Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?                              Written by Jeff Martin
                                               Directed by W. M. ``Bud'' Archer

Title Sequence

Blackboard :- `I will not sell land in Florida'

Driveway   :- no oil on the driveway.
              Homer does not shake his fist at Bart.
              Homer says D'oh! when Lisa scoots past.

Couch:     :- The family all fit, with Maggie in Marge's 'do.

Didja notice ...

  ... baby Homer has <exactly> the same amount of hair as adult Homer?
  ... the director of the orphanage is Dr. Hibbert's twin brother?
  ... The advisor, when indicating the number six, held up all four fingers
      on one hand and two on the other?
  ... the slogan for the Persephone was `THE MYTH BECOMES A LEGEND'?
  ... Maggie instinctively grabbed Herbert's necktie?
  ... Bart was cheating at Marco Polo?  (See below.)
  ... Marge is wearing SHORTS on the boat?  (Only the second time
      the first being `There's No Disgrace Like Home')
  ... when Lisa and Bart are playing croquet, there is a butler standing
      there?  When Lisa makes her shot, she walks over and drinks a glass
      of lemonade from the butler's tray.  (Meanwhile, Lisa and Bart are
      dressed in the most adorable outfits.)
  ... Maggie fell only once?  (But it was well-timed.)

Dave Hall (dave@sys6626.bison.mb.ca)
  ... Marge is wearing Bunny slippers?  (cf. Life In Hell)

Movie References

       - unveiling a new car model.
    Damn Yankees
       - `Whatever Homer wants, Homer gets' cf `Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets'
  + The Godfather
       - `As far as I'm concerned, I have no brother.'
       - Danny DeVito playing a long-lost brother.
         The Arnold Schwarzenegger spoof in `McBain' helped, too.

Assorted comments and observations

The game Marco Polo

The rules:

1. The player who is `it' keeps his eyes closed throughout.
2. When `it' yells `Marco!', everybody else must yell `Polo!'.
3. `It' must catch some other player while keeping his eyes closed.
4. Whoever `it' catches becomes the new `it'.
5. Players are not allowed to leave the pool.  (Hence, Bart was cheating.)

A popular variation is to have a different rule 5:

5. Players may leave the pool.
6. If `it' thinks that somebody has left the pool, he can yell `Fish out
   of water!'  Then whoever left the pool becomes the new `it'.

It is clear that Bart and Lisa were playing by the original rules,
since Bart had an evil grin on his face as he tiptoed around the pool.

The nuclear power industry

The following article was posted by Chris Baird {cjb}:

The most heat, however, was generated by the show's constant use of
nuclear power as the butt of jokes.  Homer Simpson works at the local
nuclear plant and, when saying grace at the dinner table, is wont to
say such things as: ``... and thank you Lord for nuclear power, which is
yet to cause a single proven fatality, at least in this country''.  Sam
Simon admits he is largely responsible for the often anti-nuclear gags
in the show, but says he is ``not on this mission against nuclear power;
I just think it's funny that a boob like Homer can have a job in such a
potentially dangerous situation.''  Still, he has managed to get both
sides of the nuclear debate offside.  The episode in which a three-eyed
mutant fish is found by Bart and Lisa in the river near the plant, for
instance, caused quite a stir.  ``It's funny, you know.  I just try to
make the shows, and if people want to analyse them they can.  I sat in a
college classroom where a professor was telling students that it was the
most pointed piece of political satire that had aired on prime-time
television in the last 10 years!''  Simon laughs.  ``I co-wrote that
three-eyed fish episode and, honest to God, two of us sat in my office
for a couple of days and strung together some jokes.  There was no point
to it.''  The fallout from the nuclear jokes was amusing, says Simon.
``I'm glad it's over, except I've ended up on some more mailing lists.''
So what happened?  ``When the show started, the United States Council for
Energy Awareness, which is a fairly powerful nuclear power lobbying
group, said, `You're having fun at our expense.  Why don't you come down
to a nuclear power plant and see what it's really like?' There's no way
that writers on this show would turn down a chance like that. 
``It was a really fun field trip that taught us that, in some ways, our
show was unrealistic, but, in other ways, it was more realistic than we
would have ever thought possible.  They got angry that we weren't
completely turned around by the field trip and that we didn't stop doing
jokes about nuclear power so they issued a press release stating how
upset they were.  I was called by Associated Press and l essentially
said `I'm sorry they feel bad about it.'  Then the anti-nuclear people
got upset because they don't want to hear anything but a complete
anti-nuclear agenda and they wanted equal time
``I said, `You want equal time because I'm not listening to these other
people?' ''  Simon nearly breaks up with laughter.  ``It doesn't make
The moral to the story, Simon says, is ``that people on both sides of
that particular controversy don't have a sense of humour, and I'm glad
that I do.  We're going to keep having fun with nuclear power on the

