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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.
* AnimationBump: The sequence of Homer eating potato chips in zero gravity, which was guest directed by an (uncredited) David Silverman. The scene also utilized some early [[ConspicuousCG CGI]] for the rotation of the chips.
* ApesInSpace:
-->'''Scientist:''' Maybe we should finally tell them the big secret: that all the chimps we sent into space came back super-intelligent.\\
'''Suit-wearing chimp:''' No...I don't think we'll be telling them ''that.'' ''(rollerskates away)''
* AsHimself: Buzz Aldrin and 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.
* CrossesTheLineTwice: Done in-universe with the ''Itchy & Scratchy'' episode featured, "[[Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration Scar Trek: The Next Laceration.]]" A [[ContentWarning viewer advisory for children]] ends up being shown ''after'' what happened to Scratchy where his [[YourHeadAsplode head gets blown up in space.]] And was shown on the compound where poor Homer was staying (and is sweating bullets in reaction ) while Bart laughs hysterically at what he just watched.
* 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: Gennifer 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''.
* HypocriticalHumor: Right after Marge says that Homer's family respects him, Bart writes "Insert Brain Here" on the back of his father's head, causing the entire family to burst out laughing.
* {{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.
* JerkassBall: Downplayed in that it's a single moment rather than the entire episode, but the aforementioned HypocriticalHumor moment was pretty dickish and uncalled for, especially as Homer was feeling down and hadn't done anything to deserve it.
* 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.
* LateToTheRealization: It took Homer ''30 years'' to figure out the twist ending to ''Film/{{Planet of the Apes|1968}}''[[note]]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.
* MoodSwinger: Kent Brockman. At first he freaked out at the ants he mistook for hostile aliens, [[TheQuisling and then he was happy about it]].
* NewJobEpisode
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Homer constantly.
* NoodleIncident: Homer somehow knows the number to NASA and the White House. He tells them to shut up when they ask how he got their number.
* 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 a fetus in space, while Music/AlsoSprachZarathustra plays in the background is a reference to the final scene of the film.
*** Also, the pod that Itchy rides in the ''Itchy & Scratchy'' episode.
** ''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/{{Planet of the Apes|1968}}''.
** 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's 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 that 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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