Recap / The Simpsons S 9 E 22 Trash Of The Titans
Episode - 5F09
First Aired - 4/26/1998

In this, the 200th episode, Homer's jerkass antics gets the family's garbage collection cut off, and Marge writes an apology to the garbagemen on Homer's behalf. Incensed that Marge would do something like this, Homer takes on sanitation commissioner Ray Patterson (voiced by comedian, actor, and one of Saturday Night Live's most frequent and memorable hosts, Steve Martin) in an upcoming election and wins his seat with a campaign that promises more than it can deliver.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Mine: Homer's solution for solving the Springfield Sanitation Department's budget crisis is to allow other major U.S. cities to dump their unwanted garbage in one (located on the outskirts of the city) in exchange for money. The plan backfires when the garbage starts erupting from the ground all over the town.
  • A Fool and His New Money Are Soon Parted: Homer spends his entire year's budget in less than a month.
  • Adam Westing: The episode pokes fun at Bono's political activism.
    Bono: Hold on, people. He's talking about waste management, that affects the whole damn planet!
    The Edge: Aww, here we go...
  • Analogy Backfire: When the garbagemen resumed collecting the Simpsons' garbage and Homer didn't know it was because Marge apologized on his behalf, he compared it to David vs. Goliath and said that this time, David won. Rather than correct Homer, Lisa's mind gives her some Beethoven music to bliss out to.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Mayor Quimby looks at garbage that suddenly popped out of the ground at the Springfield golf course.
    Mayor Quimby: What's this? Melon rinds, pantyhose, a term paper from Texas Tech?
  • Bowdlerization: In the UK, the following scenes are cut during pre-watershed airings:
    • The many times the word "wanker" has been said.
    • Homer being told by a city hall clerk that he's standing in a line for people who have to register as sex offenders (with Moe coming in and complaining that the sex offender registry line is always long).
    • Marge, Bart, and Lisa guessing that Homer raised money for the garbage collection budget by dealing drugs (though Lisa's line, "I wish it were drugs!" wasn't cut).
    • Ray Patterson's line "You're screwed!" in his resignation speech was cut (though Mayor Quimby was allowed to say, "We are far from screwed!")
  • Butt-Monkey: Adam Clayton is portrayed as such within U2.
    The Edge: [to Larry Mullen] What do you say we slip out to Moe's for a pint?
    Adam: Can I come?
    The Edge: No.
    • Homer, as usual, gets beaten up by garbagemen, again by U2's security (and recorded on the concert's big screen), and is implied to get horse whipped after destroying the town after losing the Sanitation Department's entire yearly budget in less than a month.
    • Ray Patterson is tormented by Homer, and the townspeople who fall for Homer's insanity.
  • Cassandra Truth: Ray Patterson tries to warn the townsfolk that Homer's promises are unworkable, but they just brush him off.
  • Chirping Crickets: Happens during the U2 concert, when Homer explains why the audience should vote for him without giving an actual reason.
  • Crying Indian: Parodied. The Crying Indian is seen and does cry when he sees a can carelessly thrown at his feet, but another Indian appears next to him and tells him not to turn around and see the true horror that pollution has wrought on the former location of Springfield. Unfortunately, the Crying Indian does turn around and screams, and the second one lectures, "I told you not to turn around."
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ray Patterson, being played by Steve Martin and all.
  • Delivery Guy Infiltration: Homer gets backstage at a U2 gig by posing as the "poh-tah-to man". He gets in when the guard asks him, "Where the hell have you been?"
  • Did Not Do the Bloody Research: When this episode first aired in the UK, it caused controversy because of how it had multiple characters say "wankers" (which is a really offensive thing to call someone in the UK) in a show airing before the 9 pm watershed. Most initial airings (including its premiere there) had it cut.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Homer didn't realize how expensive his proposals would actually be.
    • Also applies to the townsfolk who voted in Homer.
  • Downer Ending: Springfield is so badly trashed that the only solution is to move the whole town five miles down the road.
  • Easily Forgiven: Played With. All of Springfield unanimously agrees to horse-whip Homer for messing up Springfield, but strangely, as Springfield is being moved five miles down the road, Homer gets amicably welcomed by Moe when he heads into his tavern.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: If somewhat justifiably, not a single person opposes to brutally punishing Homer for ruining the town. To punctuate this most of Homer's close friends and family members can be seen in the front rows glaring stoic as the vote is given.
  • Forging the Will: During a conversation, Marge calls Homer out for signing her name for numerous papers. By Homer's own admission, at least one of them was a will.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Plan B, which the mayor speaks of in an ominous tone. There's so much garbage springing up from the ground in Springfield, that the only option to save the city is to move it five miles away.
  • Green Aesop: Word of God said this was unintentional.
  • Here We Go Again: Lisa points that even though Springfield is being moved five miles down the road, they'll just trash it like they did to the old location.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Homer is outraged that Marge would forge his name for an apology to the garbagemen, despite her quickly pointing out he has signed her name for numerous papers.
    Homer: But this isn't a loan application, or a will. You signed away my dignity!
    • He then vows to stand up for "the little guy" against Ray Patterson's supposed tyranny... while bullying his pet bird.
