Homer Defined

Homer Defined                                         Written by Howard Gewirtz
                                                      Directed by Mark Kirkland

TV Guide synopsis

Homer's averting of a nuclear meltdown earns him employee-of-the-month
honors---and a call from Magic Johnson; a parental edict forbids Milhouse
to play with Bart.  Other voices: Dan Castellaneta, Harry Shearer.

Title sequence

First airing:  Cut from clouds directly to driveway.
Second airing: Complete intro.
Canada:        Full intro both times.

Blackboard :- `I will not squeak chalk.'
              (Accompanied by appropriate squealing noises.)
              `I will not sque' at cutoff.

Lisa's solo:- transcribed by Alan J Rosenthal {ajr}, in 4/4
                     .                 .  .    .
                   b b    b b             b    -
              1.8.87_3 __87878_ 1..88885 .3868.3

Driveway   :- Homer says nothing when Lisa scoots past.

First airing
Couch      :- The couch tips over, and Maggie sits where the couch used to be.

Second airing and Canadian
Couch      :- A four-armed, one-eyed green octopus-alien enjoys a can
              of beer on the Simpsons couch.  It makes its escape
              through a trap door in the floor before the family arrive.
              The Simpsons leap on the couch - and they all fit.

Didja notice...

        Also Starring
            Maggie Roswell (woman in closet?, Mrs. Van Houten)
	    Pamela Hayden (Milhouse)
            Russi Taylor (Martin, Sherri and Terri)
        Special Guest Voice
            John Lovitz (Aristotle Amodopoulos)
        Special Guest Voice
            Earvin Johnson Jr. (himself)
        Special Guest Voice
            Chick Hearn (himself, Laker announcer)

    ... the couch alien was drinking a can of Duff?  (Look for the distinctive
        red label.) {cjb}
    ... the coffee mugs at the plant are shaped like nuclear cooling towers,
        and have an atom symbol on the side?
    ... the HUGE portrait of Burns behind Smithers and Hercules?
    ... Jack Nicholson sitting at the game? {msb}
    ... Krusty Ham?
    ... Marge addressed Milhouse's mother as `Mrs. Van Houten', yet she
        referred to Marge as `Marge'?
    ... Lisa's chocolate milk goes `slurp' even though the glass is full?

    ... a shot from behind Milhouse's head included the magnification of
        what he sees through his glasses?  Really!  {sjb}

John P. Connolly {jpc}:
   ...  there wasn't anything leaking anywhere in the nuclear plant?
   ...  PEAS WERE EVERYWHERE while they were eating the ham? (cf [7[FG]09])

George W. Harris {gwh}:
    ... when Smithers drops the wine when he hears Homer will be EotM, the
        wine is revealed to be a sickly green color---the same color as the
        acid in the I&S cartoon?
    ... when Otto is driving the bus to the Kwik-E-Mart, the speedometer
        shows he's going about 70?  (Note the skid marks leading up to
        the Kwik-E-Mart.)

Dave Hall {dh}:
    ... Homer isn't wearing his Employee ID card, nor his tie in this episode?
    ... Bart used old Christmas wrapping paper to wrap up Milhouse's present?
    ... along with a picture of Krusty on the Walkie-Talkies box, you also see
        Side-Show Mel, and they're using NORMAL Walkie-Talkies?
        [No they're not, they're using Krusty walkie-talkies. --rjc]
    ... on one of Burn's monitor, a guy was beating up a drink machine?
    ... the wide shot of the cafeteria showed somebody sleeping at a table?
    ... the `Air Assassins' sign behind Magic Johnson?  (cf. [7F14])
    ... Marge extended her pinky when drinking tea?  How refined of her.
    ... there was smoke pouring out of the Shelbyville Nuclear Power Plant's
        cooling tower?
    ... the used underwear lying on floor of Bart's bedroom?  And the
        Scratchy doll squeezed into a shelf.
    ... The Cowboy on the ``Dead Eye B.B. Gun'' has a patch over one eye?
        (Truth in advertising?)
    ... the bank robber looks like Otto's convict friend? [7[FG]20]

Movie (and other) References

        - The monitor in position (2,2) of Burns' array shows a scene
          from the beginning of the movie, workers marching in step
          up a staircase {tws}
    Star Trek: The Next Generation, Alien, The Andromeda Strain
        - (STTNG) the sickeningly soothing female computer voice.
        - (Alien) female voice counting down to destruction. {sa} {slp}
        - (Andromeda Strain) female voice counting down to destruction. {pa}
  + Goldfinger
        - Homer saves the plant with 007 seconds remaining. {slp}

Freeze Frame Fun


    #2 IS #1
            (and a useless colorful graphic)

David A. Berson {dab} observes that there is a picture of a soldier on the
front of the US of A today.  At the beginning his eye is open.  Then half
way thru he closes it.

Dave Hall {dh} thinks that might be a picture of Ms. Botz [7G01] on the
front page.

