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Recap / The Simpsons S 21 E 1 Homer The Whopper

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"Homer the Whopper" is the first episode of the twenty-first season of The Simpsons. In this episode, Homer gets the leading role on a superhero movie based on a character created by the Comic Book Guy. But the executives demand that he gets in shape, so a top Hollywood trainer is called to help him.

Plot

While looking for comics, Bart and Milhouse stumble upon Everyman, a superhero they never heard about. Taking a liking to it, both are surprised that the character (whose shtick is adopting the powers of other heroes) is created by the Comic Book Guy himself. He then decides to publish it, becoming an overnight success.

It doesn't take long for Hollywood to cash upon Everyman, but CBG imposes that he will pick the lead: a fat, forty-something man, making Homer a perfect fit for the role, but not for the studio executives, convinced that audiences want a hunk for a star. So, they bring in Lyle McCarthy (guest star Seth Rogen), trainer to the stars. Homer soon gets buff, but CBG, while embracing the Hollywood lifestyle, begins to have doubts about the film.

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After a month, Lyle considers that Homer can carry on by himself, but unsurprisingly, he doesn't. And it doesn't take long before Homer gets even fatter than before. The finished film becomes a fiasco, featuring Everyman portrayed fit and fat, back and forth. While CBG is offered more creative control over the sequel, he refuses and badmouths the film online, ensuring that his character will never again see the light of day.

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This episode provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Played with In-Universe. Comic Book Guy demanded casting rights before selling the rights to his comic. He chooses Homer because he is a close approximation to the Author Avatar Everyman. Hollywood immediately demands that Homer get in shape and they bring in a trainer. After the trainer leaves Homer backslides on his diet and it becomes evident watching the movie when he is in shape and when he is fat again.
  • Advice Backfire: When Homer's celebrity fitness trainer leaves, he tells Homer to remember what he taught him but Homer points out the trainer taught him that only people who can afford celebrity fitness trainers can be in shape.
  • Ash Can Copy: What the movie eventually becomes, in conjunction with The Shelf of Movie Languishment.
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  • Bait-and-Switch: After Everyman becomes a comic book sensation everywhere, a film studio committee learns about it and decide to make a movie out of it. Unfortunately, it turns out they got interested too late since some other studio got to the franchise before them a few days ago.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: The studio executives enforce a strict rule of only hiring muscular, physically fit men to play superheroes in Hollywood movies as while villains are allowed to be animals or unattractive people.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Comic Book Guy's catchphrase, of all things. While it was used as a mundane line in several earlier episodes, it was this episode's Moment of Awesome.
  • Double Meaning: 'Every Man' is meant by Comic Book Guy to be a play on how Avery Mann can have every power he wants, and how he's meant to be The Everyman, an average overweight man with a menial job that people can identify with. Hollywood however believes the audience wants slim and attractive heroes because they want to see what 'every man' wants to be, rather than what every man actually is.
  • Executive Meddling: Parodied in-universe, where executives push Everyman to be pretty much the exact opposite of Comic Book Guy's intended character, resulting in a Troubled Production and an inevitable box office bomb.
  • Formerly Fat: At least for an episode, Homer gets a trainer to get into superhero shape. Marge certainly appreciates it, though being able to touch her hands while hugging Homer takes some getting used to.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The cinema has posters for Alvin and the Chipmunks 3: Getting Rabies, Eddie Murphy in Fat Suit, Welcome Back, Potter and Star Wars VII: The Apology.
  • Loophole Abuse: The executives want a physically fit man to play Everyman but are contractually bound to use Homer. They get around it by hiring a fitness trainer to put Homer in shape. It'd have worked if not for the fact the trainer wasn't paid to stick around long enough to keep Homer in shape until the film was finished.
  • Power Copying: Everyman is able to get the powers of the superhero whose comic book he touches.
  • Punny Name: In Comic Book Guy's comic, Everyman's civilian identity is Avery Mann.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Everyman's nemesis is a green lizard-like man. The lizard guy in real life (in terms of context of the Simpsons universe) is an instance of Mean Character, Nice Actor.
  • Revenge of the Sequel: Had Comic Book Guy given the movie a good review, he'd be allowed to direct a sequel titled Everyman 2: Rise of the Revenge.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Comic Book Guy refused to write a good review on the Everyman movie even after the executives offered to let him direct the planned sequel.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Stout Strength: Homer slims down considerably but notably still has a bit of a gut. At least he is in genuinely good shape, in contrast to "King of the Hill" where he gains some muscle but kept the same layer of fat.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: In the movie, when someone commented to Everyman's civilian identity he's the only one in Gothamopolis who never saw Everyman, he said the only thing he was sure was the fact he was not Everyman.
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