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.
  • 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)
  • Gratuitous German:
    Lisa: "Dad, do you know what Schadenfreude is? (...) It's a German term for 'shameful joy', taking pleasure in the suffering of others."
    Homer: "Oh, come on Lisa. I'm just glad to see him fall flat on his butt! He's usually all happy and comfortable, and surrounded by loved ones, and it makes me feel...What's the opposite of that shameful joy thing of yours?
    Lisa: "Sour grapes."
    Homer: "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.
  • Jerkass: For years the writers used this episode as the limit for how much of a jerk Homer could be. Sadly, 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". 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 whose left-handed to come to his store.
  • 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".