Havoc at the plant

    - Workers run amok.
    - Two employees smash a Buzz Cola machine and pilfer sodas.
    - Another employee runs past with a Macintosh computer (complete
      with keyboard and mouse).  Chris Baird {cjb} identifies it as
      a Macintosh SE.  Note the two drive slots.
    - A small group of employees prays.
    - Rats abandon the plant.  (cf. a sinking ship, notes {gwh})

After the danger is averted...

    - The two employees set the Buzz Cola machine back upright and
      look around nervously.
    - The praying employees get up.
      Sean Graves (sean@cs.tamu.edu) observes that they look embarrassed
      that they were caught praying in public.
    - A man and a woman emerge from a closet.  (See dialogue below.)
    - The rats return to the plant.

J. D. Baldwin {jdb} observed, ``When the couple came out of the storage
closet after the meltdown was averted, the top box in storage is labelled
with the International Radiation Symbol and the words `PLUTONIUM RODS (100
count)'.  It is stacked directly on top of a box of `3000 Plastic Spoons'.
For some reason, this cracked me up.''


    - The comic book store owner [7F21] hawks, ``I survived the Springfield
      nuclear scare'' T-shirts.  (So much for his bachelor's in Folklore
      and Mythology.)

Bart's photo album

    - Bart-O The Great, picture of Bart as a magician and Milhouse nervously
      playing the role of the girl-in-the-box about to be sawed in half.
    - Milhouse in a hospital bed lifting his shirt, revealing stitches
      on his chest (presumably from Bart's failed magic trick),
      while Bart makes bunny-ears behind him.
      Observe that Bart is still wearing his magician's turban. {tws} {kg}
    - At the beach, Bart covering Milhouse completely in sand.

Keith Goolsbey {kg} adds:

In regard to their mothers meeting after they had drunk paint, why do you
assume that Bart only put Milhouse in the hospital once?  I could see Bart
making Milhouse a regular visitor to Springfield General.

Dave Hall {dh}:

After reviewing the pictures, I concluded that the hospital picture is
actually an Animation Goof.  From the pictures, I found several points to
`disprove' both theories.

To disprove the Appendix theory:

- Although the stitches are on the right side of Milhouse, the incision is
  above the belly-button.
- If Milhouse just had his appendix removed, he should be wearing a hospital
  gown rather than a top.
- Bart wearing his turban from the magic act.

To disprove the Saw-cut theory:

- Stitches on wrong side of Milhouse.
- Angle of `Bart-o' picture indicates that a grown-up had possible took the
  shot.  If this thinking is sound then I don't think a grown-up would
  actually let Bart cut another kid.  [Maybe the grown-up thought Bart
  knew what he was doing. --rjc]
- If Bart actually did cut Milhouse with the saw (and at that angle), then
  I think the harm wouldn't warrant a hospital stay because I would think
  Bart would have stopped sawing before he did any serious damage.
  [Maybe Bart thought Milhouse's screams were part of the act? -- rjc]
- If Bart did seriously damage Milhouse to warrant a stay in the hospital, I
  would think Bart would have been punished.  His smiling face in the
  picture indicates that this hasn't happen.  For that matter, I would think
  Milhouse (or his mother) would have held some resentment towards Bart.
  (Probably enough resentment to have Bart banned from his room.)

And, of course, the ``best of both worlds'' theory:
- Milhouse's appendix became inflamed during Bart's act.

The dictionary entries, courtesy of Theron Stanford {tws}

Note that all dictionary entries are capitalized.  Alan J
Rosenthal@{ajr} points out that the OED does this as well.

         \adj\  [L stupidus]
           1. Slow of mind.
           2. Unintelligent.
           3. Homer Simpson.
(other entries this page:  Stupendous, Stutter, Sty)

       Lucky \adj\
           1. Prone to good fortune.
           2. Succeeding through chance.
           3. Homer Simpson.
(other entries this page:  Lucid, Lumbago)

       Fraud \noun\
           1. Imposter.
           2. Fake.
           3. Homer Simpson.
(other entries this page:  Frankincense, Frappe, Freckle)

           1. American bonehead.
           2. Pull a Homer --
              to succeed despite idiocy.
(other entries this page:  Home, Homely, Homogeneous)

Bart's game of Monopoly

Theron Stanford {tws}:

I think that Bart may have set up the board wrong, for he clearly picks up
the stack of `Community Chest' cards.  `Chance' cards are orange;
`Community Chest' cards are yellow, the same color as the cards Bart picks
up.  Also, the card Bart chooses, namely, ``You have won second prize in a
beauty contest'' (Bart paraphrases this for Maggie), is a `Community
Chest' card, not a `Chance' card.

The details of the board have been rather faithfully reproduced, in my
opinion.  The `Community Chest' square Bart lands on is in the middle of
the orange color group, just like on the real McCoy, for instance.

[I agree with Mr. Stanford that we should just call them the `Community
Chance' cards. --rjc]

Dave Hall {dh}:

When playing Monopoly, note that Bart's token was the Top Hat.  (cf. [7F13])
Note also that he didn't develop his properties evenly.

