Original air date: 12/26/1991
Production code: 8F10
While Marge is at the doctor's to see whether or not she's pregnant for the fourth time, Homer tells the kids the story of his post-high school life with Marge, including how Bart was conceived at the golf course, how they quickly got married at a roadside chapel, and how Homer provided for his new family by getting a job at the nuclear plant.
This episode contains examples of:
- Ambiguous Innocence: Bart displayed some possible Early Personality Signs which Dr. Hibbert and Marge didn't think of as deliberate behavior: he kept turning his back on the ultrasound screen, prompting the comment from Hibbert that "if I didn't know better, I'd swear he was trying to moon us," and in a portentous first encounter with Homer, he managed to grab a lighter from his pocket and set his tie on fire, which an aggrieved Homer insisted he'd done on purpose. Marge replied quite reasonably that he was only ten minutes old, but given everything we know about Bart, Homer's claim is not hard to believe.
- Art Evolution: The flashback to Dr. Hibbert announcing Marge's pregnancy in "The Way We Was" has been reanimated in this episode. Compare the original scene◊ to the redone version◊.
- Babies Make Everything Better: Doubly subverted. Marge is afraid she was pregnant again and the kids react with delight upon learning they'll have another brother or sister. Homer responds by telling them a new baby isn't all fun and games and tells them the story of Bart's conception and the resulting pregnancy and birth. In the end, Bart's birth made everything better: Homer gets a job, saves his marriage, and tells off his sisters-in-law. Then it's triply subverted when Marge returns from the Doctor.[Homer gathers the kids into his lap]
Homer: You know, son, the day you were born, I received the greatest gift a man could have. As the years went by, your mother and I were blessed twice more. And not a day goes by that we don't thank God for all three of you.
[Marge enters the room]
Marge: [excitedly] Homer, I'm not pregnant!
[Homer stands up quickly, causing the kids on his lap to fall to the floor]
Homer: Yeah! Whoa! Excellent, Marge!
[They high five]
- Big "OMG!": Dr. Hibbert gives one when Homer reveals he's gotten a job at the Power Plant.
- Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...:Marge: Tenth notice... 90 days overdue... we break thumbs?
- Burger Fool: Homer works at a place called Gulp n Blow; it's just as bad as Krusty Burger. Notably, despite being in his mid-twenties Homer only manages to become a trainee. He doesn't even get to learn what's in the secret sauce.
- Cerebus Retcon: "The Way We Was" played off the reveal that Homer and Marge's marriage was a Shotgun Wedding as a joke. This episode explores it in detail, and shows that it was actually a fairly dramatic affair, with Homer having struggled extensively trying to find work to support his new wife and child.
- Chekhov's Gun: Among other things, Marge's family snarks about the amount of hair a newly-balding Homer is shedding on their couches. It's this hair in Patty's taco that alerts Selma to Homer's presence at the Gulp 'n' Blow.
- Couch Gag: The family cartwheels to the couch and lands with a "ta-da" pose.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: When a newborn Bart manages to light his tie on fire, Homer is sure that he did it on purpose, to which Marge replies "How could he? He's only ten minutes old!" Given what we know of Bart, Homer was probably not wrong.
- Debating Names: A pregnancy scare prompts Bart and Lisa to think of names for their possible new sibling; Lisa wants to call it "Ariel", while Bart wants "Kool Moe Dee". Homer then tells them that he had a similar argument with Marge when she was pregnant with Bart, leading to a flashback.Marge: Homer, I've been thinking. If the baby's a boy, what do you think of the name "Larry"?
Homer: Marge, we can't do that! All the kids'll call him "Larry Fairy".
Marge: Well, how about "Louie"?
Homer: They'll call him "Screwy Louie".
Marge: How about "Bart"?
Homer: Let's see. (counting on his fingers) Bart, Cart, Dart, Eart... (runs out of fingers) Nope, can't see any problem with that.
