Episode - 1F02\\
First Aired - 10/14/1993

After Homer fails a competency test at the plant, Mr. Burns is forced to put Homer in college so he can keep his job. Too bad Homer thinks that college life is similar to what most viewers have seen in ''Film/AnimalHouse'' and its many imitations.

Of note, this is the last script that Creator/ConanOBrien was credited with writing, as he became the new host of ''Series/LateNight'' around this time. [[note]]He is listed among the (many) writers in "Treehouse of Horror IV", but he only wrote the wraparounds.[[/note]]
!!This episode contains examples of:
* AchievementsInIgnorance: Homer achieves an EpicFail so massive that he managed to cause an actual nuclear meltdown in a nuclear plant simulation truck with no fissionable materials.
* AcquaintedWithEmergencyServices: After Homer causes a meltdown in class when the professor asks him to demonstrate how a proton accelerator works. The clean-up crew arrives to stop the problem:
-->'''Homer:''' ''(glowing green, gesturing over shoulder)'' In there, guys.\\
'''Crew:''' Thanks, Homer.
* AsYouKnow: In "School of Hard Knockers", [[DeanBitterman the Dean's]] guest informs the viewers about his position as the President of the United States by reminding the Dean of it.
* AttentionDeficitOohShiny: In the flashback, Homer runs out of a meeting to fight a dog over a ham. In the present, he leaves a lecture to chase two squirrels with a stick.
* BadBoss: Mr. Burns, as if it were ever in doubt.
-->'''Smithers:''' ''(pounding on the door of the escape pod)'' For the love of God, sir, there are ''two'' seats!\\
'''Burns:''' ''(reopening the door)'' I like to put my feet up!
* BatterUp: Spoofing the scene from ''Film/TheUntouchables'', Mr. Burns tries to whack a Springfield University board member with a baseball bat, but he's so weak the board member hardly feels anything, and it utterly exhausts Burns.
* BenevolentBoss: Though he's a BadBoss to Smithers in this episode, Mr. Burns is strangely this to Homer. Despite getting him in trouble with the inspectors, Burns still takes steps to ensure Homer can keep his job and get the education he needs to qualify for it, going so far as to pull some strings to get him into Springfield University after every college turns Homer down.
* BerserkButton:
** Sir Oinks-a-lot apparently hates it when someone plays with his tail.
** UsefulNotes/RichardNixon is apparently very protective of the pig, too.
* BeyondTheImpossible: Homer causes a nuclear meltdown in a truck that had absolutely no nuclear material in it. One of the inspectors lampshades this, while Conan laughs about it in the audio commentary.
* BigEater: When a meltdown caused Homer to glow and say he needed to destroy mankind, his wrist watch beeped to remind him it was lunch time. He quickly shook off the radiation and went for lunch.
* BlackAndNerdy: Gary.
* BlatantLies: When the Nuclear Regulatory Comission arrives, Mr. Burns tries to claim the plant is just a cookie factory. The NRC don't buy it for an instant.
-->'''NRC Inspector:''' [[AnAxToGrind Get the axe]]. ''(Another inspector starts breaking down Burns's door)''
* BrickJoke: "School of Hard Knockers" has a scene where the rebellious jock has set up a bra-bomb to cover the school with bras. This happened to coincide with the President's visit to the college. Homer was seen taking notes after this particular scene. Over the end credits, during Homer's second round of college, a montage of Homer's antics is played. One of the still photos seen is UsefulNotes/RichardNixon with a bra on his head, with Homer and the Dean triumphantly playing guitar in the background. Apparently Homer got revenge.
* CannotTellFictionFromReality: Homer thinks that real college life is similar to what's on ''The School of Hard Knockers'' (the raunchy college film he watches).
* CantGetAwayWithNuthin: All of Mr. Burns' attempts to thwart or buy out the inspectors fail spectacularly. They arrive when the entire plant is asleep, they don't buy his lies that the plant is a cookie factory, Homer doesn't stay properly contained and shows the inspectors how grossly unqualified he is for his job, the inspectors don't accept Burns' bribes, and the already bribed Mayor Quimby arrives to cancel the inspection only once it's over and finished.
