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Recap / The Simpsons S10 E19 "Mom and Pop Art"

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Original air date: 4/11/1999

Production code: AABF-15

Homer's failed attempt at building an outdoor barbecue leads him into the world of outsider art.


  • Accidental Art: Homer's failed attempt at building a grill is mistaken for an artwork.
  • Adam Westing: Jasper Johns playing a Jerkass version of himself (see Bitch in Sheep's Clothing below).
  • Art Imitates Art: When Homer visits a museum various shout-outs to famous paintings are made. We see Pablo Picasso's "Les Demoiselles d' Avignon" and "Harlequin" hanging in a gallery, for instance, and a giant pencil statue by Claes Oldenburg is also brought in. When Homer falls asleep, several more paintings are spoofed.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Flooding an entire city would not be without serious danger of drowning accidents and water pollution in real life.
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  • Art Shift: During Homer's nightmare sequence, various paintings in different styles appear on the screen.
  • Author's Retaliation: Subverted. When Homer and Marge visit an art museum and see cartoons drawn by Matt Groening on exhibition, Homer badmouths Groening's work as undeserving of being on display. A giant eraser then appears over Homer's head, seemingly ready to erase him in response to his comment... only for said eraser to be revealed to be from a giant pencil being set up by museum workers for an upcoming exhibition.
  • Battle Cry: Homer lets out a crazy one when finishing lashing out at his barbecue pit after Marge asks Bart how he's doing with it.
    Bart: I think he's almost done.
    Homer, in the background: *Charges at the failed pit with an umbrella* YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!! *Umbrella flips open upon impact, knocking Homer over*
    Bart: Yeah, he's done.
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  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Played for Laughs. Renowned artist Jasper Johns turns out to be a kleptomaniac who obsessively steals everything in sight and threatens death to anybody who squeals on him. At the end of the episode, he hijacks Astrid's boat and steals Marge's painting.
  • Book Dumb: When Homer tried to read the assembly instructions in French, he got stumped at "Le Grille".
  • Call-Back: When Homer is at the art gallery, we can see Barney's Japanese girlfriend from the season 5 episode "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"
  • Concept Art: This episode pokes a lot of fun at conceptual art and the elite who look for a deeper meaning into mundane things.
  • Couch Gag: In a parody of Dr. Strangelove, the Simpsons sit on the couch and a trapdoor opens, and they scream "Yahoo!" as they plummet towards the ground.
  • Doom It Yourself: Homer building the barbecue pit. He drops all the parts (including the instructions) on the still-wet cement. From there, it goes about as well as you'd expect.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Homer fluking his way to art stardom through first failing to build the barbecue, and then a well-connected artist being the victim of his poor attempt at disposing of it.
  • The Great Flood: Homer floods the entire town as part of a conceptual art work.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Marge is nothing but bitter and unsupportive of Homer when he tries to be an outsider artist because she's unhappy that Homer made more progress in a week then she ever has been until he fails.
  • I'll Take That as a Compliment:
    Astrid: (to Marge about Homer) Your husband's work is what we call "outsider art." It could be by a mental patient, a hillbilly or a chimpanzee.
    Homer: (gasps excitedly) In high school, I was voted most likely to be a mental patient, hillbilly or chimpanzee!
  • Implementing the Incomplete: Homer is forced to do this when he drops the grill parts into the wet cement, and does it again when he spills the bricks into it too!
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: Happens In-Universe, as Homer's second art piece is panned by critics for being too much like his failed barbecue.
  • It Wasn't Easy: As part of one of Homer's zany schemes, he and Bart break into the zoo at night. Covered in cuts and bruises, Bart reports to Homer:
    Bart: Okay, Homer, it wasn't easy, but I managed to snorkel the grizzlies.
