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Recap / The Simpsons S 11 E 15 Missionary Impossible

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"Now, over here, I've brewed up my favorite beverage: beer."

Original air date: 2/20/2000 (produced in 1999)

Production code: BABF-11

Homer runs off to a South Pacific island to escape the wrath of PBS after promising them $10,000 during one of their pledge drives.

Tropes used in this episode:

  • Anonymous Benefactor: Homer attempts to invoke this by donating all of the money the pledge drive required and not having to worry about actually paying, just so PBS can get back to showing their usual TV shows as soon as possible. This backfires due to Insta-Trace exposing his identity.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Bart fills in for Homer at the nuclear power plant, Burns berates him for causing seventeen meltdowns, selling weapons grade plutonium to the Iraqis (without markup) and worst of all, taking the Hamburglar's birthday off the previous Monday and Wednesday ("Which is it?").
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  • As Herself: Betty White.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Even Mr. Fred Rogers is chasing after Homer!.
    "It's a beautiful day to kick your ass!"
  • Beware the Silly Ones: The Muppets of Sesame Street.
    Oscar: Give us the money!
    Elmo: Elmo knows where you live!
  • Bait-and-Switch: When a tremor occurs at Microatia, Q'Toktok tells Homer what the locals call it, appearing to speak his native tongue... until it turns out he's just coughing up a bone, after which he continues, "We call that, 'earthquake'."
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: The other host of the Fox pledge drive says the network makes a fortune through advertising, but he says it's just not enough, to which Rupert Murdoch shouts, "Not nearly enough!" Betty White also implores viewers to call in so that "crude, lowbrow programming" can stay on the air.
  • Blatant Lies: Homer still tries to convince the PBS crew that the Bank of Springfield is closed even after all of them see people entering and conducting their businesses in there.
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  • Book Ends: The episode begins and ends with a TV program being interrupted by a pledge drive asking for ten thousand dollars, which is resolved in a single call.
  • British Brevity: At seven whole episodes, Do Shut Up is Britain's longest-running sitcom!
  • The Cameo: Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, Hank Hill, Thurgood Stubbs, Dylan McKay, and yes, even Bender Bending Rodriguez are all taking pledges alongside Rupert Murdoch in the Fox pledge drive.
  • Couch Gag: The couch is sitting in the Evergreen Terrace Subway Station. The family sit on the couch and get on the next train.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Homer agreeing to pay for PBS' pledge drive.
    Homer: Oh, why did I register with Insta-Trace?
  • Energy Weapon: The Teletubbies fire them at Homer.
  • "Good Luck" Gesture: Lisa Jr. crosses her fingers when she says she wants to give up gambling. She doesn't hide it behind her back so her wish is probably sincere and she really hopes to stop.
  • Groin Attack: Attempted by Homer, who tries to stab a PBS exec in the crotch with a pen at a bank (and is stopped only by the security chain on the pen.)
  • Here We Go Again!: The episode ends with Bart donating $10,000 to the Fox pledge.
  • Hope Spot: Homer thinks Bart's gone outside to get help. Instead, Bart plays on the swing set.
  • Insane Troll Logic: When Bart arrives at the power plant to fill in for Homer at work, Lenny insists over Carl’s objections that Bart must be Homer because he’s parking his skateboard in Homer’s spot.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When Bart donates to the Fox pledge drive towards the end, Rupert Murdoch says "You've saved my network!", to which Bart says "Wouldn't be the first time...", referring to how The Simpsons helped popularize the Fox network.
  • Logo Joke: This was one of the episodes that repeated characters' lines for the Gracie Films logo.
    Homer: Save me, Jebus!
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When Homer sees the casino devolved into constant fighting.
  • National Geographic Nudity: Brought up when Homer notices the local women in Microatia are clothed.
    Homer: Hey, what happened to all the shirtless girls you see in all the geographical magazines?
    Q'Toktok: Craig and Amy gave us the gift of shame. All the naked women are on that island. (The island in question is far away)
    Ak: Yeah, anything goes over there. Bouncy, bouncy!
    Homer: Aww...
  • No Ending: The plot of the episode is interrupted by a PBS-style plea from Betty White which ends the episode.
  • Orifice Invasion: A variant: when Homer first arrives on the island, a pretty butterfly lands on his hand, only for it to fold its wings around its body, burrow into Homer's arm and quickly travel though it into his head. This being Homer, it has no real effect.
  • Overly-Long Name: Lisa Jr.'s real name is "Oovilu-Eeoo-Kitana-Wanjay".
  • Pelican Package Pouch: Deconstructed in the Shout-Out to the The Flintstones.
  • Prepare to Die: Yo Yo Ma exclaims "You die now!" during the chase scene.
  • Recognition Failure: In a variation of one of the show's Running Gags, Mr. Burns mistakes Bart for Homer when he reports his ten-year performance record.
    Bart: But I'm not Homer Simpson.
    Burns: I think I know who Homer Simpson is.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Homer meets a precocious, pearl-wearing little Pacific Island girl (voiced by Yeardley Smith) whom he nicknames "Lisa Jr." in lieu of her Overly-Long Name.
  • Serious Business: Betty White is more than a little...resolute...during the PBS pledge drive.
    "If you watch even one second of PBS and don't contribute, you're a thief. A common thief! Sorry, but these thieves make me so damn mad. You know who you are, thieves!"
  • Shout-Out:
  • Spit Take: Rupert Murdoch does one when he receives $10,000 in pledge money from Bart Simpson in the Fox pledge drive at the end.
  • The Stinger: Homer exclaiming "Save me, Jebus!" during the Gracie Films logo at the end of the show.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Homer builds a church on an island, he imitates The Flintstones by using a pelican as a cement mixer; as he encourages it to do an Aside Comment, the bird just falls on the ground dead.
  • Take That!:
    "Not hard to see why it's England's longest-running series, and today, we're showing all seven episodes."
    • At Family Guy ("So, if you don't want lowbrow programming to disappear from the airwaves..." followed by Betty White turning off the TV showing the FG logo on it "...please, call now.") note .
    • Marge just doesn't think Hägar the Horrible is funny.
    • "Ahem, pardon me, folks. There's nothing to see here: just off to the dumpster with these childrens' letters to God." Even better, every single person in the mob waves Rev. Lovejoy off.
  • Toad Licking: Homer takes this up since there's no alcohol on the island. He appears to favor a red one.
  • Troubled Fetal Position: When Homer first hears the island has no beer, TV, couches or other ways to pass the time, he takes this position while rolling on the ground and repeating "ohgodohgodohgod...". Q'Toktok and Ak shrug their shoulders and join in, thinking it's a prayer. Later, when Homer starts to read the Bible to the natives, they all start doing the same until he tells them to stop.
  • Umbrella Drink: Shortly after arriving on the island, Homer's drinking one from what appears to be a coconut, only for Q'Toktok to ask whether he'd prefer a coconut to drink from instead of the ox testicle that he's currently holding. Homer insists he's fine with his choice.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • In an attempt to end a PBS pledge drive which interrupts Homer's favorite show, Do Shut Up, he lies about donating $10,000 to the network, but he doesn't have the money, which prompts Betty White and several characters from various PBS shows to chase him through the streets. Luckily, Reverend Lovejoy sneaks Homer past the mob and put the latter on a plane to the South Pacific.
    • In a combination of figuring out something to do to pass the time and trying to teach the natives a subject he knows something about, he makes them build a casino which the natives seem interested and excited about, only for everything to go to hell the very next day due to a combination of everyone getting drunk off his improvised beer, the natives not understanding the rules to the card games ("What kind of a god lets a card be both 1 and 11?! HUH?!") and stuffing themselves full on buffet items even though they don't like them.
    • After the failure of the casino, Homer builds a chapel in penance, but he and Lisa Jr. ring the bell too loudly, causing an earthquake that releases a river of lava. The chapel, with Homer and Lisa Jr. trapped inside, starts to sink into the lava.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The events of this episode are later referenced in "Poppa's Got A Brand New Badge" confirming that Homer survived falling into the lava, but it's never mentioned what became of Lisa Jr (though it can be assumed that she died). The rest of islanders fates are similarly never brought up.
    • Lisa Jr's later cameo in Season 17's Simpsons Christmas Stories implies she too, somehow, survived.
    • The PBS characters disappear after the first act and are never shown again, in fact the issue seems to have been forgotten about once Homer actually reaches the island.
  • Why Don't You Marry It?: Homer makes fun of Q'Toktko and Ak fawning over the previous missionaries by asking "Why don't you just marry Craig and Amy?" Their reaction? "I TOLD you we should have asked!"
  • You No Take Candle: "Me Homer. Me hiding from PBS."