Recap / The Simpsons S 12 E 12 Tennis The Menace

The Simpsons install a tennis court in their backyard after Homer is told that a mausoleum he wants for the still-alive Grandpa Simpson would need enough concrete for a tennis court — and it ends up tearing the family apart when Homer's goofing off becomes gossip fodder for the neighborhood and Marge decides to trade him in for Bart.

Tropes:

  • Art Shift: Like season seven's "Radioactive Man," this episode used digital ink and paint rather than traditional cel animation in the days before cel animation would fall out of fashion and digital ink and paint would be a thing. And much like "Radioactive Man," fans responded unfavorably to the change.
  • Bait and Switch:
    • For the overall plot. Usually, you'd expect Homer to grouse about losing and Marge to take it in stride, but he's fine with it and she's deeply embarrassed.
    • During the nightmare, Bart explains Homer's demise:
      "He thought that trip to the guillotine factory was just for fun. Little did he know it was the perfect place to shoot him."
  • Blatant Lies: Homer assures Lisa they're not entering the tournament out of spite, then tells her to aim for her mothers heart
  • Don't Explain the Joke / Captain Obvious: It's pretty easy to beat a suspect in shackles chief.
  • Flushing Toilet, Screaming Shower: Bart turns on the kitchen faucet while Homer is showering, and finds that he can play Homer's screams like a musical instrument.
  • Graceful Loser: Unlike Marge Homer cares more about having fun and making his friends laugh than winning, when Marge tells him they're the laughing stock of the town he was more worried about upstaging Dingbat Charlie.
  • Groin Attack: Homer sets himself up for one by holding open his pants with the intent on catching a tennis ball. Oh, did he ever.
  • Hidden Depths: Bart and Lisa are actually quite good at tennis—arguably better than Marge and definitely better than Homer.
  • Jerkass: Surprisingly, Marge is an even bigger jerkass in this episode then Homer. He ends up getting a tennis court in the backyard and has fun with it and makes his friends and neighbors laugh and enjoy themselves. Marge gets embarrassed and outright tells him to stop having fun and play seriously.
    • Plus once Homer signs them up for a just for fun tournament to see how they do, she immediately ditches him for Bart and barely expresses any remorse throughout the entire episode.
    • Admittedly, Homer dumping Lisa for Serena Williams was cruel, but Marge did it too.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Homer is allowed to have fun playing tennis even if Marge is being a Sore Loser.
  • Noodle Incident: It's never explained why the school banned hats.
  • Oedipus Complex: Homer's nightmare is Bart killing him and marrying Marge.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: Parodied when Homer wakes up from his nightmare, sees a picture of Bart, and says in a scared tone, "That's the guy from my dream."
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Grampa is understandably annoyed when Homer completely abandons the plans for his burial for a Half Way Plot Switch.
  • Shout-Out: The title is an allusion to Dennis the Menace (US) .
  • Spoof Aesop: "It's better to watch stuff than do stuff"
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