Recap / The Simpsons S 4 E 9 Mr Plow
Episode - 9F07
First Aired - 11/19/1992

After crashing both his car and Marge's station wagon during a drunken ride home during a snowstorm, Homer buys a snowplow and starts a business eventually rivaled by none other than Barney.

This episode contains examples of:

  • 555: Mr. Plow's number is 555-PLOW, which if called soon enough, will net a free t-shirt...of Stockdale for Veep in '88.
  • Adam Westing: The Trope Namer does it years before Family Guy did, though The Simpsons' take on Adam West wasn't as bizarre as Family Guy.
  • The Alleged Car: Homer initially test-drives a ridiculously small car, which runs on kerosene and has a distance measured in hectares. It's from a country that no longer exists, and given the salesman's accent and the Cyrillic lettering, was presumably part of the Soviet Union before The Great Politics Mess-Up.
  • As Herself/Himself: Linda Ronstadt and Adam West.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": The first Mr Plow commercial (the low-budget one that airs at 3:17 in the morning)
  • Bad Job, Worse Uniform: Barney is shown handing out fliers for Lullabuy$ baby furniture store, wearing a diaper and bonnet, in the middle of winter. He then loses the diaper after saying that things can't get any worse...
  • Before My Time: Bart doesn't know who Robin is.
    Adam West: I guess you're only familiar with the new Batman movies.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Linda Ronstadt's Spanish version of the Plow King jingle translates as "Mr. Plow is not manly. He's only a drunk." (Señor Plow no es macho. Es solamente un borracho.)
    • While pushing the car out of the lot, the car salesman tells Homer to "Put it in 'H' [gear]!" The lettering is Cyrillic, and "H" makes the sound of "N", for neutral (the proper gear for being pushed).
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: "It may be on a lousy channel, but the Simpsons are on TV!"
    • Fox taping a TV special on Bigfoot (which accidentally—and thankfully—tapes footage of Barney being caught in the avalanche) which had the shot of "him" ruined due to the production member's wristwatch being visible.
  • Blasphemous Boast: After saving Barney's life, Homer goes into partnership with him in the snow-plow business, shouting out that if two friends stick together, not even God Himself can stop them. Cue a voice from the clouds: "Oh, no?" and the weather immediately becomes warmer, melting all the snow.
  • Bowdlerise: On Channel Four in the UK, Homer telling the insurance agent that he was at a pornography store to cover up being at Moe's was cut.note 
  • Continuity Nod: The company that manufactured Homer's snowplow is the same one that took over Powell Motors in "Oh, Brother, where Art Thou?".
  • Dada Ad: Homer's second commercial.
  • Delayed Reaction: When Homer had his accident, the airbag in his car deployed after he got out of the car.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The Mr. Plow jingle.
    Call Mr. Plow
    That's my name
    That name again
    Is Mr. Plow.
  • Embarrassing Coverup: Homer's reply to what Moe's business is:
    Insurance Agent: Now this place you were at, Moe's, is this a business of some sort?
    Homer's Brain: Don't tell him you were at a bar! *gasp* But what else is open at night?
    Homer: It's a pornography store. I was buying pornography.
    Homer's Brain: Heh heh heh. I would'a never thought of that.
  • Epic Fail:
    • Homer managed to damage both his and Marge's their own driveway.
    • Also, later on while trying to rescue Barney, he crosses a very rickety wooden bridge in his plow truck and only then he spots a larger, well-built bridge right next to it.
    • The fact that Bart's snarky line, "You ARE fully licensed and bonded by the city, aren't you, Mr. Plow?" was never edited out of the first commercial.
  • Hilarity Ensues: Arnie Pye being asked to go out and provide video footage of a severe blizzard, with known whiteout conditions, at Widow's Peak. Dangerous enough even in fair-weather conditions, station management at normal TV stations would never put their reporters in that sort of extreme danger. Assuming Pye survived the crash — word is he did, as he appears in future episodes — he likely would have sued Channel 5 (or if he lost his life, his family would), Kent Brockman and the station's owners for everything they had plus a large amount of punitive damages, and everyone would lose their jobs and be blacklisted from every job in every profession, even scrubbing toilets or cleaning horse stalls. Additionally, OSHA would likely levy huge fines on both the station, its owners and every one of its managers, and specifically and especially Brockman; every advertiser would boycott the station in record time (perhaps even before the first commercial began airing), the Federal Communications Commission would likely revoke the station's license and force the signal off the air ... all swift action to send Brockman a message that lives, safety and common sense are far more important than a juicy news story to gain ratings interest.
  • Hypocritical Humor: When Barney introduces himself as "Plow King", he tells Homer there was no problem with a fair competition. Then he shoots Homer's tires.
    • After watching Angela Lansbury painfully walk over hot coals in Carnival Of The Stars, Homer questions how anyone can mistreat their body like that. Then he drinks a pitcher of brine that Moe was about to throw out.
    • Linda Ronstadt calls Homer a "boozer", in spite of Barney being an even bigger boozer.
  • Imagine Spot: After seeing the plow, Homer imagines himself driving it through a protest at the White House to clear a path for the President (George H.W. Bush).
  • Invisible Celebrity Guest: During the episode's opening scene, Angela Lansbury was advertised to appear in Circus of the Stars walking on hot coals ("Excitement, She Wrote!"). All we get to see of her is a close up of her feet.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: When Linda Ronstadt sings in Barney's commercial, she mentions Homer's a drinker. Cut to Homer doing a Spit Take.
