[9F21] Homer's Barbershop Quartet

Homer's Barbershop Quartet                               Written by Jeff Martin
                                                      Directed by Mark Kirkland
Production code: 9F21                       Original airdate in N.A.: 30-Sep-93
                                                  Capsule revision M, 21-Jul-96

Title sequence

Blackboard :- I will never win an Emmy.
              I will never win a/ at cutoff.

Lisa's Solo:- Traditional -- recycled from second season

Couch      :- The members of the family run in, collide, and shatter
              into small pieces.  SLH wanders in.  A voice says, "Take

           :- The members of the family run in, collide, and meld, and
              land on the couch, after which a voice says, "Take three."
              The final amorphous glop that ends up on the couch has the
              following characteristics:

            - From left to right, the couch has Homer, Marge, Maggie,
              Lisa, Bart.
            - Homer has half of Bart's hair, and Bart has Homer's hair.
            - Marge has the pacifier, Maggie has three eyes, and Lisa is
              missing her left eye.
            - A necklace made of alternating red and white beads
              stretches across the three females.
            - Homer's right arm appears rubbery, and Homer's right leg
              has Bart's blue shoe on it, minus the white dot.  Bart's
              left leg is Marge's leg, and his left arm is Homer's arm.

           :- The members of the family run in, collide, and explode.
              Maggie's pacifier falls to the floor of the blackened
              living room.

Did you notice...

    ... Moe's Lucille Ball oyster has a pearl in it?
    ... the guy at the record booth is only eating the skin of his corn
    ... the Aerosmith logo and the Pink Floyd poster behind the record
    ... Moe's bar was called "Moe's Cavern" before it was called "Moe's
    ... the sermon topic: "What a f_iend we have in God"?
    ... Lisa buys a Lucy oyster?
    ... the effigy of Barney?
    ... Chief Wiggum's first name is Clancy?
    ... the "Homer" and "Apu" Funny Foam squirters?
    ... Aretha Franklin and Hammer are at the Grammy awards?
    ... Alf on the cover of "US" magazine?
    ... the black police officer's name is Lou?

Scott A. Mankey:
    ... Herman, the one-armed man, is trying to sell an atomic bomb?
    ... Marge is selling the sailboat picture from the Simpson living
    ... the store next to Moe is called "King Toot's Music Store"?
    ... Spinal tap is at the Grammy party?  And, Leon Kompowsky (the
        big, white Michael Jackson) is also there?
    ... there's a picture of Charlie Chaplin in Homer's hotel room?

Juha Terho:
    ... the man who whistles after "ich bin ein Springfield swap meet
        patron" can be seen in the audience?
    ... the Crazy Old Man is at Springfield Retirement Castle?
    ... Homer's rear cleavage is visible on the back of "Meet the Be

Ricardo Lafaurie:
    ... Moe makes his Lucy oysters imitate the Lucy of "The Lucy Show"?
    ... the man at the record booth is the comic book guy from 7F21?
    ... Homer doesn't scold Bart for talking that way about television?
        (cf. 8F10) [surprising, since Martin wrote both episodes]
    ... we never find out Nigel's other name?
    ... Skinner introduces himself as Principal Seymour Skinner?
    ... Bart at the tryouts?
    ... Bart wears his overalls from 9F08?
    ... Skinner is not drinking beer?
    ... Skinner plays the banjo?
    ... Skinner doesn't wear his jacket?
    ... Homer's clothes are darker?
    ... Bart knows who Frank Sinatra and Tom Jones are?
    ... Lisa wearing only a diaper when the scene with the dummy
    ... Lisa has remarkable communication skill for a two-year-old?
    ... Apu wears a red shirt upon return to the Kwik-E-Mart?
    ... the graffitti in Moe's Tavern that reads "For a good time call
        Edna K"?  (cf. Simpsons Comics #3)
    ... the man continuing chasing the paperboy while people listen to
        the Be Sharps?
    ... the theme song at the end is greatly butchered to accomodate the
        remark about the audition?
    ... the final credit fades out instead of going directly to the
        Gracie Films logo?

