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Recap / The Simpsons S 12 E 9 HOMR

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After losing the family's life savings in the stock market, Homer gets a job as a test subject for scientific experiments, one of which reveals the true reason behind his stupidity: a crayon that got stuck in his brain when he was a child. When Homer gets the crayon surgically removed, he becomes a more intelligent man — and soon learns that being smart doesn't equal being happy.

This episode contains examples of:

  • 555: Moe's surgeon card has the phone number 800-555-1000.
  • Affectionate Parody: Of Flowers for Algernon.
  • Back-Alley Doctor: Moe, though he operates in his bar rather than a back alley. He even has cards of his shady business.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: Homer uses his new found high I.Q., among other things, to scientifically prove why God couldn't possibly exist. Flanders is, of course, angry, but after reading Homer's text through he quickly concludes he's absolutely correct. Instead of just accepting the other viewpoint Flanders then decides that he must prevent the others from ever seeing the document, though Homer is already putting it underneath every car's windshield wiper.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: When Homer checks his stock numbers for Animotion, he shouts, "Yahoo!" which a voice-controlled programs translates to "Yahoo!" (the website), and then says, "Huh? What is this crap?" which translates to FOX Broadcasting. Cue Homer smiling when he finds out their stocks are down by 8 points.
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  • Bittersweet Ending: Homer goes back to his old self and is happy again, but it comes at the cost of being unable to bond with Lisa like they used to.
  • Call-Back:
    • Ozmodiar, the space alien from The Simpsons Spin Off Showcase briefly appears twice during this episode, once after Bart says cartoons do not have to make sense, and once more after all the employees are laid off from the plant.
    • A more subtle example can be seen in the Classic Cartoon Commercials booth, which is adorned by the artwork of Flatulent Fox, Brown-Nose Bear, Dinner Dog, Rich Uncle Skeleton, and Disgruntled Goat as seen in the episode "The Day the Violence Died".
  • Crossover Punchline: Philip J. Fry appears briefly during the Couch Gag.
  • Failed a Spot Check: When Homer asks why the crayon in his brain wasn't detected earlier, Dr. Hibbert appears to explain that it was always hidden by his finger whenever he held up the X-ray.
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  • "Flowers for Algernon" Syndrome: Homer experiences this.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Homer is amazed by the burning effigy at Moe's until he realizes it represents him.
  • Improbably High I.Q.: Inverted; Homer states his post-surgery IQ is only 105 (100 being average). One could just take his apparent intelligence as being compared to the rest of his town, but he still does things which would require objectively high intelligence, like somehow mathematically disproving the existence of God.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: According to Lisa, as intelligence goes up, happiness often goes down. She even made a graph of it.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: After Homer demonstrates new animation techniques while wearing a Motion Capture suit, he goes into the men's room to relieve himself, while the audience can still hear and see everything he does. They cheer him on when he announces that the urinal cake has eroded away.
  • It Runs on Nonsensoleum: God's existence is disproven—in a way that even Flanders immediately understands and believes—by a mathematical proof contained on one piece of paper (that Homer calculated while filing his taxes).
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: The octoparrot, which Homer holds up as proof that the scientists are Playing God.
    Octoparrot: Awk! Polly shouldn't be!
  • Nose Shove: How the crayon ended up in Homer's brain.
  • Persecuted Intellectuals: This episode showcases that even slightly above-average intelligence is not accepted in Springfield—all entertainment in town aims for the Lowest Common Denominator and is proud to advertise itself as such and people hate Homer because they think he's lording his intelligence over them.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The old Itchy & Scratchy cartoon parodies From Here to Eternity. It also features a commercial for Laramie cigarettes, a nod to the fact many TV shows made before 1971 were sponsored by tobacco products (even The Flinstones early on). The black butler could be a spoof of Rochester, from The Jack Benny Program, sponsored for much of its run by Lucky Strike.
    • Homer's daydream is a juxtaposition between two influential films made in 1933: King Kong and Gold Diggers of 1933.
  • Take Our Word for It: Homer's proof that there is no God. It even convinces Ned Flanders.
  • Take That!:
    • When Smart Homer walks the streets looking for a place for smart people, he passes by places catering to idiots and morons, like Lunkheadz, The Dum-Dum Club, and The Disney Store.
    • Marge's line about how animated shows seem to be everywhere (or were last year) is yet another burn on the animated Dueling Shows that tried to compete with The Simpsons, specifically Groening's own Futurama and Family Guy, both of which suffered through Executive Meddling and were initially canceled because of low ratings and shifting timeslots on FOX.
  • Two-Keyed Lock: When Homer goes to the bank to withdraw his family's life savings, he's informed that the money cannot be withdrawn unless both he and Marge agree to it. He goes to the other side of a nearby plant to pretend he's talking Marge into agreeing and then he forges her signature. He also pretends Bart is there asking for a bonbon.

Example of: