Episode - 4F19
First Aired - 5/4/1997
In what is recognized as one of the most base-breaking
episodes of the show, a normal man named Frank Grimes who has had to work hard every day of his life with little reward gets a job at the nuclear plant and takes an instant dislike to Homer and his Achievements in Ignorance
. Meanwhile, Bart wins an abandoned factory at an auction and uses it as his own personal playground.
This episode contains examples of (YMMV tropes can be found here):
- Berserk Button: Homer is one giant button to Grimes. Also the latter doesn't liked being called "Grimey" or "Stretch".
- To elaborate, it starts with how lazy Homer is while Frank is a self taught workaholic who climbed his way up to get the low lifestyle he has. Homer tries to be friendly by inviting Frank for dinner but seeing all the success Homer has acquired without having to actually work for it (according to him anyway) drives Frank over the edge and he assumes Homer is flaunting this in his face. Things keep getting worse when he become frustrated how no one realizes Homer's stupidity. The last straw comes when Homer wins a kid's contest and the audience actually applauds him for it to Frank's chagrin and sanity.
- Beware the Nice Ones
- Black Comedy Burst: One whose explosion was so forceful, it seeped into later episodes and has been cited as forever tainting the series' legacy of being biting, but lighthearted, not outright sick and twisted, like Family Guy and South Park.
- Broken Aesop: Word of God said they wanted to show that a real person could not survive in the show's universe, except they did it by making Homer look worse than he really was in order to make Frank Grimes look better. What's worse is that Frank's mental breakdown and death, which were supposed caused by Homer, was really his own fault. Homer had offered to make amends with Frank, but he didn't want anything to do with it, and he immediately put everything into destroying Homer. It doesn't help that they made Frank's life excessively miserable before he even met Homer.
- Designated Villain: Double subverted. We are supposed to see Homer as an awful person that doesn't deserve his good life. It's mainly subverted because Homer really is an awful employee that endangers the whole city with his wild antics and has a better life than the sane and hard working Grimes. The Double Subversion comes from the fact that Homer was the only employee that actually cared for Grimes' opinion and tried to make amends when he realised how upset Frank was with him, but Frank didn't care for any of it. It doesn't help that most of the mayhem caused by Homer is more out of stupidity than malice.
- Embarrassing Nickname: Homer nicknames Frank Grimes "Grimey'", which he hates.
- Expy: Frank Grimes is based on Michael Douglas' character Bill Foster from Falling Down.
- Foreshadowing: When Frank Grimes asks Lenny and Carl how someone like Homer could be safety inspector Carl simply says, "It's best not to think about it."
- Only Sane Man: Grimes
- Plot Hole: Kent Brockman's report at the beginning of the episode show Grimes living in a normal house, yet later in the episode the latter claims to live between two bowling alleys ("above a bowling alley below another bowling alley")
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
God, I've had to work hard every day of my life, and what do I have to show for it? This briefcase, and this haircut! And what do you have to show for your lifetime of sloth and ignorance? Homer:
Everything! A dream house! Two cars! A beautiful wife! A son who owns a factory! Fancy clothes and (sniffs air
) lobsters for dinner! And do you deserve any of it? No! Homer:
(gasps) What are you saying? Frank:
I'm saying you're
what's wrong with America, Simpson. You coast through life, you do as little as possible, and you leech off of decent, hardworking people like me. Heh, if you lived in any other country in the world, you'd have starved to death long ago. Bart:
He's got you there, dad. Frank:
You're a fraud. A— a total fraud. (walks out, pokes his head back round the doorway, and speaks to Marge and the kids
) It was nice meeting you.
- Springtime for Hitler: Frank tricks Homer into entering a power plant designing contest for kids as an attempt to show the world what an idiot Homer is. Homer ends up winning, and Frank's sanity utterly disappears after this.
- The Everyman: Frank Grimes is supposed to represent the viewer in this episode. A man that appears in no way remarkable who never got any breaks and had to work hard every day of his life with little to no rewards.
- Normally it's Homer that we're supposed to feel the viewer embodies, a middle class worker with a nuclear family and somewhat below average intelligence. However, during this episode it lampshades how un-average Homer's life is compared to how we are supposed to perceive him (Astronaut, friends with celebrities, award winning musician) and how successful he is despite his low intelligence and laziness, and how his thoughtless actions have no consequences (for himself at least).
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Happens to Grimes at the beginning of the episode. At first, it looks like his hard work is about to pay off when Mr. Burns decides to make him Executive Vice President of the plant...only to give the position to a dog instead and just throw Grimes into Sector 7G. Things get progressively worse from there.