Follow TV Tropes


Recap / The Simpsons S 12 E 18 Trilogy Of Error

Go To
"Linguo... dead?!"
In this homage to such movies as Go and Run Lola Run, Homer's severed thumb, Lisa's mad rush to school, and Bart and Milhouse encountering the local Mafia are interconnected to show how each of these events are related.


  • AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle: Linguo pronounces "error" as "err-OAR".
  • Accidentally Real Fake Address: When Marge calls 911 after she accidentally cuts off Homer's thumb, she is instantly accused of attempted murder by Chief Wiggum, so, when asked her address, Marge claims it to be "123 Fake Street". Remarkably, this turns out to correspond to the decrepit building in Springfield where Bart and Milhouse are hiding fireworks, and the spontaneous appearance of the police there leads to Bart and Milhouse getting caught.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: Marge accidentally caused the conflict of Bart's subplot by thinking "123 Fake Street" was a, well, fake street.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Homer's severed thumb.
  • Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: Chief Wiggum all over. The list of stupid things he does throughout the episode includes:
    • Instantly jump to the conclusion that Marge attacked Homer (rather than the severing of his thumb being an accident) and say he will arrest her — and then ask for her address so he will go do so. Marge obviously gives him (what she thinks is) a fake address, that being 123 Fake Street, and he buys it whole-heartedly.
    • Advertisement:
    • Allow Lou to wield his gun Gangsta Style when they raid the actual 123 Fake Street, because it's Lou's birthday.
    • Use Bart and Milhouse to try to infiltrate the local illegal fireworks circle (which would be bad on its own with them being kids and all, but it becomes a hell of a lot worse with the fact that it's manned by Fat Tony and his crooks — members of The Mafia, and people who have no problem killing kids).
    • Use the two-way feature of the listening bug he taped onto Milhouse to ask Fat Tony if he's Fat Tony (because he can't recognize the man's voice) — which blows the kids' cover wide open and nearly gets them killed (all he can think of when he hears what he assumes is gunfire (but are really firecrackers going off as a distraction so the kids can run for it) is to say "my bad").
    • Completely ignores Mr. Teeny, a chimp, driving a limo on a busy road.
    • Advertisement:
    • Let Fat Tony and his goons to go free (or at least it looks that way) in exchange for them sewing Homer's thumb back on and acting as Lisa's science fair show.
  • Brick Joke: When Marge calls 911 for help during the first shot, Chief Wiggum is more concerned about arresting Marge than helping Homer so she makes up a fake address named "123 Fake Street" to lure him away. The third shot reveals that the address really exists.
    • An inverted example: "Homer's Day" sees Dr. Nick bemoan the burning of his clinic by remarking "Inflammable means flammable?! What a country!" During "Bart's Day", after Milhouse's firework laden bike tire flies into Captain McCallister's room and lands onto an ether tank:
      Dr. Nick: Don't worry, it's inflammable! (tank explodes) ...let's keep this our little secret.
    • Best of all, the episode's Chalkboard Gag: "Fire is not the cleanser."
  • Commercial Break Cliffhanger: "Lisa's Day" ends with Marge hitting the brakes as Bart (who was last seen running off to answer the door during breakfast) suddenly emerges from a manhole. Not only do we have to wait through the commercials...
    • Cliffhanger Copout: We also had to watch "Bart's Day" to see what led to this situation before it's resolved rather anticlimatically: Bart turns away from the truck anticipating impact, only to be lightly hit by it as comes to a complete stop. "Ow. Mom...!"
  • Contrived Coincidence: Everything that happens to each character is a direct result of something (usually stupid) that another character has done, always with no idea that their actions are influencing the rest of the family. Eventually everyone's paths have crossed and re-crossed until, at the end of the episode, everyone's in the same situation.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Homer gives up on saving his thumb when he realizes he can't reach Shelbyville in 20 miles on foot, so he promptly dumps Moe's pickle brine into the trash.
    Homer: (to his severed, shriveled thumb) Well, friend, we always knew this day would come. Say goodbye to your brother.
  • Decoy Protagonist: While the episode depicts the events of Homer, Bart and Lisa’s day, it's actually a Marge episode as she is the one who holds everything together and makes everything happen. She kicks off everything with breakfast, cuts off Homer's thumb (by accident), starts up the 123 Fake Street which leads to Bart's undercover storyline, does all the driving for both Homer and Lisa, and it's her fault that Homer has to hitchhike and then walk. And it’s ultimately her who saves the day by tossing Linguo into the fire.
  • Dies Wide Open: After Linguo "dies", Homer pushes his eyes shut.
  • Dumb Muscle: When Homer and Marge are in a rush and get into a car accident, Rainer Wolfcastle pops out, grieves over his Ferrari, takes out a golf club, and mindlessly bashes it into the Simpsons' pink car. All while Wolfcastle is roidraging, Homer has the brilliant idea to sneak out, pop open the passenger door, and signals Marge over, stealing it away from the unreasonable Rainer.