Voice credits

- Starring
    - Dan Castellaneta (Quimby, Homer, Barney, Abe, Captain McAllister,
    - Julie Kavner (Marge, Joan Rivers)
    - Nancy Cartwright (Bart, news boy)
    - Yeardley Smith (Lisa)
    - Hank Azaria (man at Malibu Stacey booth, Wiggum, Apu, Moe, Snake,
      reporter, bellhop, Human Fly)
    - Harry Shearer (Skinner, Herman, Flanders, Lovejoy, Nigel, Jasper,
      Reagan, Johnny Carson, reporter)
- Special Guest Voice
    - George Harrison (himself)
    - David Crosby (himself)
- Also Starring
    - Pamela Hayden (reporter, Mrs. Wiggum, Yoko)
- Additional Vocals By
    - The Dapper Dans
        - James Campbell
        - George Economou
        - Shelby Grimm
        - Dan Jordan

Movie (and other) references

  + Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner" line {mb}
    - Quimby's "Ich bin ein Springfield swap meet patron" similar
  + The Beatles (see below)
  + Alvin and the Chipmunks
    - "Melvin and the Squirrels" a parody of them
    Elvis Presley {nt}, {rc}
    - Homer buying his father a pink Cadillac (Elvis buying one for his
    - Chief Wiggum shooting at the TV
    - Nigel not having to pay the girls to scream is from an Elvis movie
  + "Les Miserables"
    - Skinner's Vietnam mask is number 24601, the same as Jean Valjean's
      prisoner number
  ~ Jim Nabours, "Gomer Pyle" {rc}
    - Barney's lousy talking voice and great singing voice
  + Paul Harvey, "The Rest of the Story" {rc}

Beatles references

Similarities between the Be Sharps and Beatles (many contributors):

    - The name: Be Sharps, Be-atles
    - The number of band members (four) and their sexes (all male)
    - Moe's Cavern (the Cavern Club in Liverpool, where the Beatles
      played their first live gigs)
    - Barney replacing Wiggum (Pete Best was dropped in favor of Ringo)
    - "Meet the Be Sharps" ("Meet the Beatles") plus the similarities
      between the covers of the two
    - Apu's (Ringo's) name shortening
    - Apu being Indian (one of the members of the Beatles' rip-off band,
      "The Rutles", was Indian)
    - The control room of the Baby on Board studio (the Abbey Road
      studio during the 60s)
    - "You have just recorded your first number one."
    - Homer's (John's) marriage as a source of disappointment for women
    - Interview at JFK in 1986 (Beatles: 1964)
    - Barney's clothes (John Lennon: glasses, hairy coat) and Barney's
      girlfriend (Yoko Ono)
    - "Yoko Ono" responsible for Barney quitting the group (cf. the real
      magillah with Lennon)
    - "Number Eight" ("Revolution No. 9" from the White Album)
    - "Bigger than Jesus" album (John Lennon's remark about the Beatles
      being "more popular than Jesus", AND the resemblance to the "Abbey
      Road" cover)
    - "Poo poo pa-doop" from the "Surgeon General song" (similar to "I
      Am the Walrus")
    - The photo on the back of "Meet the Be Sharps" where Barney's back
      is turned ("Sgt. Pepper" photo where Paul's back is turned)
    - Homer (Ringo) wearing a red jacket
    - The rooftop performance (the Beatles did this for "Get Back", the
      last track on "Let It Be", atop Apple Records.  Hence George
      Harrison's dismissal, "It's been done.")
    - Wiggum says "Get the tear gas"; the police were actually called to
      the original rooftop performance, but only to ask them Beatles to
      turn the volume down {mb}
    - Homer's comment, "...and I hope we passed the audition" (John said
      the same thing at the end of the "Get Back" performance)

Previous episode references

- [7F06] "Let's get outta here!"  {rl}
- [7F12], [8F10], [9F08] Flashback opened with "important" events from
  that period {rl}
- [7F14] Santa's Little Helper burying stuff {jt}
- [7F18] Paintings that Marge was selling
- [7F18] Former Beatle guest stars {rl}
- [7F24] Leon Kompowski appears {rl}
- [8F02] Johnny Carson as Karnak is spoofed {rl}
- [8F02] Skinner singing "Ragtime Gal"
- [8F09] Quimby: "Ich bin ein Springfielder!"
- [8F10] Lisa blames short attention spans on TV (cf. Bart) {rl}
- [8F13] Tear rolls down Strawberry's check (cf. Barney in 9F21) {rl}
- [8F19] Music in which Homer is involved cools tempers {rl}
- [8F20], [9F20] Prisoner 24601
- [8F21] Spinal Tap appears {rl}
- [8F24] Skinner returns to school: same scene as when he leaves in 8F24
- [9F01] Homer sings "something something" in 9F01 and this episode {jt}
- [9F02], [9F05] Bob Hope referenced in an un-Simpsonlike appraisal
  (ditto Tom Jones) {rl}
- [9F08] "The Lucy Show" is referenced {rl}
- [9F08] Young Bart looks the same {rl}
- [9F11] Homer: "I'll give it a good home" {jt}
- [9F14] Homer spontaneously jumps out of a window (cf. Wiggum) {rl}
- [9F17] Family laughs for a while then Homer says "Why me laugh?"  (cf.
  Bart) {rl}
- [9F18] Irish man crying after Barney starts singing is the one who
  says, "But 'twas all in good fun!" in 9F18
- [9F19] Man who says, "What, the balding fat-ass?" is the Crazy Old Man
  in 9F19
- [9F20] David Crosby guest-stars {rl}