- Disappeared Dad: Marge's father, Clancy Bouvier doesn't appear in any of the flashbacks, despite being seen in "The Way We Was". And unlike the situation around Homer's mother in that episode — she wasn't mentioned, but Homer's and Abe's home was only fleetingly seen, allowing for the implication that she just happened to be out of the house — we see the Bouvier family home enough times to establish that he really isn't around anymore. This implies that he either died or left Jacqueline (later established as the former) at some point after Marge graduated from high school.
- Later episodes confuse this further, as Clancy is shown as still being alive when Bart and Lisa were toddlers.
- Disco Sucks: Homer's disco-bashing bumper sticker is prominently featured in a couple of scenes, being eventually taken out from the bumper and onto Homer's briefcase when he decides to search for a good job.
- Distant Reaction Shot: Upon learning from Dr. Hibbert that Marge is pregnant with Bart, Homer shouts D'OH!, loud enough that a patient in traction from the other side of the hospital can hear him.
- Drive-Thru Antics: Marge reunites with Homer, who is trying to earn money for her and her coming child by working at the Gulp 'n' Blow.Homer: Yeah, what do you want?
Marge: My husband by my side?
Homer: Would you like fries with that?
- Early-Installment Weirdness: Marge and Homer saw a Star Wars film (specifically, The Empire Strikes Back). Most future episodes call it Cosmic Wars.
- Early Personality Signs: Exaggerated to hell and back with Bart. Even before he set Homer's tie on fire at ten minutes old, he was trying to moon Hibbert and Marge on an ultrasound screen.
- Enfant Terrible: Bart grabs Homer's lighter and sets his tie on fire within ten minutes of being born.
- Epic Fail: Homer's efforts to get a better paying job are this:
- He gets fired from the Olde Springfield Towne historical attraction because the candle he made was so bad it ruined a family's vacation;
- He's presumably fired as a door-to-door Slash Co knife salesman when he forgets the "handle first" rule and accidentally cuts an old lady's hand;
- His first attempt at getting a job with the power plant results in him not only failing the aptitude test but getting trapped in a closet on his way out;
- He quits as a training dummy for an attack dog school because he doesn't like being attacked;
- When he finally gets a job as a Burger Fool at the Gulp 'N Blow, he's only a trainee and never even learns what's in the secret sauce.
- Everyone Has Standards: Patty and Selma both loathe Homer and don't think he's good enough for Marge, but not even Selma can stand seeing Marge so depressed even if it's for a man she hates.
- Exact Words: When Homer says the first thing Bart will see upon being born is a man with a good job. His sisters-in-law say it'll be the doctor.
- The Exit Is That Way: When Mr. Burns decides to give Homer a job, Smithers objects on the grounds that Homer failed the aptitude test and got stuck inside a locker trying to get out.
- Felony Misdemeanor: One of Homer's jobs is posing as a candlemaker in a novelty olden village attraction. He makes a candle so poorly, that it causes one child tourist to bawl in disappointment, the aghast parents to declare their vacation ruined, and Homer to be promptly fired.Child: [sobs] What a crappy candle!!!
- Fetus Terrible: Even in utero, Bart was already Bart.Dr. Hibbert: If I didn't know better, I'd swear he was trying to moon us.
- Fictional Video Game: There is a blue arcade cabinet with a Ms. Pac-Man clone. The Ms. Pac-Man expy is made of two triangles and a bow ribbon. The ghosts have a similar design to Kang and Kodos.
- Flashback to Catchphrase: Homer lets out his first "Why, you littleŚ!" directed at Bart when he's only ten minutes old.
- Foregone Conclusion: Played with; three people apply for two positions are open at the nuclear plant — Homer and two people whom Smithers was at college with. While this would probably have doomed Homer from the word go, he still manages to screw up the interview completely by himself, when he mishears Smithers' asking him what he'd do in the event of a meltdown, and then runs out of the interview room screaming, thinking a meltdown actually is happening. On the other hand, the larger Foregone Conclusion is, of course, that Homer get the job after all—on his second try, when he simply walks in and begs, expressing his willingness to let Burns degrade him as much as he wants.