* CaptainObvious: "Wait a minute, that's not the wallet inspector..."
* CasualDangerDialogue: After Homer accidentally turns the college classroom into a nuclear disaster, he calmly walks out (glowing bright green) and informs the rescue crew, "In there, guys." The crew responds, "Thanks, Homer."
* CollegeIsHighSchoolPart2: Pointedly subverted, though Homer believes this.
* DeanBitterman:
** TropeNamer, from ''[[ShowWithinAShow School of Hard Knockers]]''.
** Averted with the laid back Dean Peterson, but WrongGenreSavvy Homer is convinced that he ''has'' to be a "crusty old dean" despite all evidence to the contrary.
* DerangedAnimation: [[https://deadhomersociety.com/2010/08/02/animation-showcase-homer-goes-to college/ This pictorial blog post]] breaks down many of the moments quite well.
* TheDogBitesBack: A near-literal example; Sir Oinks-a-lot takes exception to Homer pulling his tail straight and bites down on Homer's hand...''hard''.
* EpicFail:
** Homer starts a nuclear meltdown in a simulator ''that didn't have any nuclear materials''.
** Homer does this a second time with a particle accelerator in his nuclear physics class.
* EvenEvilHasStandards / PetTheDog: UsefulNotes/RichardNixon takes the mistreatment of Sir Oinks-a-lot very seriously.
-->'''Nixon:''' Oh, you'll pay! Don't think you won't pay!
* FandomRivalry: InUniverse, the nerds use the Simpsons' land line to argue online over whether [[Franchise/StarTrek Captain Kirk or Captain Picard is better]]. They support Kirk.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: Not necessarily even intentional but at the very end there is an uncensored (if very heavily muffled) F-bomb. It comes from the use of the recording of the song "Louie Louie" by The Kingsmen (which was famously studied by the FBI to check for the supposed profanity-laden lyrics). Whilst the former rumour was untrue the FBI, and presumably the censors, missed the drummer shouting the word after making an error (later confirmed by the drummer himself). For those curious it can be heard at the very end of the credits during the 'Executive Creative Consultant' credit.
* HardWorkMontage: The nerds help Homer study hard for his test. Unfortunately, he still gets an F.
* HereWeGoAgain: The episode ends with Marge convincing Homer to take the course over again without cheating.
* HumorDissonance: In-universe. In Homer's nuclear physics class, when the professor greets his new class by saying "Out with the old, in with the nucleus...", everyone except Homer laughs. But when the professor accidentally drops his notecards, Homer is the only one who laughs, prompting everyone to stare at him as he does so.
* KarmaHoudini: {{Defied}} by Homer, who feels guilty that his hijinks got the nerds expelled from college, and steps forward to accept blame, but Bart, who originally brainstormed the prank, has nothing happen to him.
* KillAllHumans: Invoked by Homer, but ultimately subverted.
-->'''Homer:''' ''(having climbed out of an irradiated crater, glowing green)'' Raargh! Must-destroy-mankind! ''(his watch alarm beeps)'' Ooh lunchtime! ''(Homer shakes off the radiation and walks away)''
* KnowNothingKnowItAll: The professor calling Homer on his supposed knowledge of how a proton accelerator works. Homer somehow causes a nuclear meltdown.
* LaserGuidedKarma: When Homer causes a nuclear meltdown, Mr. Burns immediately evacuates into a two-man escape pod and refuses to let Smithers in because he likes to put his feet up on the other seat. The pod promptly runs out of fuel after being launched, crashes onto the ground, and rolls down the street, roughing him up.
* LetsSeeYouDoBetter: During one class, the professor teaches the class how a proton accelerator works when Homer interrupts, saying that because he worked in a nuclear power plant for 10 years, he already knows how it works. So the professor asks him to demonstrate for the class, which Homer agrees to. [[SmashCut The scene immediately cuts]] to the students running out of the now green-glowing radiated class hall.
* LostAesop: Parodied. Homer tries to pull morals out of this story and gets contradicted.
