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Recap / The Simpsons S 10 E 2 The Wizard Of Evergreen Terrace

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Original air date: 9/20/1998

Production code: 5F21

Homer becomes an inventor after realizing his life is almost half over and he hasn't done anything that will be considered a legacy.


  • Always Someone Better: Homer feels this way towards Edison, especially when he finally invents something genuinely useful, only to discover it was invented by Edison first. His anger dissipates once he discovers that Edison in turn spent his career unsuccessfully playing catch-up with Leonardo da Vinci.
  • Artistic License – History: Lisa claims that Thomas Edison invented film and photography. In real life, the former came long after his retirement and the latter before he was even born.
  • Bait-and-Switch: During the tour of the Edison Museum, the tour guide shows a roped off door to a room housing Edison's preserved brain. He then says that tour groups ordinarily weren't allowed to see the brain while unhooking the rope ... before adding "and today will be no exception" and rehooking the rope, much to the tour group's disappointment.
  • Bowel-Breaking Bricks: Homer implies he's letting out a big load in his toilet chair over losing the royalties for his electric hammer to Edison's (already) wealthy heirs.
  • Broken Pedestal: When Homer notices that Edison already invented his single ingenious invention, he decides to destroy it at the Edison Museum and take credit for its invention.
    Bart: But I thought you loved Edison.
    Homer: Aw, to hell with him.
    • The pedestal is then rebuilt when he see that Edison compared himself to Leonardo da Vinci much like Homer compared himself to Edison.
      Homer: [About Edison] We're not rivals: we're just a couple of dreamers who set the bar a little too high.
  • Bungling Inventor: Homer's first inventions are generally terrible ... that is, unless anyone out there feels the need for an everything's-OK alarm, a make-up shotgun, or an armchair toilet.
    • Subverted with the electric hammer, which is a clever idea, just that Homer made it too powerful to handle. In fact, the patent was said to generate millions for Edison's (already wealthy) heirs.
  • Call-Back: Barney being an Academy Award winner in Homer's Imagine Spot funeral refers back to "A Star Is Burns", when Barney won the Springfield Film Festival grand prize for his autobiographical movie Pukahontas. It also suggests that he'd sobered up in the future, which he'd originally promised to do after winning before immediately relapsing.
  • Christianity is Catholic: Also from Homer's Imagine Spot funeral, Ned Flanders, who presides over the service, wears a Cardinal's uniform.
  • Cigar Chomper: Homer takes up smoking, justifying it by saying that Edison smoked several cigars a day.
    Bart: Yeah, he invented stuff too.
    Homer: Shut up!
  • Comically Missing the Point: Homer's "Everything's Okay Alarm" is the opposite of what alarms are all about.
  • Continuity Nod: When Homer's suffering his midlife crisis, the family tries to remind that he has done a lot during his life, specifically showing the times he went into outer space in "Deep Space Homer" and fought Drederick Tatum in "The Homer They Fall".
  • Couch Gag: The living room is a movie theater that's filled with supporting characters that the Simpsons have to shuffle through to find their seats. Afterwards, Homer steals some popcorn from Comic Book Guy.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Homer’s suggestion for Hamburger Earmuffs is an idea that Professor Frink already devised.
  • Failure Montage: Homer’s first two attempts at inventing result in explosions. Then he removes the dynamite from the equation, at which point things go more smoothly.
  • Foreshadowing: Homer falling over in his chair while the kids visit him in his invention workshop.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The one visible gravestone in Homer's Imagine Spot reads Tamzarian.
  • Hollywood Mid-Life Crisis: The plot kicks off when Homer hears on the radio that the average male life expectancy is 76.2 years, when he himself is 38.1 (although Marge points out he's actually 39). However, the trope is actually downplayed as all Homer does is decide to become an inventor.
  • Homemade Inventions: After Homer decides to model his life off Thomas Edison's, he dabbles in inventing. Most of the things he invents are terrible.
  • Inventor of the Mundane: Parodied. Homer, emulating Edison, casts off his pajamas and gets out of bed naked to proclaim himself an inventor. A man walking by outside says, "Invent yourself some underpants."
    • It's also parodied with the hamburger earmuffs being deceptively complex (according to Frink) and played roughly straight with the makeup gun.
