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Recap / The Simpsons S 2 E 18 Brush With Greatness

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Homer puts himself on a diet after getting stuck on a water slide ride and making the news. Meanwhile, Marge realizes her lost dream of painting after Homer finds her old Ringo Starr portraits.


Tropes:

  • As Himself: Ringo Starr, the first of the (then-)three surviving Beatles to appear on the show.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Bart and Lisa nag Homer to take them to Mt. Splashmore all day and night until well after bedtime until he finally gives in and takes them there.
  • Broken Record and Overly Long Gag: "Will you take us to Mount Splashmore?" "No.", "Will you take us to Mount Splashmore?" "No."...
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    • Much like the rake gag on "Cape Feare", this part was shortened in syndication (barring the FXX version that aired during the "Every Simpsons Ever" marathon).
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Professor Lombardo is an eccentric artist that nurtures Marge's talent.
  • Butt-Monkey: Homer getting stuck in the waterslide, and Krusty's Celebrity Endorsement of Mount Splashmore leading to him getting grilled by the media after Homer gets stuck.
  • Celebrity Endorsement: Krusty the Clown endorses the Mount Splashmore waterpark, which starts the plot by making Bart and Lisa want to go there. This comes back to bite Krusty later in the episode when Homer gets stuck in the slide and Krusty is confronted by reporters asking whether the waterpark is dangerous.
  • Cool Teacher: Marge's painting teacher Professor Lombardo is very supporting and encouraging. He warmly praises all his students' work, and even praises the college custodian's work painting banisters and posters. He's also disgusted when he hears how Marge's high school art teacher Mr. Schindler insulted her work, considering the man a fool. His "Lombardo Method" for learning painting technique also helps Marge when she's practicing painting a portrait of Homer.
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  • Compliment Backfire: When Marge tries to compliment Professor Lombardo on his supportive nature and how every teacher should be like him, he gets angry stating he doesn't take praise very well.
  • Compressed Hair: Marge manages to squeeze her tall hair into a swimming cap, with a little straining.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Homer and Bart first learn about Marge's painting hobby when they find her paintings of Ringo Starr in the Simpsons' attic. Homer is not pleased when he sees how many paintings Marge did of Ringo, including one where she marries him.
  • Crocodile Tears: Weaponised by Bart and Lisa to skip the line for a waterside. Lisa starts crying and screaming "I want my mommy!" while Bart acts like the concerned big brother, pushing past everyone with Lisa close behind.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Subverted. Marge falls into this when she thinks she can't paint a good portrait of Mr. Burns. Just then, Ringo Starr's reply to her original letter arrives, telling Marge how much he loved her painting of him. This encourages her to take one last try at painting Mr. Burns.
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  • Determinator: Ringo Starr is determined to personally answer each and every piece of fan mail he's ever gotten, which is why it took so long for him to answer Marge about her portrait of him.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Homer gets stuck in the H2WHOA! slide, and the management decides to send more kids down to dislodge the blockage, thinking it's too big to be human. This makes the problem worse because the kids end up crashing into Homer and the part of the slide with him stuck in it has to be removed in order to get him out.
  • Diet Episode: The first for Homer. Played more realistically than most in that Homer's weight loss isn't dramatic or significant enough to alter his appearance much, he simply loses enough to reach a healthier weight (and because he was humiliated on the news).
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Somewhat minor; Homer caring deeply about his weight is something that would certainly never happen in later seasons, given how gluttonous and care-free he is when it comes to food and beer. While he has gotten into shape in later episodes, he loses it by the next episode. In the case of "Kamp Krusty," Homer gains the weight back at once when he finds out what Bart had done to the camp.
    • Also minor is Lisa willingly helping Bart in committing mischief - specifically, joining him in chanting "Can we go to Mount Splashmore" to pester Homer and pretending to be a lost girl to get first in line for a ride - when in later seasons she would have nothing to do with Bart's antics.
  • Fan Disservice: Seeing Mr. Burns naked in all his skeletal glory. Everyone who sees the nude portrait of him is seriously Squicked by it. Even Smithers faints in shock.