-->'''Homer:''' Look, the important thing is that we all learned a lesson. These guys learned the richness and variety of the world outside college.\\
'''Benjamin:''' No, we didn't.\\
'''Homer:''' Oh. Then I learned the real value of college is to study and work hard.\\
'''Lisa:''' No, you didn't. You only passed your course by cheating, which you always taught us was wrong.
* MissingTheGoodStuff: Thanks to one of the nerds unplugging the television, Bart and Lisa miss the end of the Itchy and Scratchy episode where Scratchy finally wins. Even worse, Krusty says they'll never be allowed to show that episode again.
* MisspellingOutLoud: Homer gets his college application back and lights his high school diploma on fire, hilariously misspelling the word "smart" before quickly correcting himself:
--->'''Homer:''' I am so smart! I am so smart! S-M-R-T! I mean S-M-A-R-T![[note]]The word was spelled correctly in the script; Creator/DanCastellaneta flubbed it, but it was decided to ThrowItIn.[[/note]]
* MysteryBox: When it is clear to Mr. Burns that he is about to be sanctioned for gross violations at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, he tries (unsuccessfully) to play Monty Hall (of ''Series/LetsMakeADeal'') and offer a bribe to the inspectors into forgetting about Homer not being properly certified or qualified. The male inspector very nearly takes it.
* NiceGuy: Dean "Bobby" Peterson, who's perfectly willing to hang out with students or play guitar with them.
* NoodleImplements: Just what Mr. Burns wanted with the Jade Monkey is never revealed. It probably wasn't for anything good. Equally unclear is what the road maps and ice scraper had to do with it.
--> '''Mr. Burns''': One more thing. ''(ominously)'' You must find the Jade Monkey before the next full moon.\\
'''Smithers''': Sir, we found the Jade Monkey. [[FailedASpotCheck It was in your glove compartment]].\\
'''Mr. Burns''': And the road maps and ice scraper?\\
'''Smithers''': They were in there, too.\\
'''Mr. Burns''': Excellent. It's all coming together...
* OffModel: A few moments fall into this, likely due to Creator/RoughDraftStudios still getting a handle on how to draw the characters. In [[https://frinkiac.com/gif/S05E03/1096478/1101483/ one shot]] while Homer is buttering his toast, he has buggy FishEyes.
* RealityEnsues: Homer is convinced that college is nonstop WackyFratboyHijinks, and he learns the hard way that's not true. When his prank of kidnapping a rival school's mascot goes awry, his nerd classmates get expelled.
* RiddleForTheAges: Krusty shows an "Itchy and Scratchy" cartoon where Scratchy finally gets Itchy. However, the TV is unplugged while Bart and Lisa are watching, and by the time the TV's plugged back in, the cartoon's over with Krusty declaring "They'll never let us show that again! Not in a million years!". How did Scratchy get Itchy?
* RuleOfFunny: Homer somehow caused a meltdown in a simulator despite the simulator not having real radioactive materials.
* ScrewTheMoneyIHaveRules: The nuclear plant inspectors refused to take Burns's money in order for him to escape penalties.
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections:
** Burns uses his position on the board of Springfield University to admit Homer into college.
** Apparently the dean didn't want to expel the nerds, but Sir Oinksalot had powerful friends (I.e. Nixon).
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney: Burns tries to avoid the consequences for Homer's incompetence by bribing the safety inspectors and Mayor Quimby. It works on Quimby, but the inspectors don't go for it (although the male inspector is strongly tempted by the MysteryBox).
* ShoutOut:
** Features dozens to college comedies such as ''Film/AnimalHouse'' and ''Film/RevengeOfTheNerds''.
** After the meltdown, Mr. Burns tries to bribe the safety inspectors with either "a washer and dryer where the lovely Smithers is standing," or trading it all in "for what's in this box", spoofing ''Series/LetsMakeADeal''.
** Benjamin, Doug and Gary live in dorm ''Series/{{Room 222}}''. They also claim to know "The words of every Creator/MontyPython routine" and quote the "Knights who say 'ni'" scene from ''Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail''.
** Benjamin, Doug and Gary greet Homer with the line: [[VideoGame/{{Berzerk}} "Intruder alert. Intruder alert. Get the humanoid! Get the humanoid"]]
** Bart gets everyone's attention by scratching his nails on a chalkboard, just like Quint in ''Film/{{Jaws}}''.
* SirVerbALot: Sir Oinks-a-lot, the pig mascot of Springfield A&M.
