After starring in an instructional video for the nuclear plant, Homer discovers while filling out his Screen Actors' Guild form that he doesn't know what the "J" in his middle name means, so Homer goes to a hippie commune (headed by two hippies turned businessmen named Seth and Munchie), finds his answer on a mural his mom painted — and decides to be as free and wild as the hippies of the 1960s were.
This episode provides examples of...
- Abusive Parents: Abe, of course. He basically said that it was Mona's job to name and love Homer while he was only in it for the spanking. In the flashback at Woodstock, he not only was prepared to spank Homer for dancing naked but look for a recruitment booth to send him off to Vietnam despite him being no older than maybe ten.
- Alan Smithee: In-universe, it is the pseudonym Burns uses for his director credit on the terrible instructional video Homer, Lenny and Carl act in.
- Anachronism Stew: Homer attempts to be helpful in the "hippie freak-out" ... by playing "Uptown Girl", a song made in 1983. Then again, it is Played for Laughs.
- Artistic License History: Abe is shown booing Jimi Hendrix while waiting for Sha Na Na to perform. In reality, Hendrix performed far after Sha Na Na did, as he was the headliner. But this being Abe...
- Bad "Bad Acting": Homer, Lenny and Carl stink of this in the commercial. Bonus points for Homer, as he attempted to finish it.
For all those reasons and more, let us choose an electrifying
career in ...
Nuclear power. Homer: (Imitating Burns)
- Bait-and-Switch: Homer is shot by the police in the climax; the next shot is of the cemetery ... followed quickly by a pan right to the hospital, where Homer is being treated for being shot in the head with the flower he put in one of the cop's guns.◊
- Brain Bleach: Maude proclaims her eyes "soiled" after she sees Homer lying naked on his couch ... on his front lawn.
- Celebrity Paradox: George Carlin voices Munchie, one of Mona's hippie friends. In "Homie the Clown," Krusty got in trouble with Carlin for stealing his "Seven Dirty Words" routine.
- Chekhov's Gun: Homer plays with an old frisbee as part of his hippie shtick. He tosses it into the air in celebration when Seth and Munchie humor him by going on an "old-time freak-out" with him. While they're out, it somehow gets into their factory and jams up the juicing mechanism.
- Comically Missing the Point: When Seth and Munchie announced that their inability to supply the ordered amount of juice was caused by an "oaf", Homer is glad that they decided to blame it on "an oaf" but that he still feels guilty.
- Does Not Like Shoes: While embracing the hippie lifestyle, Homer stops wearing shoes, to the point that the soles of his feet have visibly blackened, which he attributes to "walking through pretty much anything."
- Extreme Doormat: Implied by Skinner's response to the hippie's proclamation of "this conformity factory [Springfield Elementary, as] closed."
"Fifteen years of loyal service and this is how they tell me?"
- Future Me Scares Me: Even the painting of Past Homer isn't too pleased with Present Homer:
Past Homer: How could you let me turn into you?
Present Homer: Bu-bu-but the poncho...
Past Homer (mockingly): "Bu-bu-but the poncho." Hit the road, square.
- Hypocrite: Munchie calls out Homer for his hypocrisy when he berates him and Seth for having jobs.
Homer: You guys are total sellouts!
Munchie: Wait. Don't you work for a nuclear power plant?
- I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: Parodied when Homer ends up in the hospital with a flower embedded in his forehead.
Bart: Why don't you just pull it out?
Hibbert: (Laughing) I'm a doctor, not a gardener!
Homer: Can't you just prune some of the leaves so I can watch TV?
Hibbert: (Dead serious) What did I just say?
- I am a Humanitarian: Implied with Mr. Burns who refuses Smithers' offer to send out for some Chinese because "those people are all gristle."
- Literal Metaphor: Munchie says that, in a way, the '60s ended the day they sold their hippie bus ... which occurred on December 31, 1969.
- Mushroom Samba: A good chunk of the town gets unintentionally stoned, and we see Groundskeeper Willie, Ned Flanders, and Barney fall victim to this (although Barney starts up another Mushroom Samba to stop the first using beer to summon a friendlier pink elephant hallucination).
- Mysterious Middle Initial: Until this episode, the viewers didn't know what the "J" in Homer J. Simpson was for.note It was a mystery even for Homer. Actually, his father didn't know either.
"How should I know? It was your mother's job to name you and love you and such. I was mainly in it for the spanking."
- New-Age Retro Hippie: Homer tries so hard to be this, but his dialogue is Totally Radical and he doesn't make much of an impact.
- Oblivious to Their Own Description: After Homer ruins Seth and Munchie's juice shipment:
Kent Brockman: And, in business news, Groovy Grove Juice Corporation has announced it will miss delivery on its third-quarter shipment. A spokesman attributed the production shutdown to a half-witted oaf.
Homer: Aww, it was sweet of those guys to blame an oaf. But really, it was my fault.
- Oh, Crap!: Seth and Munchie's realisation that Homer used their "personal vegetables" to complete the juice order.
- The Reveal: Homer J. Simpson's middle name is Jay.
- Running Gag: Homer using "Uptown Girl" by Billy Joel as his hippie anthem.
- While stoned, Grandpa Simpson and Jasper laugh like Beavis and Butt-Head.
- As he gets stoned, Ned sees The Grateful Dead's dancing bears and skeletons, the Pink Floyd marching hammers, followed by The Rolling Stones' lips saying "Pucker up, Ned!"
- When Homer sings "Uptown Girl" during the credits, he replaces the last line with "I buried Flanders", a reference to how the "Paul Is Dead" urban legend/conspiracy theory, which claims that Paul McCartney of The Beatles died in 1966 and was replaced by a lookalike, has among their "clues" that John Lennon says "I buried Paul" in the final section of "Strawberry Fields Forever." (Lennon said that the words were actually "Cranberry sauce".)
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Invoked in-universe with Homer's mix tape, as he plays "Uptown Girl" during the freak-out.
- Special Guest: Martin Mull and George Carlin as Seth and Munchie.
- Summon Bigger Fish: Barney beats his juice hallucination by drinking beer to call on a pink elephant to kill it.
- Totally Radical: Homer's hippie slang, which he learns in part from an old tape featuring Bob Hope and Phyllis Diller.
- Troubled Production: The film Burns made to advertise the Plant had script problems from day one. Namely that none of the actors even read the script.
Uptown girl... She's my uptown girl... I know that I'm in love... With an uptown girl... I buried Flanders...