Quotes and scene summary

 We watch the conclusion of a McBain movie, and Grampa and Jasper boo and
 hiss when it ends.
   Grampa:  The screen was too small.
   Jasper:  The floor was sticky.
   Grampa:  The romantic subplot felt tacked-on.
   Jasper:  In short, we demand a refund.
   -- Complaining at the movie theater, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 The clerk tells Grampa, ``Don't have a heart attack, old dude.''
 And Grampa does.  Meanwhile, it is dinnertime at the Simpson residence.
   ... and thank you most of all for nuclear power,
   which has yet to cause a single proven fatality.
   At least in this country.  Amen.
   -- Homer, saying grace, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 When Bart sneaks a bite of a green bean during the blessing, he and Lisa
 get into an argument...
   Quiet you kids.  If I hear one more word, Bart doesn't get to watch cartoons,
   and Lisa doesn't get to go to college.
   -- Homer, threatening his kids, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 So Bart and Lisa resort to `pantomomime' to communicate.  The dinner is
 interrupted by a phone call from the hospital.  Grampa had a mild heart
   Grampa: Pull your chair closer, my son.
   Homer:  What is it, Dad?
   Grampa: Peeyoo!  Not that close!  Sheesh.
           Homer, that heart attack made me realize that I'm going to die
   Homer:  Oh, Dad, you and your imagination.
   -- hospital visit, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 Grampa tells Homer something he ought to know:  He has a half-brother.
 While he was courting Granma, Grampa went to the carnival to check out
 the skirts...
   Hey handsome, wanna `dunk' the `clown'?
   -- Carnival girl/prostitute, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
   She did things your mother would never do.  Like have sex for money.
   -- Grampa, remembering an affair, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 When the carnival returned to town a year later, the carnival girl had
 a surprise for him... a baby boy.  The baby was left at the Shelbyville
 orphanage.  When Granma gave birth to Homer...
   Granma: Abe, I want Homer to grow up respecting his father.
           He must never know about that, that carnival incident.
   Grampa: Okay.
   Granma: Promise you won't tell him.
   Grampa: I promise.
           [end of flashback]
   Grampa: Oops!  Forget what I just told you.
   -- hospital visit, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
   Homer:  This makes me special, Dad.  Since I'm the one you kept, that
           must mean you really loved me.
   Grampa: Mm.  Interesting theory.
   -- hospital visit, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 In the car on the way home...
   Lisa:   A long-lost half-brother.  How Dickensian!
   Bart:   So, any idea where this bastard lives?
   Homer:  Bart!
   Bart:   His parents aren't married are they?
           It's the correct word, isn't it?
   Homer:  I guess he's got us there.
   Marge:  Mmm...
   Bart:   [singing]
           Bastard, bastard, bastard, bastard, bastard, bastard, bastard bastard!
   Marge:                         Bart!
   Homer:                                   Bart!             Baart!
   -- car ride, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 Homer pays a visit to the Shelbyville Orphanage, to find that it is now
 a gas station...
   Homer:     Oh brother, where art thou!
   Attendant: Take it easy, buddy, they moved across the street.
   Homer:     Oh, hee hee.  Sorry.
   -- looking for the orphanage, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
   Director:  I know how you feel, Mr. Simpson.
              I myself have spent years searching for <my> long-lost twin brother.
   Homer:     Yeah yeah yeah.  Well, I wish I could help you, but we're looking
              for <my> brother today.
   -- visit to the orphanage, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
   Director:  Your brother could be anywhere.  Even ... Detroit.
   Homer:     I know he could be <anywhere>,
              that's why I want you to narrow it down!  Please!
   Director:  You know, Mr. Simpson, if you ask me, the city of <brotherly> love
              isn't Philadelphia, it's ... Detroit.
   Homer:     Well, if you asked me, changing the subject makes you the
              most worthless, heartless excuse for a human being I ever...
   Director:  Read between the lines, Mr. Simpson!
   Homer:     Oh, I get it!  Okay.  Here's twenty bucks.  Now will you
              tell me where my brother lives?
   -- visit to the orphanage, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 Homer finally learns his brother's name is Herbert Powell, and that he lives
 in Detroit.  Homer goes through a Detroit phone book...
   Let's see.  Powell, Powell, Powell...
   Pomerantz, Poole, Popkins, Potter, Quigley, Quimby, Randal, oops, too far.
   -- Homer, looking through the phone book, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 Homer calls all three `Powell, Herbert's in the phone book, with no luck.
 Marge suggests trying to call `H Powell', and he hits the jackpot.
   Homer:   Hello?  Hello?  Stupid phone!  [bangs the phone]