Anneliese Heiner {adh}:

When Bart was choosing a Monopoly card, it looked like he read the bottom card,
rejected it, put it on top, repeated this with the new bottom card, then read
and kept the card on the top of the deck, which would have been the one he
had just rejected.

Media coverage

Has The Simpsons invaded the lexicon?  Ron Carter {rc} refers us to the
cover of National Employment Review (February 1992-ish) which has a
drawing of Homer with the caption, ``Is the nuclear industry `pulling
a Homer'?''

Animation goofs

Monty's color ``paid for themselves'' surveillance monitors have reverted
to black-and-white.  Either that or he brought back the black-and-white ones
to save money.

Dave Hall {dh}:

Although Bart signed the card, you don't see his writing when Lisa read it.

During the bus ride, Martin is in the seat in front of Bart, Milhouse, but
when they arrive at school, Martin is two seats in front of Bart.  Sherry
and Terry should be sitting behind Bart & Milhouse but aren't.  (Of
course, they might've changed seats during the ride.)

The surveilance monitor depicts Karl and Lenny sitting at a clean table,
facing each other, with Homer in between them, munching on a donut. Yet,
this is not the same setup when the scene switches over to them talking.

The scene where Smithers confesses his love for Burns shows Burns resting
his bare hands on the chair's armrest, yet in close up, Burns hands are
gloved and folded against his chest.

When Burns greets Homer in the cafeteria, his shadow is in a profile.
Burns would have to walk up to Homer sideways in order to produce that

Although the stage curtain is drawn back to show the `Employee of the
Month' Award wall, the wide shot of Homer talking on the phone with Magic
Johnson still shows the curtain closed.

During the Monopoly scene, Marge's ball of yarn shrinks a lot.  Maybe
she's a fast knitter.  The Monopoly box disappeared when Bart took Maggie

The digital time-stamp on the bank videotape does not agree with the clock
on the wall above Chief Wiggum.  Alan J Rosenthal {ajr} suggests that this
is intentional, showing how badly out-of-sync the surveillance camera clock

Maggie Watch

Maggie fell thrice.  When Marge is praying, when the kids watch I&S,
and when Homer comes home.

Dave Hall {dh}:

Notice the cute way Maggie was holding the yarn for Marge, and the cute
way she prayed before she fell down.

Animation changes

The original airing had Burns' line as ``I guess there's nothing left but to
kiss my sorry butt good-bye.''  When the episode repeated (at 8:30pm instead
of 8:00pm as part of a FOX promotional ``one hour of the Simpsons'' stunt),
it became ``kiss my sorry ass good-bye.''  But, unfortunately, the law of
conservation of mild profanity rears its ugly head, and Bart's ``Bad
influence, my ass!'' became ``Bad influence, my butt!''  (Ruining the joke
in the process.)  The animation still has Bart's mouth saying ``ass''.
The Canadian rebroadcast was uncensored.  Let's see what Channel Ten does...
Chris Baird {cjb} reported that Channel Ten aired ``Bad influhow many times
have I told you, never listen to your mother!''

Comments and other observations

For non-American viewers

USA Today is a colorful newspaper, called McPaper by some because it
dispenses news in bite-sized pieces.  You can pretty much read an entire
USA Today while waiting at a stoplight.

The SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) is a standardized test taken by
college-bound high school seniors.

If you listen carefully, you'll notice that Lisa's line ``I will, Mr.

Gumbel, but if you'll excuse me, I'm profiling my dad for my school
paper.'' was not spoken by Yeardley Smith, but rather by whoever did the
voice of Maria Diminguez in [8[FG]01].  (Or if it was Ms. Smith, she forgot
to add Lisa's endearing nasality.)  The very next line, ``I thought it
would be neat...'' was back in proper Lisa-form.

Plot goof: When Bart gives Milhouse the walkie-talkies, he explicitly

says that Milhouse should call him first, so that Bart can turn on his
walkie-talkie.  Yet twice later in the episode, we hear Bart's
walkie-talkie crackle to life without Bart having to turn it on.

Day-of-week: Smithers clearly states that it is Monday. (TGIM, sir.)

And who says that Otto was planning on returning from Mexico in time to
pick up the kids from school?

Mark Eckenwiler {me} identifies the tune Otto was humming as

``the hook from Johnny Winter's top-40 instrumental "Frankenstein".


One the one hand, Homer was promoted to the safety control room in
`Homer's Odyssey'.  On the other hand, he was playing with a Rubik's Cube,
which would place the flashback at around 1982.  Although Ford left the
presidency in 1976, this isn't much of a problem since that just means
that `Project Bootstrap' was initiated during the Ford Administration, not
that it ended when Ford left office.  (For example, if Burns were forced
to promote Homer because of a Department of Energy regulation, he could
have sarcastically thanked President Carter.)

I won't even try to reconcile this with the already-internally-inconsistent
job file in the Fall '91 Simpsons Illustrated.

Quotes and scene summary

 Homer and Lisa read US of A TODAY over breakfast.
   Homer: Here's good news!  According to this eye-catching article,
          SAT scores are declining at a slower rate!
   Lisa:  Dad, I think this paper is a flimsy hodgepodge of pie graphs,
          factoids and Larry King.
   Homer: Hey, this is the only paper in America that's not afraid to tell
          the truth, that everything is just fine.
   -- Reading US of A TODAY, ``Homer Defined''
 Bart puts the finishing touches on a birthday card...
   Bart: [inscribing a card]
         ``To me bestest bud, Milhouse.  Happy Birthday.  Bart.''
   Lisa: Bart, that's so sweet.  May I see the card?  [reads]  ``Hey there,
         ten-year-old!  I couldn't afford to get you a new drum...''
         [opens the card, revealing a picture of a well-endowed woman]
         [reading with lost enthusiasm]  ``So how about a nice pair of
         bongos''?  Ewww...
   -- Amen, sister, ``Homer Defined''
 On the bus, Bart presents Milhouse with a wrapped gift and begs him to
 open it.  Milhouse is reluctant to, and Bart says, ``Just 'cuz your mom
 didn't let you have a party doesn't mean you can't get a present!''
 Sherry and Terry say, ``We had a lovely time on Saturday, Milhouse.''
 When Bart asks, ``What are you girls talking about?'' they return to
 their seats and giggle.  Milhouse opens the present...
   They're official Krusty the Clown walkie-talkies!
   I'll keep one and you keep one.
   Now, whenever you want to talk to me, just call me on the phone
   and tell me to turn on my walkie-talkie.
   -- Bart, explaining his gift to Milhouse, ``Homer Defined''
 Martin peeks over the seat.
   Martin:   Milhouse, I'd like to express my appreciation for Saturday.
             Jelly bean basket, personalized noisemakers.
             But the little touches are what made it enduring!
   Bart:     What's he talking about?
   Milhouse: Uh... Hey!  Look at that dog!  Isn't that something!
   Bart:     [sees a rather plain dog] Wow, brown!
   -- How to change the subject, method 3.  ``Homer Defined''
 The bus reaches the school...
   Whoa, Springfield Elementary, last stop!
   Oh, and by the way, I'd like to say Thanks, and applose[?] applause to
   birthday boy Milhouse for his totally bitchin' party on Saturday!
   Oh, and Milhouse, I think I left my pants on your roof.
   -- Otto's announcement (emergencies only), ``Homer Defined''
   Bye, little dudes!  Don't learn anything I wouldn't learn!
   -- Otto drops the kids off at school, ``Homer Defined''
 Bart is left alone on the bus.  Meanwhile, at the plant, Burns and Smithers
 survey the various security monitors...
   Burns:    So, what did you do this weekend, Smithers?
   Smithers: Well, I caught up on my laundry, wrote a letter to my mother,
             oh, here a kicker, and I took Hercules out to be clipped.
   Burns:    Who the devil is Hercules?
   Smithers: Oh, he's my Yorkshire terrier, sir.  He's kind of tiny, so you
             know, it's a joke.  Here's a picture of Herky. [shows a wallet
   Burns:    Ugh.  Well, Smithers, don't you know how to paint the town red!
   -- Hercules and the Lion?  ``Homer Defined''
   Burns:    I took in a movie.  An appalling little piece of filth.
             Its leading lady was a blonde harlot who spent half the
             film strolling around naked as a jaybird!
   Smithers: [gasp]
   Burns:    No, just give the Great Unwashed a pair of oversized breasts
             and a happy ending, and they'll oink for more every time.
   [Homer talking with his coworkers]
   Homer:   What a movie!  And that blonde cutie!  Does she have assets! [oinks]
   -- Wallowing in filth, ``Homer Defined''
 In his safety control room, Homer pokes at all the donuts...
   [poking at each jelly donut in turn]
   [poke]  Igh, lemon.  [poke]  Ugh, cherry.  [poke]  Ooh, custard.
   [poke]  Mmmmm.... purple...
   -- Homer, enjoying the finer things in life, ``Homer Defined''
 In his dough-nutty enjoyment, some jelly splatters and covers a
 dial, which is nearing the red zone.  Meanwhile, Otto skids the
 bus into the Kwik-E-Mart and heads for a heat-lamp dog.
   Apu:  Otto, do you know there's a small child inside your bus?
   Otto: [sees Bart] Ooh, good thing you warned me.  I was on my way to Mexico!
   -- Tijuana Schoolbus, ``Homer Defined''
 Meanwhile, while Homer dozes at his station, the jelly covers up the
 dial which we presume has since gone into the danger zone.  Our
 presumptions prove true when Burns hears a polite female
 voice announce...
   Voice:    Warning... Problem in Sector 7-G.
   Burns:    7-G?  Good God, who's the safety inspector there?
   Smithers: [calls up a video file photo of a hairful Homer]
             Homer Simpson, sir.
   Burns:    Simpson, eh?  Good man?  Intelligent?
   Smithers: [reluctantly]  Actually, sir, he was hired under Project Bootstrap.
   Burns:    [sarcastically]  Thank you, President Ford.
   -- Quality is Job One, ``Homer Defined''
 Homer wakes up to the sound of loud rhythmic buzzing (see SI, Summer'91)...
   Homer: [waking up to the sound of loud rhythmic buzzing]
          Huh? ... Noise! ... Bad noise!
   Voice: [calmly] Five minutes before critical mass...
   Homer: Critical what!?  [trying to calm down]
          Okay, okay, don't panic, whosever problem this is, I'm sure they
          know how to handle it...  [the jelly covering the dial pops off]
          Huh?  Aaagh!!  It's <my> problem!!!  We're doomed!!!!
   Voice: [as steel doors seal off the safety control room]
          [calmly] Sector 7-G is now being isolated...
   -- It has been our pleasure to serve you, ``Homer Defined''
 Otto drops Bart off at school.
   You know, once, my old lady ran off and married my brother.
   Well, it hurt, but here it is a month later, and I'm sleeping on
