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

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Episode - 5F21
First Aired - 9/20/1998

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


  • Artistic License – History: Lisa claims that Edison invented Film and photography. In real life, the former came long after his retirement and the latter before he was even born.
    • Subverted later on. Homer Liam said that Edison invented the Stram Engine, before Carl points out that “JAMES WATT invented the steam engine.”.
  • 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 that tour groups ordinarily weren't allowed to see the brain while unhooking the rope...before adding "and today will not be an 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 to his electric hammer to Edison's (already) wealthy heirs.
  • Broken Pedestal: When Homer notices that his single ingenious invention was already invented by Edison, 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 DaVinci much like Homer compared himself to Edison.
  • Bungling Inventor: Homer's first inventions are generally terrible, unless that is 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 actually 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 Oscar-winner in Homer's imaginary funeral refers back to "A Star is Burns", when Barney won the Springfield Film Festival for his autobiographical movie Pukahontas.
  • Foreshadowing: Homer falling over in his chair while the kids were visiting him in his invention workshop.
  • 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.
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  • Homemade Inventions: After Homer decides to model his life off of Thomas Edison, he dabbles in inventing. Most of them are terrible.
  • 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. While it's true that the others are bad, Homer's electric hammer proves to be a stunning innovation, even more impressive than the six-legged chair.
  • It's Been Done: After several disasters, the one invention that works turns out to have been invented by Edison himself but apparently unnoticed, prompting Homer and Bart to travel to Edison's workshop to destroy it. Homer decides not to once he sees that Edison himself also had a "rivalry" similar to 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.
  • Lonely Funeral: Homer imagines himself dying with no accomplishments to his name. The only attendees in his funeral are President Lenny and Oscar winner Barney Gumble, as well as the robot from Lost in Space and Heckle and Jeckle. Homer's corpse gets dumped into his grave by a dump truck, 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 mentions 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, it is falsely attributed to being invented by Edison, and winds up making his heirs (even more) rich.
  • 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.
  • Oh, Crap!: Homer, when he realizes that the desk drawer he put his files in was actually the dryer.
  • People Fall Off Chairs: Homer falls victim to this so much in the episode, he ops to add extra legs to his chair. And it is soon revealed that Edison had the same idea.
  • Royalties Heir: One of Homer's inventions (an electric hammer) is making millions. Unfortunately, for his family, the invention was credited to Thomas Edison, the royalties went to his "already wealthy" heirs.
  • 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 prevent a chair 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 showed 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: "Let's just say I'm sitting in the right chair."
  • The Un-Reveal: 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.


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