Recap: The Simpsons S 9 E 13 The Joy Of Sect

Homer and the rest of the town (save Marge, Reverend Lovejoy, Flanders, Mr. Burns, Smithers, and Groundskeeper Willie) are brainwashed into joining a cult.


  • Army of Lawyers: More like a fire station of lawyers
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Comes up when Homer tells the Movementarians about his short attention span, then gets distracted by a bird as soon as they attempt to explain the point of their orientaion film.
  • Batter Up: Lovejoy tries to subdue Homer by smacking him with a baseball bat, but as he's failing, Willie steps in and tries to smack Homer himself.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: Just as Lisa comments that the family is thinking for themselves again, the family — including Marge — starts droning after the TV, "We are watching Fox..."
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Occurs in the Movementarians' orientaion film.
    Film: When you surrender yourself to the Movementarians, you are guaranteed a perfect life of serenity and love and loving serenity! Not a guarantee.
    Moe: Loving serenity. It's about damn time!
  • Chekhov's Gag: When the kids are swayed out of the Movementarians' ways with fake hoverbikes, Ned reveals that he created the hoverbikes' humming noise with a comb and paper. Later on, when the Leader's "spaceship" falls apart, it is revealed that the ship's own humming noise was provided by a comb and paper.
  • Church of Happyology: The Movementarians is said to be a reference to Scientology (among other cults, but Scientology sticks out as the main target). The leader even looks like L. Ron Hubbard. It's a miracle this episode didn't cause controversy like South Park's "Trapped in the Closet" did, considering that Nancy Cartwright note  is an actual member of the Church of Scientology and that a rejected first draft exists where Lisa joins Scientology.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Homer gets bored of the orientation film and makes up his own movie. The first thing he says after the real movie ends is, "Wait! I'm confused about the movie. So the cops knew that internal affairs were setting them up?" much to his attempted brainwashers' annoyance.
  • Deprogram: Groundskeeper Willie tries to deprogram Homer, but ends up being convinced that the Movementarians are great and joining too.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Rev. Lovejoy loses faith in his own religion when the Leader's apparent spaceship is revealed.
  • The Determinator: The recruiters trying to convert Homer.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Smithers eagerly agreeing to kneel before Mr. Burns. Considering his unrequited crush on the old man, that can be taken a lot of ways.
  • Humiliation Conga: The Leader's "spaceship" breaks apart in mid-air, sending him plummeting to the ground on Cletus' property, who then robs him at gunpoint.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: One attempt to brainwash Homer has him being subjected to harsh criticism by several people at once. After gleefully agreeing with insult after hate-filled insult, Moe finally mentions Homer's armpit smell. Homer is about to object, but he gets a whiff himself and promptly changes his tune.
  • Jerkass: This episode is the first time Homer uses the word ("Outta my way, jerkass!"), but "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson" and "Trash of the Titans" actually show Homer's new jerkass personality. In this episode, he's just an easily-swayed idiot who likes beer (though some will argue that he is a jerkass for forcing his family into a cult, but that was only partially his fault).
  • Noodle Incident: Three of them:
    • Apparently, Reverend Lovejoy burned down the Springfield Church before ("I never thought I'd have to do this again").
    • Barney's liver has once tried to escape from his body (the part where he mistook the liver Dolph threw out for his own).
    • Homer fell for a timeshare scam where he bought four of them before his check bounced.
  • Organ Autonomy: When Marge and the others tempt Homer with beer to break him out of his Movementarian mindset, Homer's brain and stomach fight over whether Homer would have some.
  • The Quisling: Kent Brockman, unsurprisingly.
  • Real After All: Homer attempts to expose the leader as the fraud he is, only to find himself face to face with a working intergalactic spaceship. The leader attempts to escape in the ship, only for it to fall apart in the air, revealing it was not a real spaceship at all.
  • Shout-Out: Deciding that a catchy theme tune was the best way to convert Homer, the cult members chanted the one to Batman with "Leader" instead of "Batman". Rover from The Prisoner also shows up.
    • Mr. Burns' attempt at introducing himself as a god spoofs the music video for Michael Jackson's HIStory.
      • His attempts at creating a symbol for his religion ended up producing Kellogg's Special K and Disney's Mickey head.
    • The way Groundskeeper Willie gets everyone's attention and offers his services spoof Quint's introduction in Jaws.
  • Shown Their Work: Many of the Movementarians' tactics and practices are taken directly from Real Life cults including Jim Jones' People's Temple, Heaven's Gate, and the Church of Scientology.
  • Start My Own: Mr. Burns attempts to create his own religion after he learns of the Movementarians' tax-exempt status.
    • Ironically, the Leader had started his own religion with the Movementarians after having previously been with the Promise Keepers.
  • Too Dumb to Fool: Until the cult recruiters realized that's what kept them from converting Homer.