lisa's best episodes, but I feel this is the episode which best shows us who Homer is and who he could be. It is an episode unlike any other.
If you've read the book "Flowers for Algernon" is should be noted that it inspired this episode.
There are lots of Homer Simpson episodes. So many in fact that ten just doesn't do anyone justice. Hey, why not comment and tell me some of your favorite episodes. Even if it's already on my list. We can discuss, I invite it.
Join me next time as we discuss Bart Simpson, then Marge and finally Maggie. So it is time I prepare for Bart's list. Until then, tell me some of YOUR favorite Homer Simpson episodes! And if you haven't already, be sure to comment on my review of Lisa and tell me some of your favorite Lisa Simpson episodes too!
Honorable Mention: Treehouse of Horror V While I listed ten, I couldn't help but throw this one in there at the very last minute. Treehouse of Horror V is the best of all the Treehouse of Horror episodes. And it's mostly because of Homer Simpson. In a spoof of The Shining, Homer sets off to kill his family after having no beer or TV drives him crazy. Next, through a toaster (it IS The Simpsons) Homer travels through time and sees several different realities. FInally, the cafeteria begins eating kids. That's more Bart and Lisa, but the first two are all Homer and they're the best Treehouse of Horror shorts The Simpsons has ever done! Don't take my word for it. You can watch the full episode here!
One of the very few aspects of The Simpsons which has managed to stay consistently funny. Homer is more or less a composite of Warner Brothers cartoons because he's the most slapstick-based, non-sequiter character from the show, which these days makes him about the only character still worth watching.
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
Homer Jay Simpson is a fictional main character in the animated television series The Simpsons and father of the eponymous family. He is voiced by Dan Castellaneta and first appeared on television, along with the rest of his family, in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Homer was created and designed by cartoonist Matt Groening while he was waiting in the lobby of James L. Brooks' office. Groening had been called to pitch a series of shorts based on Life in Hell but instead decided to create a new set of characters. He named the character after his father Homer Groening. After appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show for three years, the Simpson family got their own series on Fox, which debuted December 17, 1989.
Homer is the boorish father of the Simpson family. With his wife, Marge, he has three children: Bart, Lisa and Maggie. As the family's provider, he works at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. Homer embodies several American working class stereotypes: he is crude, overweight, incompetent, clumsy, lazy and ignorant; however, he is also fiercely devoted to his family. Despite the suburban blue-collar routine of his life, he has had a number of remarkable experiences.
In the shorts and earlier episodes, Castellaneta voiced Homer with a loose impression of Walter Matthau; however, during the second and third seasons of the half-hour show, Homer's voice evolved to become more robust, to allow the expression of a fuller range of emotions. ...