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Recap / The Simpsons S 28 E 6 There Will Be Buds

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Peewee football season in Springfield is over before it begins after a smoke stunt gone wrong leads to panic over the possibility of concussions. At a town meeting, Marge persuades Homer to help Kirk Van Houten present his idea for an alternative to football: lacrosse, which he and Milhouse demonstrate. The townsfolk are sold, and Chief Wiggum suggests that Kirk be the team coach; Kirk agrees, but on the condition that a reluctant Homer be his assistant coach.

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To Homer's surprise, the lacrosse team thrive under Kirk's guidance, and he asks Kirk how he knows so much about lacrosse. Latching onto someone showing interest in him, Kirk tells him that he was the star of Gudger College's lacrosse team until he broke his wrist high-fiving the team mascot, a knight in full armour. Homer soon discovers the down side of coaching with Kirk on a two-day regional lacrosse tournament, during which Kirk's behaviour alternately bores and shocks Homer, especially when he pitches the idea of a late night strip club outing; however, having seen how much Bart and Lisa are enjoying playing lacrosse, he decides to keep up the illusion of being Kirk's friend for their sake. Springfield sweep the tournament, qualifying for the state championship against Capital City, but a musical number in which Kirk sings of how great his and Homer's new friendship is while Homer sings of how awful it is ends with Kirk finding out that Homer is only pretending to like him.

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On the day of the state championship, Kirk is nowhere to be found, and Luann tells Homer that he emptied their bank account, but asked for the money in singles. Homer realises that Kirk has gone to a strip club, and Marge sends him to fetch the kids' errant coach. At the strip club, Kirk (who is only paying the strippers to listen to him talk, not to perform) is still angry at Homer, but Homer smooths things over by saying that while he may not like Kirk as a friend, he respects him as a lacrosse coach. With the strippers' help, Kirk and Homer return in time to lead Springfield to victory in the state championship... only to break their wrists high-fiving at the celebratory pizza dinner.


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Tropes:

  • All Men Are Perverts: When Homer figures out Kirk must be at some strip bar, some men quickly volunteer to look for him. Homer himself averts this and won't look for Kirk at those places until Marge urges him to.
  • Bait-and-Switch: While looking for Kirk at a strip club, Homer tries his best not to be distracted the dancers, only to start drooling at some legs...chicken legs in a free buffet. As he devours them, he admits they're terrible, but the price is unbeatable.
  • Brick Joke: In a flashback to his days as a college lacrosse star, Kirk breaks his wrist when he high-fives the Gudger College mascot, a knight in full armour. During the epilogue, Kirk and Homer break their wrists trying to high five each other.
  • Career-Ending Injury: Kirk used to play lacrosse at college until he broke his wrist by accidentally performing a high-five with the mascot, a knight in a suit of armor.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Dr. Hibbert warns his fellow Springfielders that lacrosse is second only to football as a concussion risk. They simply start chanting "SAFER THAN FOOTBALL! SAFER THAN FOOTBALL!"
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Homer is shocked when Kirk suggests he and Homer simultaneously reveal the strangest place they've ever had sex.note  Pointing out that there are kids in the back of the van does nothing to dissuade him.
    • Homer tells Kirk he may have a lot of bad habits - alcohol, forgetting his kids' birthdays, stealing blow dryers from motels - but he draws the line at going to strip clubs. Such is his discomfort that Marge has to goad him into looking for Kirk in a strip club when he goes missing.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: The hookers agree to help Kirk for his son's sake, due to all being mothers.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Kirk may be a bore with no sense of propriety, but he's also a desperately lonely man who is almost completely ignored by everyone he knows - even his own wife, to quote Marge, "treats him like garbage." He latches onto Homer so forcefully because he thinks that, for the first time in years, he's found a real friend.
  • Ironic Echo: "Echo" in two senses of the word; Homer offhandedly addresses Kirk as "buddy" when he hands the floor to him at the town meeting, and the word "buddy" echoes as we close in on Kirk's face progressively lighting up. When Kirk insists Homer join him as assistant coach of the lacrosse team, he addresses Homer as "buddy", and the word echoes once again as we close in on Homer's face... progressively cringing in horror.
  • Platonic Prostitution: When Homer finds Kirk at Clubb Sinnn, he discovers that he has spent the last three days talking to the strippers instead of watching their act. Rather than wanting to ogle naked women, Kirk just wants someone to listen to him.
  • Split Screen: For the musical number at the end of the second act, Kirk sings about how happy he is to be friends with Homer, while Homer sings about how much he hates being around Kirk. For the final lines, Kirk dances up a fire escape on the left side of the screen against blue skies, while Homer gets on a Ferris wheel on the right side of the screen against cloudy skies ... only for the sky on Homer's side to clear up and the line down the middle of the picture to slide away to put the two men within earshot of each other - just as Homer says he's only been pretending to like Kirk.
  • Was It All a Lie?: Kirk is outraged when he hears Homer say that he was only pretending to like him, and when Homer tracks him down in a strip club, he snaps, "Nothing, nothing that we had was real!" Homer, however, admits that while he may not like Kirk as a friend, he respects him as a lacrosse coach.
  • Won't Take "Yes" for an Answer: Homer is so sure the kids would lose he won't listen to them saying they won until he sees the scoreboard.
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