Recap: The Simpsons S 6 E 9 Homer Badman

Episode - 2F06
First Aired - 11/27/1994

After stealing a rare gummi candy (one shaped like the Venus de Milo) from a confection convention, Homer loses it — and finds it on the butt of the babysitter he hired (a feminist university student) while driving her home, but his successful grab turns into a media circus and women's rights protest after Homer is accused of inappropriately grabbing the babysitter.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Aesop Amnesia: Homer is cleared of the allegations against him, particularly with the "Rock Bottom" corrections, yet when the same show accuses Willie of being a pervert, Homer is quick to condemn him.
    Homer: That man is sick!
    Marge: Groundskeeper Willie saved you, Homer.
    Homer: But listen to the music! He's evil!
    Marge: Hasn't this experience taught you you can't believe everything you hear?
    Homer: Marge, my friend... I haven't learned a thing.
    (Marge and the rest of the family groans in frustration, and walk off)
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: As noted under Take That and mentioned in the DVD commentary for this episode, many tactics used by "Rock Bottom" were really used by Hard Copy and are not exaggerated jokes done by the Simpsons writers.
  • As Himself: Dennis Franz (playing Homer in the FOX TV-movie Homer S.: Portrait of an Ass-Grabber)
  • Accidental Pervert: The plot is kicked off when Ashley Grant mistakenly assumes Homer was groping her when he was pulling the gummi Venus de Milo off her rear end.
  • Convicted by Public Opinion:
    • "Rock Bottom" gets Springfield and all of America to condemn Homer based upon little more than hearsay and a blatantly-edited interview. Lisa and the family use public access TV to prove Homer's innocence, and Willie's amateur video is what saves the day.
    • News Anchorman Kent Brockman had this announcement: "Now, here are some results from our phone-in poll: 95% of the people believe Homer Simpson is guilty. Of course, this is just a television poll which is not legally binding, unless Proposition 304 passes. And we all pray it will."
  • Disproportionate Restitution: For all the hell Homer is put through over the over hyped scandal, all he gets from the resolve is an apology from Ashley and a very grudged, barely coherent confession from Rock Bottom.
  • Easily Forgiven: Granted, she did apologized but Homer holds no grudges at Ashley for harassing him.
  • Hilarity Ensues: If the show followed reality, everyone associated with "Rock Bottom" who kept reporting that Homer was a pervert until they found evidence to the contrary would have been fired and/or blacklisted from journalism. Additionally, they might be fighting a losing battle to keep their production company in the aftermath of a billion-dollar libel lawsuit if The Simpsons were smart enough to sue them. In the world of Springfield, the main anchorman isn't punished and only offers an apology to Homer during a retraction section.
    • Reality Is Unrealistic: Considering that the entire episode is a Take That against the news media resorting to sensationalizing their news stories in real life and reporters in real life aren't called out for their actions (unless they really did something wrong), the fact that the writers didn't have all the reporters punished actually works.
  • "Home Alone" Antics: A Discussed Trope (and giving a Shout-Out to the Trope Namer), yet averted. Homer wants to leave the kids alone to go to a candy convention, only for an understandably horrified Marge to say no and call the babysitting service-which sets up the rest of the episode's plot.
  • Hypocritical Humor: After Willie is shamed by Rock Bottom for peeping, Homer begins to criticize Willie even though Willie's peeping saved Homer.
    • Despite the ongoing defense of feminism within the scandal, the TV recreation portrays Ashley as a helpless ingenue who was savagely assaulted by Homer (again, this goes along with the entire brutal satire against the tabloidization of the media, and it is Truth in Television in a lot of sex scandals).
  • Karma Houdini: Zigzagged. Homer receives endless smite over the mistaken scandal, but isn't prosecuted whatsoever for his antics at the confection convention.
    • Played straight with the reporters and women's rights protesters who kept harassing Homer over what he allegedly did to Ashley. When they finally learn that the whole thing was a mistake, none of them get any comeuppance for what they've done.
  • Kafka Komedy: The family's attempts at trying to vindicate Homer by presenting clear evidence where the public has no choice but to declare him innocent all backfire — Homer's appearance on the TV tabloid show "Rock Bottom," where the crisis worsens as the interview is edited into a confession — or are ignored (Homer giving his impassioned speech pleading for everyone to back off, which airs late at night on a little-viewed public-access channel.
  • Manipulative Editing: Homer's interview on "Rock Bottom" is blatantly edited to make it seem like Homer admitted to grabbing the babysitter's butt and enjoying it, as the clock behind Homer is jumping to different times, and at one point is clearly frozen in a VHS-style pause.
  • Ordered Apology: After Homer is revealed innocent, Rock Bottom is left to admit they "make mistakes", leading them to screen a very long list of previous inaccuracies and lies they've made in investigations, which pan up the screen in a blur like speed (amusingly the Simpsons can still read them).
  • Outrun the Fireball: The DVD commentary describes the manner of Homer's escape from the candy convention (using a can of Buzz Cola and some Pop Rocks), complete with a Pre-Mortem One-Liner ("See you in Hell, candy boys!"), as "A parody of every Bruce Willis movie ever made".
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: While Homer was right for thinking Willie is a pervert, he believed it because of what he saw on TV rather than from Willie openly admitting it.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Happens In-Universe with the TV movie Homer S.: Portrait of an Ass-Grabber, starring Dennis Franz as Homer, which portrays Homer as a cackling, dog-kicking pervert.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Homer has a Imagine Spot where he proposes to go in hiding under the sea, which is a parody of "Under The Sea" from The Little Mermaid where Homer eats all the singing and dancing fishes and crabs.
    • The daytime talk show "Gentle Ben" is also the name of a series of novels and a television show about A boy and his pet grizzle bear.
  • Spoof Aesop: Marge: "As long as everyone keeps filming one another justice will be done."
  • Straw Feminist: Averted. Ashley Grant (who falsely accuses Homer of sexual harassment) does feel that men can easily be manipulated by women and she does think Homer grabbed her butt in the car, but when she sees video evidence of what really happened, she realized that she jumped the gun and apologizes.
  • Take That: The whole episode is a scathing satire on what the writers called "the tabloidization of the media". "Rock Bottom" directly spoofs the investigative show Hard Copy, with many of the tactics shown onscreen, such as setting up camps outside people's homes, things Hard Copy would do. The Show Within a Show "Ben" is the embodiment of the writers' feeling that all it takes to host such a show is a microphone and an audience.
  • TV Never Lies: The whole town is turned against Homer thanks to the sensationalist media. Even Homer begins to be swayed against himself.
  • What Could Have Been: Originally, the episode was supposed to have Homer and Lisa fight over the Double Standard (how it's okay for one gender to do something, but not okay for the opposite gender to do the same thing), but the O.J. Simpson trial was becoming a big deal, so the writers decided to mine that for all it was worth by making fun of how the media sensationalizes their stories for the sake of entertainment over truth.