Recap / The Simpsons S 3 E 3 When Flanders Failed
Episode - 7F23
First Aired - 10/3/1991

Ned Flanders announces during one of his barbecues that he's quitting his job as a pharmacist and going into business for himself by running a specialty store catering to the left-handed, but Homer's jealousy (and a wishbone wish) drive Flanders' business into the ground. Meanwhile, Marge encourages Bart to do other things with his time rather than watch TV, so Bart takes karate lessons and skips them for time at the arcade.

This episode provides examples of:

  • And Show It to You: Bart claims he learned how to do this in karate class.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Homer wishes that Flanders' store goes bankrupt, but in the end he does feel guilty about it.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The left-handed citizens that Homer eventually bring in at the end of the episode.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Homer thinks that outright wishing for Ned to die would be going too far,note  but not wishing he'd go broke and lose his store (until it actually happened).
  • Evil Laugh: Homer at the end of the barbecue scene. Unfortunately for him, he had a mouthful of burger at the time, causing him to choke partway through the laugh and for Ned to have to perform the Heimlich manouevre on him.
  • Gratuitous German: Lisa tells Homer about Schadenfreude, the German term for taking pleasure in the suffering of others. This leads Homer to ask what's the opposite of that; when she replies that would be "sour grapes," he believes that it's another German word, saying "Boy, those Germans have a word for everything."
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Homer. He breaks out of it when he sees Ned's life being wrecked all around him.
  • Hope Spot: A bill collector comes to Homer's house, accidentally thinking it's the Flanders household. When Homer sets him straight, the man says, "You're Homer Simpson? See you Thursday."
  • Irony: The bill collector who accidentally knocks on the wrong house (he meant to go to Ned's house) says an ironic statement:
    Homer: Flanders is in debt? Are you sure?
    Chuck Ellis: We don't make mistakes.
  • Jerkass: For years the writers used this episode as the limit for how much of a jerk Homer could be. Seems like it didn't stick.
  • Kick the Dog: When Ned has a garage sale out of desperation, Homer takes advantage of it and buys a lot of his stuff for next to nothing. He feels bad later on and decides to give his stuff back.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Bart getting beat up by the bullies after skipping karate class to play video games, while trying to get Lisa's sax back.
    Lisa: It's funny how two wrongs sometimes make a right.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Homer after seeing Flanders' store going bankrupt.
  • National Stereotypes: The karate teacher is of course a Japanese man. His name "Akira" is also a Stock Foreign Name for a Japanese person.
  • Off Model: Like you wouldn't believe. (though compared to the disaster that was "Some Enchanted Evening", this one wasn't too bad). This happened because the episode was farmed out to a "company that no one had ever heard of; it was people that had just recently gotten opposable thumbs" (that said, the credits still list AKOM as the animators). Mike Reiss had said he will always remember the episode "that came back animated with a thousand mistakes in it and was just a complete and utter mess." They had attempted to clean up as much as possible, but errors still made it through.
  • Pursue the Dream Job: Ned Flanders quits his job as a pharmacist and opens a specialty store catering to the left-handed. Deconstructed when his business nearly goes under and the Flanders are forced to move away; reconstructed when Homer gathers everyone in town who's left-handed to come to his store.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Upon finding out that the karate lessons weren't as much fun as he expected, Bart walks out within seconds of the first class.
    Bart: Pay money to read books. The hell with this.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Homer rallying the townspeople to save Ned's store echoes the ending of It's a Wonderful Life. Maude is also wearing the dress that Donna Reed's character wore.
    • One of the bullies calls Bart "Karate Kid".