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Recap / The Simpsons S 11 E 1 Beyond Blunderdome

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Homer doesn't care for Mel Gibson's remake of Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, and Gibson (who is looking for someone who won't kiss up to him) enlists his help in improving it.

Tropes featured:

  • Actionized Adaptation: In-universe. Homer criticizes the movie for having Gibson's character talk for hours and not shooting anybody (something Gibson himself regrets). Homer is invited to help edit the movie, and they mutually decide to reshoot the ending of the movie so that Mr. Smith goes on a violent rampage against the Senate, culminating with him decapitating the President of the United States. Nobody likes the result, especially not Jimmy Stewart's granddaughter, and in the end the movie becomes a Star-Derailing Role for Gibson.
  • Actor Allusion: At one point, Edward Christian does a "huh/yeah" exchange with one of his subordinates; this was based on a routine that Jack Burns (who voiced Christian) used to do with his partner, the late Avery Schreiber.
  • Adaptational Badass: Mel Gibson's version of Mr. Smith is a one-man army. This ends up Dramatically Missing the Point of the original film (or Comically Missing the Point, in a dark way), though, because this violence makes Mr. Smith look like a mass murderer instead.
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  • Adaptational Villainy: Senator Paine in Homer's revision of Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. While Mr. Smith's Heroic RRoD set his epiphany in the original movie, here he just laughs and makes a cruel one-liner. This provokes Mr. Smith to massacre everyone inside the Capitol Building.
  • Artistic License – History: Jimmy Stewart's middle-aged granddaughter slaps Homer and Mel for their Actionized Adaptation of Stewart's film. In Real Life, however, not even Stewart's twin daughters were that old (being in their forties) at the time.
  • Ass Shove: Of sorts: after mooning the executives to stop them does nothing and he fails to jump out of the way in time, Homer's backside gets jammed onto their car's front bumper. It's more funny than it is painful.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Mel laments how most people act like Yes Men to him and will never tell him whenever he does something wrong, which is why he's initially drawn to Homer. However, the people at the end ravaging the second version of Mr. Smith shows him that no, people are more than willing to throw negative criticism his way.
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  • Bloodier and Gorier: Homer's take on Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, which is more akin to Lethal Weapon and Braveheart.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Mr. Smith impales a fellow senator with the American flag, machine guns a bunch more, causes the Vice President to inadvertently trigger a massive explosion that pretty much kills everyone else in the Senate Chamber (except Smith, and presumably, Homer's member of the press character), and then, as the topper, decapitates the President of the United States using the Senate's seal. Not one drop of blood is spilled in all of this; the episode may well have gotten a TV-MA rating if it was.
  • Brick Joke:
    • During a Q&A before the test screening, Professor Frink asks if the movie will have any Flubber in it, and is disappointed to learn it won't. Later when the studio is reading the audience's reactions, one of cards mentioned that they loved the film even though it didn't have any Flubber, indicating Frink was the one who wrote it.
    • One of Homer's suggestions is to replace the main antagonist with a dog. To clue the viewers of its evil nature, the dog would glance around all shifty eyed. The last shot of the episode is a close up of a shifty-eyed dog.
  • Call-Back: Mel Gibson is not the first man to make the mistake of assuming that Homer Simpson knows what people really want just because his tastes are simple.
    • While watching a film strip counting down to the start of the reel, Homer excitedly says "Here comes 2!" Grampa said the same thing in season 9's "Natural Born Kissers".
  • The Cameo: Mel's pilot is none other than John Travolta (who's voiced by Dan Castellaneta, as he did in "Itchy And Scratchy Land").
  • Comically Missing the Point: Homer on a few occasions, at least:
    • The first has him dismissing the filibuster scene. When Mel says that it was Jimmy Stewart's favorite scene, Homer replies it was "fine for the 1930s: the country was doin' great back then."
    • For some reason, Homer believes that there is a scene in Braveheart where the Scots mooned the British and this scared them off. Mel corrects him that it was a bunch of bloody battles that the Scots eventually lost before nearly (or in Homer's case, actually) being hit by the executives' car.
    • At the climax of the episode, when he was pitching his other movie ideas to Mel, he actually believes that no one owns the rights to Indiana Jones. This prompts Mel to throw him out of the car.
    • Homer is the only character that ends the episode still thinking that turning a legendary film character that became beloved because of his non-violence into a mass murderer is cool in any way, shape or form.
  • Confirmation Bias: In-Universe, combined with Mel's belief that most people only tell him what he wants to hear, this is what initially draws him to Homer: Mel fears that the movie will have a tepid reception because it didn't have any action on it (as opposed to his usual fare at the time), and when Homer's scathing review (the only one of its kind among hundreds of glowing reviews) voices all of Gibson's worries, he's convinced that Homer is the only one gutsy enough to openly say what everybody else is thinking.
  • Couch Gag: The Simpsons run into their Tracey Ullman Show counterparts. Both families look at each other and run out of the room, screaming.
  • Disowned Adaptation: In-Universe, Jimmy Stewart's granddaughter threatens to sue Mel over the remake.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind:
    Mel Gibson: You want me to replace the villain with a dog? I mean nobody will know what's going on.
    Homer: They will if you set up that the dog is evil. All you do is have to show him doing this. [lowers eyelids and glances around in shifty-eyed fashion] The people will suspect the dog.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Mel thinking that Homer was the Only Sane Man with the guts to tell him that not having violence in the movie was a bad thing, when there were several hundred people writing glowing reviews saying otherwise when Homer is just incredibly low brow and only wrote a negative review because he was mad at Gibson flirting with Marge after the screening. This is dramatic because it completely wrecks his career.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: The rewritten climax of the remake of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington has everybody who sees it (but Homer and Gibson) become horrified at the defilement of a piece of cinematic history. The test audience that comes out on the final scene includes Flanders saying that he's holding back vomiting from how bad it is and Jimmy Stewart's granddaughter, who threatens to sue both men for such a blatant defamation of her grandfather's work.
    • This was also the Ford Motor Company's reaction to the "Elec-Taurus" parody as they pulled all of their ads from the show as a result.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Moe of all people finds the ending to the remake disgusting.
    • Film Execs William Milo and Robyn Hannah are credited as making all the Shag movies, and even they realize how bad the Actionized ending to Mr Smith would be for their careers.
  • Food Slap: After the negative review of their Mr. Smith Goes to Washington remake, someone throws a soda at Mel, hitting him in the chest.
  • Future Me Scares Me/I Hate Past Me: Played hilariously during the Couch Gag; the Past Tracy Ullman Simpsons does the former trope and the Present Simpsons does the latter.
  • Gasshole:
    Car Saleswoman: Thinking of saying goodbye to gas?
    Bart: You betcha. [burps]
    Marge: Bart! [farts] Well, that shut me up.
  • The Ghost: Louie, the projectionist when Mel and Homer show the executives the revised ending.
  • Going Postal: The rewritten climax of the "Mr. Smith" remake involves Gibson's Smith going completely and utterly Martin Riggs levels of trigger-happy bonkers and giving the "evil" congressmen what for... with an M-16, among other bloody methods.
  • Hair-Trigger Explosive: During his rampage in Homer's ending, Mr. Smith hurls a fire extinguisher onto the desk of the Vice President of the United States (the US VP serves as President of the Senate) at the central rostrum of the Senate chamber. The Vice President is banging his gavel, trying to restore order. When the VP's gavel strikes the fire extinguisher, it causes a powerful explosion that blows the dome off the Capitol building, and sends the statue crowning said dome (which, in this case, is Lady Justice, not the Statue of Freedom, as is actually the case) flying towards the Capitol Complex's reflecting pool.
  • High-Class Glass: In Homer's version of Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, the President of the United States wears a monocle.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Despite the rave reviews his Mister Smith Goes to Washington remake got at the test screening Mel Gibson decides to hire Homer as a consultant as he's the only one with the "guts" to tell him the truth. When they premiere their new, more violent, cut of the remake, the audience walks out of the test screening in disgust, Jimmy Steward's granddaughter threatens legal action, and Gibson's career and reputation are badly damaged, all because he made the decision of listening to Homer's suggestions.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Mel believes Homer's dislike of the film represents what the rest of the audience really feels about it, and learns the hard way that it doesn't after the disastrous re-shoots of the ending the two work on.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Mel.
  • Ignored Epiphany: While editing their new cut, Homer suggests speeding up the footage in some scenes because it looks and sounds funny, and randomly suggests that a suspicious looking dog is the main villain. Mel begins doubting that bringing in Homer as a consultant may not have been a good idea and offers to pay for the return fare, but changes his mind when Homer suggests that the ending was boring, and they should film a more actionized ending.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Senator Paine gets this in the remake.
  • Logo Joke: Over the Gracie Films logo, Mel's Curly Howard impression is heard.
  • Off-Model: When Homer takes his hand off Bart's shoulder, the hand's still there.
  • Off with His Head!: Mr. Smith ends his murderous rampage in Homer's ending by removing the Seal of the United States Senate from the Senate chamber's central rostrum, and throwing it at the neck of the President like a frisbee, causing it to decapitate the Commander-in-Chief.
  • Old-Timey Cinema Countdown: As the Simpson family about to watch the new improved version of Mel Gibson's remake of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Homer announces "here comes two!" as the 2 is about to show up.
  • Pandering to the Base: In-Universe, Homer writes a bad review of his movie so Gibson lets him work on the re-edit, thinking Homer was saying what people really felt and was the only one with the guts to tell him, when in fact it was because Homer is an idiot with low brow tastes and had a grudge against Mel at the time due to Marge's infatuation with him.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: When Mr. Smith receives the machine gun from the member of the press played by Homer in the new ending, he backflips onto a table in front of the Senate chamber's central rostrum, then says, "All in favor, say die!" before quickly doing an imitation of Curly from The Three Stooges (Mel Gibson is a noted Three Stooges fan), then proceeding to fire the gun.
    • Also just before this, Mr. Smith says one after Senator Paine makes a wisecrack at his expense for collapsing.
    Paine: I believe the Senator has yielded the floor!
    Smith: Yield this, Senator Paine! (Smith throws an American flag like a spear, impaling Paine from behind on it).
  • Pun: When the studio executives are chasing Homer and Mel, their car is hit by what appears to be Mel Gibson...
    William Milo: This is just a dummy!
    Edward Christian: I know, but he sells tickets. [long pause as neither of the execs laugh] ...Let's go.
  • Rage-Breaking Point: After the disastrous premiere of their cut is savaged by the test audience and critics alike, Homer tries to console Mel and lists several suggestions for their next project while getting a ride home in Gibson's limousine, including a raunchy teen comedy, and their own take on Indiana Jones because (he wrongly believes) that nobody owns the copyright to that. That last statement causes Mel to open the door and kick Homer out of the limo, stranding him right outside the movie theater.
  • The Scapegoat: When Homer asks Mel why he thinks the country has lost its way, Mel replies with, "I blame the internet. And the return of swing music."
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: The executives behind Mel Gibson's version of "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" already bought awards and this is their main reason to oppose Homer's remake of the movie.
  • Shout-Out: The episode title is one for Mel Gibson movie Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.
    • Gibson gets one to Lethal Weapon during his and Homer's escape from the studio.
    • Mel's character impaling an enemy of his with the American flag is one to The Patriot.
    • Homer's ending shows Mr. Smith throwing his senator's badge away, like the ending to Dirty Harry.
    • The marquee for the film boasts that it's a "Gibson/Simpson Joint".
    • Jimmy Stewart's granddaughter gives a slap to Mel and Homer a la The Three Stooges.
  • Skewed Priorities: When Mr. Smith is shooting up Congress, one of the congressmen chides him, "Mr. Smith, this is highly unorthodox!"
  • Somebody Doesn't Love Raymond: Homer is the single person in the hundreds of people that test-screened that absolutely loathes the fact the "Mr. Smith" remake has zero violence or gross humor in it. Gibson takes it as gospel truth and evidence that Homer is The Last DJ and turns what may have been one of the best movies of his (In-Universe) career into a Star-Derailing Role with Homer's "help".
  • Special Guest: Comedy legend Jack Burns as studio executive Edward Christian.
  • Sublime Rhyme: "It's Hell being Mel."
  • Take That!:
    • One of the executives said Homer's changes made Gibson's movie worse than The Godfather Part III and Mel Gibson told him not to say that kind of thing. The executive conceded he went too far with the comment but still wanted to destroy Homer's film.
    • During the car chase scene, Bart begs Marge to take a picture of him to show to Milhouse, to which she replies that she used up her last shot on that man she thought was Judge Judy.
    • During the studio tour, the guide points to where Hugh Grant did something, which Marge recoils in disgust, thinking it's of the infamous oral sex. Then the guide reveals it was the set of Nine Months, causing Marge to recoil louder.
  • That Came Out Wrong: No thanks to Homer's intense jealousy towards Mel, he inadvertently ends up saying this about Marge: (shoving her wedding ring in his face) "This symbolizes she's my property and that I own her!"
  • Too Dumb to Live: In Homer's ending, none of the senators attempt to escape before Mr. Smith starts firing the machine gun. Neither does anyone sitting in the gallery above the Senate floor.
  • Viewers Are Morons: When the President of the United States walks into the Senate Chamber after the Capitol's dome has been blown off, he introduces himself, even though a few notes of "Hail to the Chief" played before he did so.
  • Wacky Fratboy Hijinx: Homer pitches a movie idea to Mel that sounds like the plot to Animal House (or American Pie, since he mentioned "nerdy teens trying to get some," and, at the time, movies like that were making a comeback).
  • Your Size May Vary: Mr. Smith appears to shrink down to about 2 ft. tall when he's cartwheeling around on the table shooting up the Senate.