Original air date: 2/4/1993 (produced in 1992)
Production code: 9F12
Angry over Homer neglecting to pick him up from soccer practice, Bart poses as a homeless child in dire need of a father figure for the Bigger Brothers Organization and begins spending time with a cool man named Tom. Meanwhile, Lisa tries to break her addiction to a 1-900 line where pretty boy celebrity, Corey, talks to girls.
This episode contains examples of:
- 555: Teen Idol Corey's number is 555-CORY.
- Accidental Misnaming: Homer calls Pepi "Pepsi" at one point.
- The Ace: To dig the knife in deeper for Homer, Tom is fitter, suaver and multitalented.
- Amusing Injuries: Homer suffers a lot of these near the end of the episode during his fight with Tom.
- Aroused by Their Voice: "Corey" for Lisa. She runs up a huge bill on a hotline which is just his voice rambling endlessly.
- Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad:Marge: He called you a bad father.
Homer: Marge, when kids these days say "bad," they mean "good". And "to shake your booty" means "to wiggle one's butt". (about to stand up) Permit me to demonstrate.
- Becoming the Mask: Homer initially only joins the Bigger Brothers program to get back at Bart, though after seeing Pepi get rejected, he is moved to tears and adopts him, and spends their time together forming a sincere bond.
- Big "WHY?!": Homer yells this as he dreams Bart having turned into a skeleton. He then yells "How?....When?....Which?..."
- Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...: "Ugly. Wiener. Crater-face. Soo-ee! Soo-ee!"
- Blame Game: "I know you're mad at me, boy. I'm kinda mad too. I mean, we can sit here talking about who forgot to pick up who until the cows come home. Let's just say, that we're both wrong, and that'll be the end of it."
- Body Horror: Bart's Imagine Spot of Homer's face melting as the background turns into Hell.Homer: Now how about a hug.
- Borrowed Catchphrase: Tom shouts "D'oh!" when the starfish he'd caught (after Homer used them as shuriken against him) and put in a new tank are promptly eaten by a shark.
- Bowling for Ratings: Show Within a Show example; the episode of The Itchy & Scratchy Show that Homer and Pepi watch, entitled "Kitty-Kitty Bang-Bang" involves Itchy and Scratchy at the bowling alley. Itchy jams Scratchy's tongue in the ball return, then lights a bomb and bowls with it, making a strike. Scratchy tries desperately to saw off his tongue before the bomb can get to him, but the bomb makes it to him and explodes, leaving only his internal organs, which Itchy sells to hungry dogs at the snack bar.
- Brick Joke: When Lisa learns about Marge's crush on Bobby Sherman, she laughs with a weird facial expression. Later, Homer teases a dolphin at the aquarium with a fish and makes the same face.
- Brief Accent Imitation: Homer takes on an upper-class English accent while confronting Bart when he comes back from a day out with Tom for no particular reason.
- Brutal Honesty: Krusty, during Tuesday Night Live:Krusty: We got a great show for you!... Well actually, the last half hour is a real garbage dump. Ugh.... we'll be right back.
Bart: I miss Joe Piscopo.
- Call-Back: Bart and Tom watch an episode of Ren & Stimpy, while later Homer and Pepi mirror this by watching an episode of The Itchy and Scratchy Show together.
- Celeb Crush: Lisa is infatuated by teen idol Corey to the degree of being addicted to calling the "Corey Hotline." Marge tells her she understands, having had a crush on Bobby Sherman when she was a kid. She's a little offended by how hilarious Lisa finds this.
- Chekhov's Gag: When Bart told Tom about the time Homer gambled his family's savings away, Tom wanted to beat him up if he saw him again. When Homer appears and confirms as Bart's father, Tom remembers who he was that leads to their fight.
- Combat Pragmatist: Homer lists down all the ways he fought dirty against Tom for Bart at the end of the episode.
- Comically Missing the Point:
- Homer forgets to pick up Bart after soccer practice, even when he hears the word "Bart" repeatedly around him, and even when his own brain tells him that he needs to "pick up Bart!" ("'Pick a bar'? What the hell is that?").
- At the end of the episode, Tom and Pepi need Bart to point out to them that Tom could be Pepi's bigger brother.
- Couch Gag: When the family sit on the couch, the wall rotates around, leaving an empty couch from the other side.
- Death by Cameo: The Flying Nun gets carried over a hill by the wind, where we then se an explosion.
- Deranged Animation: The Ren & Stimpy sequence.◊
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- Homer confronting Bart about using the Big Brother program is treated the same as someone discovering their spouse is being unfaithful.
