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:

  • 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.
  • 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 groan 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.
    • Homer mentions Grampa sending a postcard from Florida of an alligator biting a woman's bottom. They actually exist.note 
  • Animation Bump: Homer's See You in Hell moment with its dramatic camera rotations.
  • Artistic License Chemistry: Mixing cola and Pop Rocks will not cause an explosion, but mixing cola with Mentos, famously, will.
  • As Himself: Dennis Franz (playing Homer in the FOX TV-movie Homer S.: Portrait of an Ass-Grabber)
  • Cassandra Truth: Homer tries telling the feminist protesters Ashley summons that he was just removing a candy that'd gotten stuck to Ashley's butt. They refuse to believe him, one even claiming it's "the oldest trick in the book".
  • 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."
  • Demonization: Happens to Homer with the TV movie Homer S.: Portrait of an Ass-Grabber, starring Dennis Franz as Homer, which portrays Homer as a cackling, cat killing pervert.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    Homer: What's that?
    Conventioneer: That is the rarest gummi of them all, the gummi Venus de Milo. Carved by gummi artisans who work exclusively in the medium of gummi.
    Marge: Will you two stop saying "gummi" so much?
  • Disproportionate Restitution: For all the hell Homer is put through over the over hyped scandal, all he gets from the resolve is an apology (albeit a sincere one) from Ashley and a very grudged, barely coherent confession from Rock Bottom.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Some of the protesters signs suggest this towards Homer, like "Touch a Butt, Go to Jail" and "You Pinch, We Lynch".
  • Easily Forgiven: Homer seems to hold no grudges for all the crap he's been through and quickly accepts Ashley's (albeit sincere) apology.
    • He also seems to forgive Rock Bottom, despite what they did to him (and, unlike Ashley, their apology wasn't that sincere).
  • 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 would have been 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.
  • "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.
  • Hope Spot: As the media converge on the Simpsons' house, Homer feels he hasn't got a friend in the world. Marge looks out the window and sees Moe, Barney, Doctor Hibbert, Lenny and Carl shoving through the crowd. Moe condemns them for judging Homer without talking to the people who know him... After all, they've got the real dirt on Homer. They immediately start bidding for an interview.
  • 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).
    • Homer gets chewed out over supposedly groping Ashley by protestors... who subsequently spend the entire day literally pushing Homer around, even at his job at the Power Plant.
  • Innocently Insensitive: The mistaken scandal begins by Homer being oblivious to seeing how peeling a candy off someone's butt could be taken the wrong way. He fails to even notice Ashley running out of the car terrified.
  • Insane Troll Logic: "It's okay; your tears say more than real evidence ever could."
  • 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).
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Zigzagged. Homer receives endless smite over the mistaken scandal, but never gets any specific punishment for stealing the Gummy Venus De Milo, or for apparently killing all those candy conventioneers.
    • Played straight with Rock Bottom who demonized Homer by Manipulative Editing his honest talk with them. All Rock Bottom does is a very grudgingly and obscurely confession to many of their sham reports (but does not actually confess to their Manipulative Editing or any dishonesty regarding their coverage of Homer or many others). They even continue to demonize in the end. At least, the reporters and women's rights protesters admitted they were wrong.
  • 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.
  • Oh, Crap!: Invoked by Homer after watching the intro for his Rock Bottom segment, Babysitter and the Beast, which implies he's a pervert.
  • Ordered Apology: After Homer is revealed innocent, a discredited 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 for phoney 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".
  • 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 that 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. Even Rock Bottom's very begrudged public admittance of all the lies they've told seems like a stretch in real life.
  • 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. The fact that he treats the dramatic use of music as proof, shows that he's as easily manipulated by media as the people who condemned him.
  • Rule of Drama: As lampshaded by Lisa, the media and most of its audience doesn't care if Homer is innocent, the idea he's a pervert is an entertaining scandal. When Homer gives evidence that forces his vindication, Rock Bottom is left admitting they made phony footage based on this rule, for Homer and hundreds of other investigations.
  • See You in Hell: "...Candy boys!"
  • Shout-Out:
  • 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.
    • Played straight with the protesters mob, where it accused Homer without any proof of his supposed actions and never apologized.
  • 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 actually 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 Happened to the Mouse?: At the beginning, Homer blows up a candy convention, causing untold casualties. This is never mentioned once.
  • With Friends Like These...: Homer's friends, instead of helping shield him from public scrutiny, tell the press more of his dirty secrets.
  • Your Answer to Everything: Homer's plan to escape being slandered by the media: start a new life Under the Sea.
    Marge: Homer, that's your solution to everything, to move under the sea. It's not gonna happen!
    Homer: Not with that attitude!