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Recap / The Simpsons S3 E20 "Colonel Homer"

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Original air date: 8F19

Production code: 3/26/1992
After an embarrassing night at the movies with Marge, Homer gets the chance to manage an aspiring country music singer, Lurleen Lumpkin, but has to fight off her seductive charms and his own feelings for her to stay true to Marge.

This is the only episode credited as written solely by Matt Groening, creator of the main characters, without Sam Simon and/or James L. Brooks or any other members of the original writing team.

This episode contains examples of:

  • All for Nothing: Homer drives 75 miles for a steakhouse, only to find it demolished, forcing him to find some other restaurant. Though Homer ignores the fact there were plenty of other restaurants in the radius he drove.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Lurleen falls in love with Homer, though he still only loves Marge.
  • Bad News in a Good Way: When Marge asks Homer how much he spent on Lurleen for her first album, he says, "It's just our life savings. We're not gonna go into hock for this."
  • Bar Brawl: There's one where the Jukebox is used as a weapon.
    Man 1: Hey you! Let's fight!
    Man 2: Them's fightin' words!
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Lurleen falls in love with Homer because he is the first man in her life who treats her with respect and genuinely cares for her.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Krusty is shown whacking Sideshow Mel around for dating his sister. After Lurleen's song plays on the radio, Krusty relents, gives Mel some money and tells him to take her somewhere nice.
    Krusty: [hitting Sideshow Mel] I thought I told you to stay away from my sister! [Lurleen's song plays] Oh, here's fifty bucks. Take her to the Copa.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Marge screams this to Homer for talking during the movie (especially for giving away the ending after figuring it out), humiliating Homer. The audience roaring in cheer of Marge is what angers Homer into driving away far from home to avoid sharing a bed with Marge.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Not in the episode's main story, but the movie that Homer and Marge were watching (Stockholm Affair) has this trope applied where the secret code was the same nursery rhyme the protagonist agent told his daughter.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Marge for the entire episode. Luckily for her, Homer didn't feel the same about Lurleen.
  • Couch Gag: The family sit on the couch and sink in halfway.
  • Country Music: Lurleen Lumpkin is a country singer-songwriter in the Dolly Parton mold.
  • Death Glare: Marge gives a murderous one towards Lurleen during the recording of the single. Towards the end, when Lurleen sings "I've finally bagged me a Homer", Marge goes completely furious with hatred, and starts grinding her teeth.
  • Epic Fail: A flashback has a young Homer being rejected via a slap from a Kissing Booth. Even worse, the woman actually refuses to refund him his dollar, instead slapping him a second time.
  • Fisticuff-Provoking Comment:
    Man 1: Hey you! Let's fight!
    Man 2: Them's fightin' words!
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The marquee at the Springfield Googoplex is as follows: I'll Fry Your Face III; The Smell in Room 19; Space Mutants VI; Honey, I Hit a School Bus; Look Who's Oinking; The Stockholm Affair; and Ernest vs. the Pope. Bart also mentions Ernest Cuts the Cheese.
  • Hayseed Name: Lurleen Lumpkin.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Lurleen quickly starts falling for Homer and it comes out in her song lyrics, but Homer remains oblivious. Then she makes an open attempt to seduce him with a seductive song called "Bunk with Me Tonight". Homer realizes that managing Lurleen could hurt his marriage, so he abruptly quits as her manager in the middle of a TV appearance and goes home.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Homer is blissfully unaware of how annoying he is in the movie theater, to the point of being offended when Marge yells at him to shut up. Ditto on how spending time with Lurleen makes Marge feel, and it's only when leaving for Lurleen's big TV performance that it starts to dawn on him.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Homer's response when Marge calls him out for lying to him about Lurleen being overweight (with a dash of Never My Fault):
    Homer: Marge, it takes two to lie; one to lie and one to listen!
  • Intercourse with You: Lurleen wrote "Bunk with Me Tonight" specifically to seduce Homer. He doesn't get it, being so devoted to Marge that the obvious romantic cues fly over his head. As soon as Lurleen spells out her intentions, Homer feels intensely conflicted, and he eventually drops out of managing her to return to Marge.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Bart tricking Lisa into watching the gruesome demise of the couple getting eaten by the space aliens even as she was covering her eyes in hopes of not seeing it and after she asked him to tell her when the scary part was over. He even laughs at her as she screams in horror.
    • Bart drawing on the back of an angered Homer's head to point out the "tension spots" to Marge that ends up resembling a face and which he calls him "One unhappy pappy". This only makes him angrier.
  • Living Out a Childhood Dream: Parodied when Homer accuses Marge of standing in the way of his "boyhood dream of managing a beautiful country singer." Marge points out that his actual boyhood dream was to eat the world's biggest hoagie, which he did a year ago at the county fair.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Marge assumes Homer is having an affair with Lurleen, and refuses to listen to his pleas that he's just trying to help her. It doesn't help that Lurleen flirts with him in front of her, giving Marge a reason to hate her at near-Yandere levels. And this was after Marge yelled at him in the theater, and Homer going out driving to cool off.
  • Movie-Theater Episode: This episode begins with the Simpsons going to the movie theater. While in the theater, Homer constantly interrupts a movie he and Marge are seeing by choking on food, loudly asking questions, and spoiling the ending. Marge eventually has enough and chews out Homer in front of the audience, humiliating him and creating a fracture in their relationship.
    Marge: Homer, if it makes you feel any better, most of what they threw at you splattered on me.
  • More Insulting than Intended: Since Homer was ruining the movie with his constant talking, Marge was within her rights to snap at him. She obviously didn't anticipate when she did that the rest of the movie patrons would cheer for her and start throwing food at Homer utterly humiliating him.
  • Morton's Fork: Marge speaks with Patty on the phone, and tells her that Lurleen is one for the family. If she fails, the family is broke. If she succeeds, Marge will divorce Homer. Patty doesn't see the problem.
  • My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: After Lurleen kisses Homer, it finally registers with him that his marriage is in danger, so (as he says) his entire romantic life flashes before his eyes. Before getting to Marge, it's one failure after another, including being rejected at a kissing booth after paying.
  • Never My Fault: Homer is angry at Marge for telling him to shut up, despite the fact that he was being his usual obnoxious self and talking during the movie, annoying her and everyone else in the theater.
    Homer: Stupid Marge tells me to shut up?
  • Oblivious to Love: Homer fails to notice that Lurleen is in love with him, even when she invites him to her trailer, and sings the highly suggestive song "Bunk with me Tonight" for him (according to DVD commentary, everyone thought Homer was being a Jerkass in this episode, but Groening explains that Homer was just trying to help Lurleen out because he liked her songs and wanted to make money for his family — until he sees her true intentions):
    Homer: Oh, that's hot. There isn't a man alive who wouldn't get turned on by that. [Stands up] Well, goodbye!
  • The One Thing I Don't Hate About You: Homer's new job as Lurleen Lumpkin's manager is driving him away from his family:
    Marge: You've got a wonderful family, Homer. Please don't forget it when you walk out that door tonight.
    [Homer leaves]
    Bart: Much as I hate that man right now, you gotta love that suit.
  • Running Gag: Homer keeps holding his breath when he drives past nasty smells (a skunk, a fertilizer plant, a county dump, a sulfur mine, and forty miles of open sewers). At one point his face goes red before he has to breathe again.
    Homer: [Exhales] Oh no! [Inhales]
  • Seduction-Proof Marriage: Hence Homer's total blindness to Lurleen's advances. When she actually kisses him, causing him to remember his entire romantic history up to the present, all it does is further confirm that Marge is the only one for him. He passes her to another manager, and in her final song she expresses hope that "Marge knows just how lucky she is."
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: The very end of the episode, in which Homer and Marge are making out and before they have sex, Homer throws his white cowboy hat toward the screen blacking it out till the credits appear.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Beer 'N' Brawl redneck bar is based on the bar in Urban Cowboy.
    • The title, as well as Homer himself, refer to Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager. Homer's line about how he's not called Colonel Homer because he's "some dumb army guy" is a reference to the fact that Parker likewise didn't hold a actual military rank despite his nickname.note 
    • Coal Miner's Daughter: Many elements of the 1980 film, starring Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones and showing Loretta Lynn's real-life rise to stardom, are present. Lurleen is voiced by Beverly D'Angelo, who played country legend Patsy Cline in that film.
    • Hee Haw: The TV show "Ya-Hoo", with its corny, countrified characters and country music.
    • The title of Lurleen's last song, "Stand by Your Manager", is a reference to Tammy Wynette's most famous single "Stand by Your Man".
    • Lenny, believing that singing to his bowling ball will improve his game, begins to sing the Carpenters version of "There's a Kind of Hush".
    • The political thriller Marge and Homer watch, The Stockholm Affair and its hero, Jed Cowlick, are stand-ins for Jack Ryan.
  • Special Guest: Beverly D'Angelo as Lurleen Lumpkin.
  • Spin the Bottle: When Lurleen kisses Homer, his romantic life flashes before his eyes. In his childhood, he is seen playing this game only to get slapped by the girl who the bottle is stopped at.
  • Take That!: Homer explains to Marge about the most famous people in country music includes "the jerk in the cowboy hat"note  and "that dead lady".note 
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Homer lets out a deep sigh upon being told the movie he and Marge are about to see is a political thriller.
  • Toilet Humour: At the end of act one:
    Homer: Hey, Lurleen? I gotta say something to you.
    Lurleen: I'm listening.
    Homer: Your song touched me in a way I've never felt before. And which way to the can?
  • Trailer Park Tornado Magnet: The trailer park where Lurleen lives has a sign counting the days since the last tornado. When we first see it for the first time, it reads 14 days; for the second time, 2.
  • Tranquil Fury:
    • Homer quietly, but sternly drops off Marge and the kids and drive off into the night. He then quickly backs up when he realize Maggie is still inside, then drives away again.
    • Marge remains silent throughout Lurleen's first recording, but at the end when the song is revealed to be a love song towards Homer, Marge beings to grind her teeth out of fury and hatred.
  • Unknown Rival: Marge hates Lurleen to near-Yandere levels, and wants her out of the family's lives out of fear she'll take Homer away from them. Lurleen mostly ignores her.
  • Versus Title: One of the movies at the Googolplex is "Ernest vs. the Pope".
  • What's a Henway?: A joke in "Ya-Hoo":
    Orville: I caught my wife in bed with my best friend.
    Hurley: You bitter?
    Orville: Yep. Bit him, too!
  • X Days Since: The trailer park where Lurleen lives has a sign counting the days since the last tornado. The second time we see it, the number is lower.