Mr. Plow

Mr. Plow                                                   Written by Jon Vitti
                                                        Directed by Jim Reardon

TV Guide synopsis

Homer and Barney become bitter competitors in the snow-plowing
business, until Homer tries a trick that turns into tragedy.  Linda
Ronstadt and Adam West have cameos.  Other voices:  Dan Castellaneta,
Harry Shearer.

Title sequence


        {A burp is not an answer.}
        {A burp is not an an} at cutoff.

Lisa's solo



        Finding only a single chair where the couch used to be, the entire
        family sit on it.

Quotes and scene summary


   Live, from Hawaii's beautiful Malaki Island (``We're not just for lepers
   any more''), it's ``Carnival of the Stars''!
   -- Troy McClure hosts another stupid television show, ``Mr. Plow''
   I'm your host, Troy McClure.  You may remember me from such films as
   ``The Erotic Adventures of Hercules'' and ``Dial M for Murderousness''!
   -- Troy McClure hosts another stupid television show, ``Mr. Plow''
 Homer watches from Moe's Tavern.  Krusty's tiger-taming act runs into some
 unfortunate problems (``Not the face!''), so Bart and Lisa (watching at
 home) switch to that Mexican television program about the guy dressed in a
 bee suit.  Meanwhile, Marge calls and asks Homer to come home, since it is
 starting to snow.  Homer can't see through his windshield it is snowing so
 hard, and cannot stop in time to avoid rear-ending another car.  He gets out
 of the car, the car's air bag inflates, and Homer takes pleasure in the fact
 that the other car is damaged as badly as his own.  Until he realizes that
 he is standing in his own driveway.  He hit Marge's car.

 As the tow truck takes the fused cars away, the insurance adjuster completes
 his interview.
   Agent: Now, before I give you the check, one more question.  This place
          ``Moe's'' you left just before the accident.  This is a business of
          some kind?
   Homer: [thinks]  Don't tell him you were at a bar!  Gasp!  But what else
          is open at night?
          [aloud] It's a pornography store.  I was buying pornography.
          [thinks]  Heh heh heh.  I would'a never thought of that.
   -- How not to throw an insurance agent off the scent, ``Mr. Plow''
 Homer hitch-hikes to Crazy Vlaclav's Place of Automobiles and tries a
   She'll go 300 hectares on a single tank of kerosene.
   -- Crazy Vlaclav tries to sell Homer a car, ``Mr. Plow''
 Though Homer has trouble understanding the Cyrillic characters on the
 dashboard.  Next stop, the Springfield Auto Show.
   Kids!  If we buy a new car, we get our parking validated for free!
   -- Homer takes the kids to a car show, ``Mr. Plow''
 Bart plays in the Bonnie and Clyde Death Car, and discovers money hidden
 in the glove compartment.  Lisa observes crash-test video by Fourth Reich
 Motors---and brings the demonstration to an early end when she points out
 the crash test dummies are real people.  Seated next to the Batmobile is...
   Homer: Gasp!  Adam West!  [calling] Kids!  Batman!
   Lisa:  Dad, that's not the real Batman.
   Adam West: Of <course> I'm the real Batman.  [shows a glossy]
          See, here's a picture of me with Robin.
   Bart:  Who the hell is Robin?
   -- Kids today, ``Mr. Plow''
   Michelle Pfeiffer?  Ha!  The only true Catwoman is Julie Newmar, Lee
   Meriwether, or Eartha Kitt.
   -- Adam West muses, ``Mr. Plow''
 The reminiscences continue, and Homer draws the kids away, very slowly.
 And bumps into a Kumatsu Motors snowplough.  Homer imagines what he could use
 it for...
   Homer, I've got to sneak these valuable artworks out of the White House,
   but I can't get out of my driveway because of these protesters!
   -- President George Bush moves out of the White House, ``Mr. Plow''
 Homer imagines plowing through the crowd.  Back in reality, Homer realizes
 he can't afford to buy it, but the salesman tells him he could use the
 plow itself to make money by plowing driveways.
   Homer:    Well, I really should discuss this with my wife.
   Salesman: [scoffs] Your wife? [cracks an imaginary whip]
   Homer:    What, you think I'm going to buy a $20,000 truck just because you
             make that noise?
   Salesman: [does it again]  [and again]  [and again]
   Homer:    [on his knees]  I'll take it!
   -- ``Mr. Plow''
 [End of Act One.  Time: 5:17]

 Marge learns of Homer's purchase.
   Marge: I can't believe you bought that plow.  We can't afford it!
   Homer: If you're going to get mad at me every time I do something stupid,
          then I guess I'll just have to stop doing stupid things!
   Marge: Good!
   Homer: Fine!  I'll never, ever, ever do another stupid thing.  Good night!
          [angrily turns to leave and walks face-first into the side of the truck]
   Marge: [concerned] Oh, Homey.  Didn't that hurt?
   Homer: [quietly]  No.
   -- I meant to do that, ``Mr. Plow''
 Homer finishes placing advertising flyers on every car in the parking lot,
 only to have them blown away by a gust of wind.  He spots Barney dressed
 in nothing but a baby bonnet and diapers trying to hand out flyers for
 ``Lullabuy$'', a baby store.  He muses, ``Well, at least I can't sink any
 lower.''  His diaper blows away.  Barney runs naked down the street in
 pursuit.  Upon turning the corner, he says, ``Hi, Ma!''

 Homer approaches the altar to read from the epistles of Saint Paul, but
 instead takes the opportunity to advertise his snow-plow business.  But
 not for long.

 Lisa suggests bying cheap commercial time on channel 92, and points Homer
 at an advertisement for CDs of Captain McAlister singing sea shanties.
 Homer is impressed.

 Late at night, Homer settles on the couch with the family to watch the
 commercial---at 3:17 in the morning.
   It may be on a lousy channel, but The Simpsons are on TV!
   -- Homer proudly introduces his television debut, ``Mr. Plow''
 Then proceeds a cheap commercial starring The Simpsons, selling, not
 candy bars or mini-vans, but Homer's snow-plow service.
   Homer: [narrating a TV commercial]
          Are you tired of having your hands cut off by snowblowers?
          And the inevitable heart attacks that come with shoveling snow?
   Bart+Lisa: Uh-huh!
   -- Homer's TV commercial as... ``Mr. Plow''
   TV-Homer: Call now and receive a free T-shirt!
   Homer:    [watching at home, raises a ``Stockdale for VP'' T-shirt]
             He could still surprise ya!
   -- But can he hear ya?  ``Mr. Plow''
   My prices are so low, you'll think I suffered brain damage!
   -- Truth in advertising, in Homer's TV commercial as... ``Mr. Plow''
 Bart asks, ``You <are> fully bonded and licensed by the city, aren't
 you, Mr. Plow?''  Homer answers out of the corner of his mouth, ``Shut
 up, boy.''  The commercial concludes with an incredibly inane jingle.
 Followed by channel 92's test pattern.  Homer waits for the phone to
 ring, then decides ``Ah, the waiting game sucks.  Let's play

 Homer plows the Kwik-E-Mart parking lot, just in time for Snake and his
 pal to knock it over.  Homer plows the Springfield Retirement College
 driveway, and the residents express their pleasure that they are no
 longer trapped inside.  Then they return inside.  Principal Skinner
 considers cancelling school due to snow, but Homer plows the way for
 the school bus.  Bart suffers the slings and arrows and snowballs of
 ungrateful classmates.  On the steps of City Hall...
   Mr. Plow, for making it possible for people to get where they're going
   without resorting to public transportation <or> car-pooling, I give you
   the key to the city.
   -- Diamond Joe Quimby, ``Mr. Plow''
 Homer even earns a free beer from Moe in appreciation.  In response to
 Barney's musing, ``I wish I was a hero'', Homer tells him to ``get out
 there and be the best damned Barney you can be.''  Still clad in his
 bonnet and diapers, Barney rushes outside.  (And crashes into something.)

 At bedtime, Homer removes his robe, revealing that he is wearing the key
 around his neck.  Marge apologizes for being wrong about buying the truck,
 and asks Homer to wear the ``Mr. Plow'' jacket to bed, ``Just for me.
 For fun.''  Homer does so, gets into bed, and turns off the light.

 At 7am, Homer wakes up to falling snow, but is shocked to find that all the
 driveways have already been plowed!  A giant snow-plow cruises down the
 street:  It's Barney ``Plow King'' Gumble.  To stimulate healthy competition,
 Barney produces a shotgun and takes out the tyres of Homer's truck.

