Recap / The Simpsons S 8 E 3 The Homer They Fall

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Episode - 4F03
First Aired - 11/10/1996

After Bart gets mugged for his Star Trek belt by Dolph, Jimbo, and Kearney, Homer confronts their fathers and gets beat up as well — but ends up scaring them when he takes all of their punches and doesn't react, prompting Moe the bartender to train Homer to be a boxer.

Tropes:

  • And This Is For...: While beating up Homer, the dads of the bullies say it's for things like telling them how to raise their kids, or "the crummy life" they've had to live.
  • As Himself: Michael Buffer, doing his legendary "Let's get ready to RUUUUUUUUUMBLLLLLLLLLLLLE!" opening at the Drederick Tatum match.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When Moe flies into the arena and rescues Homer from the finishing blow, the announcer warmly says, "Ladies and gentlemen...", indicating that he's pleased with these events. But then he finishes the sentence: "...Whatever dignity remained in boxing is literally flying out the window
  • Baseball Episode: Or rather, the boxing episode.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Moe does this twice for Homer. First, saving him from Jimbo, Dolph, and Kearney's dads with a shotgun, and later, flying him out of the ring before Drederick Tatum can KO him.
  • Call-Back: Drederick Tatum and Lucius Sweet previously appeared in the boxing match Homer saw by stealing cable in "Homer vs Lisa and the 8th Commandment".
  • Casual Danger Dialogue:
    • Homer pulling this of while being attacked by the bullies parents is what inspires Moe to train him a a boxer.
    • Shortly after their fight begins, Drederick chooses to insult Homer by taking time out to talk about a restaurant with Charlie Sheen.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Homer's fight with Tatum turns out to be very one-sided.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The montage of Homer as a boxer after his first fight, set to choral music.
  • The Dreaded: Tatum is so feared, that he's able to quell a prison riot just by telling everyone to quiet down in his soft voice.
  • Epic Fail:
    • When Moe has Homer punch a pad to test his strength, Homer can't even harm the fly caught between the glove and the pad. And the sheer exertion of that exhausts him so much he can't stand up again.
    • In just the first 5 seconds of his fight against Drederick Tatum, Homer gets severely beaten.
  • Generation Xerox: Dolph, Jimbo, and Kearney all look like their fathers (though Kearney's father should be older if Kearney is established to be Older Than He Looks — unless it's the same with Kearney's father), only Dolph's dad has an eyepatch over one eye instead of his hair.
  • Imagine Spot: When Moe tells Homer to visualize his chances of winning the fight against Tatum, Homer imagines himself being declared the winner as a consequence of Tatum having a heart attack right before the beginning of the fight.
  • Improvised Weapon: In Moe's, Kearney's dad whacks Homer in the head with a pool cue and it snaps, before remarking that Homer won't fall down.
  • Karma Houdini: As usual, Jimbo, Dolph and Kearney get off scot-free for beating up Bart and stealing his utility belt, Homer contacting his parents only leads them to beat him up instead.
  • Made of Iron: It's explained that Homer has an unusually thick skull and an extra layer of fluid around his brain, which allows him to sustain many heavy hits in boxing. Unfortunately, it fails him as he faces Drederick Tatum.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: As Homer is getting pounded by Tatum, Marge is yelling that he has to fight back because he's not going to tire down. So Homer takes a swing at Tatum... and utterly fails to hit him.
  • Never Tell Me the Odds!: Homer tries to stop the discussion about his impending fight against Tatum this way when Lisa reveals that Vegas odds have Homer winning at a thousand to one.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Lampshaded. Homer notes that Lucius Sweet looks like and sounds like Don King. Paul Winfield, who plays Lucius, had previously played Don King in an HBO movie. And Drederick Tatum is an obvious parody of Mike Tyson. Also, the Fan Man is a parody of James Miller.
    Homer: He's as rich and famous as Don King, and looks exactly like him, too!
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: What Tatum provides to Homer. In the space of ten seconds of the first round, he's concussed him so badly that everybody else fears Tatum is going to kill him. The advertisement before that makes no secret that Tatum can deliver such a feat, with the main ad being Homer's head exploding when Tatum hits it.
  • No-Sell / Stone Wall: Thanks to a rare medical anomaly that renders Homer near-invulnerable to knockout punches. Since he has weak boxing skills, Moe advises Homer to absorb everything these boxers can throw at them and then eventually wear them out before Homer simply uses a weak punch or a push to beat his opponents. The trope flies completely out the window when it quickly becomes clear the fearsome Drederick Tatum is far stronger and more capable of punishing Homer than any of his opponents.
  • Reality Ensues: Even with his ability to resist pain and take a beating, Homer stands absolutely no chance against a trained professional boxer like Tatum and is nearly knocked unconscious in the first round. Moe even points out when the idea is first suggested that Homer has no chance against Tatum, and after the match Homer is badly concussed.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: In 1995, Mike Tyson's first comeback fight after his release from prison was against Peter McNeeley, a little known club fighter who had built up an impressive record against undistinguished opposition. McNeeley was knocked down twice in the opening round and the fight was stopped shortly afterwards when his manager entered the ring to prevent him taking further punishment.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Moe ultimately gets Homer out of the match just before Tatum gets to KO him, much to the anger of everyone, especially Lucius Sweet, though he still receives his check for $100,000 for the fight.
  • Series Continuity Error: Homer hasn't heard of Drederick Tatum, but he had in the season 2 episode "Homer vs Lisa and the 8th Commandment": Tatum was in the big fight Homer and most of Springfield watched on his illegal cable.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The boxing montage spoofs a similar montage in Raging Bull. One of Homer's wins in the montage resembles the George Bellows painting "Dempsey and Firpo".
    • Towards the end, Lucius tells Moe "You'll always be a loser".
  • Solemn Ending Theme: In place of the fast-paced Simpsons credits theme is the emotional "People".
  • Sweet and Sour Grapes: Moe still receives a $100,000 check despite stopping the fight prematurely.
  • Take That!: The sign outside Homer and Tatum's match proclaims "tasteful clothing not permitted".
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: As the end credits show, Moe seems to have a lot of adventures which are never fully documented.
  • The Worst Seat in the House: Marge's seat for Homer's fight against Drederick Tatum is directly behind a pillar.
  • Tranquil Fury: Parodied: Tatum puts a stop to a prison riot (to the point where the prisoners retreat to their cells and even the guards apologize) merely by telling them to shut up (since it was distracting him from his Jello). In the press ring before the match, he also very calmly says that he has no beef with Homer, but he's going to turn his children into orphans.
  • Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object: What the advertising for the final fight calls Homer and Tatum. Eventually defied because Tatum is an even more "unstoppable force" than even Homer's reinforced brain can withstand.
  • Victory by Endurance: All of Homer's victories as a boxer. He can't win unless his opponents become too tired to resist someone who can't even harm a fly caught between the glove and a pad.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The writers admit that they never resolved the "Bart loses his utility belt" storyline.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: How Homer wins the boxing matches. Almost.
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