Follow TV Tropes


Recap / The Simpsons S 3 E 5 Homer Defined

Go To

Episode - 8F04
First Aired - 10/17/1991

Homer saves the town from nuclear annihilation, but feels bad for it as he knew the whole thing was a fluke. Meanwhile, Milhouse van Houten (Bart's blue-haired friend) is forbidden to see Bart.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Accidental Hero: Homer saves Springfield from nuclear doom by using eeny-meeny-miney to find the right button. He is then lauded as a national hero. He later manages to recreate his blunder, but the townsfolk figure out he had no idea what he was doing, and his "reward" this time is inspiring the term "pulling a Homer".
  • Advertisement:
  • Achievements in Ignorance: In the realm of “possible but exceedingly unlikely”, Homer manages to prevent a catastrophic meltdown two separate times by pressing a single button on his console at random.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Smithers makes one of these when death in the coming meltdown seems inevitable. The object of his affecton does not take it well.
  • As Himself: Chick Hearn; Basketball player Earvin "Magic" Johnson.
  • Bowdlerise: Mr. Burns originally said "Well, there's nothing left for me to do but kiss my sorry butt goodbye" after Smithers told him about the impending meltdown while Bart in a later scene says, "'Bad influence', my ass!" after Milhouse tells him why he wasn't invited to his birthday party. In network reruns (including the "Every Simpsons Ever" marathon, but not syndication), the lines were changed so that way Mr. Burns says "...sorry ass goodbye," while Bart says, "'Bad influence,' my butt!" The altered version is on the DVD.
  • Advertisement:
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Homer resorts to the "Eeny, meeny, miny, moe" method to save Springfield from a nuclear meltdown.
  • Dirty Coward: Mr. Burns stole Smithers' radiation suit and claimed to not know where it was.
    Smithers: Sir, where's my radiation suit?
    Burns: [covering the label] How the hell should I know?!
  • Dramatic Drop: When Burns decides Homer will be the next Employee of the Month, a shocked Smithers drops his wine bottle.
  • Emergency Broadcast: A news bulletin shows Kent Brockman interviewing Mr. Burns, who – despite the imminent danger, the wail of emergency sirens and increasing urgency of the situation – nonchalantly tries to assure the public that experts are trying to quickly resolve the problem and that the public is safe.
  • Forced Meme: The episode attempted to make "Pull a Homer"note  an American slang term. It never worked.
  • Advertisement:
  • Gilligan Cut: Mr. Burns reassures Kent Brockman and his audience that his workers are calmly fixing a malfunction that's leading to a meltdown. Cut to his workers screaming, running, praying and destroying vending machines, and an army of rats fleeing the plant.
  • Heroic BSoD: Homer knows he just got lucky, so as more and more congratulate him for what he's done, he gets increasingly depressed and worried someone will find out the truth.
  • Hypocrite: The owner of the Shelbyville Plant denounces Homer for picking a button at random, despite the fact that none of his employees had the slightest clue what to do during the meltdown either.
  • Imagine the Audience Naked: Homer, on Barney's advice, tries this during his speech at the Shelbyville plant. It backfires when he imagines himself in his underwear, too.
  • Jerkass Realization: Homer is prideful after saving the plant, however after Magic Johnson indirectly labels his dumb luck as making him a fraud, he becomes guilt ridden by the endless praise he receives from his family and friends.
  • Kent Brockman News: After buying Burns's cover story about the meltdown, Kent vows "to be more trusting and less vigilant in the future."
  • Never My Fault: During the flashback of the training Homer didn't pay attention to, we see that he was focused on solving a rubix cube. Back at present time, Homer was angrily pointing at the still unsolved cube and blaming it.
  • Not Helping Your Case:
    • Milhouse reveals why he didn't invite Bart to this birthday party: his mom says he's a bad influence. Bart retorts with:
      Bart: Bad influence, my ass! How many times have I told you: never listen to your mother!
    • When Marge informs Bart that she spoke to Luann Van Houten about letting Bart and Milhouse be friends again, Bart hugs her and Marge reminds him, "Now be good." Bart replies, "I will" and grabs a pellet gun.
  • Off-Model: This was Anivision's first aired episodenote  so there were some noticeable design oddities. For the most pronounced one, check out Marge when she reads Homer's plaque.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    Homer: I'm sure whoever's problem this is, I'm sure they'll know how to handle it.
    (sees that the meter on his dashboard is extremely high)
    • Also the reaction of Burns and Smithers when they realise where the problem at the plant is:
    Plant P.A.: Warning... Problem in Sector 7-G.
    Burns: 7-G? Good God, who's the safety inspector there!?
    Smithers: [calls up a video file photo of a hairful Homer] Homer Simpson, sir.
    Burns: Simpson, eh? Good man? Intelligent?
    Smithers: [reluctantly] Actually, sir, he was hired under Project Bootstrap.
  • Parking Problems: After Homer is given Smithers' Employee of the Month parking space, Smithers is resigned to park really far away.
  • Person as Verb: "Pull a Homer," defined as "to succeed despite idiocy." In the commentary, it's noted that everyone behind the show was hoping this would catch on for real, and were quite disappointed when it didn't.
  • Professional Butt-Kisser: An almost literal example.
    Plant P.A: 30 seconds to core meltdown.
    Smithers: May I, sir?
    Burns: Urgh!
  • Running Gag: The title of this episode comes from a running bit where Homer imagines his picture as being next to the dictionary definition for various words: "stupid", "lucky", "hero", and "fraud". It ends with the phrase "to pull a Homer" ending up in the dictionary for real.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Rats were seen fleeing the power plant. They return after Homer stops the meltdown.
  • Shout-Out:
    • A license plate in the parking lot reads Three Mile Island.
    • The timer for the meltdown stops at 007.
  • Special Guest: Jon Lovitz as Aristotle Amadopoulos.
  • Unreveal Angle: When Homer flashes back to his training, the technician points to the button on his console that will stop a meltdown, but it's just off-screen so the audience doesn't see it. This also applies when Homer pushes it to stop the meltdown.
    • In addition, Homer pushes the button in an attempt to avert the first meltdown just as the act ends and the show goes to commercial break. We find out that everything was just fine after the break.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: