First Aired - 11/15/1990
Homer is becoming increasingly annoyed by Ned Flanders inadvertently one-upping him in every possible way, what with having a better house, well behaved children, and a more attractive wife. Ned humbly tries to apologise for having things easier than Homer by sending him a letter, only to be met by ridicule. Things come to a head when Homer and Bart run into Ned and his sons at Sir Putt-A-Lot's Merrie Olde Fun Center, where Ned is quick to point out what a talented miniature golfer Todd is.
Todd and Bart are both interested in entering a miniature golf tournament, and Homer uses this as an excuse to try and show up Ned once and for all by goading him into making a bet where the father of the 'boy-who-doesn't-win' has to mow the winner's lawn in his wife's Sunday dress. Ned agrees, and Homer begins to put Bart through his paces so that he'll easily beat Todd.
Until season 29, this was the last Simpsons episode with music composed by somebody other than Alf Clausen. This episode was composed by Ray Colcordnote .
This episode contains examples of:
- A Day in the Limelight:
- For Todd, though most of the plot focused on Bart.
- This is the first episode to prominently feature the Flanders family, rather than their just being a one-shot gag.
- Artistic License Sports: Upon their request to have the championship match declared a draw approved, Bart and Todd are each presented a check for $25, the $50 grand prize being evenly divided among them. In real life, when multiple players tie in a golf tournament, the prize money for that position plus the positions below involved in the tie are added together, and divided evenly among the players in the tienote . For example, if two players tie for third, and third pays $100,000, and fourth pays $50,000, then that money would be added together, and each player would get $75,000. So, the $50 grand prize should've been combined with the $25 runner-up prize, and Bart and Todd should've each gotten checks for $37.50.
- Dragged into Drag: Because of how the bet was worded, both Homer and Flanders end up having to mow each other's lawns in their wives' Sunday dresses.
- Early Installment Weirdness:
- Flanders drinking? Later episodes do feature a beer tap in the Flanders family basement so it is possible that Ned enjoys a good beer now and then. Also it is a way to avoid Moe's Tavern.
- Also the mention of him being in a fraternity- where he apparently wore a dress as a gag/hazing ritual.
- Todd is also depicted as a more self aware Adorably Precocious Child compared to the extremely influential Kiddie Kid he is in most later appearances.
- Homer is also perpetually miserable and agitated throughout much of the episode. Not much of his happy-go-lucky personality was visible here.
- While Lisa's precocious personality is mostly established by this point, much like in "Bart the Genius" she is still seen laughing unashamed at Homer and Bart's heckling over Flanders' letter.
- Both Bart and Flanders are right-handed in this episode.
- E = MC Hammer: The geometry Lisa used when preparing Bart for his match dont really make a lot of sense.
- Exact Words: Because of how the bet between Homer and Ned was worded (the father of the kid who "doesn't win" instead of "the loser", because Ned found the wording too cruel for his sensibilities), Homer insisted that both of them mow each other's lawn in their own wives' Sunday dresses.
- Giant Novelty Check: After Bart and Todd decide to call it a draw, each one receives a giant check worth half the money prize.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!:Ned: You have yourself a bet, you... jackaninny!
- Green-Eyed Monster: Homer's envy of Ned is the driving force in this episode.
- Heh Heh, You Said "X": Ned's apology letter is supposed to be taken seriously, but Homer and Bart and even Lisa just giggle that the letter contains the word "bosom".
- I Call It "Vera": Homer tells Bart to give his putter a name. Bart says "Mr. Putter," so he specifies it should be a girl's name. Bart selects "Mom," to which Homer snaps "Your putter's name is Charlene!"
- I Have No Son!:Homer: Remember what Vince Lombardi said: "If you lose, you're out of the family!".
- It's All About Me: Homer is basically a black hole in this episode, drawing in everyone he can in his crusade against Ned Flanders whether they want to or not. Even Ned himself has to be dragged into it kicking and screaming.
- Jerkass: With his petty antagonism towards Ned and the undeserved pressure he puts on Bart, this episode marked a really low point for Homer in the show's early years.
- As noted in the DVD Commentary, Homer is very irritable and full of rage in this episode for no real reason. He starts out angry and gets angrier as the episode goes on.
- Laser-Guided Karma: After all of his antagonism of Ned and unfair treatment of Bart, it's satisfying to see Homer get his commupance at the end of the episode.
- Not So Above It All: Marge scolds Homer and the kids for laughing at Ned's melodramatic apology letter, but she privately finds it amusing as well.
- Off-Model: Krusty appears in one sequence with his face having yellow skin.
- OOC Is Serious Business: "Mercy is for the weak, Todd!"
- Rhetorical Question Blunder: Lisa asks Bart, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" Bart demonstrates by swatting his fingers into his palm.
- Screw Your Ultimatum!: Bart and Todd decided to end their game in a draw instead or egging their fathers' egos on.
- Serious Business: The championship match between Bart and Todd is broadcast in its entirety on KBBL Radio, complete with I Am Very British announcers.
- Take a Third Option: Bart and Todd decide to forfeit and declare a tie.
- Tender Tears: When Bart and Todd decide to call it a draw, the British announcer is so moved by their sportsmanship that he starts crying.
- Unishment: Ned is actually amused at mowing the lawn in a Sunday dress (as it reminds him of his fraternity days), much to Homer's frustration.
- Worth It: Homer doesn't mind facing the losing penalty if that's what it takes to make Ned face it as well. He changes his mind once he sees Ned enjoying it.
- X Must Not Win: Homer is willing to accept both Ned and him facing the losing penalty so long at it means Ned suffers. Unfortunately for Homer, Ned enjoys it due to being reminded of his fraternity days.