- When Homer catches Bart coming home after his time with Tom, he is at first aggressive but then tries to get Bart to remember the fun times they had, like when he pushed Bart on the swing. Bart coldly replies, "I was faking it." Homer, aghast, shouts, "Liar!" Bart teases him: "Oh yeah, dad? Remember this? Higher, dad! Higher!" Homer is deeply hurt and runs out shouting, "STOP IT!" Obviously, this whole bit is a euphemism for faking orgasms during sex.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: Here Nelson's father is shown to be nice and present in Nelson's life, while future episodes would portray him as a deadbeat that ran out on his family.
- Exact Words: Lisa promises Marge "[she] will never be billed for another call [to Corey]"... then proceeds to piggy-back off other people's phones.
- Eye Scream: In the Ren & Stimpy cartoon, Ren does a Wild Take that ends with his eyeballs suddenly exploding after Stimpy reveals that Ren just ate his collection of furballs and stomach acid.
- Foil: There's two sets of foils in this episode alone with not just Homer (the slovenly, forgetful dad who doesn't pay attention to his son) and Tom (a competent fighter pilot who has all the time in the world for Bart) but Bart (a young hellion who exploits the Bigger Brother program out of spite toward his father) and Pepi (a Heartwarming Orphan who genuinely needs the program and latches onto the words of his Parental Substitute)
- Food Slap: Homer tells Pepi about a memory he had involving how cruel Bart was to him:Homer: Son, I just want you to know I love you very much.Bart: *As he shoves a grapefruit in his face* Shut up!*Back to present day*Homer: Mmm, grapefruit. *Licks chops*
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Homer admits his reason for wanting to be a Bigger Brother is revenge (against the advice of his brain), the checklist that the employee marks reveals that not only is "revenge" on there, but so are "spite," "malice," "boredom," and "profit."
- Heartwarming Orphan: Pepi is a sweet, endearing kid who seems to have no parents in his life and a terrible case of bad luck considering how he's repeatedly skipped over in trying to get a Bigger Brother.
- "Hey, You!" Haymaker: When Bart and Homer are at a water park with their new brothers and run into each other, Tom warns Bart not to talk to strangers, to which he identifies himself. Now angry, he asks if he's the "drunken gambler" that his son told him about and after he blithely replies that he is, Tom strikes the first blow.
- I Have No Son!: Inverted. Bart calls the Bigger Brother program and says he doesn't have a father, then poses as an orphaned street rat whose father abandoned him.Bart: My name is Bart Simpson, and I don't have a father.
- Identical Stranger: Bart is waiting to be picked up from his soccer game by Homer, when it starts to rain. Bart thinks he sees Homer driving by in his car, but it turns out to be a woman that looks like Homer wearing a blond wig and wearing a dress, inexplicably singing "I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar" as she drives past.
- Imagine Spot: "Now how 'bout a hug?"
- Also Homer has one in which he finally goes to pick up Bart from soccer practice, only to find a spiky-headed skeleton.
- Immediate Self-Contradiction: "Lisa, the only way you'll lick this is one day at a time. If you can make it 'til midnight without calling the Corey hotline, you'll know you've beaten it forever."
- I'm Melting!: Homer's face melts during Bart's Imagine Spot.
- Improvised Weapon: Homer throwing live starfish like shuriken.
- Indulgent Fantasy Segue: Bart imagining Homer's face melting off.
- Insult Backfire:Homer: For your information, I happen to be his father.Tom: (disgusted) His father? The drunken gambler?Homer: (cheerfully) That's right. And who might you be? (Tom whacks him)
- Late to the Realization: After Homer is wheeled away on a gurney:Tom: Now I'm gonna have to find another little brother.
Pepi: And I'm gonna have to find another big brother.
Tom: My car's gonna feel so empty on the ride home.
Pepi: And me, I have no ride at all.
Tom: I already bought a giant ham for dinner. It's gonna go to waste.
Pepi: Don't talk about food. I'm so hungry.
Tom/Pepi: Well, goodbye.
Bart: Wait, I've got an idea.
Tom: An idea?
(Bart pairs Tom with Pepi)
- Made of Iron: Homer and Tom brawl through almost the entirety of Springfield (including rolling down and back up Springfield Gorge) without so much as losing breath. It takes Homer's spine fainting on a fire hydrant to finally end the fight.
- Major Injury Underreaction: Homer falls backwards onto a fire hydrant and has his body bent. He casually states "This is even more painful than it looks."
