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Recap / The Simpsons S19 E9 "Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind"

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Originally aired: December 16, 2007

Homer wakes up in the snow with no memory of the night before. When he comes home, he finds that his family is missing, Chief Wiggum came over due to a domestic disturbance, and Moe gave Homer a drink called "The Forget-Me Shot", which causes memory loss and is only drunk by people who have a bad memory they want erased.


  • Abuse Mistake: Homer at first believed that Marge got her black eye from being assaulted by Homer in anger.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Homer's nostalgic reaction to his sledding trip with Bart and Lisa (together with the fact that they're subtly drawn to appear slightly younger) implies that it's an older memory, but it was what they were doing together earlier that week.
  • Brain Bleach: Moe's special drink has this effect, being able to erase the last day of somebody's memory. He even tells Homer the Forget-Me-Shot is "the ultimate brain bleacher".
  • Child Supplants Parent: Homer seems to still be dealing with the inferiority complex he has with regard to Bart in episodes like "Moaning Lisa" and "Tennis the Menace," as we see him oblige the dream version of Bart by taking him through his earlier memories to duke it out with his 10- and 20-year-old selves, both of whom Bart clobbers effortlessly. As the "kids" will later point out, they're not really his kids but his mind's representations of them, implying that these scenes simply reflect how Homer feels about Bart.
    10-year-old Homer: You're superior to me in every way!
  • Clip Show: A subtle one. Homer's trip through his mind has a TV wall featuring clips from past episodes. Interestingly, some of them are from Halloween specials, despite them being non canon and therefore Homer would have no memory of them.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: Towards the end of the "Picture a Day for 39 Years" sequence, a rapid fire montage of Homer in various outfits and costumes he has worn throughout the series was shown, such as his town crier hat from "Lisa the Iconoclast", the Safety Salamander suit from "See Homer Run", his God Guise from "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bangalore", his Civil War reenactment costume from "The Sweetest Apu", the giant novelty hat from "Homer and Apu", his tribal chief costume from "The Bart of War", and more.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Subverted with Homer's convenient landing on a jumping castle on the boat where his surprise party is taking place. As it turns out, he realized that downing the Forget-Me-Shot would probably cause him to misconstrue his remaining memories and attempt suicide in just this fashion, and therefore requested in advance that the boat have a Moon Bounce.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: Marge claims that she got her black eye from running into a door. Wiggum doesn't believe her, stating that this was a stupid excuse... only to run into a door himself.
  • Dénouement: The entire gambit plot is explained at the end on the party boat.
  • Driven to Suicide: Averted. After Homer thinks he caught Marge cheating on him with Duff Man and hit her, he prepares to jump off a bridge in despair. He thankfully doesn’t go through with it.
  • The End... Or Is It?: At the end of the episode, the boat sails off with "The End" written on it. Then another boat with "?" sails under it.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: When walking through what he would most likely retain after taking the Forget-Me-Shot, Homer abruptly realizes he's going to jump off of a bridge, and as such has to make sure something is able to catch his fall.
  • Fake Memories: Played for laughs. Bart destroys Homer's memory of his first kiss and makes him believe it was with Apu.
  • Foreshadowing: The "39 years" montage implies that Homer became a Big Eater to cope with his mother's absence, which would become explicit later in the same season in "Mona Leaves-a."
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The Continuity Cavalcade of Homer's jobs is all ones from previous episodes, which are only seen for one frame at a time.
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • The Memory Recovery Institute, with the disclaimer out front: we do not do MRIs.
    • Frink takes being called a nerd a compliment because to him, it stands for Not Even Remotely Dorky.
  • Gambit Roulette: Homer pulls one on himself. Upon accidentally learning that Marge was planning a surprise party for him, he goes to Moe's and orders an amnesia-inducing drink. Before he downs it, he predicts that he will wake up to find his family missing, remember snippets that imply that he hit Marge, go to Dr. Frink for memory recovery, only remember enough to conclude that Marge was having an affair with Duffman, and then throw himself off a bridge at the exact moment in which the party ship was underneath and at the exact place in which he lands on the ship's moonbounce.
    Homer: (just before taking the Forget-Me-Shot) Hmmm... The only problem is, I'm sure to retain some image of coming home and finding Duffman.... No doubt I'll misconstrue that as him placing a cuckold's horns upon my brow... And that will make me want to jump off a- (gasp; turns to Lenny) For the love of God, make sure the party boat has a moon bounce!
    Lenny: Okay. (Homer takes the shot)
  • Gargle Blaster: The Forget-Me-Shot. Ingredients include Jägermeister, sloe gin, triple sec, quadruple sec, gunk from a dog's eye, "Absolute Pickle", the red stripe from Aquafresh toothpaste, and venom from the Louisiana loboto-moth, all stirred with a home pregnancy test until it gets a positive result. The resulting concoction is powerful enough to erase the last 24 hours off the drinker's memory.
  • Gonk: Moe's pause-button faces during his tape of explaining how the Forget-Me-Shot is created.
  • Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: The "Picture a Day for 39 Years" sequence shows Homer losing his hair in a time lapse.
  • Harmful to Minors: While inside Dr. Frink's machine, Homer grabs Bart and Lisa from a recent memory and enlists them to help him find out what happened the night he seemingly caught Marge with another man. He has the presence of mind to consider that this might not be an appropriate memory for them to visit, but "Lisa" reassures him that they're both projections of his children created by his mind and therefore can't be harmed by such a thing as the real Bart and Lisa would.
  • Home-Early Surprise: Subverted. Homer comes home early and catches Marge with Duff Man on the couch. However, the situation is Not What It Looks Like. What Homer takes as a Bedroom Adultery Scene turns out to be the planning a surprise party for him.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Homer tries to invoke this trope when standing on the suicide bridge but the driver passing by doesn't care.
  • Ironic Echo: Homer's line "The mother of my children with the reason for my children" changes its meaning in a funny way. First time around the "reason" is Duff Man (alcohol), but later Homer refers to Marge's caring nature as the reason.
  • It Came from the Fridge: Whatever was in Homer’s collapsing bathtub that caused the creation of a random lizard monster that begins to wander in the house...
  • Jerkass: Patty and Selma, they push Homer off the bridge and then try to trick him into drowning himself in front of his family.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: Homer's mind, to be more specific.
  • Memory Wipe Exploitation: Homer, hoping to forget the memories of an odd day that led to his family apparently hating him, ordering a drink called the "Forget-Me-Shot" and asking Lenny, Carl and Moe to make Brutally Honest comments towards him that he won't remember. This leads to some pretty mean-spirited and disturbing admissions including Lenny saying that blue pants make him look fat, Carl admitting that he finds his small hands attractive and Moe proudly proclaiming that he's spat in every one of his drinks (including the drink he serves him to wipe his memory).
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Homer thinks he caught Marge with Duff Man. They were really planning a surprise party for him.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Homer when he thinks he caught Marge cheating on him and gave her a black eye in response. He feels horribly guilty thinking he hurt his wife.
  • Not Helping Your Case: When Krusty tells a racist joke about Mexicans, they hang him like a pinata and beat him up.
    Krusty: Ya know, doin' this is just confirming a stereotype for you Mexicans.
    Julio: I am from Costa Rica!
    Krusty: And I should care because?
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: When Homer starts having second thoughts about jumping off a bridge, his sisters-in-law push him. And during the party, they try to exploit their Sure, Let's Go with That goodwill to try to convince Homer to drown (by lying there's "an after party at the bottom of the sea" and giving him an anchor).
  • Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: Homer's line explains it all: "I must be the only gullible husband who ever overheard snippets of surprise-party planning, and believed his wife was having an affair!"
  • Pop-Culture Pun Episode Title: The episode title is a pun on the movie title Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
  • Red Herring: Most of the Not What It Looks Like details of Homer's memories have an explanation that ties in neatly with the story, but Marge's lie to Wiggum about how she got her black eye was simply to keep him from attending the party with his wife, who she doesn't like. Santa's Little Helper attacked Homer because he's a bad dog owner.
  • Riding into the Sunset: The last scene of the boat floating towards the moonlight.
  • Scary Surprise Party: Homer's journey to track down the secret of his erased memories lead to a surprise party on a party boat.
  • Shout-Out: A couple.
  • Skewed Priorities: Homer was willing to knowingly subject himself to the profound emotional pain and suicidal despair we see him experiencing throughout the episode, cumulating in an attempt on his own life that he also predicted, so that he'd be genuinely surprised at his surprise party.
  • Suicide Dare: One of the darkest jokes of the series, where Patty and Selma encourage Homer to kill himself by jumping off a bridge. It's averted when Homer decides to reconsider, but Patty and Selma push him off anyway. And then double subverted when they "gift" him an anchor and dare him to jump overboard while holding it.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Homer assumes Patty and Selma pushed him because they knew about his Memory Gambit. They "confirm" it.
  • Take Our Word for It: Krusty runs into Moe's for a Forget-Me-Shot, apparently just having told a very racist joke towards Mexicans, which gets him beaten up. We don't hear what the joke is.
  • Take That!: Krusty's disastrous job at hosting the Latin Grammy Awards has a joke he was trying to do, which he tried to be a "Don Rickles about Arabs", turned into a "Mel Gibson about Mexicans".
  • Tempting Fate: "Alright, let me just get out of this bubble— smoothly and elegantly..."
  • Theremin: The instrument can be heard when Homer gets into the bubble and into his mind.
  • Timmy in a Well: Parodied when Homer tries Santa's Little Helper to help find his family via Map Quest, sorry, Google Maps.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Homer wakes up with no knowledge of last night and subsequently tries to put the pieces together.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: To the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind movie.