Freeze frame fun

- Marge was selling paintings from 7F18:
    - Homer on the Couch ("Bald Adonis" {rl})
    - Burns at the Mantel
    - Ringo
    - The Sad Clown
- The records on sale were:
    - "S'Wonderful, S'Marvelous, S'Krusty"
    - "Melvin & The Squirrels"
    - a Spinal Tap album
    - "Metal"
    - "Gold Hits"
    - a Bleeding Gums Murphy album
    - Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon".
- The things in the back of the car after the Swap Meet:
    - golf clubs
    - a teddy bear
    - a beach ball
    - a stereo speaker
    - a picture
    - a ski pole
- Nigel's business card says:
      Management by
- The signs in support of Wiggum:
- The signs in support of Barney:
    - BARNEY SI WIGGUM NO (Timothy Schreyer points out, "This is made
      from a sign that said "BARNEY IS NO WIGGUM" to start with.")
- The sign outside Homer's hotel advertised, "Happy Family Brand
- The graffiti on top of Moe's said "For a good time, call Edna
  Krabapple, 555-6921," and "El Barto."
- The headline of the Springfield Shopper that the newsboy was selling
  was "Snow storm hits the Midwest".  {sam}
- At the Springfield Swap Meet: {rc}
    - The Swap Meet logo: cornucopia filled with junk
    - Moe's booth's sign: "HANDICR_FTS By Moe"
    - Hallelujah Brand "free" trading cards
        - Joseph of Arimathea (26 Conversions in A.D. 46)
        - Methuselah Rookie Card [autographed - ed]
    - In the five cent box
        - US Declaration of Independence (probably one of the 1777(?)
          copies that were printed for each of the signers, only a few
          copies exist)
        - Action #1 (first appearance of Superman)
        - Full sheet of airmail stamp misprint with upside-down airplane
        - Stradivarius ("Stradiwhovius?") violin
- At the Springfield Penitentiary: {rc}
    - Prisoner numbers 9F21 (the episode number) and 23161(?)  [72161(?)
      - ed]
- Johnny Carson (Carnac the Great with a fez(?))  {rc}
    - "Gilligan, the Skipper and Chief Wiggum.  Name three castaways."
- Partial lyrics to "Baby on Board": {rc}
      Baby on board, how I adore,
      That sign on my car's windowpane
      Since I'm driving, in the carpool lane
      Folks stop and stare, friends I don't care
      That little yellow sign can't be ignored
      I'm telling you it's mighty nice
      Each trip's a trip to paradise
      With my baby on board.

Animation, continuity, and other goofs

Marge is trying to sell the painting of Ringo Starr she mailed to him in
"Brush with Greatness".  [she did make several, though; this might have
been one of the others - ed]

When Bart is looking through the $1.00 albums, the scene changes from
close to Bart, to farther away.  The following discontinuities occur:

    - The skull's eyes on the "Metal" album change from white with black
      outlines to completely black.
    - The four baskets of albums acquire a gap between the middle two.
    - When Bart hands the seller the Squirrels album, there is another
      copy of the album in the same basket.  This should have been a
      Spinal Tap album, according to the preceding scene.

Lisa appears to take the Be Sharps album from the table, but it doesn't
appear in any of the previous shots.

Homer refers to Joe Piscopo leaving Saturday Night Live in 1985, but he
actually left in 1983.

The band name "The Be Sharps" appears outside the church before the band
had decided on that name.

In the church, Reverend Lovejoy's hair changes color from brown to

In the scene after this, at Moe's, Skinner is supposed to sing the bass
line, "Me-iii, Me-ooo," yet his lips move with the other three singing,
"Goodbye my Coney Island".

The rear-view mirror in Homer's car disappears when he lets Wiggum out.

Wiggum has no shadow when he gets out, but in the very next scene, he
has a long shadow.

Homer is playing an A flat in the "Al Capone song", yet he's hitting a
white note on the piano.

Homer's shirt changes shades of grey as he is comforting a distraught
Marge.  His sleeves, however, remain one color.

When Marge is crying, there's a picture of Maggie (no, it's NOT "baby
Lisa") on the wall behind her, despite being 1985.  {ddg}

When they're singing at the Statue of Liberty, you can't hear Barney's
voice; instead, it's Wiggum singing.  They probably recycled the song
from the beginning of the episode.  {jt}

Strange that (M.C.)  Hammer should appear at the 1985 Grammys, since he
didn't get famous until later.  {ert}

"Come on Eileen" came out before 1984, sometime in the early eighties
(I'd say '83) yet the Grammy show where Homer wins an award take place
in 1985.  {lb}

Santa's Little Helper walks into the kitchen in the scene where Marge
builds the Homer-dummy in 1986, yet the Simpsons didn't get SLH as a pet
until 1989 or so.