 [End of Act Two.  Time: 14:52]

 At Moe's Tavern, the gang watch Barney's ``Plow King'' commercial, in which
 he bashes a cardboard cut-out of Homer with a baseball bat.  He is joined
 by Linda Ronstadt.
   Moe:    Linda Ronstadt!  How'd ya get <her>?
   Barney: Oh, we've been looking for a project to do together for a while.
   -- ``Mr. Plow''
 Linda Ronstadt sings the ``Plow King'' theme song.  Homer is hurt.
 ``How could you, Barney?  After all I've done for you.''  Homer flashes
 back to his high school days.  A handsome Barney Gumble studies for his
 SAT's, with hopes of getting into Harvard.  Homer comes in and offers
 Barney a six-pack.  Barney is worried about tomorrow's test.
   I've got two words for you:  Mellow out, man.
   -- Homer Simpson, ``Mr. Plow''
 Barney reluctantly takes a sip.  Then the entire can.  And gradually turns
 into the disgusting drunk we all know and l... we all know.

 Homer spots Ned and even Adam West letting Barney plow their driveways.
 Adam West hops into his Batmobile, snaps on his shoulder belt, and with
 some effort, manages to get his run-down Batmobile (complete with parachute
 brake) to putter down the street.

 Homer anxiously waits for the phone to ring.  And it does.  But it's the
 delinquent accounts department from Kumatsu Motors.
   Yeah, they were gay.
   -- Homer pretends to be Tony Plow, from ``Leave It to Beaver'', ``Mr. Plow''
 Lisa suggests another commercial, and Homer offers to do a rap.
   I'm Mr. Plow, and I'm here to say,
   I'm the velvetest guy in the USA.
   I got a big plow and I move a lot of things,
   Like your cow if ya had one...
   -- M. C. Homer, ``Mr. Plow''
 The kids beg Homer never to rap again.

 Homer goes to the McMahon and Tate Advertising Agency for help.

 The family watch the results.  It's one of those weird almost-black-and-white
 ``artistic'' commercials that make no sense.

 Diamond Joe Quimby forcibly removes the key to the city from Homer's hands
 in an attempt to give it to Barney.

 Springfield is in the midst of a blizzard.
   Kent:  Hardest hit by the blizzard is Springfield's forbidding Widow's Peak.
          Our own Arnie Pie is on the scene.
   Arnie: [live remote, in a helicopter]  Everything's snowed in!  All I can see
          is white!
   Kent:  [impatiently]  Arnie, please.  The ski conditions.
   Arnie: [now upside-down]  Mayday!  Mayday!  I think I'm flying into a mountain!
          Tell my wife I lo... [picture fuzzes out]
   Kent:  [chuckles] That's great, Arnie.
   -- Weather report, ``Mr. Plow''
 Homer gets an idea.  He calls Barney with a disguised voice asking him to
 plow his driveway atop Widow's Peak.  Barney is in a hot-tub with Linda
   Homer:   [on the phone, disguising his voice]
            There's a $10,000 bill in it for you.
   Barney:  Oh yeah?  Which president's on it?
   Homer:   Uh... All of them.  They're having a party.  Jimmy Carter's
            passed out on the couch.
   Barney:  Wow!
   -- Don't ask where Jack Kennedy is, ``Mr. Plow''
 Linda Ronstadt offers to make a Spanish version of the Mr. Plow theme.

 Homer steals all of Barney's customers.
   Woman: Could you make sure not to scrape my asphalt?
   Homer: [sotto voce]  Kiss <my> asphalt.
   -- ``Mr. Plow''
 News flash:  Barney was caught in an avalanche at Widow's Peak.  The
 shocking event was captured on film by a FOX camera crew filming ``In
 Search of Bigfoot.''  The scene of Bigfoot is ruined when the guy in
 the ape suit forgets to take off his watch before shooting begins.
 Off to the side is Barney studying a map.  He belches, and the sound
 induces the avalanche, burying him.  Homer assumes full responsibility
 and heads out to save his buddy.

 At the foot of the mountain, Marge makes one last plea for Homer not to
 go.  Homer assures her, ``This baby is as sure-footed as a mountain goat.''
 In true sitcom fashion, a faraway mountain goat loses its footing and
 descends the mountain the painful way.

 To cross a dangerous chasm, Homer braves a dilapidated rope bridge.
 Not until he's halfway across does he notice the sturdy modern bridge
 that runs next to it.

 Making its way along a precarious ledge, the truck loses its traction
 and teeters ever-so-precariously over the edge.  Homer carefully turns
 the radio dial towards the upper end of the dial, and this proves enough
 to tip the truck back to safety.

 Barney has resigned himself to his fate, but Homer arrives and rescues
 him.  The two are reconciled and agree to become partners.  Homer is
 pleased.  ``When two best friends work together, not even God Himself
 can stop them.''  A stern voice challenges, ``Oh no?''  The sun suddenly
 appears, melting the snow.  All of it.
   Could this record-breaking heat wave be the result of the dreaded
   ``Greenhouse Effect''?  Well, if 70-degree days in the middle of winter
   are the `price' of car pollution, you'll forgive me if I keep my old Pontiac.
   -- Kent Brockman's Two Cents, ``Mr. Plow''
 Homer answers the phone:  It's the Repo Depot, calling to distract him
 while they re-possess his truck.  Which they do.  Marge looks on the
 bright side.  ``You have your health, you have your best friend back,
 and... [coyly] you do have that certain special something...''  She
 means, of course, the Mr. Plow jacket.  Homer fetches the jacket from
 the closet and makes his own weather prediction:  ``The forecast calls
 for flurries of passion, followed by extended periods of gettin' it on.''
 He turns off the light.

 [End of Act Three.  Time: 23:40]

Voice credits


    Dan Castellaneta      (Homer, Abe, Barney, Alan Thicke, Arnie Pie, Bill)
    Julie Kavner          (Marge)
    Nancy Cartwright      (Bart, Nelson, car show model)
    Yeardley Smith        (Lisa, Angela Lansbury)
    Hank Azaria           (Moe, car show salesman)
    \:    and
    Harry Shearer         (Kent Brockman, Principal Skinner, etc.)

Special Guest Voice

    Phil Hartman          (Troy McClure)

Special Guest Voice

    Linda Ronstadt        (herself)

Special Guest Voice

    Adam West             (himself)

Also Starring

    Pamela Hayden         (woman customer)

Didja notice...

    ... the shot of the Hawaiian island had a stray hair at the bottom?
        Lousy stock footage...
    ... the insurance company was the same one as from the house fire?
    ... the Krusty Brand hot dog car at the auto show?
	(Based on the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile.)
    ... when Adam West went into Batman-reminisce mode, the camera tilted? @{ms}
        Another tip-o'-the-hat to the original television show.
    ... the plow was made by Kumatsu Motors, the company that took over Herb
        Powell's car company?


Greg Hilton @{gh2}:  Overall, an excellent episode!

Movie (and other) References

    * Citizen Kane
        - The second advertisement includes a shattered snow-dome.
    . Raiders of the Lost Ark
        - The melting snowmen look like the melting Nazis.
          (This reference citation included by popular demand.)

Freeze Frame Fun

Springfield Auto Show

    . We Salute the American Worker
    . Now 61% Drug Free!

Protest signs outside the White House @{bw}

    * Stop this crazy th(ing)
    * Pay me not to work
    * Forget the Alamo
    * Disgruntled office seeker
    * Destroy the trees
    * Bring back ``Seahunt''
    * I dislike Ike
    * Stop everything now

Homer's flyer

    . Mr. Plow
    . call
    . KL5-3226

Captain McAlister's Sea Chanteys @{gh2}

    * Blow the Man Down
    * What Do You Do with a Drunken Sailor
    * Dead Man's Chest
    * Asleep in the Deep
    * Row Row Row Your Boat
    * The Flogging Song
    * Love Theme from Das Boat [sic]
    * In The Navy
    * Sink The Bismarck
    * Columbia, Gem of the Ocean
    * And the bonus CD:  Hornpipe Fever

McMahon and Tate

    * Laramie's (and Menthol Moose)
    * ``Time for another Duff''
    * Basketball hoop over wastebasket.
    * Velcro ball target on the wall.
    * Bubble gum machine.

Animation and continuity goofs

When the school bus approaches, the sidewalk is covered in snow, marred only
by Martin's footprints.  When Bart gets off, the sidewalk has been shoveled.
But when Bart falls face-first onto the walk, his fall is conveniently
broken by a layer of snow.

When Homer goes to bed, he is wearing just the Mr. Plow jacket and undershorts.
But when he wakes up the next morning, he is also wearing jeans.  Maybe he
went back and put on some clothes afterwards.

Comments and other observations

For non-American viewers...

Television channels fall into two groups.  VHF (Very High Frequency)
channels are numbered from 2 through 13, and UHF (Ultra-High
Frequency) channels run from 14 through 83.  VHF frequencies are
highly-prized, and as a result, they belong to well-financed stations.
(The FCC reserves a VHF frequency in each metropolitan area for public
television.)  UHF stations are smaller and, as Homer learned, sell
advertising time at a much cheaper rate.

References obvious and obscure

Carnival of the Stars

A spoof of ``Circus of the Stars'', an annual showcase for American television
stars to risk their lives for no good reason.

The Inspector General

Ron Drake (Jawara@Applelink.Apple.COM) identifies the music for ``Crazy
Vaclav's'' as the ``Yakov's Elixir'' theme from ``The Inspector General''
starring Danny Kaye.


