"What the hell is this thing?"
Episode - 4F22
First Aired - 9/21/1997
In this, the ninth season premiere, Homer's car is illegally parked (by Barney Gumble) in New York City next to the World Trade Center and Homer (who had a bad experience in NYC when he was a teenager) is forced to take his family there to retrieve it.
This episode contains examples of (YMMV tropes can be found here):
- Anything But That!: Barney becomes designated driver. He expected Duffman to show up, but not that night. He hears him coming, and realizes he'll miss out.
- Artistic License - Geography: When Homer reaches the top of the (original 2 WTC) South Tower, he discovers the men's restroom is out of order. He has to travel back down to the ground, run across the plaza and go up the (original 1 WTC) North Tower. When he gets to the summit, the North Tower's 360 ft. tall TV antenna is noticeably missing. It's worth noting because all other shots of the roof in this episode show it. This could also be considered a goof by the animators.
- Bad Vibrations: The approaching Duffmobile makes the peanuts at Moe's bar shake.
- Bait and Switch: Homer asking for something to drink from the Khlav Kalash Vendor.
Homer: Now, what do you have to wash that awful taste out of my mouth?
Vendor: Mountain Dew or Crab Juice.
Homer: (groans) Blecch! Oh, geez... I'll take a Crab Juice.
- Butt Monkey: Homer Simpson puts up with ridiculous amounts of abuse in New York, with the rest of the family oblivious to his suffering.
- The Cameo: In the flashback Homer gets Woody Allen's trash on his head.
- "The Sphere" sculpture (which used to sit in the Austin J. Tobin Plaza) makes a blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance◊ when Homer sees his car get ticketed from the men's restroom in the North Tower.
- Bart visits the MAD office and sees the magazine's mascot Alfred E. Neuman in real life.
- Competition Coupon Madness: Barney did this offscreen, resulting in Duffman's debut.
- Gave Up Too Soon: Homer tries to hold off his Potty Emergency so he can stay with his car, but can't hold it in anymore and goes to both towers to relieve himself. He ends up getting his car ticketed.
- Imagine Spot: After Homer sees a city bus with the destination of Flushing Meadows (a public park in Queens), he thinks of it as a big field with numerous toilets all flushing several times. Justified, as he had to go to the bathroom so bad that he actually imagined it that way.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The celeb in the musical "Kickin' It!" is inspired by Robert Downey, Jr., who had serious drug issues that led to numerous arrests at the time this episode was made.
- No Export for You / Bad Export for You: Was banned in the UK for years; The BBC first got the rights to air season 9 post-9/11/01, so it was never aired there at all. Sky One and Channel 4 have reintroduced it lately, although Sky have only aired a heavily censored version that removes any reference whatsoever to the World Trade Center (and both channels remove the aforementioned "They stick all the jerks in Tower 1" exchange).
- No Sympathy: The rest of the family believe Homer is overreacting from his bad memories of New York and insist they go. The fact they have a thoroughly pleasant and care free time compared to Homer didn't help.
- Old Shame: According to the DVD commentary, the writers said they felt really bad about the line "They put all the jerks in Tower One!" after the 9/11 attacks.
- Potty Emergency: Homer after he drank crab juice.
- Rule of Funny: There were restrooms at the World Trade Center plaza on the ground floor, making Homer's Potty Emergency a complete waste of time (for both him and his bladder).
- Shout-Out: Carl, Lenny, and Homer get drunk, and sing "The Macarena" in the car.
- Shown Their Work: It took a lot from the animators, but they got New York right. Except for some scenes involving the World Trade Center. The Twin Towers stood at an angle from each other, not parallel, and there are moments where they are either at an angle or parallel.
- Skyward Scream: When Homer is in the North Tower taking a whiz, he sees his car get another ticket. He then unleashes a "D'oh!" the entire city can hear.
- Take That: See Bait and Switch.
- Unintentional Period Piece: Originally averted from 9/21/1997 - 9/10/2001. Zigzagged after 9/11/2001; while the scenes at the World Trade Center towers have dated the episode, the "I'm Checking In" musical still holds up today, what with news reports about celebrities going to rehab and/or prison for their erratic behavior.
- The Worst Seat in the House: One unlucky lady who sat behind Marge during a Broadway production couldn't see a thing, and after some impatient movement, she finally gave up on seeing anything.