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Recap / The Simpsons S 10 E 17 Maximum Homerdrive

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When a steak-eating contest between Homer and a beloved trucker proves fatal for the latter, Homer (accompanied by Bart) decides to complete his final run for him. Meanwhile, Lisa and Marge buy a new doorbell, but can't get anyone to ring it.


  • Accidental Misnaming: The Navitron Autodrive system calls Homer "Red" when Homer is driving towards the convoy, saying it can't let him do it because the risk is unacceptable. Justified because it's Red's truck.
  • Automated Automobiles: Trucks are fitted with "auto-drivers" that take over for the driver when he's unable to do so. Thing is, most truck drivers started abusing this for acts of laziness, letting the auto-driver do the whole work of taking them and the cargo to their destiny.
  • The Atoner: Ashamed he indirectly caused Red's death, Homer decides to complete Red's shipment for him.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Homer, as usual.
    Trucker: (to Homer, threateningly) All right, pal, here's the deal. You stumbled on a secret that only truck drivers are supposed to know.
    (Homer bursts into laughter. The trucker quickly glances behind him.)
    Trucker: Hey! Pay attention and stop looking at that squirrel!
    (Cut to the squirrel in question, which is just chattering, picking up an acorn, and looking around.)
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  • Bait-and-Switch: Marge is upset that Homer and Bart get to go on an exciting adventure while she, Lisa, and Maggie stay home. Then, she gets an idea: "Maybe it's time we took a walk on the wild side..." Cut to Marge and her daughters shopping for a musical doorbell at Señor Ding-Dong's Doorbell Fiesta.
  • Big Eater: Red Barclay and Tony Randall. Homer, who has apparently never eaten till he was full up until this point is no match for Red and probably no match for Tony either.
  • Black Comedy Animal Cruelty: The Slaughterhouse kills the cattle right in front of you before eating it, which in Mr. Burns' case means needlessly killing a half-dozen cows before he decides he doesn't want meat at all.
  • Blatant Lies: Dr. Hibbert does it twice first when he claims a balanced diet can include the occasional eating contest (something he claims to have learned when he became 12% owner of the restaurant) and again when he claims Red's beef poisoning was caused at another restaurant.
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  • The Bore: Marge is such a boring person that her idea of taking a walk on the wild side is to buy a door bell that plays "(They Long To Be) Close To You" by The Carpenters, then wait for someone to press it so she can hear it.
  • Boring Return Journey: Homer and Bart are last seen boarding a train destined to deliver napalm to Springfield.
  • Continuity Nod: The doorbell Marge and Lisa buy plays the melody from "(They Long To Be) Close To You" by The Carpenters, a song that was repeatedly featured in "The Way We Was" when Marge and Homer first met (which The Simpsons Movie would later show they played at their wedding).
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • When Homer saw Red Barclay at the restaurant and then looked at the pictures of Red Barclay and Tony Randall and somehow mistook Red for Tony despite the two men looking completely different.
    • When the contest begins, Red immediately digs into his Sir Loin-A-Lot. Meanwhile, Homer is busy buttering a slice of bread. Marge yells at him for trying to fill up on bread.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: The truckers union evidently have exclusive ownership of computers that can drive trucks autonomously, which makes pretending to still drive the trucks themselves (and their murderous attempts to maintain their deception) completely pointless. If they went public with it, they'd be able to keep using it themselves and rent it to others for even more money.
  • Eating Contest: Homer challenges Red into a contest to see who could finish the Slaughter House's special Sir Loin-A-Lot steak first.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: Parodied as Homer and Bart watch a drive-in movie called "The Monster That Ate Everybody".
    Woman: You mean, it ate Patrick too?
    Man: It ate everybody.
    Woman: What about Erika?
    Man, Homer and Bart: It ate everybody!
    Homer: Stupid!
  • Everybody Has Standards: When Homer says he's going to run over an old lady to show Bart the Navitron Autodrive System, Bart's horrified by the idea.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The list of CB radio codes contains codes such as "10-33: Actual bear in air", "10-36: Ghost truck on highway", and "10-39: I love you, gay buddy".
  • Go Out with a Smile: Red died on the spot with a victorious smile frozen on his face. He was eating steak when he passed away.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Towards the end, when the truckers watch Homer pull off a barrel roll without the Autodrive's assistance.
    Trucker 1: You know boys, I've been thinking. Maybe it's time we ditched the high tech gizmos and went back to driving like our daddies did.
    Trucker 2: Drunk?
    Trucker 1: No, no, no. Using our hands and our wits. Yeah, sure, it's hard work, and it's lonely as hell, but it has meaning and dignity. Huh? What do you say?
    Trucker 3: Nah. Let's just find some other scam.
  • Incessant Music Madness: When Lisa rings the Simpsons' new doorbell, it starts playing "Close To You" nonstop. This keeps them up into the night, when Marge pulls the wiring to get it to stop (she would have cut it, but Homer had traded their tools for M&M's again). This only amplified the music, bringing irate Springfieldians to their doorstep. It only took the intervention of Señor Ding-Dong himself to silence the doorbell.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: Lamenting that Homer and Bart always get to go on adventures, Marge decides to take a walk on the wildside by...getting a new doorbell — a musical one, at that. Lisa is quick to lampshade what her mom considers 'adventurous'.
  • Kick the Dog: Homer and Bart find themselves confronted by a band of angry truck drivers. Their situation is made worse when the Navitron Overdrive chickens out and ejects itself out of the truck.
  • Late to the Realization: When Homer is told by Red Barclay that only two people have ever finished the Sir Loin-A-Lot challenge, Red points to his and Tony Randall's pictures on the wall. Homer looks at both pictures for quite a few seconds (with Red coaching him by striking the same pose as in his picture), before deducing...