* SnipeHunt: During the inspection, Smithers puts the three least incompetent employees (including Homer, naturally) in charge of guarding a bee inside a bottle. Needless to say, they fail miserably.
* SomethingWeForgot: After Homer successfully gets the nerds readmitted into college, he assures them that they wrapped up all the loose ends... except he was so fixated on reenacting college comedies that he completely neglected to study for the final exam.
* StartXToStopX: According to Homer, "The only antidote to a ZanyScheme, is an even zanier scheme!"
-->'''Doug:''' [[LampshadeHanging Why does it have to be zany?]]
* StatusQuoIsGod: Homer will, of course, keep his job, but instead of just taking it for granted and getting by on cheating, he has to go back to school. The end credits montage show a semester's worth of gags and him legitimately graduating.
* TeamRocketWins: Scratchy defeated Itchy this time ... or did he? [[RiddleForTheAges We never see the specifics]], and never will.
* TheThingThatWouldNotLeave: Out of Homer's pity, the nerds get to live with the Simpsons after getting kicked out of their dorms. Each one of them becomes a huge nuisance to every single member of the family one way or the other.
-->'''Bart:''' ''(rubbing two knives together)'' Dad, start digging some nerd-holes.
* ThisCannotBe: The male NRC inspector is understandably shocked when Homer somehow causes a nuclear meltdown in a truck that has no radioactive material.
-->'''NRC Inspector''': Oh, no! This... can't be happening!
* ThisIsUnforgivable: The dean kicks Homer and the nerds out of college because the pig they stole had some [[UsefulNotes/RichardNixon powerful friends]].
--> '''Nixon''': Oh, you'll pay. Don't think you won't pay!
* TooDumbToLive:
** Benjamin, Doug and Gary, who immediately hand over their wallets to Snake when he claims to be the "wallet inspector." Even Snake is surprised that actually worked. And this is followed by Homer simply saying, "That's not the wallet inspector."
** During the inspection, Smithers sends Homer and two other dimwitted employees to the basement--tasking them with the "important" job of watching a bee in a bottle. The two guys actually do question why they're doing this, but Homer buys it completely.
--->'''Homer''': You guys are pathetic. No wonder Smithers made me head bee guy.
* TrapDoorFail: When the safety inspectors turn down Burns' bribes, Mr. Burns tells them, "I have the feeling you'll be... ''dropping'' the charges," and he presses a button to open the trap door, except the trap door's on the other side of the room. Smithers reminds Mr. Burns that, "The painters moved your desk."
* TurnTheOtherCheek: The Dean instantly forgives Homer for ''putting him in traction'', and for the other pranks he pulled.
* WackyFratboyHijinx: {{Deconstructed}}. The plan to steal Springfield A&M's mascot Sir Oinks-a-lot goes horribly wrong, and it gets Benjamin, Doug and Gary expelled immediately (at UsefulNotes/RichardNixon's behest).
** Throughout the rest of the episode, Homer learns that college is not at all ''Animal House''-style fratboy pranks and antics, although he never does get taken aside and asked to knock off the immature behavior.
* WomenAreWiser: The male NRC inspector nearly accepts Burns' offer of the MysteryBox, but the female inspector intervenes.
* WrongGenreSavvy: Homer goes into college convinced it's nonstop WackyFratboyHijinx, and is amazed it's not.
-->'''Homer:''' ''(yelling)'' [[Film/RevengeOfTheNerds NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERD!]]\\
'''Marge:''' Homer, that isn't very nice.\\
'''Homer:''' Marge, try to understand. [[ThereAreTwoKindsOfPeopleInTheWorld There are two kinds of college students]]: [[JerkJock jocks]] and {{nerd}}s. As a jock, it's my job to give nerds a hard time. ''(to nearby student athlete)'' Hey, did you get a load of that nerd?\\
'''Student Athlete:''' ''(confused)'' Pardon me?
* ZanyScheme: Homer's constant antidote for everything, much to the nerds' confusion.