Recap: The Simpsons S4 E11 "Homer's Triple Bypass"

Episode - 9F09
First Aired - 12/17/1992

Years of fatty foods and minimal exercise has taken its toll on Homer's heart and Dr. Hibbert advises Homer to get an artery bypass graft for $40,000, but Homer opts for a Back-Alley Doctor's $129.95 hack-job. Can Lisa and her newfound knowledge of cardiology save the day?

This episode contains examples of:

  • Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: The COPS parody, with many What an Idiot moments involving Chief Wiggum bungling the bust of a cattle rustler, despite clearly obvious clues as to the what's, where's and who's. When the suspect Snake, a man Wiggum has encountered many times before makes a getaway, Wiggum cannot so much as even give a grossly inadequate description of the car or the suspect except that the Suspect Is Hatless.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: Mr. Burns uses this to lure Homer into a false sense of security.
    Mr. Burns: Relax, Simpson. I just brought you in here for a friendly hello...
    Mr. Burns: ...and goodbye! YOU'RE FIRED!
    (Homer gags)
    Mr. Burns: But, wait. Perhaps I'm being too hasty. You are highly skilled...
    Mr. Burns: ...AT GOOFING OFF!
    (Homer clutches heart)
    Mr. Burns: Now don't worry, Homer. You're the kind of guy I could really dig...
    (Homer relaxes)
    Mr. Burns: ...A GRAVE FOR!
    Homer: Aaargh! (heart beats faster than anything)
    Mr. Burns: Your indolence is inefficacious!
    Homer: Huh? (heart beats normally)
    Homer: Aarrggghh! (heart goes crazy until he collapses)
  • Beat Still, My Heart and Magical Security Cam: We get an inside look on Homer's heart reacting to Mr. Burns yelling at him. We get another look at the end of the episode.
  • Cant Get Away With Nothing: When Homer is praying, a nurse shows him a sign prohibiting that. Flanders was praying earlier in the episode and it didn't happen to him.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Homer left the gas station in relief the thumping noise he heard was his heart and not his car's transmission.
    Kid: Where's he going?
    Gas Station Attendant: You remember that old Plymouth we just couldn't fix?
    Kid: We're going to sell him to Mr. Nikopopolous?!
    Gas Station Attendant: You're a dull boy, Billy.
    • Homer doesn't seem to understand when Dr. Hibbert explaining to him that he has to cut him open to fix his heart. No matter how much he has to dumb it down.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: This is one of many early episodes in which the Simpsons home address was not 742 Evergreen Terrace (which explains why it's Snake's address in this episode), so for anyone watching the episode for the first time and asking "Why is Snake hiding out at the Simpson house?", the answer is, "That's not their established home address...yet."
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: After Homer's heart attack at The Merry Widow Insurance Company, he tells Dr. Hibbert about being in a "wonderful place filled with fire and brimstone and there were all these guys in red pajamas sticking pitchforks in my butt."
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: After Homer's heart whacks out, for some frames it turns into a playing-card type club, spade, diamond, and a heart.
  • Hammerspace Hair: In the COPS: In Springfield opening, the cops find weapons (brass knuckles, a grenade, and a handgun) inside Jasper's beard.
  • Hollywood Heart Attack: Happens when Mr. Burns berates Homer for the latter's work ethic.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Krusty's hospital visit is part of his public service for a crime that's described as "glug-glug, vroom-vroom, thump-thump!" (most likely a drunken hit and run)
    • Flanders thanks God for "Sweating to the Oldies" volumes one, two, and four. What was on volume three that would make Flanders not thank God for it?
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Marge's sisters introduce her to a potential new husband while Homer is being operated. Earlier when Marge freaked out over Homer being in the hospital, rather than feel remorse or worry about their sister losing her husband, they gasp over a coupon for five cents off wax paper.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Spoofed:
    Grampa: They say the greatest tragedy is when a father outlives his son. I've never fully understood why that is. Frankly, I can see an upside to it!
  • Running Gag: The word "hell" is said seven times in this episode ("What the hell is this?"note  "What the hell is that?"note  "We had a hell of a time replacing you,"note  "Ah, what the hell, sure,"note  "Hell no,"note  and "What the hell am I going to do with this jumbo thong bikini?"note )
    • "Bed goes up, bed goes down."
  • Selective Obliviousness: When Marge, out of concern for Homer's health, gave him something he'd rather not eat, he "saw" a fly on it. Later, as he started eating bacon, he dismissed warnings about a fly on it.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The scene where Homer sings "O, Holy Night" in a church as a boy (and was doing a great job until his voice changed) is based on Empire of the Sun.
  • Show Within a Show: COPS: In Springfield
  • Suicide as Comedy: During the COPS: In Springfield opening, Chief Wiggum tries to get a suicidal man off the ledge of a building. Rather than come back in, the man decides to drop to this death. And to add insult to injury, Chief Wiggum makes the "cuckoo" finger-to-temple swirl as the man plummets to his death.
  • Suspect Is Hatless: This episode is the Trope Namer.
    Homer: I can't wait 'til they throw his hatless butt in jail.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Homer's heart beats to the show's theme at the end.