Episode - 3F10
First Aired - 1/7/1996In order to play on League Night at Barney's Bowl-A-Rama, Homer assembles a ragtag group of bowlers (Apu, Moe, and Otto the bus driver) to play, but when he can't pony up the $500 fee, he asks Mr. Burns for the money, who is so high that he thinks Homer is The Pillsbury Doughboy (Poppin' Fresh). Meanwhile, Bart buys the latest issue of MAD and finds an iron-on T-shirt decal, which he wears to school — and the ensuing riot leads Springfield Elementary to implement a uniforms-only dress code.
This episode contains examples of (YMMV tropes can be found here):
- Assimilation Academy: Superintendent Chalmers approves of Skinner's choice of uniforms sapping the kid's spirits, declaring that it ensures they're prepared for "tomorrow's mills and processing industries".
- Call-Back: One of the bowling teams Homer's team competes against is called "The Home Wreckers" and consists of the three women and one man who tried to break up Homer and Marge's marriage to each other: Shauna Tifton (the belly-dancing stripper known as "Princess Kashmir" from "Homer's Night Out"), Lurleen Lumpkin (the country singer from "Colonel Homer"), Mindy Simmons (the sexy Distaff Counterpart of Homer on "The Last Temptation of Homer"), and Jacques (the French bowler Marge almost slept with on "Life in the Fast Lane").
- Clothes Make the Maniac: The drab and monochromatic school uniforms turn the kids at Springfield Elementary into Incredibly Lame Fun-having zombies who even blink in unison and don't know what colors are. The uniforms turning multicolored in the rain (they weren't colorfast) turns them back to normal.
- Department of Redundancy Department: One of the most memorable examples.Homer: Yeah, Moe, that team sure did suck last night. They just plain sucked! I've seen teams suck before, but they were the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.
- Epic Fail: Moe's attempt at crippling Mr. Burns's bowling performance actually improves it.
- Gave Up Too Soon: Believing nobody other than Homer would show up at his bar, Moe closes it earlier and turns the lights off just as Mayor Quimby and his brothers are about to enter with the intention to start a Drinking Contest.
- Gilligan Cut: Homer declares the Pin Pals don't need the trophy, they've got each other. Then they hug. Cut to Homer breaking into Burns's mansion to get the trophy anyway.
- Honor Before Reason: A funny version, with a dash of The Main Characters Do Everything. Homer takes it upon himself to get all $500 to start the bowling team, instead of each member pitching in $125.
- Hypocritical Humor: When Marge is impressed by the fact that Otto converted a 7-10 split, Homer states that the individual doesn't matter because it was a team effort and he came up with the idea of making a team.
- I Have No Son: Played for Laughs — The Squeaky-Voiced Teen gets disowned by his mother (Lunchlady Doris) because he literally couldn't rent a bowling lane to his own mother on league night.
- Insult to Rocks: Inverted with Moe, who declares he's better than dirt. Most dirt, anyway. Not that fancy store-bought stuff.
- Irony: Jacques is the only professional bowler among "The Home Wreckers" and his teammates blame him for losing.
- Jerkass: Mr. Burns, angry that he gave Homer $500 for bowling, joins his team as revenge. He provides to be a poor bowler by always getting gutter bowls, but then shows a kind side by giving his entire team new tee shirts and winning the match (because of Otto breaking a nearby machine by accident). Of course, he takes the trophy for himself and sends his hounds to attack his teammates when they try to take it back.
- Made of Incendium: When the kids knock over Mrs. Krabappel's desk, it spontaneously catches fire.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: No thanks to the school's new uniform policy, Bart instantly goes from hero to zero.
- Noodle Incident: So, so many in this episode:
- Homer once tried to borrow $1500 from Mr. Burns. When Marge asks why, Homer snaps, "Oh, I gotta get the third degree from you, too?"
- Homer stealing a Best Supporting Actor Oscar from Dr. Haing S. Ngor, who won it for The Killing Fields (or Don Ameche, who won it for Cocoon, if you're watching the edited reruns on TV or on DVD) for unknown reasons.
- Mr. Burns missing out on his monthly boweling, and the end result being "unpleasant for all concerned."
- What will happen to Principal Skinner's mom if she wears a dress made from the same material as the uniforms (which turn tye-dye in the rain)?
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Otto converting his 7-10 split. To do this, it's required to bounce one pin off of the side or back wall of the pit to hit the other pin.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits:
- "The Pin Pals": Homer (nuclear technician), Moe (bartender), Apu (convenience store keeper) and Otto (bus driver and The Stoner). Otto was later replaced with Mr. Burns (Corrupt Corporate Executive)
- "The Home Wreckers": Jacques (professional bowler), Princess Kashmir (belly dancer/stripper), Mindy Simmons (nuclear power plant worker) and Lurleen Lumpkin (country singer)
- "The Stereotypes": Cletus (a hick), Luigi (Italian chef), Groundskeeper Willie (Scottish school janitor), and Captain MacCallister (sea captain and restaurant owner).
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: The Pin Pals, to a man, leave Homer to be ripped to shreds by Burns' guard dogs.
- Spock Speak: The kids, as a result of being sapped of all emotion by their uniforms.Martin: (while playing "it", Martin trudges over to Lisa) You're it.
Lisa: (trudges over to Milhouse) Now you are the one who is it.
- Tempting Fate: After Homer tells his family nothing will stop his team, we get a scene of Mr. Burns finding a check about bowling. Smithers explains it's about "boweling". Then he spots the true bowling check.
- They Killed Kenny Again: While high on ether, Mr. Burns mistakes Hans Moleman as the Lucky Charms leprechaun, and uses a drill to get his Lucky Charms.Hans: Oh no, my brains.