Recap: The Simpsons S 1 E 4 Theres No Disgrace Like Home

Episode - 7G04
First Aired - 1/28/1990

After being humiliated at a company picnic, Homer forces Marge and the kids to be more well-behaved, but after nearly getting caught spying on the neighbors, Homer decides to pawn the TV and pay for a session with Dr. Marvin Monroe.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: When Mr. Burns is greeting the Simpsons.
    Mr. Burns: And this must be... Brat.
    Bart: Bart.
    Homer: Don't correct the man, Brat.
  • Brick Joke: The "perfect" family that Homer idolizes at the beginning of the episode is later seen at Dr. Marvin Monroe's center all angrily looking away from each other. Looks like they weren't as good a family as Homer thought they were.
  • Contrived Clumsiness: Bart shocks Lisa and claims that "My finger slipped." Lisa shocks him back and says "So did mine."
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Mr. Burns fires a man because his son remarked that he had to miss ball practice.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: As noted in the commentary, everything about the episode is wrong compared to what the show soon became, with Homer being the one embarrassed by his family's antics being the most glaring (as usually this is a characteristic more appropriate for Marge or Lisa). Bart and Maggie (and maybe some of the ancillary characters, like Moe, Dr. Monroe, and the two cops, Eddie and Lou) are the only ones whose personalities aren't altered.
  • Electric Torture: As a last resort, Dr. Monroe hooks up the Simpsons to electrical devices that enable each member to shock the other. Monroe meant it as a form of aversion therapy, but the Simpsons just keep shocking each other indiscriminately.
  • Hypocritical Humor: More in sync with his later characterisation, the episode frequently notes a lot of the family woes Homer is embarrassed about are caused by him.
  • Missed Him by That Much: Eddie and Lou were searching for "a family of peeping toms" (the Simpsons looking at other house windows). Their search dog was growling at Homer, who says he had wieners on him. So they leave, dragging their dog with them.
  • Papa Wolf: While Homer was embarrassed by his family, he will not let anyone insult them. A drunken Barney did so, causing a barfight between them.
  • Running Gag: This is the first time Mr. Burns mentions releasing "the hounds" and the first time that he has to consult Smithers on who Homer is. Though the latter is probably justified since Burns doesn't seem to care to know the names of ALL his employees.
    • This was also meant to be a Shout-Out to Ronald Reagan, who would have info about people he was meeting on index cards.
  • Therapy Backfire: The episode has Homer insist the family go to a therapy session. They all blame him (although this might have been annoyance at him having sold their TV to pay for it).
  • Window Watcher: Homer takes the whole family out on a Window Watching escapade in order to demonstrate to them that their family's personal interactions aren't normal.