- Four-Fingered Hands: In one of several incidents of the show Lampshade Hanging this convention, Homer says he's happy with the newborn Bart as long as he has "eight fingers and eight toes."
- God-Is-Love Songs: Discussed in-universe, in regards to "You Light Up My Life":Homer: I bet the guy she was singing that about was real happy.
Marge: Actually, she was singing about God.
Homer: Oh. Well, he's always happy. No, wait, he's always mad...
- Happiness in Minimum Wage: Homer liked working at the mini-golf course, as his boss was so lenient he clearly didn't notice or care that Homer's incompetence was ruining the customer's games. His view is also tinted by nostalgia, as a promise to someday hand out putters is followed by present Homer saying it was "a job with a future".
- Hilarious in Flashback: After meeting and hiring Homer:Burns: Simpson, eh? I'll remember that name.
- Honking Arriving Car: Played with in a flashback, as Homer arrives to take Marge out on a date while she's talking to her mother and sisters:Marge: You don't know Homer like I do. He's sensitive and sweet.
Homer: (HONK!) Marge! Get your butt out here!
- Honorable Marriage Proposal: Subverted with Abe's motivation for telling Homer to marry a pregnant Marge:Homer: Because it's the honorable thing to do?
Abe: No! Because you'll never do any better! You lucky bum! The fish jumped right in the boat! All you gotta do is whack her with the oar!
- I Ate WHAT?!: When she and Selma are eating at the Gulp N Blow, Patty briefly gags on her taco, which she finds is full of hair. Selma then points out that Homer is the one who made it, and the sisters see him spray sauce all over his arm and then lick it up. Patty drops her taco in horror.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy:
- The reason Homer leaves Marge to find a good job.
- Also the reason for Selma reuniting Marge with Homer. She detests him, but can't bear to see her little sister sad.
- Immediate Self-Contradiction:
- Homer tells his kids that he's happy that he has kids and that each of them was a blessing. When Marge comes back from the doctor with news that she isn't pregnant, Homer yells, "YES!" and high-fives her.
- When Lisa gets teary upon hearing about how Homer left Marge and vowed to come back when he could support her, Homer reminds her that everything obviously worked out:Homer: After all, you wouldn't be here today if I hadn't become the responsible head of a household.
Bart: Hey Homer, can we have a can of frosting for lunch?
- Jerkass: Patty and Selma are really horrible in this episode. They do nothing but treat Homer like garbage while he's trying his best to be a good husband to Marge.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Selma, at least, reunites Marge with Homer, when she sees how upset Marge is. And she felt guilty for not telling Marge sooner.
- Jerkass Has a Point: As nasty as they are to Homer, Patty and Selma have a point that he's really not a good provider. Despite being in his mid-twenties, the only jobs he can get are turning windmill blades at a miniature golf course and working as a Burger Fool trainee.
- Just Following Orders: The chipper and apologetic repo man that takes away Homer and Marge's belongings definitely comes across as this.Repo Man: Repossessing is the hardest part of my job.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: In-universe, Homer accidentally blabs about the Trope Namer example for the people waiting in line to see The Empire Strikes Back."Oh, thank you, Mr. Blow-The-Picture-For-Me!"
- Malicious Misnaming: Whatever name Marge suggests, Homer worries that their son will fall victim to this. And yet he doesn't see anything wrong with the name "Bart"....
- Marry for Love: Homer initially takes it for granted that Marge agreed to marry him because he got her pregnant—in fact, Abe encouraged him to propose because he believed that the situation was Homer's only opportunity to keep someone as great as Marge. In fact, she married him because she loved him, and tells him so.
- My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: Upon getting a job at the Nuclear Power Plant, Homer says it could only happen in America.
- My Greatest Failure: Watching everything he bought for Marge and their baby be repossessed caused Homer to leave in the middle of the night so he could find work and send every dollar to Marge.
- New Baby Episode: While Marge goes to the doctor to see if she's pregnant or not, Homer tells the story of how he and Marge got married. After Marge got pregnant with Bart, Homer ended up unemployed after he quit his minimum wage job while trying to get better paid work, briefly leaving her while trying to earn money for her and the incoming baby, and eventually getting hired at the plant.
- Oh, Crap!: Homer's response to learning from Dr. Hibbert that Marge is pregnant is to yell out a loud, resounding "D'oh!" that echoes down the hallway of the hospital.Man in a bodycast: Poor guy.
- Panicky Expectant Father: Inverted: Marge goes into labor the same day Homer finally manages to get hired at the power plant, and he's on such a confidence high that he not only finally puts Patty and Selma in their place but is on the verge of trying to elbow out the doctor and deliver Bart himself before Marge stops him.
- Pet the Dog: Selma tells Marge where Homer is working when she and Patty find out, while Jacqueline Bouvier at least has the decency to drive Homer to the hospital.
- Pregnancy Scare: Marge thinks she might be pregnant. While she goes out to have a pregnancy test in the hospital, Homer tells Bart and Lisa about the time Bart was born. After this Flashback Episode comes to an end, Marge returns home to inform Homer that she is not pregnant after all, causing them both to do a high five.
- Retcon: Back in "Homer Defined" it was said that Homer had been hired to work to the nuclear power plant under a fictitious Gerald Ford-era employment program called "Project Bootstrap". Yet here, we find out that he started working at the power plant in 1980, near the end of Jimmy Carter's administration.
- Rock Bottom: After washing out at the power plant, Homer goes through a succession of failed job stints and ends up seeing everything he bought for Marge and the baby get repossessed. He leaves home to find whatever work he could get, bottoming out as a depressed Burger Fool that's so low on the totem pole that he doesn't even get to know what's in the secret sauce.
- Shotgun Wedding:
- Though no one forces Homer to marry Marge, he still does it because he loves her and he doesn't want to get in trouble for knocking her up.
- Parodied; the chapel where Homer and Marge get married is called "Shotgun Pete's".
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Homer delivers an epic one of these to the Bouvier family at the end in the delivery room before Marge goes into labor.Homer: [rushing into the delivery room] Marge! Where's the baby?!
Patty: Right where you left it!
Homer: Shut up!
Patty: Hey listen, fat boy-!
Homer: NO, YOU LISTEN! This is my wife, this is my kid, and I'm paying for this delivery, so if you wanna stay, you'd better show me some respect!
- Surprise Pregnancy: The episode fleshes out the flashback in "The Way We Was" which shows that Bart was this to Homer and Marge.
- Unable to Support a Wife: Homer accidentally gets Marge pregnant, forcing them to marry. The trouble is, they're both living with their parents working dead-end minimum wage jobs. Their relationship almost falls apart because Homer can't figure out how to make enough money to support the family.
- Visual Innuendo: When Homer and Marge are getting romantic in the mini-golf course's castle obstacle, we see a golfer successfully putt a ball into its "Free Game" hole.
- Wacky Cravings: Marge craves pancake mix whenever she's pregnant.
- What Does She See in Him?: Marge's family openly wonders this about her affection for Homer. Patty points out that if Marge really enjoyed being pawed by something fat and lazy, the Bouviers could get a cat. Jacqueline points out that a cat would leave less hair on the Bouviers' couch than Homer does.
- Worst Wedding Ever: Downplayed: while their hearts were in the right place, the fact that Homer and Marge got married in a cheap, run-down chapel with an insensitive Justice of the Peace to marry them qualifies as this. "A Milhouse Divided" several seasons later elaborates on this further with Marge being bummed out that no family or friends were there and Homer buys her a wedding cake in the form of a Carvel whale.
- You Remind Me of X: When Smithers is protesting Burns' hiring of Homer, Burns replies that Homer's "feisty, yet spineless" attitude reminds him of "a young bootlick named Waylon Smithers."
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Marge snaps Homer out of his funk by reminding him that she married him because she loves him, not because he knocked her up. What she says inspires Homer to go back to the power plant and get Burns to give him a job.