   their couch!
   -- Otto-Man, ``Homer Defined''
 Marge sits on the couch knitting and watching a smarmy soap with Maggie.
 But the show is interrupted by a special news bulletin...
   Announcer: We interrupt `Search for the Sun' for this special news bulletin.
              Meltdown Crisis:  The First Couple of Minutes.
   Brockman:  [surrounded by comb and hair dryer]  Forget the hair, just give
              me the blush!  [realizes the cameras are on him]  Oh, we're on.
   -- Ready for anything, ``Homer Defined''
 They have Monty Burns on the phone, as a picture of a badly-toupee'd
 Monty is shown on the screen.
   Kent:  On the line with us now is plant owner C. Montgomery Burns.  Mr. Burns?
   Burns: Oh, hello, Kent.  [as loud rhythmic buzzing continues in the background]
          Right now, skilled nuclear energy technicians are calmly correcting
          a minor, piffling malfunction.  [rapid-fire shots of havoc in the plant]
          But I can assure you and the public that there is absolutely no danger
          whatsoever.  [air raid siren wails]  Things couldn't be more ship-shape.
          [cut to Burns' office, where he is busy donning a radiation suit]
   Smithers:  Sir, where is <my> radiation suit?
   Burns: How the hell should I know?  [covers the name `Smithers' on the suit
          he is wearing]
   Kent:  Uh, Mr. Burns, people are calling this a meltdown.
   Burns: [laughs] Oh, meltdown.  It's one of those annoying buzzwords.  We prefer
          to call it an unrequested fission surplus.
   -- Obfuscatory sesquipedalianism, ``Homer Defined''
 Marge hopes that Homer is all right.  In the safety control room...
   Homer: [panicking, as warning sirens wail]  Gotta think, gotta think...
          Okay, somewhere there's a thingie that tells you how to work this
          stuff.  The uh, the uh, the manual!  The manual!  Right!
          [hunts under the console] [finds it]
          Agh!  It's as fat as a phone book!  [opens to first page]  [reads]
          `Congratulations on your purchase of a Fissionator 1952 Slow-Fission
          Reactor'...  D'oh!  Get to the point, man!  [finds an insert]
          Ooh, what's this?  [unfolds it, it's a giant schematic]
          D'oh!  Who'd have thought a nuclear reactor would be so complicated!
   -- Everything is under control, sort of, ``Homer Defined''
   Voice:    [cheerfully] Ninety seconds to core meltdown.
   Smithers: Sir, there may be never be another time to say... I love you, sir.
   Burn:     [disgusted]  Oh, hot dog.  Thank you for making my last few moment
             on earth socially awkward.
   -- The moment of truth, ``Homer Defined''
 At Moe's Tavern...
   Moe:    Looks like this is the end...
   Barney: Oh, that's all right.  I couldn'ta led a richer life.
   -- Core meltdown is imminent, ``Homer Defined''
 At the Retirement Castle, Abe, Jasper, and a woman watch TV...
   Kent:   After the meltdown, we can expect roving bands of...
   Abe:    Ah, I don't like this program.
   Jasper: Change the channel.
           [woman does so]
   TV:     Wheel!  Of!  Fortune!!
   -- Dame Fortune smiles, ``Homer Defined''
 Meanwhile, Homer complains that he doesn't understand <anything>.
 ``When they look up `stupid' in the dictionary, there'll be a picture
 of me.''  He then dreams of exactly that.  At home...
   Marge: [praying]  Dear Lord.  If you spare this town from becoming
          a smoking hole in the ground, I'll try to be a better Christian.
          I don't know what I can do... Mm... Oh, the next time there's
          a canned food drive, I'll give the poor something they'd actually
          like, instead of old lima beans and pumpkin mix.
   -- Throw in a coupla Hail Mary's and we might have a deal, ``Homer Defined''
 Homer realizes it's all up to him, and tries to think back to his
   Homer:   Okay okay, think back to your training...
            [begin flashback]
   Trainer: Now, Homer, this may very well save your life one day.
            This... Homer?
   Homer:   [playing with a Rubik's cube]  Yeah?
   Trainer: Please pay attention.  This button here controls the emergency
            override circuit.  In the event of a meltdown, push this button
            and only this button.
   Homer:   [completing a side of the cube]  Ooh, a side!
   Trainer: Simpson!
   Homer:   What?
   Trainer: You see which button I'm pushing?
   Homer:   [not looking]  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Push the button.  Got it.
            [end flashback]
            This is all your fault!  [throws Rubik's cube away]
   -- Well, at least he remembered the general idea, ``Homer Defined''
 Realizing that he has no better option, he plays ``One potato, two
 potato'', then changes to ``Bubble gum, bubble gum''...
   Voice:    [pleasantly]  Thirty seconds to core meltdown.
   Burns:    Oh, Smithers, I guess there's nothing left but to kiss
             my sorry ass good-bye.
   Smithers: May I, sir?
   Burns:    Ugh.
   -- Just asking, ``Homer Defined''
 On TV...
   Prof. John Fink:  [indicating on a map]  These unfortunate people here will
          be instantly killed.  [indicating]  This circle, which I am sad to say
          we are in, will experience a slower, considerably more painful death.
   Kent:  Good Lord!
   -- Analyzed to death?  ``Homer Defined''
 At school, Lisa's class is huddled under their desks...
   Skinner:  They called me old-fashioned for teaching the duck-and-cover
       method, but who's laughing now!
   -- ``Homer Defined''
 The computer cheerfully announces, ``Fifteen seconds to core meltdown.''
 Homer has settled on ``Eenie, meenie, miney, moe'' to decide which
 button to push.  He reaches the end of the rhyme, covers his eyes, and
 pushes the button...

