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Recap: The Simpsons S 4 E 3 Homer The Heretic
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 it in favor of his own 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: Homer literally says something among this line. After staying home while others go to church he chuckles: Everybody is stupid, but me.
  • 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.
    Reverend Lovejoy: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Religion Is Wrong: Homer wonders: What if we have the wrong religion? Then we just make God angrier every Sunday.
  • "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?"
  • Shout-Out:
    • 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.
  • 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.
The Simpsons S 4 E 2 A Streetcar Named MargeRecap/The SimpsonsThe Simpsons S 4 E 4 Lisa The Beauty Queen

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