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Recap / The Simpsons S 3 E 22 The Otto Show

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Episode - 8F21
First Aired - 4/23/1992

After going to a Spinal Tap concert, Bart is fired up to be a rock star. Meanwhile, Otto the bus driver loses his license, his job, and his apartment and crashes with The Simpsons.

This episode contains examples of:

  • 555: The School bus bumper has a sticker with the "How's my driving?" question and the phone number 555-8221.
  • A Day in the Limelight: For Otto Mann.
  • Adult Fear: When Marge and Lisa watch the news report about the riot that broke out at the Spinal Tap concert, Marge comments that she hopes Bart is OK. Lisa says, "See for yourself,", just as onscreen, a screaming Bart swings around on something and then drops to the floor. The first thing Marge does when Bart arrives home is to hug him in relief.
  • ...And That Little Girl Was Me: When Otto tells Lisa his version of the 'Maniac in the backseat' Urban Legend, he says he knows it because "I...was that maniac", resulting in a Skyward Scream from Lisa, and Homer making the decision to kick Otto out of the house.
    Otto: Hey, I was just kidding!
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  • Big "SHUT UP!": Skinner does this to Ralph while driving the bus. Skinner is stuck in a traffic jam and Ralph starts singing "Hail To The Bus Driver". What happens next is this trope from an angry Skinner.
    Ralph: (singing) He steps on the clutch and the toilet goes flush, hail to the—
    Skinner: SHUT UP!
  • Blinding Bangs: Many people at the Spinal Tap concert have their hair covering their eyes.
  • Bowdlerize: In British broadcasts, Bart's fantasy has his declaration of "slag off" excised.
  • Brand Name Takeover: Referenced. Bart is appalled to see that Otto is reduced to living in a dumpster but Otto wishes he was classy enough for a real Dumpster and is instead stuck with a Trash-Co waste disposal unit.
  • British Rockstar: Bart fantasizes about becoming one, actually looking forward to being a drugged-out mess who alienates his other bandmates and cares more about the excesses of Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll rather than making music.
    Milhouse: You changed, man! It used to be about the music!
    Bart: I said, slag off!
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  • Cheap Heat: Spinal Tap uses this to rev up the Springfieldians, though David St. Hubbins needs the name of the town taped to the back of his guitar to remember it, and when they're forced to end the set he says "Good night, Springton" by mistake.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • Otto thinks he's supposed to run down the cardboard cutouts of pedestrians on the driving test course.
    • When Otto was kicked out of his apartment:
    Otto: Can I at least get my stuff?
    Landlord: All I found in there was a jar of mustard and a couple of old 'Cycle' magazines.
    Otto: Whoa! ...I had mustard?!
    • In their interview, Spinal Tap say they can't think of anyone who benefitted from the fall of the Iron Curtain than them... until they think about all those countries behind the Curtain.
  • Cool Teacher: Patty when Otto expresses hatred for Homer. She gives him every answer to the written word test, spends the practical test laughing at stories of Homer's stupidity and offers to take Otto out for drinks after.
  • Dad the Veteran: When Marge asks Otto why he can't stay with his parents, Otto explains that he and "the admiral" don't get along.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Otto attends the Spinal Tap concert, although he doesn't interact with Bart or Milhouse there.
  • Empty Fridge, Empty Life: The misery of Otto's life is hammered home by his landlord listing his meager few possessions after he evicts him.
  • Epic Fail: The first time around on his driver's test, Otto failed every segment and misspelled "bus" on his application.
    • Homer's exploits include getting his nose caught in the Simpsons' toaster (which Patty and Selma have on tape), and having a chicken wing stuck to his face for three days.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: In Spinal Tap's last appearance in the episode, their tour bus is run off the road, whereupon it flips over and bursts into flames. (Knowing this group's checkered history, this probably only kills the drummer.)
  • Eye Scream: Nugel Tufnel members is hit in the eye with one of the stage show lasers.
  • Facepalm: Skinner does this upon learning that Otto doesn't have a driver's license.
  • Fake Guest Star: Harry Shearer plays his Simpsons characters and Spinal Tap bassist Derek Smalls.
