Recap / The Simpsons S 4 E 3 Homer The Heretic

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Episode - 9F01
First Aired - 10/8/1992

Homer skips church for a Sunday due to the blistering cold weather and has such a great time, he decides to forgo mainstream religion in favor of his own self-invented theistic religion.

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.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: Played with. Homer literally says something along this line. After staying home while others go to church he chuckles: "Everybody is stupid, but me." Keep in mind this is Homer speaking and what happens to him next.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Ned breaks into the house while it's on fire to rescue Homer and get him out before the fire department arrives.
  • Big "NO!": Ned in the burning house when, while trying to carry Homer out, a burning beam falls in his path and blocks off the front door.
  • Big "YES!": Homer, when the public affairs program he is watching is interrupted by a football game.
  • By "No", I Mean "Yes": Marge asks Homer if he is actually giving up his faith when he announces he is never going to church again. He denies it, then admits he is giving up his faith.
  • Cold Snap: The episode opens on a cold Sunday morning, so cold there's a polar bear outside the Simpson's yard. This spurs Homer to stay inside, while Marge and the kids freeze in church due to its furnace not working, and the door freezing shut keeps people from leaving after the service.
  • 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.
    Ned Flanders: Homer, God didn't set your house on fire.
    Reverend Lovejoy: No, but he was working in the hearts of your friends and neighbors when they went to your aid, 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.
  • God in Human Form: Probably; we can't see His face, but He seems to fit the Trope. (Homer's description is "Perfect teeth, nice smell, a class act all the way.")
  • 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.
  • Honor Before Reason: Marge in this episode. Apparently, she's so religiously dedicated that she will insistently go to church even in the middle of a bone-chilling blizzard.
  • 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 is—" before the credits cut Him off.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Even God seems somewhat convinced of Homer's reasons for not liking church, and the weather was, indeed, kind of bad, resulting in Marge, Lisa, and Bart having a horrible morning due to Marge's insistence.
  • Kick the Dog: When Krusty appears at the door on Sunday collecting donations for a Jewish clown charity directed at helping the families of 75 Jewish clowns killed when a tornado hit their convention center, Homer cuts off Krusty and closes the door after derisively asking if it's "a religious thing" and finding out it was; Krusty wasn't trying to convert Homer, he was seeking a charity donation. He also mocks Hinduism to Apu when he goes to buy beer and cigars.
  • 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.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": Jimbo, Dolph and Kearney when Jamshed pulls a shotgun on them.
  • Nutritional Nightmare: Homer's "moon waffle", made with waffle batter, liquid smoke, and heaping handfuls of caramel and wrapped around a stick of butter after burning the waffle iron (which would explain why, in the Treehouse of Horror story where Lisa creates a mini-universe, Lisa grumbles "That waffle iron's been in the shop forever"). Currently provides the page image.
  • Oh, Crap!: The flipping TV gets one. The TV in Homer's dream flashes "Uh-Oh!" on its screen before God reaches down and removes the house's roof.
    • Homer gets a big one when he wakes up and sees the house is on fire.
  • Over-the-Shoulder Carry: How Ned rescues Homer from the fire.
  • 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.
  • Reality Ensues: Homer falls asleep with a lit cigar in his mouth. It ignites the magazines on the floor and eventually the whole house is engulfed in flames.
  • Religion Is Wrong: Subverted. Homer doesn't question religion itself, he merely muses on which religion is correct: "What if we picked the wrong religion? Every week we're just making God madder and madder."
  • "Risky Business" Dance: Though Homer dances to "Who Wears Short Shorts" instead of "Old Time Rock and Roll".
  • Say My Name: Ned yells Homer's name twice through the living room window, trying to wake him up, before breaking into the house to rescue him.
  • "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?"
  • Shout-Out:
    • The scene where Homer dances in his underwear to the song "Short Shorts" is a nod to Risky Business.
    • Flanders's rescue of Homer is inspired by Backdraft, particularly the floor collapsing under him.
    • The brand of Homer's waterproof radio is the No Soap Radio, a reference to a popular anti-joke: "Three elephants are sitting in a bath tub. One asks the other to pass the soap, to which the other replies "No soap! Radio!"
  • Skewed Priorities: Apu stops the fire truck en route to the Simpsons' house as a line of ducks crosses the street in front of him. Bear in mind he's in the middle of racing to the Simpson house, which is on fire.
  • 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.
  • Talking in Your Sleep: Homer does this as the fire spreads through the house, muttering, "Marge, turn down the heat. [nothing happens] That's better." He doesn't wake up until the fire singes his two hairs.
  • Token Religious Teammate: Marge Simpson.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Homer left oily food, cans of beer, magazines and electric wires lying around the couch he was laying on before going to sleep with a lit cigar in his mouth, that's a recipe for a house fire. Somehow he doesn't wake up until his two hairs get singed. Ultimately subverted, as Ned saves him and the multi-faith fire department saves his house.
  • Visual Pun: Jimi Hendrix and Sir Issac Newton are playing air hockey in a Fluffy Cloud Heaven.
  • 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.
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