    Homer: It's you! You're him! You're Tony Randall!
  • Lethal Eatery: The Slaughterhouse is a literal example; not only does Red die of food poisoning, but the place has the foresight to keep bodybags on the premise for when such a thing happens.
  • Ludd Was Right: The truckers are portrayed as useless and lazy for relying on machines to drive their trucks. When Homer escapes from them, one suggests they go back to "driving like our daddies did" ("Drunk?"), and the others just resolve to try to get money some other dishonest way.
  • Mega Meal Challenge: The Sir Loin-A-Lot steak. Only Red Barclay and Tony Randall have ever finished it.
  • My Car Hates Me: Having solved the Simpsons' doorbell troubles, Señor Ding-Dong tries to leave, but his car's engine stalls.
  • Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!: Homer has this reaction when Red calls him a greenhorn.
    Red: Take my advice, this one's not for greenhorns.
    Homer: Greenhorns?! Who's a greenhorn?! What's a greenhorn?!
    Bart: It's an insult. Sock him, Dad — sock everybody!
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Lenny biting Homer, which led Homer to contract tetanus.
    • Apparently, it wasn't the first time Homer traded the family tools for M&M's.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The cow Mr. Burns wants a glass of milk from gets one when it's about to be hit with a stun gun.
    • Homer when Bart tells him that they have to travel 2,200 in only ten hours.
    • Bart when the convoy closes in on him and Homer and one of the trucks rams them from behind.
    • Homer and Bart when they see the line of trucks in front of them, blocking their path.
    • Homer when the Autodrive system ejects itself from the truck as Homer is driving towards the aforementioned line of trucks.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: When Chief Wiggum is about to shoot the Simpsons' musical doorbell for disturbing the entire town with its loud, non-stop music:
    Wiggum: All right, Chimey, this time, the bell tolls for thee.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Red wins the contest, but sadly, he dies of beef poisoning as a result.
  • The Real Remington Steele: Señor Ding-Dong turns out to be an actual person and not merely a mascot.
    Lisa: I thought you were just a marketing gimmick.
    Señor Ding-Dong: There was a time when that was true, but now, I am so much more.
  • Reality Ensues: One of the truckers tries to stab out the truck's wheels with a knife while the truck is driving. The speed of the wheel deflects the attack entirely, remaining intact while the trucker loses his knife.
    Trucker: Oh, my good knife! My wife's going to kill me.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: When Red Barclay died at the Slaughter House Restaurant, Dr. Julius Hibbert, who owns 12 percent of the place, declared Red's causa mortis as food poisoning... from another restaurant.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The Navitron Autodrive system decides Homer's risk of driving straight at the line of trucks is unacceptable and ejects itself from the truck. Cue an Oh, Crap! from Homer, who then somehow manages to flip the truck over the other trucks, land on the other side, and carry right on going.
  • Second Place Is for Winners: Even for a guy who was able to eat at an all you can eat seafood restaurant non stop even three hours past closing time, Homer wasn't able to finish Sirloin-A-Lot.... but much to his gain at his loss, he was able to avoid dying like his competitor.
  • Serious Business:
    • A doorbell is not a toy. It only gets rang when someone comes to ring it. Lisa learns this the hard way when she gets tired of nobody coming to ring it and rings it herself, which causes it to get stuck ringing constantly, and when Marge tries to stop it by ripping out some wires, it just causes the doorbell to start playing the melody faster and somehow makes it loud enough to alert the entire neighborhood.
    • Being lazy at work — or being more specific, being lazy while trucking. Truckers added self-driving systems to their trucks to do this and when Homer exposes this to the world by doing crazy stunts they band together to try to stop him. When Homer pulls an insane stunt by accident to get past the blockade they admire that and one of them suggests the idea to do trucking properly again, only for the others to dismiss the idea and move on to a new scam.
  • Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?: Lampshaded when Bart joins Homer for the truck drive.
    Bart: I want to go with you, Dad.
    Homer: Don't you have school?
    Bart: Don't you have work?
    Homer: Ah, touché.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The title references the movie Maximum Overdrive, which starred Yeardley Smith, Lisa's voice actor.
    • The Navitron Autodrive system sounds like the HAL 9000.
  • Travelling at the Speed of Plot: Bart says Homer is 2200 miles from his destination and ten hours from the deadline (which would require going about three times as fast as a truck could actually go), but they still make it on time. Though one could simply conclude either Bart was wrong about the distance/time or Homer wasn't actually on time.
  • Unusual Euphemism: The trucker who tells Homer about the auto-driver say it lets you "sit back and feel your ass grow."
  • Up to Eleven: Not only does the Slaughter House's menu consist entirely of meat products, but the menu itself is made of meat — a flattened chicken, specifically.
    Marge: How clever, the kids' menu is on the beak.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: After falling asleep at the wheel of the truck, Homer wakes up in a gas station and realizes he didn't crash the truck. Only minutes later, while he comments the event with nearby truckers, he discovers why he managed to not crash it.
  • What Is This Feeling?: Homer is utterly unable to understand why he doesn't want to keep eating despite there still being steak left on his plate. He then devolves into Inelegant Blubbering when he realises for the first time in his life that he's full.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: According to this episode, it's at least 2,200 miles away from Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Worthy Opponent: Homer gains a respect for Red after he defeats him in the steak-eating contest, and upon the revelation he died doing so, decides to finish his cargo run for him.
  • Zipping Up the Bodybag: The coroners zip up the body bag on Red. They give an extra one to Marge just in case, because Homer doesn't look so good either.


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