 [End of Act One.  Time: 8:33]
   Voice:  All systems returning to normal.  Danger in 7-G neutralized.
           Have a nice day.
   -- It's been a pleasure serving you, ``Homer Defined''
 Homer sees himself in the dictionary under `Lucky'.  The workers rejoice.
   Man:   [emerges from closet, fixing his tie]
   Woman: Will I ever see you again?
   Man:   Sure, baby.  Next meltdown.
   -- ``Homer Defined''
 Abe et al are still watching Wheel of Fortune...
   TV:   I'd like to solve the puzzle.  `Three Loins in the Fountain'.  [buzz]
   -- Wheel of Misfortune, ``Homer Defined''
 Marge watches the news report...
   Burns:  [voice only]
           Yes, we've isolated the problem.  Wouldn't you know, false alarm.
   Marge:  Phew!
   Burns:  It seems a single wayward crow flew into our warning system.
   Kent:   Very good.  Well, sir, your point about nuclear hysteria is well-taken.
           This reporter promises to be more trusting and less vigilant
           in the future.
   Burns:  [in his office, still wearing his radiation suit]
           Excellent.  Well, ta!
   -- Hardly a post-apocalyptic war zone, ``Homer Defined''
 Burns asks Smithers to bring him a wine spritzer, and notes that he's
 going to award Homer the Employee of the Month award.  Smithers drops
 the bottle.

 Meanwhile, at lunch, Bart pulls the ol' loose-top-on-the-salt-shaker
 trick on Milhouse, to get back at him for not inviting him to his
 birthday party.
   Milhouse: Bart, my mom won't let me be your friend any more.
             That's why you couldn't come to the party.
   Bart:     What's she got against me?
   Milhouse: She says you're a bad influence.
   Bart:     [slams his hand on the table]  Bad influence, my ass!
             How many times have I told you?  Never listen to your mother!
   -- What he said, ``Homer Defined''
 Mrs. Van Houten threatened to cut off Milhouse's allowance, and
 Bart offers to pay him double it.  But Milhouse doesn't accept.

 Meanwhile, Smithers tries to convince Burns that he deserves the EotM
 award, but Burns' mind is made up.  In the cafeteria...
   Karl:  Hey, way to save our lives!
   Len:   Yeah, we owe you one!
   Homer: Yeah, you know, boys, a nuclear reactor is a lot like a woman.
          You just have to read the manual and press the right buttons.
   -- ``Homer Defined''
 Burns arrives and simply says to Homer, ``Come with me.''

 As the audience chants, ``Homer!  Homer!'', he is given the EotM award,
 receiving a ham, a plaque, and discount coupon book from a voluptuous
 woman, a thumbs-up from Burns, and his picture (the old one, back when
 Homer had some hair) added to the `Wall of Fame', which we see consists
 otherwise entirely of photos of Smithers.  And...
   Burns: Oh, and what's this?  A congratulatory phone call from Earvin
          `Magic' Johnson?
   Homer: [gasps]  Magic Johnson!?  [picks up the phone]  Yello?
   Magic: [calling from the arena]  Is this really Homer Simpson?
   Homer: Yeah.
   Magic: Wow.  Homer, I just used our last time-out to call and congratulate
          you on averting that nuclear holocaust.
   -- On his way to Disneyland, ``Homer Defined''
 Homer asks, ``What if people think a guy's a hero, but he was really
 just lucky.''  Magic replies, ``Don't worry.  Sooner or later, people
 like that are exposed as the frauds they are.''  Homer is glum.

 The kids watch an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon, but only Lisa laughs.
   Lisa: [laughing at an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon]
         Bart, you're not laughing.  Too subtle?
   -- ``Homer Defined''
 Homer arrives and fails to hide the ham and plaque from Marge.
   Marge: [reading the plaque]  For heroic competence, for narrowly
          averting a meltdown, and proving without question that
          nuclear power is completely safe.  Employee of the Month!
   -- ``Homer Defined''
 Homer envisions himself listed in the dictionary under, `Fraud'.
 At the dinner table...
   A role model in my very own home.  How convenient!
   -- Lisa, ``Homer Defined''
   Homer: Look, I get enough admiration and respect at work!
          I don't need it here at home!
   -- No argument from Bart, ``Homer Defined''
   Marge: How are you enjoying your ham, Homey?
   Homer: Tastes so bitter, it's like ashes in my mouth...
   Marge: Hm.  It's actually more of a honey glaze.
   Lisa:  Maybe you ate a clove.
   -- Marge and Lisa uncharacteristically miss a metaphor, ``Homer Defined''
   Homer: [angrily] What's <your> problem, boy?
   Bart:  I had a fight with Milhouse.
   Homer: That four-eyes with a big nose?  You don't need friends like that.
   Lisa:  How Zen...
   -- Dinner conversation, ``Homer Defined''
 That evening, Homer watches bowling on TV, munching on salty snacks,
 as Lisa lies on her stomach on the floor and gazes admiringly...
   Homer: What is it?  What are you doing?
   Lisa:  Looking at you with quiet awe.
   Homer: Well, as long as it's quiet.
   -- ``Homer Defined''
 In his room, Bart looks through a photo album with pictures of Milhouse,
 and his walkie-talkie crackles.  ``Milhouse to Bart.  Milhouse
 to Bart.  Please don't hate me.  Please?''  Bart tosses it in the trash.

 [End of Act Two.  Time: 13:53]

 Homer is rewarded with a covered parking spot right next to the boss,
 but when he opens his car door, he scratches Burns' paint job.
 (``D'ah, he'll never know who did it.'')  Meanwhile, Smithers now must
 park in the main lot, and finds a spot a half mile from the plant.
   Burns:  Ah, Simpson, here's someone I want you to meet.
           Aristotle Amodopoulos, owner of the Shelbyville Nuclear Power
           Facility.  It seems Ari's been having terrible worker
           problems at Shelbyville.
   Ari:    They've lost their zest for work.  You must help them find their
           ine-haratu-nadzu-leri [or whatever].
   Homer:  Their ine-aratu-zoola-what?
   Ari:    Yes!
   -- Just checking, ``Homer Defined''
   We want you to give them a pep talk that turns them from a bunch of
   donut-eating goof-offs into a pack of Homer Simpsons!
   -- Burns seems to have missed the point, ``Homer Defined'
 Homer says he can't, but Burns says it's one of the responsibilities
 of being Employee of the Month.  Smithers finally arrives, breathless,
 and complains about the parking.  Burns and Ari gasp, and Burns sends
 Smithers away.  (``That one's always been a problem.'')

 At home, Bart plays Monopoly with Maggie.  He lands on Community Chest
 and looks through the deck to find a card he likes.
   Maggie: [playing Monopoly with Bart]
           [removes her pacifier, coughs up a hotel]
   Marge:  Bart, don't feed your sister hotels.
   Bart:   [holding up the box]  Don't worry, Mom.  There's tons of these things.
   -- ``Homer Defined''
   Marge: Why don't you go play with Milhouse?
   Bart:  I don't want to play with Milhouse.
   Marge: You mean you still haven't made up with him?
   Bart:  It's his mom.  She says I'm a bad influence.
          [takes Maggie's hand]  Come on, Maggie, let's go throw rocks at that
          hornet's nest.
   Marge: Mmm...
   -- ``Homer Defined''
 Marge pays a visit to Mrs. Van Houten.
   Marge: Mrs. Van Houten?  I'm Bart's mother.  We met in the emergency room
          when the boys drank paint?
   Mrs.V: I remember.
   -- ``Homer Defined''
 Mrs.V invites Marge in for tea.
   Marge: I know Bart can be a handful, but I also know what he's like inside.
          He's got a spark.  It's not a bad thing.  ... Of course, it makes
          him <do> bad things...
   Mrs.V: Well, Marge, the other day, Milhouse told me my meatloaf `sucks'.
          He must've gotten that from your little boy, because they
          certainly <don't> say that on TV.
   -- Of course, ``Homer Defined''
 Marge pleads Mrs.V to let them be friends.  Mrs.V looks outside to see
 Milhouse sitting by himself on a teeter-totter.  She agrees to think about