   Herbert: Hey, knock it off.  I'm here!
            I'm just silent because of the emotion involved.
   Homer:   Oh.  Sorry.
   -- first contact with his brother, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 Herbert invites Homer to pay a visit...
   Bart+Lisa:  Are we there yet?
   Homer:      Just a little further!
   Bart+Lisa:  Are we there yet?
   Homer:      Just a little fur...
   Bart+Lisa:  Are we there yet?
   Homer:      Just a little further!!
   Marge:      Bart!  Lisa!  If you don't behave, we'll turn this car
               right around and go home.
   Homer:      But Marge, I want to see my brother!
   Marge:      Oh, for God sakes, Homer, it's an empty threat.
   -- car ride, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 Homer gets pulled over for speeding, but the trooper apologizes.  ``Sorry
 sir, I didn't know it was you.''  Homer goes to a rest room, and a fellow
 says, ``Wow!  What are <you> doing here?''  The car hits a pothole, and Homer
 spills his drink (D'oh!).  Meanwhile, at Powell Motors...
   Herbert:  Every day we're losing ground to the Japanese and I want to know why.
   Advisor:  Oh, unfair trade practices?
   Advisor:  Mushy-headed one-worlders in Washington?
   Advisor:  Some sort of gypsy curse?
   -- board meeting, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
   People don't want cars named after hungry old Greek broads!
   -- Herbert Powell, board meeting, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
   Herbert: You, what are your roots?
   Advisor: Well, I guess you could say they extend to when the Angles met
            the Saxons... [all except Herbert chuckle]
   Herbert: Or in other words, when white met bread.
   -- board meeting, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 Homer arrives at the Powell mansion, and Herbert steps out of his limo.
 They greet each other emotionally.
   Holy moly, the bastard's rich!
   -- Homer, seeing his brother's mansion, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 Homer introduces his family...
   Homer:    And our three children:  Bart, Lisa ...
   Maggie:   [falls down]  [thud]
   Homer:    ... and Maggie.
   Bart:     Hello, sir.
   Lisa:     Hello, Mr. Powell.
   Herbert:  All born in wedlock?
   Homer:    [whispers] Yeah, though the boy was a close call.
   -- introducing his family, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 Bart identifies himself as `the little hell-raiser', and Homer tosses
 Maggie into Herbert's arms.  (Maggie instinctively grabs Herbert's tie.)
   Herbert:  While you're here, I want you to make yourselves right at home.
             Any time you're hungry, any time day or night,
             Cook will make you anything you want.
   Homer:    Even pork chops?
   Herbert:  Absolutely.  We have a tennis court, a swimming pool,
             a screening room...
   Homer:    If I want pork chops any time in the middle of the night,
             your guy will fry them up?
   Herbert:  Sure, that's what he's paid for.
             Now, if you need towels, laundry, maids...
   Homer:    Wait, wait, wait.  Lemme see if I got this straight.
             It's Christmas Day, 4am, there's a rumble in my stomach...
   Marge:    Homer, please.
   -- touring the estate, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 In the pool, Lisa and Bart play `Marco Polo'...
   Herbert: So, Marge, a little about yourself.
   Marge:   Well, I met Homer in high school.  We got married and had three
            beautiful children.
   Herbert: Wow.  We have so much catching up to do.
   Marge:   Mm.  Actually, I just told you pretty much everything.
   -- poolside, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
   Bart:   Watch me dive!
   Lisa:   Watch me dive!
   Homer:  OKAY, we're watching!
   Marge:  I hope we're not spoiling them...
           [they dive]
   Bart:   Man, you weren't watching, I did a double gainer with a half...
   Lisa:   Hey, you didn't see what I did, you didn't watch me dive...
   -- poolside, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 Homer calls Grampa ...
   A millionaire!?  Ooh, I kept the wrong one.
   -- Grampa learns of his long-lost son, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 Grampa begs Homer, `Please, don't do anything stupid!'  Herbert takes
 Bart and Homer on a balloon ride.
   Bart:    Unkie Herb, can I spit over the side?
   Herbert: Heh heh heh.  I love this kid.  Hock your brains out!
            [Bart spits, as does Herbert]
   Bart:    Ho!  Got him!
   -- in a balloon, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 That evening, Homer makes a phone call from bed...
   Hello, cook?
   Sorry to bother you so late, but I got a hankering for some...
   That's right.  Don't forget the applesauce!
   -- Homer, on the phone late at night, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 Herbert takes Homer to his garage and offers him any car he wants.  But
 none of the cars is to Homer's liking.  When he confronts his engineers,
 they explain, ``Because Americans don't want'' cars like that.  Herbert
 hires Homer to design a car.
   Herbert:  And I want to pay you $200,000 a year!
