July 2nd, 2020


Homer's Achievement in Excellence

"I used to be rich. I owned Mickey Mouse Massage Parlours," says a homeless man in an episode of The Simpsons on Disney+. "Then those Disney sleezeballs shut me down. I said, look, I'll change the logo, put Mickey's pants back on. Pfft. Some guys you just can't reason with." This is from the season three finale, "Brother Can You Spare Two Dimes", which sees the return of Danny DeVito as Homer's long lost brother Herb. Good for you, Disney, though I wonder if the episodes just weren't combed through carefully enough. Well, then again, maybe they were. There are plenty of jokes involving Mickey Mouse with his pants off in the new Mickey Mouse cartoons. It all sits oddly beside the fur on Daryl Hannah's butt. But I guess there's just nothing natural about that.

Not one of the best episodes of The Simpsons but still very funny, it begins with Homer (Dan Castellaneta) testing as sterile in a medical checkup at the nuclear power plant, prompting Mr. Burns (Harry Shearer) to concoct a scheme to avoid liability. So he tricks Homer into accepting a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Field of Excellence.

When Herb returns, it's this prize money he talks Homer into lending him so he can make a machine to decode the speech of babies.

The main story about Homer and Herb reconciling is fine but the episode's strong points are in its side gags, like Lisa (Yeardley Smith) wanting to spend the money on an encyclopaedia's Great Works of Literature series (including adjacent to classic titles like "Paradise Regained" and "Ethan Frome") or an expensive recliner that Homer covets in a scene referencing 2001: A Space Odyssey. It's season three, though, so it's guaranteed to be gold in some respects.