Recap: The Simpsons S 4 E 3 Homer The Heretic
Episode - 9F01
First Aired - 10/8/1992
Homer skips church for a Sunday and loves the experience so much he decides to forgo it altogether.
This episode is notable for two reasons: One, it was the first episode produced by Film Roman
as opposed to Klasky-Csupo
, and two, it was also the first episode animated overseas by Rough Draft Studios
, which would be a major contributor to the series and is still working on the show to this day.
This episode contains examples of:
- Badass Adorable: Apu's nephew Jamshed makes his first and only appearance in this episode, and he manages to be this. Within seconds of Apu leaving, Jamshed draws a shotgun and aims it at the bullies, who were already in mid-theft.
- Cold Snap
- Convenient Escape Boat: The Flanders family is chasing Homer in their car, so Homer heads to Springfield Harbor. He drives off a pier, landing on a garbage barge. The Flanders' hit the brakes, almost falling into the water. Homer waves back at them, then asks the captain where the barge is headed. "To Garbage Island," he replies. This is apparently a reference to the film White Lightning.
- Crisis of Faith: Near the end where Homer is rescued from his burning house by Flanders and a multi-faith volunteer fire brigade.
Homer, God didn't burn your house down. But he was working in the hearts of your friends and neighbours, be they Christian [gestures to Flanders]
, Jew [gestures to Krusty]
, or [pauses]
...miscellaneous [gestures to Apu]
Apu: Hindu! There are seven hundred million of us!
Reverend Lovejoy: Aw, that's super!
- Disney Creatures of the Farce: Happened twice. Homer strolls his garden serenely and animals flock to him. Cut to later, when they're still flocking around him while he's taking a shower, and he asks "Guys, can you give me five minutes?"
- Dream Sequence: How Homer meets God. The writers had to frame it this way because they were afraid people would complain about Homer actually meeting God outside of his dreams. According to the writers, it made Homer look like he was narcoleptic.
- Epic Fail: Flanders tries to rescue Homer from the burning house by tossing a mattress on the lawn and praying that Homer hits the mattress instead of the ground. Homer ends up bouncing off the mattress and back in the burning house.
- Heroic Dog: Subverted with Santa's Little Helper. As the house is on fire, Homer is asleep on the couch, Santa's Little Helper takes a candy bar from his pocket and escapes.
- I Read It for the Articles: Homer reads a copy of Playdude while his family is at church, and he actually is reading the articles (though he does turn the page when he finds out the article is an interview with Lorne Michaels).
- Insurance Fraud: Homer tries to exaggerate the value of the loss after the house burns down:
Insurance agent: Any valuables in the house?
Homer: Well, the Picasso, my collection of classic cars...
Insurance agent: Sorry, this policy only covers actual losses, not made-up stuff.
Homer: [miffed] Well that's just great!
- Interrupted by the End: At the end of the episode, Homer convinces God to tell him the meaning of life as they stroll through Heaven together. God gets as far as "The meaning of life isó" before the credits cut Him off.
- Last-Second Word Swap: When Homer tells Reverend Lovejoy that God spoke to him in a dream:
Homer: He appeared before me in a dream, and I knew that was special because I usually dream about naked...Marge.
- Over-the-Shoulder Carry
- Quote-to-Quote Combat: A delightful scene when the reverend is trying to recover a lost sheep and Homer attempts a random and failed comeback.
Lovejoy: Homer, I'd like you to remember Matthew 7:26. "The foolish man who built his house upon the sand."
Homer: [pointing a finger] And you remember... (thinks) Matthew... 21:17.
Reverend Lovejoy: (confused) "And he left them and went out of the city, into Bethany, and he lodged there?"
Homer: Yeah. Think about it.
- "Risky Business" Dance: Though Homer dances to "Who Wears Short Shorts" instead of "Old Time Rock and Roll".
- Shaggy Frog Story: "Kids, let me tell you about another so-called wicked guy. He had long hair and some wild ideas. He didn't always do what other people thought was right. And that man's name was... I forget. But the point is... I forget that, too. Marge, you know what I'm talking about. He used to drive that blue car?"
- The scene where Homer dances in his underwear to the song "Short Shorts" is nod to Risky Business.
- Flanders' rescue of Homer is inspired by Backdraft, particularly the floor collapsing under him.
- Take That: Homer drools over an interview with Lorne Michaels in an issue of Playdude, then grumbles, "Wait, that's no good!" and turns the page.
- Artistic License - History: The Playdude Homer is reading is from 1966. Lorne Michaels wouldn't be famous until 1975, with Saturday Night Live (unless the interview was about Lorne being a burgeoning new talent on the comedy scene, since Lorne did do comedy writing before he hit it big with SNL).
- Token Religious Teammate: Marge Simpson
- Values Dissonance, Values Resonance, and Society Marches On: This episode will have an odd reception these days. On the one hand, Homer does make some good points about choosing not to follow religion and come up with a belief system of one's own that's just as good. On the other hand, the ending where Homer gets rescued by a Christian (Flanders), a Jew (Krusty), and a Hindu (Apu) and decides to go back to organized religion will put off a lot of people who are atheist, agnostic, or are religiously lapsed. Then again, the episode was made to make fun of both the devout, "Church every Sunday" religious types and those who aren't. It's not aggressively one-sided like Family Guy's "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven" was.
- Will Not Tell a Lie: At the end, Homer announced he'd be at church next Sunday. He was. He simply didn't say he'd stay awake.
- Word of God: The writers thought that when the episode aired, the end would be immediately followed by a Fox promo (rather than just the credits). The idea was that the viewers would be pissed off by having a revelation from God being cut off by a promo.