      Ray: Hey, leave the bird alone!
      Homer: Never! [continues shaking bird cage]
  • Ignored Expert/Only Sane Man: Ray Patterson was smart enough to see that Homer basically has no clue what being sanitation commissioner is all about. First, during the debate:
    Ray: All right, fine. If you want an experienced politician, vote for me. But if you want to believe a bunch of crazy promises about garbagemen washing your cars and emptying your kitty litter, then by all means, vote for this sleazy lunatic.
    • Second, when he leaves office:
      Ray: Simpson, the American people have never tolerated incompetence from in their public officials. You are going to crash and burn, my fat-headed friend.
      Homer: See, we're still friends. Come on, how about a hug?
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Ray Patterson looks just like Steve Martin.
  • Jerkass: You can see why some consider season nine a turning point in Homer's characterization (at least, for the Mike Scully seasons). He cuts off his family's garbage service over a petty argument and runs for sanitation commissioner rather than apologize. Once he gets elected, he renders the entire town uninhabitable in a matter of months. It's implied that he has been forging Marge's name on loan applications and wills, and doesn't see a problem with that. It's also implied that he tampered with the brakes in Ray Patterson's car, putting him in serious danger. He also continuously makes Ray's life a living hell by tossing lies (bringing children to his gingerbread house) and belittling him at every opportunity. When Homer wins, he laughs it all off to a fuming Ray that they were all lies and that they can keep being friends.
  • Lead In: The episode opens with the creation and celebration of Love Day before moving on to Homer's confict with the garbage man that drives the episode.
  • Literal Metaphor:
    Homer: I came to fight city hall. I want to shake things up, Patterson. Stir up some controversy. Rattle a few cages. (shakes a nearby bird cage)
    Patterson: Hey, stop that!
    Homer: You'll never silence me! I'm the last angry man, Patterson, a crusader for the little guy! (shakes it again)
    Patterson: Leave the bird alone!
    Homer: Never! (shakes it again)
  • Logic Bomb: Costington's slogan is "Over a century without a slogan." Word of God said it took "a lot of wasted man-hours" to think it up.
  • Malicious Slander:
    Ray: You told people I lured children into my gingerbread house.
    Homer: Heheheheh. Yeah, that was just a lie.
  • Not So Innocent Whistling: When Adam Clayton gets turned down on joining the Edge and Larry Mullen at Moe's, he calls them wankers before quickly turning away to adjust his guitar and whistle.
  • Oh, Crap!: Homer realizes he's in big trouble when the garbage men heard him call them "trash-eating stinkbags".
  • Oireland: Homer gets in backstage to the U2 concert by pretending to be the "Potatoe man", who had apparently been expected.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The song "The Garbage Man" spoofs "The Candy Man" from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, and its end parade spoofs that of The Music Man (as does Homer snapping his fingers to change into a uniform). Also, Oscar the Grouch appears in one of the trash cans in said parade.
    • Homer's appearance on the big screen at the U2 concert spoofs Bill Gates' appearance at the 1997 Macworld Expo, in which Gates announced that Microsoft would be investing in the (then-)struggling Apple Inc.
    • Ray Patterson's end speech was inspired by an incident in which Redd Foxx was to perform in Las Vegas, but noticed that there were very few people present, prompting him to immediately leave; the band which played him on with the theme from Sanford and Son, after a moment's confusion, played him off with the theme again. This incident was also spoofed in "The Two Nahasapeemapetilons" when Moe walks onstage at a bachelor auction, and without stopping, walks straight to the "rejects" section.
    • In the opening scene, a saleswoman suggest that the proposed new holiday should be something religious, saying, "We had great penetration last spring with Christmas 2!" Christmas 2 was a holiday (falling on March 25) created by B.Z. to cash in on the success of Patch's Puce Pops in Santa Claus: The Movie
  • Skewed Priorities: The garbagemen ignore Homer's pleas to stop for his trash, though quickly reverse when he begins to insult them in response.
  • Speaking Like Totally Teen: Used by Homer at the U2 concert:
    Bono: Why should they vote for you?
    Homer: That's a good question, Bono. 'Cause I'd be the most whack, tripped-out sanitation commissioner ever! Can you dig it?
    (dead silence)
  • Take That!: To the gift/greeting card industry for creating new holidays purely to boost revenue. Love Day bears a marked resemblance to Sweetest Day, a Valentine's Day-like manufactured holiday created in Cleveland in 1922.
  • Time for Plan B: Springfield's all-purpose contingency plan to move five miles away is enacted when Homer's methods to dispose of the garbage had Gone Horribly Wrong.
  • Trash of the Titans: Trope Namer, though many examples of this trope have been seen prior to this episode.
  • Unaccustomed as I Am to Public Speaking...
    Ray: (happy sigh) Oh gosh. You know, I'm not much on speeches, but it's so gratifying to— (growling) leave you wallowing in the mess you've made. You're screwed, thank you, bye.
    Moe: He's right. He ain't much on speeches.
  • X Must Not Win: Shown to quite a detrimental level, since Homer's campaign is based largely on a spite war towards Patterson, he proves completely incompetent when he finally gets the job.