  • Lazy Bum: Marge claims Homer's gotten more recognition for his creations in about a week than she's received for all the painting she's done for years. She conveniently forgets how long it's been since the last time she ever picked up a paintbrush as well as all the fame she gained when she did. It feels as though she's only lashing out at Homer because she doesn't like being reminded how little she's created recently.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: After Homer badmouths Matt Groening, a huge pencil with eraser seems to erase him, but it's just two guys carrying a really huge pencil.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Homer's art is just junk, but the art critics love it because it's art to them. However, when Homer makes a similar sculpture from trash they suddenly feel he is repeating himself.
  • Never My Fault:
    • Homer yells "Stupid Lisa!" when he accidentally knocks all of the barbecue components into the pit of cement next to it, which was decorated by Lisa herself.
    • Marge gets upset that Homer has become more successful in the art world than she has even though she was painting long before him. She doesn't acknowledge that she hasn't done any painting in years or done anything to advance her supposed career since she painted that portrait of Mr. Burns, making her criticisms of how quickly Homer got popular a bit insincere.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Homer falls asleep in a museum and has a dream where various paintings attack him.
  • One-Hit Wonder: Homer's art is this In-Universe, something Marge is aware of.
  • Past in the Rear-View Mirror: Homer adjusts his mirror to avoid seeing his bumper with the barbecue pit dangerously rolling down the road.
  • Pet the Dog: Homer assuring Marge that he's always liked her paintings.
  • Pun-Based Title: The title is a pun on pop art.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "WHY! MUST! LIFE! BE! SO! HARD!?"
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Homer takes a shotgun with him to answer the front door. When he sees that it's Astrid and her fellow artists, he puts the gun in Maggie's crib where she can easily get at it.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The rattlesnake that's taken up residence in the Simpsons' piano has these.
  • Rich Bitch: The art critic crowd besides Astrid who love Homer's first sculpture but then quickly turn on him.
  • The Resenter: Marge is nothing but bitter and unsupportive of Homer when he tries to be an outsider artist because she's unhappy that Homer made more progress in a week then she ever has been until he fails. As mentioned in Never My Fault, Marge is acting like she's been painting for years and never received any acknowledgement for it, despite A: she stopped painting in high school because of her dismissive teacher, B: when she resumed painting she won a local art contest, was commissioned to paint Mr. Burns' portrait and was told by Ringo Starr he loved the painting she sent him, and C: she hasn't painted since all of that happened. All this makes her resentment come across as totally unjustified and completely undermines the Hard Work Hardly Works trope she's attempting to invoke.
  • Self-Deprecation: "Matt Groening? He can barely draw."
  • Shout-Out:
    • Works by Pablo Picasso, Claes Oldenburg, Leonardo da Vinci, Henri Matisse, Henri Rousseau, Salvador Dalí and Andy Warhol are referenced.
    • While Marge paints the flooded town this is a clear reference to Canaletto's paintings of Venice.
    • Homer scribbles something on a piece of paper when Moe tells him he can pay with a priceless sketch. Barney asks if he can do the same but is rejected, causing him to throw away his work. The camera then shows it's Georges Seurat's "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte".
    • One of the museum paintings features Akbar and Jeff.
    • Home Improvement is referenced with a Fictional Counterpart called "Toolin' Around" where a Richard Karn lookalike advertises the BBQ pit Homer buys. Flute music similar to Home Improvement's theme also plays during the BBQ scenes.
  • So Long, Suckers!: Jasper Johns yells this after stealing Astrid's boat and driving past, splashing her with water
  • Special Guest: Pop art painter Jasper Johns & Isabella Rosselini as Astrid.
  • Terrible Artist: Homer sure qualifies, seeing that he doesn't understand art at all, but still tries to make something of artistic value.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: Invoked in Homer's art style. The critics think his first work is art, but it was actually just some junk that Homer had thrown together.


Video Example(s):


Homer 'Builds' a Barbecue Pit

Inspired by an advertisment, Homer decides to try his hand at do-it-yourself masonry. Unfortunately, he ends up with a monstrosity.

How well does it match the trope?

4.75 (16 votes)

Example of:

Main / EpicFail

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