Homer stole the music for his ``Mr. Plow'' jingle from the American plumbing
company ``Roto-Rooter''.  His lyrics are much stupider.
The original lyrics are ``Call Roto-Rooter, that's the name, and away goes
trouble down the drain.''

McMahon and Tate

The esteemed David Tamkin@{dwt} informs those of us innocent of the USA's
sitcom heritage that ``McMann and Tate was the advertising agency that
employed Darrin Stephens in `Bewitched'.  For some reason, the ad agency
was named McMahon & Tate instead, using Ed and Jim's spelling.

``I don't think McMann of `Bewitched' ever had a first name given: he was
never seen on camera nor spoken about much, and there was no indication I
remember whether he was retired, deceased, or still active.  All executive
decisions there rested in the hands of Larry Tate (played by the late David

Walter Cronkite

Bob Hogue@{bh2} points out that the scene in which Kent Brockman reports
the avalanche ``was a nearly-exact copy of the on-the-air tape of Walter
Cronkite as he delivered the bulletin officially confirming JFK's
assassination, right down to him removing his black-rimmed
glasses and staring into the camera to bring the news.  The
background scene in the newsroom was also identical.  It was a
rather unnerving ref.''

Leff Jind @{jl} adds that Kent looks down to his right (the wire?)
pauses a moment (Cronkite later said he was holding back tears) and
then pulls off his glasses and gives the news report.


Barney's fate is similar to that of Jim (Christopher Lloyd) on ``Taxi''.
Jim was at Harvard and reluctantly smoked pot on the principle of ``If I do
it, maybe you'll go away.''  Howard Goldstein@{hlg} points out that the
similarity is hardly coincidental: James L. Brooks wrote that episode of


The snowball attack has been claimed by various people to be references to
``The Godfather'', ``Bonny and Clyde'', and the Los Angeles Riots of 1992.

Nobody wins the rickety bridge reference award unless the movie they propose
also has the same music as the one used in the scene.


Greg Hilton@{gh2} points out that this episode had an unusual amount of
name-dropping.  He lists Angela Lansbury, Alan Thicke, Ricardo Montalban,
Adam West, Michelle Pfeiffer, Julie Newmar, Lee Meriweather, Eartha Kitt,
George Bush, Admiral Stockdale, and Linda Ronstadt.  (Don't forget Jimmy

Young Homer's room

Robert Yantosca @{ry} spotted a poster of Pink Floyd's ``Dark Side of
the Moon'' album on the wall.  This is particularly interesting
because one of the songs on the album is titled ``Brain Damage''.
Oddly appropriate for Homer's room.

Linda Ronstadt's song

Felix Madera@{fm} translates ``Se\~nor Plow no es macho, es solamente un
borracho'' as ``Mr. Plow isn't macho, he's just a drunk.''

Lost animation

The trailers for the episode showed an overhead view of Homer in his plow,
spelling out the ``The Simpsons'' logo in the snow, making a curl at the
end of the last `s', running into a tree, and yelling ``D'oh!'' @{krn}


Daniel A. Murphy@{dam} cites a San Francisco newspaper as having
reported that the George Bush scene was inserted after the outcome of
the 1992 presidential election.  A different scene had been prepared
in the event that Bush won re-election.

In response to speculation as to the reason for the scene, Bucky
Whaley@{bw} probably correctly interprets it as follows: ``It's just
an illustration of the way Homer's mind works.  We know Homer pilfers
pretty much anything he can get his hands on from work [from episode
7F13].  He probably assumes everyone else does the same.  So in his
fantasy, he heroically clears a path through the protestors for George
Bush, who---like any other regular guy---would snatch whatever's lying
around from a job he's about to leave.''

It might be noted that Saturday Night Live had a sketch about the
outgoing president with a similar theme, except that Bush was merely
swiping office supplies rather than priceless art.

Lisa Sheehan ( believes she saw Elvis when
Homer was flipping through a wad of bills.  Alas, she was merely
hallucinating; all the bills said ``Five''.  (But I swear I saw Elvis
on a stamp!)

I thought Barney's Ma was in Norway.

I hope everybody got the joke about ``Widow's Peak''.

If anybody says that the rope bridge scene was a reference to an Indiana Jones
movie, I'll scream.

A hectare is a unit of area, not length.

Kumatsu Motors was the company that took over Herb Powell's car company.

{krn} - From:

Boring distribution restrictions

Blah blah blah blah blah.

HTML conversion by
Howard Jones( on Sat 10 Sept 1994