  • Evil Laugh: Martin has one when he believes Lisa will miss the fair.
  • Explosive Overclocking: As a result of the Logic Bomb induced from all the grammatically atrocious English he hears from the gangsters, Linguo starts throwing out sparks which set off the fireworks Bart got from the raid, blowing the robot to smithereens.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Fat Tony and his cronies are rather polite and more than happy to sell Bart and Milhouse, but as soon as they realise Bart has a wire thanks to Chief Wiggum, they immediately try to murder the boys. And after they're arrested, Fat Tony offers to have Legs reattach Homer's thumb while mentioning that Legs once removed a bullet from him and put it in someone else.
  • Fingore: Homer's episode is kickstarted when Marge accidentally cuts his thumb off. Though according to Dr. Hibbert, the thumb doesn't count as a finger for their insurance policy.
  • For Want of a Nail: All Homer had to do was wait for Marge to finish cutting the brownies. Bart's part of the episode would have mostly been unaffected up until Chief Wiggum arrives at 123 Fake St. Marge also would've been able to drive Lisa to school, thus resolving her part of the episode.
  • French Jerk: The West Springfield counterpart of Lisa's classroom has a French class, who laugh at her predicament.
  • Girl of the Week: Gender-inverted example with the boy Lisa meets at the other Springfield school. They have a pretty heart-felt romance and Lisa has to leave him... all in about thirty (out-of-universe) seconds and one Roundabout Shot Time Skip.
  • Grammar Nazi: Linguo is programmed to correct grammar.
    Homer: Let's put him to the test. "Me like beer."
    Linguo: I like beer.
    Homer: Aww, he likes beer. (pours beer into its mouth)
  • Hidden Wire: Wiggum hooks Bart to one to capture the firework smugglers. For some reason, it has the capacity for two-way broadcast, which Wiggum ends up using to ask Fat Tony if he's Fat Tony while Bart and Milhouse are surrounded by armed, trigger-happy gangsters.
  • Ironic Name: Fake Street is real.
  • Jerkass:
    • Martin. Instead of getting Otto to stop the bus for Lisa, he tells her to kiss first place in the science fair goodbye and laughs.
    • The French teacher and his class who make fun of Lisa for being at the wrong school.
    • Chief Wiggum makes Bart and Milhouse act as snitches when he catches them with fireworks. See Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop for most of it.
  • Karma Houdini: Fat Tony has Legs reattach Homer’s thumb in order to avoid arrest.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Rainer Wolfcastle appropriately gets his car stolen when Marge and Homer get into an accident on the road with him, as instead of asking for insurance information or using his wealth to help, he roidrages and tries to destroy their car with a golf club.
  • Logic Bomb: Gangster speak is too much for Linguo to handle.
    Louie: Hey, they's throwin' robots!
    Linguo: They are throwing robots.
    Legs: (to Fat Tony) He's disrespecting us. (to Linguo) Shaddap you face!
    Linguo: Shut up your face.
    Legs: Wassamatta you?
    Louie: You ain't so big!
    Legs: Me and him are gonna whack-a you in Labonza!
    Linguo: Bad grammar overload... Error! Error!
  • Logo Joke: The audio for the Gracie Films logo is replaced with this:
    (West Springfield students laugh)
    French Teacher: en francais...
    (students laugh in snooty manner)
  • Mama Bear: Marge's reaction to the mafia is to throw Linguo at them.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Turns out that whatever kind of medical insurance the Simpsons have with Dr. Hibbert covers finger reattachment, but it doesn't considers a thumb a "finger". Hibbert even offers to cut off Homer's other thumb, for "symmetry".
  • Mourning a Dead Robot: Homer is shocked to see Linguo is badly damaged after an explosion.
    Homer: Linguo... dead?!
    Linguo: Linguo... is... dead.
  • Naked People Are Funny: The title screen for "Homer's Day" is Homer losing the towel around his waist as he dashes off to get dressed for breakfast.
  • Nice Guy: Cletus happily picks up Homer when he's hitchhiking and is sympathetic about Homer's thumb and takes him to Dr. Nick's and was going to take him to Shelbyville before Marge steals his vehicle.
  • Noodle Incident: Apparently Homer has repeatedly gone off on the Blue Man Group when drunk.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: During "Lisa's Day", Chief Wiggum unwittingly lets Fat Tony know there's someone with a bug to record his conversation. Afterwards, Wiggum, Lisa and the viewers hear gunshots from Fat Tony's side. "Bart's Day" reveals to the viewers the noise to be some fireworks lit by Bart to cause a distraction while he and Milhouse escape.
    • "Lisa's Day" also serves to explain why Marge left Homer at Moe'snote  and why Cletus' truck got stolen during "Homer's Day"note .
    • Meanwhile, "Bart's Day" serves to explain why Lisa's bike went missingnote  and why Bart popped out of a sewer manholenote  at the end of "Lisa's Day", and why Dr. Nick's clinic burned downnote  and Linguo exploded at the end of "Homer's Day"note .
  • Only in It for the Money: In-Universe — Wolfcastle whines as Marge takes off with his Ferrari that he had to act on several lousy movies to be able to afford it.
  • Only Sane Man: The episode ends with Mr. Teeny calling out the nonsensical nature of the episode, begging for the viewers to do something.
  • Parenthetical Swearing: When Marge accidentally gets into a rear-end collision with Rainier Wolfcastle's Ferrari, she mutters, "Aw, doodlebugs."
  • Pet the Dog: Krusty gives Lisa a ride to school after Mr. Teeny nearly hits her with the limo. She's taken to the wrong school, but it's the thought that counts.
  • Recycled Set: An In-Universe version. Lisa is mistakenly dropped at West Springfield Elementary by Krusty, which looks exactly identical to Springfield Elementary. One of the students notes that all schools in the area were drawn from the same floor plan. This is Truth in Television in some areas, especially areas with a lot of schools built at the same time.
  • Robo Speak: Spoofed with Linguo, who is programmed to be a grammar-correction robot, yet he speaks like this when he's not repeating grammar-corrected sentences.
    Lisa: Almost done. Just lay still.
    Linguo: Lie still.
    Lisa: I knew that. Just testing.
    Linguo: (correcting Lisa) Sentence fragment.
    Lisa: "Sentence fragment" is also a sentence fragment.
    Linguo: Must conserve battery power.
  • Roundabout Shot: Exaggerated. Lisa's entire Falling-in-Love Montage with her boy of the week is a five-second Time Skip composed by this shot.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The moment Dr. Hibbert offers to cut off Homer's other thumb for symmetry (because their health insurance, for some reason, explicitly doesn't cover thumbs on their finger protection clause), we cut immediately to Marge driving off with Homer, saying that Hibbert's gone crazy and that they're driving to Dr. Nick's.
  • Secret Message Wink: Lisa attempts to bail herself and Homer out of eating Marge's disgusting organic breakfast with a wink, but he ruins the secrecy:
    Lisa: Yech! I'll get us out of this. Say, Dad. Wanna go see my project for the school science fair? [winks]
    Homer: No, Lisa. [winks] But I sure don't wanna eat this crappy breakfast. [winks]
    [Homer and Lisa run out of the kitchen and Homer turns around to playfully wink at Marge]
  • Shout-Out:
    • The episode's title is one to Trilogy of Terror.
    • To Run Lola Run. Music from the film even plays during the "Lisa's Day" segment.
    • When Homer is pouring beer into Linguo's mouth, making him short-circuit, Homer explains "I thought he was a party robot.", which is how Bender has been described on Matt Groening's other show, Futurama. Linguo even looks a bit like Bender.
  • Snarky Inanimate Object: Linguo, especially to Legs and Louie when he corrects their mob slang.
  • Special Guest: Frankie Muniz as Thelonious, the smart kid Lisa meets in West Springfield.
  • Take That!: Chief Wiggum has Bart record the mobsters over a Hootie & the Blowfish cassette because "It's cheaper than blank tape."
  • Three Shorts: The episode is split into "Homer's Day", "Lisa's Day", and "Bart's Day".
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Rod sees Homer's thumb land on the tracks of his train set's tracks, and does absolutely nothing to help him or prevent his toys from being destroyed. When Homer does destroy his train set, all Rod can do is bemoan and cry helplessly at his loss.
  • Trainstopping: Done with a model trainset. When Homer is pursuing his severed thumb in the Flanders' house, it lands on the tracks for Rod Flanders's toy train set. Homer derails and smashes the model locomotive with his foot and retrieves his thumb. And because a train set is no good when the locomotive is destroyed, Rod is left crying.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • Marge accidently chopping off Homer's thumb in the first place.
    • Milhouse "borrowing" Lisa's bike, forcing her to run across town in order to make it to school (after wandering into the wrong school, West Springfield).
    • Chief Wiggum blows Bart's cover which causes Fat Tony and his posse to chase after him and Milhouse.
  • Vignette Episode: Much like "22 Short Films About Springfield," this episode tells its story in interconnected vignettes. Unlike "22 Short Films About Springfield," this episode focuses on how Homer getting his thumb cut off, Lisa ending up in the wrong school, and Bart and Milhouse running afoul of Fat Tony and his men are related to each other.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened to Maggie in the episode? She only appears in the breakfast scene and the closing scene at the school, which means she was left home alone for most of the day.
  • Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Lisa's reaction to Homer trying to "feed" Linguo beer.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Fat Tony and his minions have no problems with executing Bart and Milhouse, two ten year old boys, when he discovers that they were wearing a wire.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Downplayed: "Homer's Day" implied that Homer spent quite a while at Moe's Tavern before going off on the Blue Man Group. "Lisa's Day" revealed that it took almost a minute.