SLH was significantly lighter when he buried "Homer"'s head.  {rl}

When Marge pushes "play" on the Homer tape, she pushes the second button
from the left.  But in the next shot, the second button from the right
is the one that is still pushed down.

When Homer returns to work, he returns to his station in the safety
monitoring plant.  But Homer didn't get promoted to that position until
the episode "Homer's Odyssey".  Before then, he worked on the lines
hand-sorting waste.  {rjc}

When Homer sends the kids to bed, from one angle, his phone has no
numbers.  {jt}

The photo on the back of "Meet the Be Sharps" does not appear at the
start of the episode.

In the final shot of the episode, Wiggum looks way too skinny and tall,
and Lou disappears.  {rl}

Comments and other observations

Michael P. Schoenbrun

The final credit said, "Dedicated to the memory of Michael P.
    Schoenbrun," who was the executive in charge of production for
    Gracie films.

Choice of barbershop

Noel Taylor says, "Interesting choice of using a barbershop quartet.
    Not only will it help Baby-Boomers/13ers relate to their parents my
    trying to find the appeal.  But it also is an obscure Beatles
    reference: They were once rejected by a record company that told
    them guitar groups were old fashioned and would not catch on."

"I doubt my son or daughter is that stupid."

Juha Terho points out that the man who said this "isn't a one-time
    character.  He's appeared in 7F23 (`I heard you get parking tickets
    validated here without a purchase'), 8F14 (`Outta my way') and 9F07
    (`You sicken me')."

The Upside-Down Airplane Stamps

Tony Hill writes, "Stamp collectors refer to that issue as the inverted
    Jenny.  (It was a Jenny pictured on the stamp.)  It may be of
    interest that it's known in the catalogs as Scott United States C3a.
    Especially fantastic is that Homer seemed to find a full pane, when
    only one pane is known to exist.  That pane of course was broken up

"'S Wonderful 'S Marvelous 'S Krusty"

Tony Hill says that this "is a reference to a song by George and Ira
    Gershwin from the early 1930s, `'S Wonderful.'  It also alludes to
    Ray Conniff's first albums from 1957-8, `'S Wonderful,' `'S
    Marvelous,' and `'S Awful Nice.'  Thirty-seven years later, we're
    still waiting for `'S Paradise.'"

"Hats Blocked" on Nigel's business card

Windsor Morgan explains that blocking hats "is the shaping of hats to a
    particular style."

Apu de Beaumarchais

Darcy Brockbank quite correctly points out, "Actually, I think it was
    `Apu de Beaumarche' (the e should have the / accent).  This is
    loosely translated as `Apu of the Beautiful Store' and probably fits
    well, don't you think?"  [I decided to stick with the spelling given
    in the close captioning (-ais) since it's more obvious how to
    pronounce it when reading the capsule - ed]

The songs sung at the audition {rk}

    - Abe sang "Old MacDonald" in the style of Frank Sinatra
    - Willie sang "Doontoon"
    - Jasper sang "Theme From a Summer Place"
    - Chief Wiggum sang "Talk to the Animals" (in disguise)

Abe's Sinatra-style "Old MacDonald"

Tony Hill says Sinatra actually did record a swing version of this song
    in the late 1950s on Capitol.  As well, Sinatra recorded many songs
    he hated when he was with Columbia Records, and as a result he left
    them in 1952.  One of them was "Mama Will Bark", which featured
    actual barking.

Roy Cohn

Tom Collins explains who Roy Cohn is: "Obnoxious child who grew up to be
    self-hating, gay-baiting homosexual Mafia lawyer after launching a
    career destroying others via red-baiting, now dead of Aids and
    subjected to deserved mockery as fawning subject for famous right-
    wing non-neutral "newscaster" Harvey...Now THAT'S funny."

Al Capone's vault, and the Liberty Centennial

Don Del Grande says, "Al Capone's Vault was opened April 21, 1986; the
    Statue of Liberty Centennial was October 28, 1986."

The "bigger (more popular?) than Jesus" quotation

From a discussion in email, Terry Carroll tells me, "A NY Times story
    (June 21, 1991, page A12) that includes excerpts from a U.S.
    Supreme Court opinion on libel law states (quoting the court): `John
    Lennon once was quoted as saying of the Beatles, "We're more popular
    than Jesus Christ now."  Time, Aug. 12, 1966, p. 38.'  ...I note
    that Bartlett's adopts the "more popular" language."