    • Subverted when Marge paints a picture of Homer sleeping on the couch in his underwear titled "Bald Adonis". While a picture of Homer in his unmentionables would logically be fan disservice, "Bald Adonis" not only wins Marge praise from Professor Lombardo but also wins first prize in a local art contest.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: What eventually turns out to be the 'A' plot of the episode - Marge painting Mr. Burns - doesn't begin until half way through, and even the broader element of Marge having artistic talent only comes up about a third of the way in. The 'B' plot - Homer trying to lose weight - begins a little earlier but fades into the background once Marge begins painting again.
  • Humiliation Conga: Besides getting trapped in the slide, Homer is booed by the other parkgoers when emergency workers try to get him out of the slide and humiliated when the fiasco makes the evening news. Notably, eyewitnesses estimated his weight at between 400 and 500 pounds.
  • Incompetence, Inc.: It's one thing for the Mt. Splashmore management to do something about one of their slides getting jammed...but why they thought risking multiple paying customers by sending them to dislodge it was a good idea defies explanation.
  • Insult Backfire: Burns at the very least thanks Marge for not mocking his genitals. Out of earshot, Marge tells Homer she thought she had.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Marge discovers that Mr. Burns has absolutely no redeeming qualities, making it difficult for her to make a good painting of him. She tries to tell him she can't paint a positive picture of him due to his behavior, but Mr. Burns cuts her off by saying he needs the painting done on time and tells her to shut up and paint.
  • Kent Brockman News: The news anchors cracking jokes about Homer's weight while on the air.
  • Kick the Dog: Burns making fun of Homer's attempt at losing weight, driving Homer to binge on food again until Marge stops him. It is also the final straw to Marge realizing Burns has no redeeming qualities and pretty much tells him to get out.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In-universe. Mr. Burns crosses this in Marge's eyes with the aforementioned remark about Homer's weight. Marge even lampshades it.
    Marge: I used to think there was good in everyone until I met that man!
  • Nice Guy: When Ringo Starr finally takes a look at Marge's painting of him, he loves it. His reply letter to Marge is very appreciative, and he makes a point of telling her how he hung up her painting.
  • No Name Given: Subverted. Apu's first name is revealed in this episode.
  • Noodle Incident: When Krusty's Celebrity Endorsement of the Mount Splashmore waterpark leads to him getting grilled by the media after Homer gets stuck in the slide, Krusty insists that Homer getting stuck was an isolated incident and that the slides are safe. Kent Brockman then asks him whether that's exactly what he said before the recall of tainted Krusty Mayonnaise. It's not clear exactly what led the mayonnaise to be recalled, but judging by how angry Krusty gets at the question, it's nothing good.
  • Not Drawn to Scale: Homer is shown to be 260. He loses weight and goes down to 239. Either way, Homer's build looks bigger than his actual given weight.
  • The One Thing I Don't Hate About You: Marge's adult art teacher Professor Lombardo ridicules her high school art teacher for criticizing her paintings:
    Professor Lombardo: The man was a fool! But one must admire the strength of his conviction.
  • One-Track-Minded Artist: Marge used to be a painter but only did portraits of Ringo Starr because she had a crush on him at the time. When an art teacher criticised her for this, she was so upset she quit painting for good.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Lisa pretending to cry so that she and Bart and move to the front of the line. It's one of the few times she's shown to willingly join in one of Bart's scams.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Apu's story is titled "Hands Off My Jerky, Turkey".
  • Rousing Speech: Homer gives one to himself, resolving to go through with his diet.
    Homer: I'm going on a diet. From now on, there'll be no pork chop too succulent, no donut too tasty, no pizza too laden with delicious toppings to prevent me from reaching my ideal weight! As God as my witness, I'll always be hungry again! (stomach growls) D'oh! Shut up.
  • Scenery Censor: Marge runs into Mr. Burns getting out of the shower, his private parts covered up by her arm. Later, when Marge's portrait of Burns is unveiled and it turns out to be nude, the crotch keeps being blocked by people's heads or hands.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Despite being Burns' Yes-Man, Marge is shown pitying the abuse Smithers puts up with, even questioning why he deals with him.
  • Training Montage: A montage cuts between Homer exercising to lose weight and Marge practicing her painting. One sequence shows them together as Homer jumps rope while Marge paints him. The montage also uses a similar music score to "Gotta Fly Now" from the Rocky movies.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Marge's letter to Ringo was only addressed as "Springfield, U.S.A.".

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