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Episode - 1F13\\
First Aired - 2/24/1994

After discovering that people are more interested in sitcoms like ''Series/HomeImprovement'' and ''Series/MarriedWithChildren'' (read: sitcoms that have [[BumblingDad incompetent]] or [[ButtMonkey hapless]] fathers) than telecasts of space launches, NASA decides to recruit an average man to go into space -- and Homer (who has been passed up for an "Employee of the Month" award to an inanimate carbon rod) volunteers after they approach Barney Gumble.

!!This episode contains examples of:
* ActuallyPrettyFunny: Marge admonishes Bart for writing "Insert brain here" on the back of Homer's head...and then starts to laugh at it.
* AsHimself: Buzz Aldrin; James Taylor
* BananaRepublic: Implied to be what Mr. Burns is initially talking about at the ceremony:
--->'''Mr. Burns''': Compadres, it is imperative that we crush the freedom fighters before the start of the rainy season. And remember, a shiny new donkey for whoever brings me the head of Colonel Montoya.
* BigNo: In slow motion, no less.
* BigShutUp: "How did you get this number?"
* BrickJoke: Homer losing to a carbon rod.
** Bart drawing on Homer's head.
** Homer being unable to use a phone properly.
* CrackDefeat: See BrickJoke above.
* DoubleEntendre [=/=] GettingCrapPastTheRadar: Homer's line when calling President Clinton: "Hello, is this President Clinton? Good. I figured if anyone knows how to get Tang, it'd be you." Homer was referring to the powdered drink associated with astronauts (Tang), but, considering Clinton's rep as a HandsomeLech (and his many sex scandals: Jennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, and, later, with his intern, Monica Lewinsky), that line comes off as Homer asking Clinton to find him some easy women.
* EnmityWithAnObject: Homer and the inanimate carbon rod.
* FauxHorrific: Homer and Bart find a space launch so boring that they scramble to turn it off and sigh in relief once they cut power to the TV entirely.
* HandsGoDown: During the press conference where Homer and Barney are introduced as astronauts, two reporters ask if it's a joke. After saying "no", the NASA spokesman asks if anyone has more questions. All reporters raise their hands but put them down once the spokesman asks for questions other than if it's a joke or not.
* {{Homage}}: This entire episode is a much shorter, less inspirational version of ''Film/TheRightStuff''.
* {{Irony}}: When his stolen jet pack runs out of fuel, Barney falls onto the roof of a pillow factory and gets run over by a truck carrying marshmallows.
* KentBrockmanNews: A classic example, where Kent Brockman, after seeing an ant float past the news camera, overreacts and immediately assumes a race of 'space ants' has enslaved the crew and is about to take over earth, then apologizes after someone presumably has a talk with him. He seems surprisingly okay with [[TheQuisling welcoming our new insect overlords]] before that point though.
* LampshadeHanging: Homer somehow knows the number to NASA and the White House. He tells him to shut up when they asked how did he got their number.
** RiddleForTheAges: Just how ''did'' Homer get the numbers for NASA and The White House?
* LateToTheRealization: It took Homer ''30 years'' to figure out the twist ending to ''Film/PlanetOfTheApes1968'' [[note]](despite that in the 1980s, he knew the ending to ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'' [that Darth Vader is Luke's father] and spoiled the ending for everyone else). While it can be excused that Homer only heard of ''Planet of the Apes'' and never knew the ending (or only saw it because it had monkeys in it), it's more believable to think that Homer is such an out-of-touch idiot that he doesn't know the ending to that movie.[[/note]]
* MajorGeneralSong: Barney sings it while doing flip-flops.
* NewJobEpisode
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Homer constantly.
* NoRespectGuy: Homer twice over is ignored while a ''carbon rod'' is commemorated like a celebrity (though the second time, he had it coming).
* NotHelpingYourCase: In the space launch near the beginning of the episode, the commentators try to shake off accusations of a boring launch by playing up the vibrancy of the crew, and don't do a good job of it.
--> '''Commentator:''' They're a colorful bunch. They've been dubbed "The Three Musketeers". ''(stuffy laugh)''
--> '''Other Commentator:''' And we laugh legitimately. There's a mathematician, a different kind of mathematician, and a statistician.
* PublicDomainSoundtrack: Homer's floating around eating the chips is scored with "The Blue Danube Waltz."
* TheQuisling: Kent Brockman. [[MemeticMutation "And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords"]].
* RunningGag: The NASA scientist bashing people with a cosh.
** RunningGagged: He's prevented from doing so to James Taylor though.
* ShoutOut:
** ''Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey'': Homer floating in weightless condition to the tune of Strauss' ''The Blue Danube''. Later Bart throws a marker up in the air, which transitions to a scene in space, in reference to the famous scene where a prehistoric human throws his bone in the air, cutting to a spaceship 2,000 years later. Homer appearing as fetus in space, while Music/AlsoSprachZarathustra plays in the background is a reference to the final scene of the film.
** ''Franchise/StarTrek'': The background music during Itchy and Scratchy's space trip mimicks the theme song.
*** Meanwhile, Barney and Homer's NASA training includes a "Gamesters Of Triskelion" recreation, right down to the thrall outfits, and even the actual fight music from the show.
** ''Film/{{Alien}}'': Itchy bursting through Scratchy's stomach.
** NASA watches ''Series/HomeImprovement'' (which has Tim Allen run over his neighbor Wilson after charging up his riding mower) and ''Series/MarriedWithChildren'' (where Peg once again begs Al for sex, Al says no, and flushes a toilet right next to him) to show the committee what people like to watch these days;
** Homer hopes they don't land on the "Planet of the Apes", then figures out the ending of the original ''Film/PlanetOfTheApes1968''.
** During one of the tests, the speed of the apparatus morphs Homer's face into ComicStrip/{{Popeye}}'s. Later in the episode the same experience makes it morph into UsefulNotes/RichardNixon.
* SoProudOfYou: Averted, with Bart once Homer gets recuited.
-->'''Bart:''' Wow, my father an astronaut. I feel so full of... what's the opposite of shame?
-->'''Homer:''' Pride?
-->'''Bart:''' No, not that far from shame.
-->'''Homer:''' Less shame?
-->'''Bart:''' ''(fondly)'' Yeah.
* TakingYouWithMe. After Homer breaks the handle on the shuttle. Banyon proclaims if he dies he's taking Homer to Hell with him.
* TooDumbToLive: According to Marge, Homer had trouble using a touch-tone phone when they first met -- and he still does.
** Even though Buzz points out the rod can hold the door for them to return to Earth, Homer tries to pull it out, still wanting to bash Banyon.
* YouFool: "Now we may never know if ants can be trained to sort tiny screws in space!"
* YourTelevisionHatesYou: After losing to the rod at work and being ridiculed by his family, a depressed Homer decides to watch TV, saying: "TV respects me. It laughs ''with'' me, not ''at'' me." He turns it on and sees a man pointing at the camera, laughing, and saying: "You stupid..."
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