With the family in dire straits once again, Homer decides to ask Mr. Burns for a raise, but Burns has a better plan: hire Homer as his personal jester (or "prank monkey") while Smithers takes time off to go to New Mexico to star in a musical he wrote about Malibu Stacy. But when the pranks escalate to being gross and humiliating, Homer must choose between making money for his family or retaining his dignity.
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!!"Homer vs. Dignity" contains examples of:
* BadSanta: Burns tries to pay Homer to act as one in the parade, throwing fish guts onto the crowd. Homer refuses and Burns takes up the role himself.
* BaitAndSwitchComment: When Bart was telling how he got his "A", how many viewers thought he'd say he blackmailed Principal Skinner and Mrs. Krabappel (since he did it before on "Grade School Confidential")?
* BlackComedyRape: The infamous "panda scene".
* ChristmasEpisode: Near the end of the episode.
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: When Lindsey Naegle shows Homer and Marge a simulation of the family becoming poor and wrecked. Homer remarks "Marge, your posture looks terrible".
** Bart doesn't realise his 'cheating' is actually genuinely studying.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Burns pays Homer to throw pudding into Lenny's eyes despite Homer's protests that Lenny's a war hero. Both laugh at Lenny's misfortune and Burns takes more sadistic pleasure when Homer throws another pudding dessert into Lenny's other eye. But when Homer hits Carl in the eyes with pudding, Burns is appalled.
--> '''Mr. Burns''': What ''are'' you doing, man? That's Carl!
** RiddleForTheAges: Which standards was Burns upholding in this case?
** FridgeBrilliance: Probably race, since Carl is black and, for all of Burns' contempt for anyone who's not as rich as he is, viewers have never seen Mr. Burns be racist or sexist[[note]](barring that time he fired Marge for being married and lustfully growled at her when he said, "You don't have to sue me to get my pants off." Even then, he apologized after Homer demands so)[[/note]]. This was probably the writer's way of saying, "Mr. Burns may be a twisted, loveless billionaire, but he prefers to make everyone regardless of race and/or gender feel bad instead of just single out one."
* EyeScream: Pudding and fish guts being thrown into Lenny's eyes
* {{For The Evulz}}/{{For The Lulz}}: Burns paying Homer to make a fool out of himself.
* KickTheDog: A whole episode-ful.
* {{Mondegreen}}: At the beginning, Homer mishears "financial planner" as "financial panther" and has an ImagineSpot of siccing a black leopard onto a creditor.
* NakedPeopleAreFunny: A RunningGag involves Homer being accidentally stripped to the nude and shocking a passing dowager into fainting
* NoodleIncident: When asked why he didn't help Homer in the infamous panda scene
--> '''Mr. Burns''': Too busy keeping my sides from splitting. [In a matter-of-fact tone] It's happened before.
* RecycledScript: We have the family in financial trouble, Lisa worrying over a Simpson male's soul ("Bart Sells His Soul") and Homer dressing up as Santa Claus ("Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire").
* {{Retirony}}: The TropeNamer. Mentioned when Chief Wiggum tells his financial planner that he's not going to create a retirement fund since he's a police officer, and, according to many cop shows and police movies, an officer who's only X amount of days from retirement (and tells his partner about what he's gonna do when he retires -- usually, it'll be something like spending more time with his wife and kids) will always get murdered on the job. When the planner asks what he will do if he isn't shot, Sarah Wiggum burst into tears and Clancy is highly insulted.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: Many people complain about how bad the episode is, but few know that [[UpToEleven it could have been worse]]: the original ending had Homer Simpson throwing ''pig's blood'' at the crowd while wailing, "Merry Christmas! God help me!" [[GainaxEnding Then, the scene flashes forward to the future, where an elderly Homer tells a group of future children that, because of him, Christmas is now celebrated with pig's blood being thrown at people.]]