   Homer:    And I want to let you!
   -- hiring Homer as a consultant, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 Homer is introduced to his team of engineers.  Meanwhile, Lisa wants to
 go on a pony ride, but Bart wants to go on a boat ride, so Herbert decides
 to compromise:  They go for a pony ride on a boat.  At the plant,
 the engineers shoo Homer away.  Homer returns home...
   Herbert:  Hey Homer, how's your car coming?
   Homer:    Oh, fine.  They were putting in an onboard something-or-other
             and rack-and-peanut steering.
   -- first day on the job, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
   Herbert:  Do you understand?
   Homer:    Sort of.
   Herbert:  Homer?
   Homer:    What.
   Herbert:  Answer me again with self-confidence!
   Homer:    SORT OF!
   -- pep talk, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 Homer goes back to his team of engineers and tells them what he wants.
 Like a place to put his drink.  Not a little cup, but one of those
 super-slurpers at the Kwik-E-Mart.  And all sorts of other amazingly
 tacky things...
   Some things are so snazzy they never go out of style!
   Like tail fins... And bubble domes... And shag carpeting...
   -- Homer, designing a car, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 While Lisa and Bart are playing croquet, Herbert gets a call from his
 lead engineer.
   Hang up, call me back, and say the exact opposite of everything you just said.
   -- Herbert, to his advisor, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 He then calls Lisa and Bart over and lets them listen to the engineer's
 `modified' report.  Homer continues to throw his weight around the lab...
   I want a horn here, here, and here.
   You can never find a horn when you're mad.
   And they should all play `La Cucaracha'.
   -- Homer, designing a car, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
   Advisor: What about a separate soundproof bubble-dome for the kids
            with optional restraints and muzzles?
   Homer:   Bullseye!
   -- designing a car, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 And Lisa and Bart introduce Herbert to the wonders of animated cartoons...
   Lisa: The mouse is named Itchy and the cat is named Scratchy.
   Bart: They hate each other.
   Lisa: And they're not shy about expressing it.
   -- ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
   To think I wasted my life in boardrooms, and stockholders meetings,
   when I could've been watching cartoons!
   -- Herbert Powell, watching `Itchy and Scratchy'
      ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 At the lab, Homer is hooked up with electrodes and is sent through
 a wind tunnel.  Meanwhile, Marge is concerned that Herbert is spoiling
 the children.
   Hello there.  Do you miss the Antarctic?
   -- Lisa, talking to a penguin at the zoo, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 When Homer is shown the plans for his car, he tears it up and draws
 his own.  The moment has come for the grand unveiling...
   Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed stockholders,
   members of the press, Your Holiness...
   -- Herbert Powell, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
   All my life, I have searched for a car that feels a certain way.
   Powerful like a gorilla, yet soft and yielding like a Nerf ball.
   Now, at last, I have found it.
   -- Homer, describing his car, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 When Herbert learns the monstrosity costs $82,000, Herbert realizes he's
 doomed.  Homer gives the horn a honk, and it plays `La Cucaracha'.
 Herbert's bags are packed as a crane replaces the `Powell Motors' sign
 with `Kumatsu Motors'.
   Homer:   Gee Herb, because of me you lost your business, your home, and all
            your possessions.  I can't help but think that maybe you'd have been
            better off if I'd never come into your life.
   Herbert: Maybe I would have been better off?
            Why you sponge-head.  Of COURSE I'd have been better off.
            As far as I'm concerned, I have no brother!
   Marge:   Mm.  Maybe he just said that to make conversation.
   -- Herbert leaving forever, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
   His life was an unbridled success until he found out... he was a Simpson.
   -- Lisa, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
 Grampa arrives, then says, ``D'oh! I knew you'd blow it!''  On the ride
 home, as the car leaves Michigan, Marge and the girls have dozed off...
   Bart:  Dad?
   Homer: What is it, boy?
   Bart:  I thought your car was really cool.
   Homer: Thanks boy!  I was waiting for someone to say that.
   -- driving home, ``Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?''
   Episode summaries Copyright 1991 by Raymond Chen.  Not to be redistributed
   in a public forum without permission.  (The quotes themselves, of course,
   remain the property of The Simpsons, and the reproduced articles remain
   the property of the original authors.  I'm just taking credit for the

HTML conversion by
Howard Jones(ha.jones@ic.ac.uk) on Sat 10 Sept 1994