  • Funny Background Event: Homer waits in the car for Bart and Milhouse while they're at the concert. We see him munching on pork rinds and singing along to the radio, blissfully unaware of the riot police storming the arena outside his car window.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Sort of. When Milhouse appears in Bart's fantasy of being a British Rockstar and chastises him for how much he's changed, Bart angrily tells him to "slag off" and throws a bottle at him.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: The first half of the story is about Bart seeing a heavy metal concert and wanting to become a rockstar. The second half is about Otto trying to get a driver's license and get his job back, which has almost nothing to do with the first half.
    • In later seasons, the show would sometimes do a Plot Switch following the first act.
  • Incompetence, Inc.: The management of the venue where Spinal Tap performs. The place is usually a hockey rink, but the melted water hasn't been cleaned off the stage; the giant Devil balloon deflates during the show; the stage fans are set full blast instead of the medium setting the band requested; The stage lights aren't turned on at the band's cue; and one of the band members gets hit with the stage lasers. It's hard to blame the band for not wanting to put up with it anymore.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Spinal Tap appear, just as other bands have, except Spinal Tap are played by actors including Harry Shearer whose cartoon face gets so dominated by the facial hair and wig that he ends up looking nothing like himself.
  • Instant Expert: Bart assumed he would be like this upon playing a guitar. He soon finds out he is wrong, so he eventually stopped.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One!: Otto doesn't object to being called a bum, or being called out for clogging the bathroom sink, eating the last cookie, and getting collect calls. But don't you dare call him a sponge.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Patty decides to allow Otto to pass the driving test because he wants to rub his license at Homer's face.
  • Off-Model: Comic Book Guy appears selling Spinal Tap t-shirts at the concert, but his color scheme is incorrect.
  • Papa Wolf: Homer kicks Otto out after the latter tells Lisa a horror story that makes her scream.
  • Pun: The episode title is a play on "auto show".
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Spinal Tap abandons the concert 20 minutes in after getting fed up with the various screwups of the stage crew - the scene hasn't been properly prepared and is full of water from its usual job as an ice rink, their inflatable giant devil prop isn't inflated, the lights don't come on as they're supposed to, and one of the members gets hit in the eye with a stage laser.
  • Shout-Out: Homer says of Otto "This is not Happy Days and he is not the Fonz." Otto then comes in and says "Hey, Mr. S!" like Fonzie would call Richie's father "Mr. C."
    • Before the second attempt at the driver's licence exam, Bart reminds Otto that Homer called him "a sponge". Enranged, Otto pounds on a brick wall hard enough to crumble some of it and yells "Does this look like something a sponge would do?" This parodies a dramatic confrontation in The Fly (1986) — when the slowly transforming scientist, unaware of what's truly happening to him yet, is told by his anxious lover that he must be sick he demonstrates his Super Strength by punching a wooden support beam and splintering it. "Does this look like a sick man to you?"
  • Something We Forgot: Homer doesn't realize he left Milhouse at the concert venue until Marge brings it up. Milhouse is then shown at the arena buried under a pile of chairs.
  • Special Guest: Spinal Tap. All three actors (one of whom, of course, is Simpsons regular Harry Shearer) reprise their roles, with the concert and its aftermath taking up the episode's entire first act.
  • Spoof Aesop: Homer's speech to Bart about giving up on any hobby that proves more difficult than he expected.
  • Take That, Audience!: An in-universe example appears when Bart daydreams about being a jaded, bitter rock star. During a concert he informs the audience that he's going to play a new song entitled "Me Fans Are Stupid Pigs". Cue an outburst of squealing and fawning from said fans.
  • Tempting Fate: When speaking on whether to evict Otto from their house, Marge tells Homer that he is good with their kids. Then, they hear Lisa screaming from Otto's story, and Homer declares that the last straw.
  • This Is Reality: Homer's objection over Otto staying with them as listed in Shout-Out.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The writers never did resolve how Principal Skinner got out of the traffic jam (and how Bart got off the bus to go to the Kwik-E-Mart).


Example of: