Original air date: 12/3/2000
Production code: CABF-02
Homer gets into the Internet by becoming an online gossip columnist-cum-conspiracy theorist, whose stories land him on a bizarre island for people who know too much (and is modeled after the one from the TV show The Prisoner).
Patrick McGoohan voiced Number Six.
- Accent Adaptation: In the German dub, the Homer doppelganger instead speaks with an Italian accent, calling Marge "schatz-signorina" instead of "honey-fräulein", offering to take Marge out to a "ristorante" and instead of "efficient German sex" they will have "Sex auf Italo".
- Accidental Truth: Homer's flu vaccination "rumor"note which he made up turns out to be true.
- Adaptational Wimp: Homer took out Rover with a spork. In The Prisoner, it is actually bullet proof.
- Awesome, but Impractical: "The Island", as expected of a full-blown homage to The Prisoner, has Rover. Unlike its appearance in "The Joy of Sect" where its menace had been played straight (although accidentally capturing poor Hans Moleman instead of Marge), in this episode Homer is able to destroy it by popping it with a plastic fork and the overseers of "The Island" actually question themselves what the hell were they thinking when they made it.
- The Bad Guy Wins: All of the Simpsons end up getting trapped on The Island. Not that they mind, finding it actually rather pleasant, all the random drugging aside.
- Bait-and-Switch: At the Kwik-E-Mart, Homer eavesdrops on Apu and Krusty, the latter eating coconut bagels (which were old recall donuts that Apu confides to him), confiding Apu about running over a guy in a parking lot and dumping his dead body in a golf course. Homer gets very surprised about reporting his incredible finding...which was just Apu's old bagels.
- Black Comedy: Ned, reading Homer's website, is happy to hear he was right about flu shots being mind-control serums. He then asks the bedridden, sweating, sickly Rod and Todd if they're happy he didn't get them vaccinated. The two shiver and agree, and then Todd says, "Mommy?" On the commentary, the writers wondered if they went too far with that gag.
- Bound and Gagged: The real Apu, in favor of a cutout standee of him at the phony Kwik-E-Mart used to kidnap Homer.
- Complexity Addiction: When Number 2 explains his organization's version of the flu vaccination conspiracy (with details like mind-controlling people into going in a shopping frenzy at Christmas, hence why they do shots at that time, and it's implied that it's just one step of whatever is the full plan), Homer points out that it's a needlessly complicated scheme.
- Didn't Think This Through: Homer's reporting as Mr. X ends up winning an award, but because Mr. X is anonymous the money will be given to charity. Homer exposes himself as Mr. X the moment Mayor Quimby mentions this, and thus is unable to get any more real news afterwards because people are wary to talk to him. He thus decides to make fake news... and one of the false facts he writes gets him kidnapped by a Nebulous Evil Organization.
- Dumbass Has a Point: Number 2 explains that they use flu vaccinations right before Christmas to mind control people into a frenzy of shopping. Homer calls this needlessly complicated.
- Epic Fail: Rover is about to get Homer, but he pops it with a fork.Homer: Huh. That was easy! (continues on his merry way)
(weirdos who run "the Island" are watching on a hidden camera)
Number Two: Why did you think a big balloon would stop people?
Lady Scientist: Shut up! That's why.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: The police bloodhound Officer Scraps is able to detect Homer's scent and start swimming out to sea towards the Island, but quickly gets exhausted.
- Expy: Some of the residents of the island are modeled after characters from The Prisoner. Especially Leo McKern.
- Failed a Spot Check: The "Mr. X" webpage actually shows Homer's face for a second before the bag that keeps him "anonymous" pops over his head. People still label him a mystery up until Homer exposes himself as Mr. X to get an award's money prize.
- Fake Crossover: Patrick McGoohan guest stars, reprising his role as Number 6. Apparently, the reason why he was imprisoned was due to inventing a bottomless peanut bag.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: A koala with a mask pops up to ambush the audience with knockout gas, as the Simpsons say they'll be waiting for them at the Island.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Number 2 has a dead frog floating in his lava lamp.
- Full-Body Disguise: Taken to ridiculous proportions with a truck trailer being disguised as the Kwik-E-Mart to kidnap Homer, complete with a cutout standee of Apu at the register. It fools Homer until he accidentally knocks down said standee and accidentally deflates a "refrigerator."
- Gainax Ending: The whole Simpsons family end up back on the Island.
- Gilded Cage: "The Island" is a pretty comfortable place to live (or at least only the Simpsons believe that) as long as you don't mind the constant random druggings. Or other psychedelia. Or being hunted down by the conspiracy if you manage to escape.
- Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Homer calls his fake news "bullplop" when he meets Number Two.
- Groin Attack: Homer defeats his doppelganger with one of these.Homer: If I know me, he won't like being kicked in the crotch! [Homer does just that]
- Halfway Plot Switch: One the most infamous examples in the show's history. The episode begins with Homer becoming an undercover reporter who starts creating fake news to try to keep his fifteen minutes of fame, which is instantly showcased to have pretty harmful consequences. The latter half of the episode is in turn a homage to The Prisoner that, while still being a consequence of the aforementioned fake news, comes completely out of left field.
- Holding Back the Phlebotinum: It is this or because they knew too much about the conspiracy that is the reason the numbered people were taken to The Island. Number 6 is there because he invented a bottomless peanut bag and one other number is there because she invented a method to create better fuels out of water.
- Honest John's Dealership: Homer buys a computer from a place called "Honest John's Computers". The computer itself is free, as long as the client signs up for an internet plan that costs several thousand dollars.
- Hypocritical Humor: Kent Brockman tries to denounce "Mr. X" by saying that real news is on TV and delivered by real anchors like himself, before segueing into a fluff piece about talking dogs in a beer commercial.
- Illness Blanket: A sick Rod and Todd lie on the sofa under a blanket.
- Immoral Journalist: Homer eventually starts to write fake news for his "Mr. X" webpage to try to keep his 15 Minutes of Fame (he blew his cover as a whistleblower in order to get the money one of his "real" news got, because it would have gone to charity otherwise).
- It's All About Me:
- When Marge brings up her concern on how Homer chose to take the prize that could've been used to help starving children, Homer proudly states that they're with God. This sadly implies Homer would sacrifice the lives of millions of children for his own selfish desires.
- When Number 6 shows Homer his makeshift boat, which he explicitly states can hold two people and directly offers to take Homer with him as he escapes, Homer shoves him into the water to take the boat all for himself.
- Knockout Gas: A common method of keeping prisoners on The Island from leaving.
- Number 6 managed to create a sea-worthy escape raft by stealing lots of plastic cutlery and sewing together body hair. Homer is able to destroy Rover by using one of the forks the raft is made of.
- Somehow the sail is made of scabs and dynamite.
- Many Questions Fallacy: Chief Wiggum's website tells users, "If you've committed a crime and you want to confess, click yes; otherwise click no." As soon as Homer clicks no, it says "You have chosen no, meaning you've committed a crime and don't want to confess."
- Morton's Fork:
Digital Wiggum: You have the right to remain fabulous!
- When Homer goes to the Springfield Police Department's homepage, it has Chief Wiggum asking him to tell them whether or not he's committed a crime and wants to turn himself in. Picking "no" leads to the site assuming he committed a crime but doesn't want to confess that he did and telling him that a paddy wagon is speeding toward his home, before asking him if he wants to buy some merch during the wait.
- While reading "Mr. X's" expose on his computer:
- Mythology Gag: Number 6 said he's been working on his secret raft for 33 years. This episode aired in 2000; 33 years prior to that was 1967, the year The Prisoner was first broadcasted.
- Nebulous Evil Organisation: The conspiracy that mans "The Island". It has the aforementioned super-secret facility, enough connections within the medicine industry and the government to influence when vaccines are supposed to be provided to the people (which is explicitly mentioned is one step of an already absurdly complicated plan to Take Over the World) and technology including the Rover and robot animals that they use to gas and dart anybody they want to kidnap and perfect replicas of buildings that they use to trap people for the same reason.
- No Ending: The episode ends with the Simpsons still trapped on The Island. Come next episode and they're back in Springfield like nothing happened. According to Word of God, The Island was raided by the government offscreen and all the prisoners, including the Simpsons, were returned home.
- Noodle Incident:
- Bart's depressing story of how he had a switchblade in his locker, took a swing at a cop, and feels mad all the time.
- There's also Number 6's reaction to Homer stealing his escape raft.Number 6: That's the third time that's happened!
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: An In-Universe example. Homer's doppelgänger may have the looks to pass off as Homer, but he has a thick German accent that he makes no effort to hide, even including German words in his speech and inviting Marge to have "efficient German sex".
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Played with. Homer's body double does look almost virtually identical to him...except when he opens his mouth and when he's seen shaving and the stubble of his scalp is clearly visible. The only reason Marge buys into it is because he made her an offer to take her out followed by "efficient German sex" and she doesn't feel like cooking.
- Skewed Priorities:
- Homer believed stale bagels to be more important than Krusty's involuntary manslaughter cases.
- After Homer is kidnapped in the fake Kwik-E-Mart (see above), Bart arrives in the real one and finds Apu tied and gagged. After removing the duct tape, Apu scolds Bart for reading a magazine, saying "This is not a library!"
- Spit Take: Parodied. Upon seeing how much Homer's new computer costs, he drinks some coffee just so he can react by spitting it out.
- Strange-Syntax Speaker: Homer's German doppelgänger starts talking like Yoda, due to the German language typically putting the verb at the end of the sentence..Bart: There's something really different about you, Dad.
Doppelgänger: I am a new tie wearing.
Bart: ...Oh, yeah.
Homer: No one can silence me but me.
Doppelgänger: That arranged can be!
- Took a Level in Dumbass: While Homer was never that intelligent, in this episode, he’s driving a computer behind his car and then deciding later that just making up news for the sake of maintaining his fifteen minutes of fame (which are then demonstrated to be endangering other people's lives without taking into account the abrupt turn into full-blown insanity that is the homage to The Prisoner) is a good idea.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Number Six is the one man that Homer talks to on the Island that isn't a psychotic conspiracy member, and he shows his escape raft to Homer with full intent for them to team up and escape. Homer shoves Number Six into the water and takes the whole raft for himself halfway through that particular part of the speech.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: As Homer exclaims how excited he is to make his webpage while ignoring the copyright issues he may run into, a saddened Bart narrates about his day at school and how he got suspended for having a switchblade in his locker, causing him to take a swing at a cop out of anger and presumably resulting in more trouble. Homer and Lisa both ignore him in favor of the topic they were on about in the first place.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Maggie is conspicuously missing in the third act of the episode. Not even after the family got drugged. Fake Homer also disappears completely after being knocked out.
- You Are Number 6: Homer starts repeating the "I am not a number!" catchphrase before he notices his Number 5 badge, which he rubs in Number 6's face.