  • It's Been Done: After several disasters, the one invention that works as planned turns out to have been invented by Edison himself but apparently unnoticed, prompting Homer and Bart to travel to Edison's workshop to destroy his model. Homer decides not to once he sees that Edison himself also had a "rivalry" something like his with Leonardo da Vinci. Homer decides to split the difference and take both his and Edison's frustrations out on the Eli Whitney Museum.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Marge says that Homer's inventions — the electric hammer, the "everything's okay" alarm, the make-up gun, and the toilet chair — are terrible and no one would want them. As bad as the others are, Homer's electric hammer proves to be a stunning innovation, even more impressive than the six-legged chair.
  • Lonely Funeral: Homer imagines himself dying with no accomplishments to his name. The only attendees at his funeral are President Lenny, Oscar winner Barney, the robot from Lost in Space, and Heckle and Jeckle. A dump truck deposits Homer's corpse in his grave and several dogs start to chew on his exposed feet.
    Homer: Marge, no matter what happens in the future, promise me you won't vote for Lenny.
    Marge: ...Okay.
  • Misplaced Retribution: After Homer decides not to smash Edison's six-legged chair, he decides to take his rage out on the Da Vinci Museum. When Bart says it's in Italy, he settles for the Eli Whitney Museum.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Due to Homer leaving his electric hammer at the Edison Museum, its invention is erroneously attributed to Edison, and winds up making his heirs even richer.
  • Noodle Incident: Homer says he was banned from Springfield's public library because of some "unpleasantness". He also quit his job at the power plant off-screen, and when Marge says he could always ask for his job back if his inventions don't pan out, Homer just mentions he can't due to the way he quit.
  • Oh, Crap!: Homer, when he realizes that he put his files in the dryer rather than a desk drawer.
  • People Fall Off Chairs: Homer falls victim to this so much in the episode, he opts to add extra legs to his chair. And it is soon revealed that Edison had the same idea.
  • Ridiculously Successful Future Self: Spoofed when an insecure Homer imagines his funeral being attended by President Lenny and Barney with armfuls of Oscars, and presided over by Flanders, now a cardinal.
    Homer: Marge, no matter what happens in the future, promise me you won't vote for Lenny.
  • Royalties Heir: One of Homer's inventions (an electric hammer) is making millions. Unfortunately for the Simpsons, the invention was credited to Thomas Edison and the royalties went to his "already wealthy" heirs.
  • Shameless Self-Promoter: Homer name-drops the trope in regards to Edison himself (which is Truth in Television). He does so in response to Marge's attempt to make him shut up about Edison by saying the latter accomplished so much "because he didn't spend every moment talking about Thomas Edison."
  • Smart Ball: At least one of Homer's inventions, the automatic hammer, is clever enough to be successful. Unfortunately, he doesn't benefit from the invention as it's falsely attributed to Thomas Edison. There are also several scenes of Homer studying math and physics in his basement and actually grasping the concepts enough to write equations on the board.
  • Status Quo Is God: As in "Simpson Tide", Homer quits his job at the plant and hasn't got it back by the end of the episode, but in subsequent episodes he is back working there.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike:
    • Professor Frink actually had the same idea for "hamburger earmuffs" as Homer. He's confident he can get his prototype patented while Homer is still struggling with the "pickle matrix".
    • The discovery that kickstarts the climax: As Homer is reveling in his successful invention (legs that swing out when one leans back in one's chair, preventing it from falling over), a closer inspection of his Thomas Edison poster causes him to discover that Edison had the same idea.
  • Tim Taylor Technology: When Homer first shows off his electric hammer, it goes haywire and starts dragging him across the floor. He turns it off and concludes, "Probably needs to be more powerful."
  • Tranquil Fury: Homer concludes the episode with this: "Let's just say I'm sitting in the right chair."
  • The Unreveal: One room at the Edison Museum holds Edison's preserved brain.
    Tour Guide: [Unlatches the velvet rope] Ordinarily, folks, tour groups are not allowed to see it. [Relatches the velvet rope] And, of course, today will be no exception.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: In the beginning of the episode, Homer feels like crap for "wasting half his life". The rest of the family try to cheer him up by pointing out all his accomplishments, including fathering three children.


Video Example(s):


Edison's Brain

Homer and Bart visit the Edison Museum, where one room holds Thomas Edison's preserved brain, which visitors normally aren't allowed to see... and still aren't.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheUnReveal

Media sources: