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Recap / The Simpsons S14 E18 "Dude, Where's My Ranch?"

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After writing a song about Ned Flanders which becomes a sensation and is repeated endlessly on the radio, Homer and his family go to a dude ranch to escape for awhile. While there, Lisa falls for a boy, while Homer and Bart battle beavers that are intruding on Native American land.

Tropes of this episode:

  • The Ace: Luke Stetson.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Ned and his kids actually enjoy the song Homer wrote bashing him.
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  • And the Adventure Continues: After hearing Moe's song on the radio, the Simpsons head back to the ranch for another week to avoid it.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Luke stops Lisa from accidentally stepping on a rattlesnake egg. Rattlesnakes are live-bearers.
    • Beavers are portrayed with white teeth, when they should have yellow or orange teeth.
  • As Himself: David Byrne.
  • Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...: A Native American woman sorting through her mail after Homer and Bart destroy the beaver dam.
    Native American: Treaty, treaty, treaty, bill, treaty, Peace Pipe Aficionado Magazine...
  • Bowdlerization: The scene where it's revealed Cookie died the night before the Simpsons leaves the ranch is often cut out for some reason.
  • Brick Joke: The end of the first act has Moe kidnapping David Byrne. At the very end, it's shown that Byrne has made a song about Moe.
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  • Chekhov's Army: The beavers. Bart gets them to gnaw down a tree and save Clara when she gets trapped in the river.
  • Christmas Episode: The first act of this episode is the only reason why this is included on a Christmas-themed DVD.
  • Creator Backlash: In-Universe, Homer grows to hate his song.
    Homer: I've come to hate my own creation. Now I know how God feels.
  • Disney Owns This Trope: When the Simpsons are singing Christmas carols door-to-door at the beginning, the Blue-Haired Lawyer informs them that they can't sing a certain song because it's owned by the original copyright owners. When Homer complains, the lawyer suggests public domain songs instead. However, Homer doesn't like any of his suggestions, and decides to compose his own:
    Lawyer: But don't use A-flat or G-natural. Those are owned by Disney.
    Homer: (moans)
    Lawyer: That's A-Flat.
    Homer: (moans in a higher key)
    Lawyer: That's better!
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  • The Diss Track: "Everybody Hates Ned Flanders", natch.
  • Gigantic Moon: Parodied. Lisa and Luke are looking at the night sky and comment on how big the moon seems. The camera then pans back to show the landscape they're on - with the moon taking up half the screen.
    Luke: You should see it when it's full!
  • Halfway Plot Switch: The beginning of the episode makes it appear that this is a Christmas Episode with the Simpsons Christmas Carolers, but once Flanders interferes with Homer's songwriting, it becomes about Homer writing a hit hate song. But that's not all, the plot then changes to focus on the family's trip to a dude ranch just to get away from said song.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Double Subverted. Homer and Bart pause in disgust after being told that the indigenous chief just gave them bear urine to drink, but only do a Spit Take after they're told it's actually Fresca.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: Clara saying there's more to life than boys and then upon seeing Bart, hits on him.
  • Jerkass Ball: Lisa gets this by sending Clara down the wrong path out of jealousy.
  • Misspelling Out Loud: Homer and his friends misspell "Flanders" in "Everybody Hates Ned Flanders".
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Lisa when she discovers that Clara was Luke's sister.
  • Nice Guy: Luke is a fairly nice guy who befriends Lisa when she's upset with the Dude Ranch, is a good brother, defends his sister when Lisa badmouths her and then calls Lisa out on her attempt to get Clara killed.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Homer happily helps out the Native Americans whose land has been flooded by a beaver dam. He ignorantly calls them guests in the United States, but he still helps them.
    • Bart helps Lisa save Clara and fix her mistake because he got caught up in the moment.
  • Pop-Culture Pun Episode Title: The title is a reference to Dude, Where's My Car?.
  • Reality Ensues: Lisa falls in love with a young cowhand, Luke. She endangers the boy's sister, originally thinking she was his girlfriend. When Lisa confesses, Luke, rather than touched, is appalled that Lisa put his sister in harm's way and burns bridges with her.
  • Relative Error: Lisa thinks Luke and Clara are a couple. Turns out they're brother and sister.
  • "Risk"-Style Map: Homer has one for his planning against the beavers.
  • Rule of Three:
    • When Lisa first meets Clara, she sees the latter's name written on three spots.
    • When Lisa and Bart are out in the woods looking for Clara, an owl, fox and rabbit all making howling sounds one after the other.
  • Series Continuity Error: Lisa claims Luke was her first crush, but it was Nelson in Season 8's "Lisa's Date with Density".
  • Shout-Out:
    • Maggie's dance parodies Britney Spears’ "Oops!...I Did It Again," as well as her then-recent Pepsi ad.
    • Moe kidnaps David Byrne after the latter lands in his car, even referencing Misery and asking if Byrne has heard of it.
    • Byrne also performs Homer's song in his famous Big Suit from Stop Making Sense, complete with a gag of Homer squeezing into it with him and asking what they're going to be wearing tomorrow.
    • Actor Allusion: Cookie's assistant Cleanie is an obvious one to Gollum from The Lord of the Rings, being both voiced by Andy Serkis and using the famous line "My precious" when gathering up the Simpsons' garbage.
  • Skewed Priorities: Homer is upset that the beavers wrecked a $17 deck of cards from a motel mini-bar that he used as a diversion so he and Bart could destroy the beaver dam.
  • Special Guest: David Byrne, musician and former frontman of Talking Heads.
  • Take That!: Homer and Bart give a Spit Take when the Native American who gave them a drink says it's Fresca.
  • Tempting Fate:
    Cookie: [pointing a shotgun at a tied up chicken] Free range, my ass! Tonight, you're gonna be swimming next to a matzo ball!
  • Too Dumb to Live: David Byrne dances on his car bonnet while his car is in motion. It ends with him slipping and landing in Moe's car, and Moe subsequently kidnapping him.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Lisa overhears her crush Luke expressing his love to a girl named Clara over the phone. When Lisa meets her, she tricks Clara into going the wrong way on the path to a dance, but finds out that Clara is actually Luke's sister. When Lisa eventually comes clean about what happened to Clara, Luke is offended and leaves her.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: What about Snake as he took a family hostage?
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Luke calls Lisa despicable for what she did to Clara. Clara also tries to give Lisa a speech about how there's more important things than boys, only to see Bart.

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