First Aired - 1/24/1991
The Simpsons have dinner out at a Japanese restaurant, which turns deadly when Homer eats some improperly-cut fugu and is told by Dr. Hibbert that he has only 22 hours left to live.
- Aesop Amnesia: When Homer is ecstatic that he's alive, he vows to live life to its fullest. The next scene is Homer watching TV and eating pork rinds. (Maybe that is living life to its fullest, by Homer's standards.)
- Art Major Biology: Contrary to how Fugu's poison is potentially depicted here; the actual Fugu poison is a paralytic. Meaning that Homer would have known immediately if he ate poison; which causes paralysis and the actual death comes from the person being unable to breathe. The other difference is the fact treatment is being placed on life support until the body can regain function; not the untreatable death sentence that Fugu is shown to be here.
- As Himself: Larry King (reading The Bible on tape)
- Auto Erotica: Krabappel and the head chef of the sushi restaurant.
- Borrowed Catch Phrase:Homer: Hey Burns! Eat... my... shorts!
- Captivity Harmonica: Parodied. Homer asks his harmonica-playing cellmate what he's in for. The answer? "Atmosphere."
- Characterization Marches On:
- Lou and Eddie act like incompetent or malicious policemen when generally speaking later on in the series they are portrayed as more reasonable, competent foils to their boss, Chief Wiggum.
- Smithers sees Mr. Burns eyeing a beautiful woman and not only doesn't get jealous, but also encourages him and seems to be interested in the woman himself.
- Creator Cameo: Richie Sakai appears as himself at the karaoke bar, although Dan Castellaneta voices him using his natural voice.
- Crossing the Burnt Bridge: While believing he had less than 24 hours to live, Homer jumped at the opportunity to tell Mr. Burns off. We never get to see the consequences when it turns out that Homer isn't going to die (see What Could Have Been on the Trivia page).
- Defying the Censors: The censors did not like Bart and Lisa singing the theme from Shaft, so the producers had to show a clip from the Academy Awards when that song was nominated and performed on television.
- Disney Death: Homer appears to die at the end of the episode, but Marge discovers that he's only fallen asleep.
- Eskimos Aren't Real: When Lisa says she wants to go somewhere without burgers, pork chops, or fried chicken, Homer says, "We'll go to Mars!", indicating he doesn't believe restaurants exist that don't sell those entrees.
- Five Stages of Grief: Homer and Dr. Hibbert go through this in about 30 seconds. "Mr. Simpson, your progress astounds me!"
- Gilligan Cut and Hypocritical Humor: When Homer survived the fugu, he tells Marge he's going to take advantage of life and start really living. The episode ends with Homer watching a bowling competition on TV while eating pork rinds.
- Hair Reboot: Homer shows Bart how to shave and Homer's stubble grows back within a single frame.
- Not Helping Your Case: During Homer's Video Will recorded for Maggie, he tries to eulogize himself as "a simple man. A kind man. A gentle man who loved his children and— D'oh!" He's been interrupted by a phone call from Milhouse, so he ends up standing up close to the camera, scratching his butt and exclaiming, "Bart, get your butt down here!"
- Recycled Animation: The animation of Homer watching bowling on TV and eating Pork Rinds Lite is reused from Season 1. It originally showed Homer choking on the pork rinds, but that was cut out and Homer's chewing was put on a cycle.
- Sequential Symptom Syndrome: Homer starts suffering the symptoms of fugu poisoning as soon as Dr. Hibbert describes each one of them.
- Shown Their Work: When the chef of the sushi bar finds out that Homer has been poisoned, he yells at his apprentices in Japanese. The staff wanted the language they spoke to be actual Japanese, so they hired a Japanese actor who translated the lines for them.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Mrs. Krabappel's role consists on having sex with the only chef in the Happy Sumo to have the required experience to cut fugu. If not for that, Homer wouldn't have spent the rest of the episode thinking he was poisoned and would die from it.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Normally, Lisa is portrayed as being adept at the baritone saxophone. However, in this episode, a bass saxophone is heard playing instead.
- Special Guest: Joey Miyashima as Toshiro; Sab Shimono as the sushi bar chef; George Takei as Akira (later replaced with Hank Azaria); Diane Tanaka as the bar hostess
- Surprisingly Good Foreign Language: All the Japanese in this episode is legitimate. It probably helps that all the people speaking it are Japanese.
- Video Will: Homer tries to film one for Maggie, but is interrupted by a phone call from Milhouse.