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Recap / The Simpsons S4 E18 "So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show"

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Original air date: 4/1/1993

Production code: 9F17

An April Fools' Day prank leaves Homer in a coma. As the family waits to see if he'll recover, they recount moments from previous episodes... of their lives.

This episode contains examples of:

  • April Fools' Plot: Bart's prank for April 1 lands Homer in the hospital.
  • Artistic License – History: The origin of April Fools came from 16th century France, and actually had nothing to do with the pagans, nor was April 1 considered their New Yearnote . However, the link with New Years is Truth in Televisionnote .
  • Bad Boss: Mr. Burns is quite happy to pull the plug on Homer solely because his coma treatment is costing the power plant's health plan $5000 a day.
  • Bait-and-Switch: After putting the shaken beer can in the refrigerator, Bart peeks into the living room as Homer is watching TV and eating pretzels.
    Homer: So thirsty...
    [Bart eagerly waits for Homer to go to the kitchen.]
    Homer: Eh, what are you gonna do?
  • Beyond the Impossible: Somehow,note  Bart shook the beer can so hard that it exploded upon opening rather than spraying in Homer's face.
  • Big Eater: Homer temporarily recovers from his belief that he'll never walk again to reach the candy machine, prompting a repeat of his "Land of Chocolate" fantasy sequence.
  • Bonfire Dance: Lisa (and then Homer) explain the origin of April Fool's day as a pagan holiday. In the following shot, a tribal version of the Simpsons first dances around an idol on fire and then (after being pranked by a pioneer version of the Flanders) around their sacrificial victims.
  • Clip Show: The first one, and, as the title suggests, one that the writers had no choice but to do. On the DVD Commentary, they admitted to feeling overworked as Season 4 went on, so James L. Brooks suggested a clip show to take the edge off. Unlike "Another Simpsons Clip Show", there's still an extensive amount of new footage, including an extended cut of Homer's second fall into the gorge in "Bart the Daredevil".
  • Comically Missing the Point: Homer does this on seeing a PSA that shows a can of beer inside a prohibition symbol.
    Announcer: The following is a public service announcement. Excess of alcohol consumption can cause liver damage and cancer of the rectum.
    Homer: Mmm... beer. [He gets up and heads for the kitchen.]
  • Couch Gag: The family's heads are mismatched. Everyone switches their heads back, and Maggie takes her pacifier out of Homer's mouth.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • The flashback explaining the origin of April Fool's Day shows pagans burning Christians at the stake over a harmless prank.
    • Bart's prank was way disproportional too, pulling a massive prank as revenge for Homer's antics that day and ultimately sending Homer to the hospital. Downplayed, as he obviously didn't expect Homer's beer to explode and was deeply regretful about the whole situation.
    • Also, Homer strangling him even though he was sorry. Not to say he deserved the comanote , but Homer spurred Bart on with his incessant and deadly pranks, which would rightfully be considered child abuse.
    • When Marge asks Mr. Burns how he could be so coldhearted as to try to pull the plug on Homer, Burns responds, "You have no idea, woman, what that man's put me through." You'd expect this to cue a whole montage of indignities, but in keeping with the Running Gag that Burns never remembers his encounters with Homer, it turns out Burns is referring to the only incident he does remember—the time Homer meekly asked to borrow money for Santa's Little Helper's operation in "Dog of Death."
  • Establishing Shot: Lampshaded when Lisa's memory of playing the saxophone for Homer in "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish" cuts to outside the house.
    Mike Reiss: Lisa's memory cut to an establishing shot.
  • Everything Makes a Mushroom: The can of Duff beer that Bart stuck into a paint shaker was so fizzled up, the resulting mushroom cloud was seen by Chief Wiggum and Lou a few blocks away.
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: Prof. Frink's solution to wake Homer from his coma, which is promptly rejected when it involves entering Homer's lower colon.
  • From Bad to Worse: Bart's prank lands Homer in the hospital where he's told he may never walk again. After making his way to the candy machine, Homer is put into his coma when the machine falls on him and the chocolate falls into his mouth, cutting off his breathing.
  • Fully Automatic Clip Show: An unbroken sequence of 32 "D'oh!"s.note 