Dexy's Midnight Runners

This was a group that had only one hit song in the US, "Come On Eileen",
    back in the spring of 1983.  Homer's remark, "You haven't heard the
    last of them," seems particularly ironic now.  Apparently, they
    lasted a bit longer in the UK.

Quotes and scene summary

[Syndication cuts are marked in curly braces "{}" and are courtesy of
Ricardo Lafaurie and Frederic Briere.]

It's the day of the Springfield Swap Meet!  Mayor Quimby watches the
proceedings from a podium.

Quimby: [to his bodyguards] Human roaches, feeding off each others'
        garbage!  The only thing you can't buy here is dignity.  [taps
        the microphone] Welcome swappers!  To the Springfield swap meet!
        Ich bin ein Springfield swap meet patron!
         [to his bodyguards] I need a drink and a shower.
-- He loves his job, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

Moe is selling oyster shells that resemble Lucille Ball.  Meanwhile,
Bart, Nelson, and Milhouse check out Ned Flanders' booth.

    Bart: Oh boy!  Free trading cards!
Milhouse: Wow!  Joseph of Arimathea!  Twenty six conversions in A.D. 46.
  Nelson: Whoa, a Methuselah rookie card!
Flanders: Heh heh, well boys, who'd have thought learning about religion
          could be fun?
    Bart: Religion?
Milhouse: Learning?
  Nelson: Let's get out of here!
-- Wouldn't want that, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

Meanwhile, Lisa is at another booth.

Lisa: Wow, an original Malibu Stacey from 1958!  [Sees the huge, pointed
      breasts] Oh...
 Man: Yeah, they took her off the market after some kid put both his
      eyes out.
-- That'll teach boys to play with dolls, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

Principal Skinner rediscovers his prison mask from the Viet Cong
internment center.  He comments to Herman how small a world it is.
Homer looks through the five cent box at another booth, dismissing as
junk an original document from congress, Action Comics No. 1, a set of
stamps with upside down airplanes on them, and a violin autographed by

Marge tries her luck at selling stuff at her own booth.

Marge: Your teenage son or daughter will think this wishbone necklace is
       really cool!
  Man: I doubt my son or daughter is that stupid.
-- Kids these days, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

Bart and Lisa check out the $1.00 record booth.  The booth operator
plays a cut from "Melvin and the Squirrels" for Bart, to let him sample
the rodent invasion of the '60s.

Lisa notices an album titled, "Meet the Be Sharps", with a photo of
Homer on the front.  Both children are curious.

 Bart: Dad, when did you record an album?
Homer: I'm surprised you don't remember, son.  It was only eight years
 Bart: Dad, thanks to television, I can't remember what happened eight
       minutes ago.
        [Everyone laughs uproariously except Bart]
       No, really, I can't!  It's a serious problem.
        [Everyone laughs again, and Bart finally relents and laughs too]
       What are we all laughing about?
Homer: [joyously] Who cares?  Anyways...
-- "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

Homer begins to narrate the tale of his barbershop quartet.  It begins
in 1985.

 Homer: Every afternoon at Moe's, Chief Wiggum, Principal Skinner, Apu,
        and I would get together and sing, and the crowds went wild!
         [Scene shows roses and underwear getting thrown on stage]
Barney: [The only audience member, seductively] Yoo hoo!
-- One's a crowd, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

 Bart: [incredulous] Barbershop?  That ain't been popular since aught
       six, dagnab it.
Homer: [reproachfully] Bart, what did I tell you?
 Bart: [abashed] No talking like a grizzled 1890s prospector...consarn
-- The cockney bootblack within, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

Homer continues his narration.

Anyway, rock and roll had become stagnant.  "Achy Breaky Heart" was
seven years away; something had to fill the void.  That something was
-- Homer tells it like it is, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

The four singers end their show with "Goodbye, My Coney Island Baby".
Abe and another man watch from the audience.

Abe: That's my son up there!
Man: What, the balding fat-ass?
Abe: Uh, no, the...Hindu guy.
-- Abe thinks under pressure, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

The quartet even get to perform at the Springfield prison.
Unfortunately for Chief Wiggum, Snake decides to throw a rock at him
after the performance is over.

Reverend Lovejoy invites the fab four to sing at the First Church of
Springfield.  The audience are enthralled, and donate particularly
generously.  The reverend looks pleased.  Ned Flanders, a sidesman,
isn't so sure.

Ned: You know, reverend, this really isn't a hymn.
Rev: [crossly] Ned, there's an oil stain in the parking lot that looks
     just like St. Barnabas.
Ned: [aghast] Oh, my stars!
-- That oughta keep him busy, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

Homer et al. perform back at Moe's, and finish to wild applause.  Homer
goes to get himself a beer.  He's approached by Nigel.