  • Jaw Drop: Homer, Bart and Lisa's reactions after meeting Adam West in real life.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Arnie Pye, shortly before the news helicopter crashes and the live signal is lost (while trying to report on blizzard conditions at Widow's Peak): "Tell my wife I love ... ." That psychopath Kent Brockman nonchalantly chuckles and says, "Good one, Arnie!"
  • Kitschy Local Commercial: The first Mr. Plow commercial.
  • Major Minor Inconvenience: "Are you tired of having your hands cut off by snowblowers? And the inevitable heart attacks that come with shoveling snow?"
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Homer feels remorseful for how he tricked Barney into plowing driveways on Widow's Peak.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Homer is directly responsible for Barney's descent into alcoholism.
  • Noodle Incident: Barney never explains how exactly he knows Linda Ronstadt, other than the fact that they've been looking look for a project to do together for some time.
  • Phone Number Jingle: Barney Gumble starts competing as the "Plow King", and enlists Linda Ronstadt to sing this jingle:
    ''When the snow starts a-falling,
    There's a man you should be calling.
    That's K-L-five, four seven-nine-six! (Let it ring!)''
  • Pretty Fly (For a White Guy): Averted. Homer's rap act doesn't get any approval by his kids.
  • Redshirt Reporter: Arnie Pye, who is sent out — under threat of losing his job — to cover a fierce blizzard and the conditions at Widow's Peak. As the helicopter is flying into whiteout conditions and Arnie, begging to come back, tries to point this out, Kent Brockman cuts him off, demanding to know the ski conditions. The pilot then begins losing control of the helicopter as Arnie begins a If I Dont Return speech to his wife.
  • Rock Bottom: Barney announcing that "at least I can't sink any lower". Cue the wind blowing away his diaper.
  • Rope Bridge: On his rescue mission to save Barney, Homer crosses a rope bridge which starts to swing dangerously and fall apart.
  • Recognition Failure: Pulled by Barney, who mistakes Adam West for playing Superman.
  • Rhyming with Itself: Homer's jingle: "Mr. Plow!/That's my name!/That name again/Is Mr. Plow!"
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Godfather: Bart being struck by numerous snowballs by Nelson and other angry students was an homage to the infamous scene in the 1972 movie where Sonny Corleone is shot numerous times in an ambush.
    • Roto-Rooter: The Mr. Plow jingle is obviously inspired by the drain-cleaning company jingle.
    • The Wages of Fear and its American remake Sorcerer: Homer's trip across the rickety bridge is based on the films, with the music inspired by the latter.
    • Raiders of the Lost Ark: The melting snowmen resemble the melting Nazis in the climax, complete with a similar sounding Scare Chord.
    • The Wolfman: Barney transforming from a smart cleancut student into a slovenly drunken idiot after he has his very first beer mimics Lawrence Talbot's transformation.
    • CBS's Circus Of The Stars: Springfield's Carnival Of The Stars, a show with local and national celebrities that Homer and the kids watch.
    • Kent Brockman's newsroom announcement Barney being trapped at Widow's Peak is taken from Walter Cronkite announcing President Kennedy's assassination.
    • Barney's descent from a bright, straight laced student into a worthless, brain damaged drunk after being introduced to alcohol mirrors Reverend Jim Ignatowski's similar fall into drug abuse from a single pot-laced brownie on Taxi. James L. Brooks worked on both shows.
  • Special Effects Failure: In-universe, when production footage of the upcoming FOX special In Search of Bigfoot is shown on TV; the actor in the Bigfoot suit's wristwatch is visible, and the director calls it out.
  • Special Guest: Phil Hartman as Troy McClure.
  • Tempting Fate: When Homer and Barney decide to be partners, Homer states even God can't stop them. God takes offense to that and acts accordingly, melting the ice and putting both boys out of business.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Barney used to be a college-bound student, before Homer gave him exactly one beer. And the rest is history.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Barney after he sets up his own snow plow business. He stole the idea from Homer, shot out his tires to give himself an edge in the competition, and based his entire advertising campaign on slandering his friend. And this is all after Homer's pep talk gave Barney the determination to make something of himself, making him an Ungrateful Bastard to boot.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Bart's reaction to seeing Krusty, his idol, being savaged by three Siberian tigers? "Meh, they'll be chewin' on him for a while," before changing the channel to the Mexican Bumblebee Man's sitcom.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Homer moves the snow away from the Kwik-E-Mart, allowing it to stay open. Cue Snake driving up to the door.
  • Vandalism Backfire: When Homer was driving home from Moe's drunk during a blizzard, he ended up crashing into the back of a car. Though the front of his car was totaled, he looked at the bright side that he got the other guy just as bad...until he saw that it was Marge's their driveway.
  • We Can Rule Together: At the end, Barney suggests to Homer that they work together.
  • What Were They Selling Again?: The second Mr. Plow commercial, which looked more like an overly arty perfume ad.
    Lisa: Dad, was that your commercial?
    Homer: I don't know.
  • Zillion-Dollar Bill: Homer gets rival plowman Barney Gumble to spend the day dragging his plow up a mountain with the promise of a ten thousand dollar bill. When asked which president is on it, he claims, "All of them. They're having a party. Jimmy Carter has passed out on the couch."note  Barney is so impressed that he leaves immediately, abandoning his hot tub with Linda Ronstadt.