- Mood Whiplash: The first act has Homer dozing off while taking a bath and dreaming about being very late to pick up Bart from soccer practice (which, in fact, he is). The dream shows him driving in a wild panic up to the field, only to find a skeleton in soccer clothes with Bart's famous "hair-spikes" at the top of its skull; apparently Homer kept Bart waiting so long that Bart starved to death. Homer gathers up the corpse, screams, and sobs - which prompts him to wake up, leap out of the bathtub, and frantically run out to his car dripping wet and completely naked (causing Ned Flanders to remark: "Hey, Homie, I can see your doodle!"). Then, in the next scene, the "serious-to-silly" shift reverses itself with a very upset Bart getting in the car as Homer tries to hand him a hot-fudge sundae (which he bought to apologize), only for Homer to spill the sundae right on top of Bart's head. Homer then does his best to make up with his son as Bart just sits there glowering straight ahead, the ice cream and hot fudge dripping down his face and neck, getting angrier and angrier. The scene ends with Homer urging: "How about a hug?" Bart finally glares over at his father... and imagines him as an emaciated, eyeless zombie. Pretty jarring, but certainly keeping up the Black Comedy overtones of the series's earlier seasons.
(moved to tears by Pepi's bad luck) I'll take him! (cries for a bit, then speaks in a normal voice) Do you have him in blond?
- And after that, we cut to Bart at home watching an episode of Tuesday Night Live hosted by Krusty the Clown.
- Also Homer's decision to take on Pepi as a Little Brother.
- My God, What Have I Done?: After driving Homer from the room by claiming he faked enjoying the fun times he had, Bart lowers his head sadly. He's also deeply apologetic after Homer's fight with Tom ends badly.
- Mythology Gag: Homer's goofy expression when he teases the dolphin is a callback to his messing with a monkey in the Tracey Ullman short, "Zoo Story".
- Naked People Are Funny: When Homer finally remembers to pick up Bart, he leaps out of the bathtub to get to the car without bothering to put on clothes first. Fortunately, he shows up fully dressed.Lisa: Dad, hide your shame!
Ned: (off-screen) Hey, Homie, I can see your doodle!
Homer: (off-screen) Shut up, Flanders.
- Nepotism: Nelson gets picked as player of the match because the coach is his dad (who is apparently in town for the week).
- Never My Fault: Homer tries to shift the blame for not picking up Bart on Bart himself somehow.
- Never Trust a Trailer: Original promos for this episode suggested this was a going to be a serious, dramatic episode, with Bart saying "Tom's a better father than you ever were!", followed by a shot of Homer crying. In the actual episode, Homer was crying after confessing that he fell for a record and tape club scam that promises the first couple albums for a penny before jacking up the prices.
- Nightmare Face: "NOW HOW ABOUT A HUG?!"
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The writers based the Corey character on Corey Feldman and Corey Haim, known as The Two Coreys.
- Noodle Incident: Skinner gets one when "talking" with his mother who is apparently watching him from their house (which for some reason resembles Norman Bates' house):What's that mother? They have a right to be here; It's school business. I- Mother, that sailor suit doesn't fit anymore!"
- Operation: Jealousy: In a non-romantic example, Homer joins the Big Brother program to get back at Bart.
- Padding: In-universe: The Big Ear Family.Krusty: Hi honey, I'm home! Uh-oh, I got wax in my ears! Better clean 'em! (pulls out a giant Q-tip) Huh? Huh? (no laughter from audience) Ugh, this goes on for twelve more minutes.
- Pair the Spares: A non-romantic example. In the end, Homer and Bart reconcile, and Bart decides to pair up Tom and Pepi after both of them bemoan not having a "brother" to spend time with.
- Parody Assistance: The layout artists from The Ren & Stimpy Show worked on the R&S parody scene
- Pet the Dog: Although he signs up for the Big Brothers program in a petty attempt to avenge himself on Bart, Homer gets seriously choked up when he sees the situation that neglected Heartwarming Orphan Pepi is in, and requests him as his Little Brother because of it.
- Precocious Crush: Lisa is obsessed with Corey magazine and its hotline, all full of boys who were at least in their teens. When Marge finds out about Lisa's phone calls to the hotline, she reveals to Lisa that she was in the same situation in her childhood when she had a crush on Bobby Sherman:Marge Simpson: Oh, honey, I know how you feel. When I was a girl, I had a crush on Bobby Sherman...[Lisa bursts out laughing]Marge Simpson: [annoyed] The point is, I want you to stop making these calls!
- Recycled Animation: After Bart asks, "Dad, where are you?" while sitting in a rain, the episode cuts to a clip from the episode "Three Men and a Comic Book", with new dialogue dubbed over and the storm outside the window reanimated. Since the scene in question is the one where Homer looks out the window to check on Bart and his friends, we can chalk this episode up as another rare appearance of the Simpsons' notorious rumpus room.
- Rebound Best Friend: Bart's final straw with Homer's neglect leads him to a program called "The Bigger Brothers", where he befriends a man named Tom. Meanwhile, Homer tries to do the same thing, being paired up with a destitute boy named Pepi.
- Revenge: Homer's expressed reason to join the bigger brother program. The program's list of reasons also includes options like "spite" and "malice".
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Homer foolishly answers "Revenge" as the reason why he's joining the Bigger Brothers Club after his brain advised him not to, prompting his brain to say "That's it, I'm getting outta here". And then it turns out "revenge" is an acceptable reason in the eyes of the Bigger Brothers Club.
- Self-Serving Memory: Homer's "memory" of Bart smashing a grapefruit into his face out of pure malice. Possibly also Bart's tale of how Homer gambled away the family's life savings.
- While Bart waits for Homer, the wind begins to pick up and a nun is sent flying as a result.
- Milhouse writes "Trab Pu Kcip" on a mirror when Bart tries to psychically project a message to Homer.
- Bart watches Krusty hosting the Saturday Night Live knock-off Tuesday Night Live and is so disappointed in the episode that he misses Joe Piscopo (who was a cast member on SNL from 1980note to 1984).
- Krusty's The Big Ear Family sketch is a spoof of SNL's The Widette Family sketch.
- Principal Skinner stares out his office window to a crumbling house where he claims his mother is watching him even now, a nod to Norman Bates' place from Psycho.
- Homer compares a Dumpster-dwelling hobo to Oscar the Grouch.
- In Homer's dream, Bart shoves a grapefruit in his face.
- Bart and Tom watch Ren & Stimpy on TV. They actually got the show's artists to do the layouts for the scene.
- The scene where Homer confronts Bart after returning from having fun with Tom is taken from Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.
- Homer and Tom's fight is taken from The Quiet Man, complete with similar music.
- Homer's face melting off during Bart's nightmarish vision could have been based on Toht's death in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
- The episode's title is a shout out to the John Sayles independent film The Brother from Another Planet.
- Skewed Priorities: This exchange between Chief Wiggum and Lou:Lou: There's a couple of guys fighting at the aquarium, Chief.Wiggum: They still sell those frozen bananas there?Lou: I think so.Wiggum: Let's roll!
- Special Guest: Phil Hartman as Football Commentator, Nelson's Dad, Tom, and the Tuesday Night Live Announcer.
- Stargazing Scene: Homer and his new "little brother" Pepi sit and look at the stars, something the latter has never done because he's lived in the city all his life. Homer tries to name some constellations, which are all members of the Dallas Cowboys.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Early on, a nun gets blown away on the wind, and randomly explodes in the distance.
- Surprise Creepy: Bart's Imagine Spot where Homer partially melts and the landscape turns hellish is very grotesque and horrific, comes out of nowhere, and is really out-of-place in a normal Simpsons episode (and would arguably be too much for even a "Treehouse of Horror" episode).
- Take That!:
- Bart watches Krusty guest-hosting an episode of Tuesday Night Live, which is so bad that Bart remembers the days when Joe Piscopo was on the show. At the time, most critics were claiming that Saturday Night Live was going into another period of Seasonal Rot. The writers on the DVD commentary claimed that this was more of a backhanded Affectionate Parody, as most of The Simpsons writers on the show at the time got their start on SNL and left because they pretty much used their time on the show for extra money and a stepping stone for bigger and better projects.
- "Tonight on Wings... Ah, who cares?"
- Taxonomic Term Confusion: Homer does this twice. He teaches Pepi the wrong names for constellations and claims that Tom's correct explanation that whales are mammals is actually untrue.
- Tempting Fate: Homer taunts a dolphin at the aquarium by holding a fish out of reach, calling the animal stupid when he pulls it away. The dolphin promptly steals Homer's hotdog from his other hand, prompting Homer to be taken away by security when he attacks the dolphin in an attempt to get it back.
- Thinks of Something Smart, Says Something Stupid:Big Brothers Employee: And what are your reasons for wanting a little brother?Homer's Brain: Don't say revenge. Don't say revenge.Homer: Uh... revenge.Homer's Brain: That's it, I'm gettin' out of here. [sounds of walking away, followed by a door slamming]
- This Just In!: Kent Brockman says this in a hilarious bit of dialogue:Kent Brockman: This just in; a fist-fight is in progress in downtown Springfield. Initial reports indicate, and these are very preliminary, that one of the fighters is a giant lizard. [A shot of Godzilla appears in the background. Brockman addresses his producer offscreen] Do we have a source on this? Uh-huh, a bunch of drunken frat boys. All right, I could use some names. "I.P Freely". Uh... (realizes) Grrr!
- Waiting Skeleton: Homer forgets to pick up Bart from soccer practice and leaves him waiting for several hours. While taking a bath, Homer has a dream in which he goes to pick up Bart, only to discover he's too late and Bart has decayed into a skeleton while waiting. This dream finally causes Homer to remember he forgot about Bart.