Nigel: Homer, I'm a theatrical agent, and I want to represent your
       group.  [Hands Homer his card]
Homer: Really?
Nigel: Yeah.  You've got _it_.  All except that police officer.  Yuck!
       Too "Village People".
-- But they were great!, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

Homer assures Nigel he can handle Wiggum.  Homer drives the panting
Chief out to a deserted country road, and stops the car.  "Run along,
boy!  You're free now!"  Wiggum jumps out, and Homer drives off.  Soon,
Wiggum sees his predicament, and he howls unhappily at the full moon.

Back at Moe's, Nigel is introduced to the remaining two members.
Principal Skinner shakes Nigel's hand.

  Apu: [introducing himself] Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.
Nigel: Hmm.  Never fit on a marquee, luv.  From now on, your name is Apu
       de Beaumarchais.
  Apu: [unhappily] That is a great dishonor to my ancestors and my
       god...[brightens] but okay!
-- Twist my arm, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

The trio begins to audition for Chief Wiggum's replacement.  Abe,
groundskeeper Willy, {Jasper}, and Chief Wiggum disguised as Dr.
Dolittle all try out, but "it was one lousy applicant after another."
Dejected, they return to Moe's, when they hear a beautiful Irish voice
singing from the bathroom.  They're all amazed, and wonder who it is.
After a burp, it can only be one person...

 Homer: Barney!  How'd you like to sing for our group?
Barney: [On the bathroom floor] Sure, why not?  [searching] Now, where's
        me toothpick?
-- Maybe it fell in the toilet, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

Wiggum will not accept defeat.  He rallies the good citizens of
Springfield behind his cause.  They chant angrily at the new foursome as
the Chief laughs.  The minute Barney breaks into, "Sweet Adeline", the
audience flip flops, and cheer with delight.  Wiggum slinks away.

  Moe: Those girls you paid to scream are doing a great job.
Nigel: _I_ didn't pay any girls to scream.
  Moe: Huh?!
-- They really mean it?, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

After the show, the quartet members are elated.  And yet...

Skinner: Only one question remains, gentlemen...what do we call
  Nigel: How about, "Handsome Homer Simpson Plus Three?"
 Barney: I like it!
    Apu: Wait, I do not.
Skinner: Er, um, we need a name that's witty at first, but that seems
         less funny each time you hear it.
    Apu: How about, "The Be Sharps?"
          [Everyone laughs loud at first, then less, then the laughter
         tapers off]
Skinner: Perfect!
-- Important group naming criteria, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

The four of them reach into the center of the circle with one hand, palm
face down, and touch hands as a gesture of solidarity.  Chief Wiggum
adds his hand to the pile, saying, "You can't blame a guy for trying."
When the foursome glare at him, he laughs sheepishly, then places them
under arrest.

[End of Act One.  Time: 9:12]

On the drive home, everyone compares acquisitions from the swap meet.

Homer: What'd you kids get?
 Bart: I bought this cool pencil holder.
Homer: Heh heh, far out man.  I haven't seen a bong in years.
-- But it _could_ hold pencils, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

Marge is unhappy about the way things went for her.

Marge: [dejected] No one bought a wishbone necklace.
Homer: Well, one of us made some money!  I sold a guy our spare tire.
        [A tire on the car blows out] D'oh!
-- Didn't think we'd need it, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

Marge walks off into the distance, twelve miles to the gas station.

Homer: Well, it'll be a long time before your mother gets back with the
       tire, so why don't I tell you more of the story?
-- A tire blows out on the Simpson car, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

Homer sits at the piano in the Simpson house, trying to write a song.

Homer: [plays some chords, then sings tentatively]
       There was nothing in Al Capone's vault,
       But it wasn't Geraldo's fault...
        [spoken] D'oh!
-- Composing is harder than you might think, "Homer's Barbershop

Marge: Look what I got!  Now people will stop intentionally ramming our
-- Marge buys a "Baby On Board" sign, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

The sign gives Homer an idea for a song.

Homer: Hmm, "Baby on Board..." [sings]
       Baby On Board,
       Something something, Burt Ward...
        [spoken] This thing writes itself!
-- Homer "Amadeus" Simpson, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

The Be Sharps sing Homer's composition in the studio.  When they finish
Nigel tells them they've just recorded their first number one.  The four
are ecstatic.

Homer: [excited] Wait till I tell Marge!
Nigel: [with consternation] Oh, yes...Bouffant Betty.  Well, I would
       prefer if we kept your marriage a secret.  You see, a lot of
       women are going to want to have _sex_ with you, and, er, we want
       them to think they _can_.
Homer: Well, if I explain it to Marge _that_ way, I'm sure she'll
        [scene change to the Simpson home]
Marge: [cries loudly]
Homer: [trying to placate her] C'mon, honey!  It'll only be until we
       finish our tour of Sweden.
-- Homer, master comforter, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

Abe hears the Be Sharps on the radio, and proudly informs Jasper that
Homer is in the group.  Jasper tells him Paul Harvey's on, and Abe
switches stations quickly.  They catch the tail end of the tale of Roy

Captain McAllister is fighting a ferocious sea squid, when "Baby On
Board" comes on the radio.  He stops brandishing his harpoon.

Ah, Squiddy!  I got nothing against ye.  I just heard there was gold in
yer belly.  Ha ha har, ha ha ha har!
-- Captain McAllister vs. the Sea Squid, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

Marge and Homer listen to the end of the song on the radio.

Marge: Homer, you're going to be famous!
Homer: Yeah, but I'm not gonna let it change our lives.  I'll be the
       same loving father I've always been.
Marge: Hmm, have you seen Bart?
Homer: Ehh, I stuck him somewhere.
-- It's started already, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

Homer buys his dad a new pink Cadillac with his new fortune.
Unfortunately, Abe's heart can't quite handle the joy.

The Be Sharps disembark at JFK airport in New York City.  A large crowd
is on hand to greet them.  The press is there too, ready for a press

Reporter: I have a question for Apu de Beaumarchais.  Isn't it true that
          you're really an Indian?
     Apu: By the many arms of Vishnu, I swear it is a lie.
Reporter: Barney!  How did you join the group?
  Barney: They found me on the men's room floor.
           [Everyone laughs, but a tear rolls down Barney's cheek]
Reporter: Principal Skinner, you've been referred to as "the funny one."
          Is that reputation justified?
 Skinner: [seriously] Yes.  Yes, it is.
           [Everyone laughs]
-- Funny to look at perhaps, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

The group performs in the harbor near the Statue of Liberty in front of
an unappreciative Ronald Reagan, with Nancy in tow.

Homer: We'd like to dedicate this next number to a very special woman.
       She's a hundred years old, and she weighs over two hundred...
  Man: This enormous woman will devour us all!  Aah!  [jumps into water]
Homer: Er, I meant the statue...
-- Used a bong lately?, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

Chief Wiggum sits discontentedly at home in bed, as Johnny Carson and
Joan Rivers poke fun at his now dead singing career.  He even shoots at
his TV in his depression, but misses.  His wife admonishes him for not
using the remote, {but he whines that he can't find it.  She tells him
to check his holster,} and he finds it there.  Switching channels to
Joan Rivers, who denigrates him, he cracks the tube by throwing his gun
at it.

Marge has now returned and is changing the tire.  Homer explains all
that was now needed was the approval of record company lowlives.  The
29th annual Grammys has David Crosby presenting the award for
"Outstanding Soul, Spoken Word, or Barbershop Album of the Year".  "And
the winner is...the Be Sharps!"  The four leave their seats and walk
onto the stage.

Barney: David Crosby?  You're my hero!
 David: Oh, you like my music?
Barney: [surprised] You're a musician?
-- Birds of a feather, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

At the party afterwards, Homer gets the greatest thrill of his life.

George: Hello, Homer!  I'm George Harrison.
 Homer: [incredulous] Oh my God.  Oh my God!  Where did you get that
George: Over there.  There's a big pile of them.
 Homer: [Laughs crazily, then devours a whole bunch]
         [satisfied] Oh, ma-an...
         [devours more]
George: Well, what a nice fellow.
-- You ain't seen nothin' yet, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

In the hotel room, Homer is talking to Lisa on the phone.

Homer: Lisa, did you see the Grammys?
 Lisa: You beat Dexy's Midnight Runners.
Homer: Well, you haven't heard the last of them.
-- Oh yeah?, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

Homer hangs up, then becomes pensive for a moment, then sighs.  He seems
depressed.  Room service brings him some champagne, and when he looks
for a tip, he gives the bellhop his Grammy instead.  The bellhop is
excited at first, but when he sees it's a Grammy, he throws it off the
balcony in disgust.  A man on the street tosses it back up, only to hit
Homer on the head.

[End of Act Two.  Time: 15:43]

In the living room, Homer shows Bart and Lisa his "Be Sharps Stuff" box.

 Lisa: Wow, look at all this Be Sharps merchandise.  Lunch boxes...
       coffee mugs...funny foam...[squirts some on Homer]
Homer: [angrily] They took the foam off the market because they found
       out it was poisonous, but if you ask me, if you're dumb enough to
       eat it, you deserve to die.
        [looks over] Bart!
 Bart: [through a mouth full of foam, guiltily] What?
-- A closed mouth gathers no feet, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

 Lisa: I can't believe you're not still popular.
 Bart: What'd you do?  Screw up like the Beatles and say you were bigger
       than Jesus?
Homer: All the time!  That was the title of our second album.
-- They meant "more popular", not "bigger", "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

Homer: We were about to learn an iron law of show business: what goes up
       must come down.
 Lisa: What about Bob Hope?  He's been consistently popular for over
       fifty years.
 Bart: So's Sinatra.
Homer: Well, anyway, we were all getting tired of --
 Lisa: Dean Martin still packs 'em in.
 Bart: Ditto Tom Jones.
Homer: Shut up!
-- Counterexample, schmounterexample, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

Marge explains how she tried to compensate for Homer's absence when he
was on the road.  She made a dummy of homer out of a coffee can, some
balloons, dish gloves, and a few other household items, and played a
tape of Homer's voice to the young Bart and Lisa.  It didn't quite work
as well as she'd hoped, though.

"Meanwhile, the group was having problems of its own," Homer explains.
He, Apu, and Skinner are shown in the studio with stubble on their
faces, singing off-key.

       [Homer, Skinner, and Apu sing]
       For all the latest medical poop
       Call Surgeon General C. Everett Koop.
       Poo poo pa-doop.
  Apu: This is worse than your song about Mr. T.
Homer: I pity the fool who doesn't like...he.
-- At least it rhymes, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

Homer asks where Barney is, and Seymour tells him Barney is with his new
girlfriend, the "Japanese conceptual artist".  Barney walks in with her,
and opines that he's worried barbershop is becoming stagnant.  He plays
them his "bold new direction" demo tape, which consists of repetitions
of a female voice saying, "Number eight," followed by a belch.  {Two of
the "Number eight"s are cut in syndication.}  Apu and Seymour roll their

Things were really over for the four when "US" magazine rated them as
"not hot" in the "What's Hot and What's Not" survey.  "We all went our
separate ways."  Skinner goes back to Springfield Elementary.

Skinner: Well, William, I'm back!  So...how did you spend your summer?
  Willy: I made millions in software and lost it at the track.  Ach!
-- Who knew?, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

Apu takes his old job at the Kwik-E-Mart back.

  Apu: It may not be glamorous, but it's good, honest work.
Woman: How much is this quart of milk?
  Apu: Twelve dollars.
-- The best policy, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

Barney reoccupies his seat at Moe's.

   Moe: Hey, Barney!  What'll it be?
Barney: I'd like a beer, Moe!
  Yoko: I'd like a single plum floating in perfume served in a man's
   Moe: [reaching under bar] Here you go.
-- And you thought he couldn't mix drinks, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

Homer takes his job back at the power plant.

Homer: Hey, fellows, I'm back!
 Carl: Oh, that's great.  Your replacement was getting tired.
        [shot of a chicken in Homer's chair, pecking the controls]
       Hey, Queenie, you can go now!
Homer: I'll give her a good home.
        [scene shifts back to Bart and Lisa, centered on Homer's
       And I did.
-- Always keeps his promises, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

 Bart: Man, that's some story!
 Lisa: But there are still a few things I don't get.  Like, how come we
       never heard about this until today?
 Bart: Yeah, and what happened to the money you made?
 Lisa: Why haven't you hung up your gold records?
 Bart: Since when could you write a song?
Homer: [laughs] There are perfectly good answers to those questions.
       But they'll have to wait for another night.  Now off to bed!
-- Never a continuity error, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

Homer looks at the old "Meet the Be Sharps" album wistfully, then picks
up the phone.  In the next scene, he walks out a door on the roof of
Moe's tavern, where Apu, Seymour, and Barney wait for him.

The four break into "Baby On Board," and all the passers-by stop to
listen.  No one pays any attention to "Human Fly", who stayed up all
night dyeing his underwear.  A newsie hocks a paper to a man by
pretending it contained an article about the Be Sharps.  George Harrison
drives by in his limo, rolls down the window, and glances up at the four
of them..."It's been done," he says, and drives off.  Even Wiggum and
Lou seem impressed at the display, until Wiggum tells Lou to get the
tear gas.

[End of Act Three.  Time: 20:19]

Over the closing credits, Homer says, "I'd like to thank you on behalf
of the group, and I hope we passed the audition."  Everyone laughs,
including Barney.  After the laughter dies down, Barney says, "I don't
get it."


   {mb}  Michael Baer
   {lb}  Laurence Bier
   {rc}  Ron Carter
   {rjc} Raymond Chen
   {ddg} Don Del Grande
   {rk}  Rick Kitchen
   {rl}  Ricardo Lafaurie
   {sam} Scott Mankey
   {nt}  Noel Taylor
   {jt}  Juha Terho
   {ert} Elson R. Trinidad
This episode summary is Copyright 1996 by James A. Cherry.  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 compilation.)