 At Moe's Tavern, Lisa is tagging along with Homer, pencil and pad at the
   Barney: So next time somebody tells you carney folk are good, honest people,
           you can spit in their faces for me!
   Lisa:   I will, Mr. Gumbel, but if you'll excuse me, I'm profiling my dad
           for the school paper.  I thought it would be neat to follow him around
           for a day to see what makes him tick.
   Barney: Aw, that's sweet.  I used to follow my dad to a lot of bars, too.
   -- ``Homer Defined''
   Moe:  Here you go, one beer [sets it in front of Lisa].  One chocolate
         milk. [sets it in front of Homer]
   Lisa: Uh, excuse me, <I> had the chocolate milk.
   Moe:  Oh.
   -- They're so hard to tell apart, ``Homer Defined''
   What's the matter, Homer?  The depressing effects of alcohol usually
   don't kick in 'til closing time.
   -- Moe, ``Homer Defined''
   Lisa:  He's just a little nervous.  He has to give a speech tomorrow on
          how to keep cool in a crisis.
   Homer: [shaking Lisa in a panic]  What am I going to do!?
          What am I going to do!?
   -- You could see that gag coming, couldn't you?  ``Homer Defined''
   Barney: I had to give a speech once.  I was pretty nervous, so I used a
           little trick.  I picture everyone in their underwear.
           The judge, the jury, my lawyer, everybody.
   Homer:  Did it work?
   Barney: I'm a free man, ain't I?
   -- A mixed blessing, ``Homer Defined''
 Meanwhile, Bart is playing chess with Maggie, who is sucking on the white
 king.  The walkie-talkie crackles to life...
   Milhouse: [on the walkie talkie]  Milhouse to Bart.  Do you want to come
             over and play?
   Bart:     Really?  We can be friends again?  Did your mom die?
   Milhouse: Um, I don't think so.
   Bart:     Well, who cares.
   -- Would you like to check?  ``Homer Defined''
 Bart announces to Marge that he's friends with Milhouse again, and Marge
 is pleased.  He thanks her for sticking up for him.  How did he know?
 ``Who else would?''  After a brief tender moment, Marge says, ``Be good,''
 and leaves.  Bart says, ``I will,'' and pulls out from under his bed
 a ``Dead Eye BB Gun''.

 At the Shelbyville plant, Homer is introduced to a large audience.
   As I look out into this sea of smiling faces, I am filled with a sense of
   [suddenly turns nasty] loathing and revulsion!  You are not workers!  You
   are a pack of mangy, cud-chewing, ugly goats!
   -- Aristotle Amodopoulos gives his employees a pep talk, ``Homer Defined''
 at first nervous, he remembers Barney's suggestion.  (Barney's ghostly
 elocution here is priceless.)  He puts it into action, and it works.  That
 is, until he looks down at himself and sees that he's also in his underwear.
 He hides behind the podium and reads his speech hesitantly.
   Homer: [nervously reading a speech]  Grace under pressure is no...
   Voice: [sirens wail]  Three minutes to meltdown.
          [the auditorium empties in a panic]
   Homer: Phew!  Saved by the bell.
   -- Ask not for whom the bell tolls, ``Homer Defined''
 Fifteen seconds to core meltdown, Ari has brought Homer to the safety
 control room and instructs him, ``Just do what you did before.''
 Homer does exactly that, counting, ``Eenie, meenie, miney, moe.''
 He pushes the button...
   Crisis has been averted.  Everything is super.
   -- Computer announcement, ``Homer Defined''
 Ari is furious.  ``Do you even know what button you pushed?''
 ``Sure!  Moe!''
   Eenie meenie miney moe.
   Is Homer a hero?  The answer is, `No'.
   I'm Kent Brockman, and that was `My Two Cents'.
   -- A brief editorial, ``Homer Defined''
 Next is Scott Christian with ``Laugh and a Half''.  His first item is
 how Chief Wiggum foiled a hold-up without even knowing it.  He was
 counting his penny-jar at the bank, and the thief accidentally bumped
 into him, and the jar accidentally broke over his head.  Scott
 concludes, ``Yes, it seems the chief pulled a Homer Simpsons of his own.''

 Barney falls off his stool at Moe's, but finds a tasty pretzel on the
 floor.  ``Wow!  Looks like I pulled a Homer!''

 At the basketball game, Magic has the ball, but slips.  The ball flies
 out of his hands, hits the referee, and goes in the basket.  Says Magic,
 ``Looks like I pulled a Homer.''

 Lisa reads the dictionary, where the entry for Homer reads, ``To succeed
 despite idiocy.''  Says Lisa, ``Our dad.  Now he belongs to the ages.''

 [End of Act Three.  Time: 20:50]
   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