Episode - 9F09
First Aired - 12/17/1992Years 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. With the family unable to afford the operation, much less even (in)adequate medical insurance to cover the cost, Homer is forced to turn to Dr. Nick's $129.95 hack-job to save his life. Can Lisa and her newfound knowledge of cardiology save the day?
This episode contains examples of:
- Aesop Amnesia: Despite the episode stressing how serious Homer’s surgery is after it’s done, he immediately goes back to his bacon eating ways and doesn’t learn anything.
- And There Was Much Rejoicing: Merry Widow Insurance Company has a neon sign featuring a widow happily dancing on her husband's grave while holding money.
- Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: The C.O.P.S. 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: One of the C.O.P.S. parody scenes actually shows a case of police competency but a zoom out eventually reveals that the Springfield cops are just watching it on TV.
- 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!
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...
Mr. Burns: ...A GRAVE FOR!
Homer: Aaargh! (heart beats faster than anything)
Mr. Burns: Your indolence is inefficacious!
Homer: Huh? (heart beats normally, even leans in out of curiosity)
Mr. Burns: THAT MEANS YOU'RE TERRIBLE!
Homer: Aarrggghh! (heart goes crazy until he collapses)
- Beat Still, My Heart: We get an inside look on Homer's heart reacting to Mr. Burns yelling at him. His heart appears to be as confused as Homer when Burns said "Your indolence is inefficacious." We get another look at the end of the episode.
- Borrowed Catch Phrase: When Homer tells Marge that his company gave up insurance for a pinball machine, she lets out a Homer-esque "D'oh!".
- 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.
- Characterization Marches On: Lisa purchases a cow heart from the butcher shop to practice cardiology with, long before she became a vegetarian and opposes animal experimentation.
- 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.
- Deranged Animation: Homer's heart attack, wonderfully animated by David Silverman.
- 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."
- Epic Fail:
- The C.O.P.S. parody has Chief Wiggum trying to locate a cattle rustler. He ends up mistaking Reverend Lovejoy's location with the cattle rustler's location next door, despite the obvious hints that they got the wrong house (the next door neighbors had an odd amount of cattle especially for a suburban neighborhood, whereas the house they raided, Lovejoy's, was normal). He also fails to identify the car or even the driver—beyond being "hatless"—despite the driver poking his head out to taunt the cops long enough to have even a ten year old give the specific details.
- Homer and his fellow coworkers gave up health insurance for a pinball machine.
- One of Dr. Nick's past surguries ended up with the patient having two of his limbs in the wrong sockets.
- Everyone Has Standards: Zig-zagged. While Mr. Burns is willing to poison Homer for eating doughnuts on company time, Smithers wasn't (even going as far as to consult the attorneys about it). Also, while Patty and Selma initially don't care that Homer suffered a heart attack, when they bring around a new man for Marge named Andre while Homer is in surgery, even they realize how tasteless it appears and genuinely wish him to pull through (although Andre doesn't).
- 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."
- Fly in the Soup: Homer gets out of a diet by claiming to spot a fly in the healthy meal Marge prepared. Later, while he's eating something he likes to eat, he refuses to believe when someone else notices a fly.
- 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.
- Gilligan Cut: Homer tells the kids he's not going to sugarcoat the truth for them. Next, he is depicting his upcoming bypass surgery as a fairy tale, puppets and all.
- 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.
- Also somewhat of an aversion as his symptoms had started well before he collapsed, unlike the common Hollywood approach where the character is unaware until he/she clutches their chest and keels over. Of course, much of it still plays out in cartoonish ways.
- Hypocritical Humor: When Marge gives Homer a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, he lies there's a bug in it and throws it away. Moments later, as he is gorging himself on some bacon and eggs, Bart spots a bug on it, but Homer simply shrugs and keeps on eating.
- Incredibly Lame Fun: Homer is easily amused by the adjustable hospital bed: "Bed goes up, bed goes down!" To the point where Lisa imagines him playing with one in Fluffy Cloud Heaven.
- Inopportune Voice Cracking: Grandpa is in a church listening to Homer, as a young boy, singing in a church choir. Homer's voice then suddenly switches from a high-pitched voice to his normal one and his singing goes from sounding good to sounding terrible.
- Insurance Fraud: Homer tries to get an insurance to treat a pre-existing heart condition. He fails because he has an attack right when he's about to sign the paperwork.
- Malaproper: Homer to Dr. Hibbert:Homer: Remember your hippopotamus oath!
- Match Cut: Lisa has one Imagine Spot with Homer in heaven lying down on a cloud and reclining it the same way he does with his hospital bed. It cuts to Homer at the hospital doing exactly that.
- Noodle Incident:
- Krusty's hospital visit is part of his public service for a crime that's described as "glug-glug, vroom-vroom, (mimes walking with his hand) 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.
- For a few seconds, Homer's bacon and eggs breakfast (which consist of standard colored reddish-pink bacon and yellow eggs) reverses colors.
- Homer's near-fatal first heart attack. But in a good way.
- 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!
- Painting the Medium: The window that shows Homer's heart as it goes through his near-fatal heart attack in Mr. Burns' office zaps in and out of power towards the end before shattering and crumbling to the floor.
- Reality Ensues: Homer's lifestyle would cause major health problems, as he suffers recurring heart attacks that require major surgery. Also, as he has no health insurance, he can't afford the expensive surgery and has to go to back alley quack Dr Nick.
- Riddle for the Ages: Ned Flanders thanks God for Swingin' to the Oldies, volumes 1, 2 and 4. What was on volume 3 that would make him not thank God for 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.
- 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 and People Who Look Like Things.
- 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 his 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.
- They Killed Kenny Again: Hans Moleman dies for the first time, via Edgar Allan Poe's exploding birthplace.
- Vocal Evolution: In a flashback, a young Homer has a beautiful singing voice while performing "O Holy Night" in his children's choir, which then cracks and gives way to his adult singing voice.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Lisa makes some staggering mental leaps in this episode. She instructs Nick on where to make the incision for Homer's bypass, and even provides the exact name of the medical procedure involved based solely on Homer's deliberately dumbed-down rendering of it.Homer: So the tiny Aorta fairies will take Mr. Leg Vein on a long trip to get married to Princess Left Ventricle.Lisa: Dad, are you trying to tell us you're getting a coronary artery bypass graft?Homer: Uh, yeah.