  • Kill It with Fire: In Lisa's story, the pagan tribe leader has the Christian family burned at the stake for insulting them with a fake jar of ram blood.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • At one point, Bart recalls an episode of Itchy & Scratchy, with no obvious relation to the rest of the setup. Marge asks why he brought it up, and Bart simply claims "It was an amusing episode... of our lives."
    • Grandpa describes comas as such:
      Grandpa: [fondly] You relive long lost summers, kiss girls from high school. It's like one of those TV shows where they show a bunch of clips from old episodes.
  • Mind Screw: While Homer and the family are reminiscing about Homer's past survival, Marge brings up Homer's coping skills, cueing a clip of the alien abduction scene from "Treehouse of Horror", which is usually non-canon.
  • Mood Whiplash: When Grandpa Simpson visits Homer in the hospital:
    Grandpa: [sadly] Poor Homer. This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you. [Homer grossly drools in his sleep.] Ahh! Kill it! Kill it!
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Well, it is Serious Business for Barney, at least: when Barney and Moe present Homer with a six-pack of Duff beer that they sneaked into the hospital, Homer (somewhat gun-shy after Bart's prank) is reluctant to drink up. Barney immediately decries that Homer's gone and tries to smother him with a pillow to end his suffering (a la the killing of Randle McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest).
  • Police Are Useless: Wiggum is content to blow off the explosion at the Simpsons' house... until he learns beer is coming out of the chimney.
    Chief Wiggum: I am proceeding on foot. Call in a code 8.
    Lou: We need pretzels! I repeat: pretzels!
  • Police Code for Everything: The Springfield Police have a single-digit code for bringing pretzels to a scene.
  • Prank Gone Too Far: Bart's beer can prank ends up sending Homer to the hospital where he eventually winds up in a coma.
  • Privacy by Distraction: How Bart gets the employee at the hardware store to leave him alone while he's using the paint shaker on a can of beer.
    Employee: Hey, kid, that's for customers only!
    Bart: Uh... did you know there's a guy outside handing out free Stridex pads?
    Employee: Wow! I'm in pizza-face paradise! [Rushes out.]
    Bart: Moron.
  • Recycled Animation: The episode is a clip show, thus uses a lot of clips from previous episodes. However, there is a twist on the formula, as the "Bart the Daredevil" flashback contains new footage (we actually see when Homer falls down Springfield Gorge a second time instead of just hearing his cries of pain).
  • Shout-Out:
    • A reference is made to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, when Barney smothers Homer with a pillow, then escapes through the window and Don McLean's song "Vincent".
    • The Bumblebee Man episode which Homer is watching on TV is a reference to episode "Lavadora nueva" (new washer) from El Chavo del ocho. In this episode, the main character (El Chavo) tries to use the washer, but it overflows.
  • Sickbed Smuggling: Subverted. After the prank lands Homer in the hospital, Moe sneaks him in a can of Duff beer. Since beer was the cause of his hospitalization, he rejects it in fright, which causes Barney to "suffocate" Homer with a pillow to end his pain and he then uses a water fountain to "escape" from the premises to Homer and Moe's confusion.
  • Soda Can Shake Up: For an April Fool's prank, Bart decides to invoke this by shaking up one of Homer's beer cans in paint shaker. Unfortunately, he shakes it so much that when Homer opens it, the can explodes.
  • Take That!: To "clip episodes" as a whole (being contractually obliged to do one), down to the title.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Bart is shown being caught up in the blast from the beer can prank, but in the next scene he's in, he's completely fine.
  • Walk-In Chime-In: After Mr. Burns demands the hospital pull the plug on Homer and Dr. Hibbert refuses...
    Dr. Julius Hibbert: Now, hold on! I'm the doctor here!
    Monty Burns: Well, I demand a second opinion. [Dr. Nick Riviera appears at his elbow.]
    Dr. Nick Riviera: Hi, everybody!
    All: Hi, Dr. Nick!
  • Who's Laughing Now?: During the flashback explaining the origins of April Fools' Day. The Christians (played by the Flanders) prank the pagans (played by the Simpsons). One angry growl later and the Christians are being burned at the stake.


Video Example(s):


Overshaken Duff Can

As part of an April Fool's prank on Homer, Bart shakes up a beer can so it'll spray in his face. Unfortunately, due to overshaking it with a paint mixer, it ends up exploding.

How well does it match the trope?

4.98 (41 votes)

Example of:

Main / SodaCanShakeup

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