Recap / The Simpsons S 11 E 15 Missionary Impossible
Homer runs off to a South Pacific island to escape the wrath of PBS after promising them $10,000 during one of their pledge drives.

Tropes used in this episode:

  • Anonymous Benefactor: Homer attempts to invoke this by donating all of the money the pledge drive required and not having to worry about actually paying, just so PBS can get back to showing their usual TV shows as soon as possible. He is thwarted by Insta-Trace.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Bart fills in for Homer at the nuclear power plant, Burns berates him for causing seventeen meltdowns, selling weapons grade plutonium to the Iraqis (without markup) and worst of all, taking the Hamburglar's birthday off the previous Monday and Wednesday ("Which is it?").
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Fred Rogers.
    "It's a beautiful day to kick your ass!"
  • Beware the Silly Ones: The Muppets of Sesame Street.
    Oscar: Give us the money, Homer!
    Elmo: Elmo knows where you live!
  • Bait and Switch: When a tremor occurs at Microatia, Q'Toktok tells Homer what the locals call it, appearing to speak his native tongue... until it turns out he's just coughing up a bone, after which he continues, "We call that, 'earthquake'."
  • Blatant Lies: Homer still tries to convince the PBS crew that the Bank of Springfield is closed even after all of them see people entering and conducting their businesses in there.
  • Bookends: The episode begins and ends with a TV program being interrupted by a pledge drive asking for ten thousand dollars, which is resolved in a single call.
  • The Cameo: Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, Hank Hill, Thurgood Stubbs, Dylan McKay, and yes, even Bender Bending Rodriguez are all taking pledges alongside Rupert Murdoch in the Fox pledge drive.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Homer agreeing to pay for PBS' pledge drive.
    Homer: Oh, why did I register with Insta-Trace?
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The Teletubbies fire them at Homer.
  • "Good Luck" Gesture: Lisa Jr. crosses her fingers when she says she wants to give up gambling. She doesn't hide it behind her back so her wish is probably sincere and she really hopes to stop.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When Bart donates to the Fox pledge drive towards the end, Rupert Murdoch says "You've saved my network!", to which Bart says "Wouldn't be the first time...", referring to how The Simpsons helped popularize the Fox network.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When Homer sees the casino devolved into constant fighting.
  • National Geographic Nudity: Brought up when Homer notices the local women in Microatia are clothed.
    Homer: Hey, what happened to all the shirtless girls you see in all the geographical magazines?
    Q'Toktok: Craig and Amy gave us the gift of shame. All the naked women are on that island. (The island in question is far away)
    Ak: Yeah, anything goes over there. Bouncy, bouncy!
    Homer: Aww...
  • No Ending: The plot of the episode is interrupted by a PBS-style plea from Betty White which ends the episode.
  • Overly Long Name: Lisa Jr.'s real name is "Oovilu-Eeoo-Kitana-Wanjay".
  • Recognition Failure: In a variation of one of the show's Running Gags, Mr. Burns mistakes Bart for Homer when he reports his ten-year performance record.
    Bart: But I'm not Homer Simpson.
    Burns: I think I know who Homer Simpson is.
  • Prepare to Die: Yo Yo Ma exclaims "You die now!" during the chase scene.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Spit Take: Rupert Murdoch does one when he receives $10,000 in pledge money from Bart Simpson in the Fox pledge drive at the end.
  • The Stinger: Homer exclaiming "Save me, Jebus!" during the Gracie Films logo at the end of the show.
  • Take That: At British Brevity.
    "Not hard to see why it's England's longest running series, and today, we're showing all seven episodes."
    • At Family Guy ("So, if you don't want lowbrow programming to disappear from the airwaves..." followed by Betty White turning off the TV showing the FG logo on it "...please, call now."), even though, these days, that joke would either be Hilarious in Hindsight and/or a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment, as Family Guy has since come back from cancellation and, despite critics and fans stating that the post-cancellation episodes aren't as good as the pre-cancellation ones, is slowly becoming more popular than The Simpsons in terms of ratings.
    • Marge just doesn't think Hägar the Horrible is funny.
    • "Ahem, pardon me, folks. There's nothing to see here: just off to the dumpster with these childrens' letters to God." Even better, every single person in the mob waves Rev. Lovejoy off.
  • Toad Licking: Homer takes this up since there's no alcohol on the island. He appears to favor a red one.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The events of this episode are later referenced in "Poppa's Got A Brand New Badge" confirming that Homer survived falling into the lava, but it's never mentioned what became of Lisa Jr.
  • You No Take Candle: "Me Homer. Me hiding from PBS."