First Aired - November 12, 1992
When the Simpsons' other neighbours, the Winfields decide to move to Florida to run out the clock, a new family consisting of a divorced mom named Ruth and her teenaged daughter, Laura, move in. While Bart falls for Laura (and gets his heart broken when he discovers that Jimbo Jones is her boyfriend), Homer and Marge go out to eat at Captain MacAllister's seafood restaurant "The Frying Dutchman" — and Homer sues the establishment for not getting his fill at the "All-You-Can-Eat" buffet.
This episode contains examples of:
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Well, bad girls want bad boys, which Laura has for Jimbo.
- Ambulance Chaser: Lionel Hutz showcases he's one of these once again, taking in Homer's Frivolous Lawsuit and mentioning he once tried to sue the writers of The Neverending Story for "false advertisement".
- And Show It to You: Bart's Imagine Spot of Laura ripping out his heart. "You won't be needing this!"
- Artistic License Law: In reality, Homer would not have had the legal right to sue the buffet. The vast majority of buffets only allow "all-you-can-eat" in one time period of either breakfast, lunch or dinner and they make a note of that on your receipt. After your time period ends, your allotted time to eat is over and you have to pay again to keep eating.
- Bait-and-Switch: During Homer's lawsuit against the Frying Dutchman, the Blue-Haired Lawyer prepares to show the court just how much shrimp Homer ate. In come over half a dozen men carrying two large sacks apiece...of letters addressed to Santa Claus. Turns out they're part of a case against Kris Kringle which is happening in the courtoom next door.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: In line with Marge's black humor victimization and Homer's ignorance, Homer was about to win the case, until Captain Mccalister comes to him for an out of court settlement. Homer gets to eat all he can eat... While being touted as the Frying Dutchman's resident freak show "Bottomless Pete" for publicity.
- Big Eater: Homer is at his hungriest in this episode, and few other instances of his gluttony have matched this one. At the Frying Dutchman, he eats continuously for literal hours without stopping. He keeps eating well after closing time and until midnight, not because he's full mind you, but because he is dragged out by the waiters who want to go home. Still not full, he drives around looking for another all-you-can-eat fish place, and when he can't find that, he makes Marge go fishing with him. During the trial, Homer even orders a pizza.Captain McCallister: Tis no man! Tis a remorseless eating machine!
- Black Comedy: Marge's embarrassment serves as most of the episode's comedy, although the narrative remains thoroughly sympathetic to her.
- Broken Tears: Marge, when Lionel Hutz gets her to confess what Homer did after they were kicked out of the Frying Dutchman.
- Buffet Buffoonery: Homer Simpson arrives to the Sea Captain's restaurant when he sees that it has an "all-you-can-eat" buffet, and he not only eats all of the restaurant's existing food stock (several times over), but once he's kicked out (because he still kept on eating past the restaurant's closing time and the staff got fed up and wanted to go home) he and Marge spend the rest of the night seeking other open buffets and, upon finding none, going fishing. The experience is incredibly embarrassing for Marge to remember, and to her further dismay, the Captain decides to exploit Homer's never-ending appetite by turning him into a one-man freakshow to advertise his restaurant.
- Cannot Tell a Lie: Marge tries to lie in court, only for Hutz to coldly remind her she's under oath.
- Cerebus Call Back: All of those times before and after this episode in which Moe swears bloody revenge on whoever is making prank calls to his bar? Turns out he wasn't bluffing. Jimbo gets a Twerp Sweating worth several lifetimes when Moe barges into the Simpsons home wielding a big knife and looking for him.
- Common Nonsense Jury: Lionel Hutz wins the lawsuit against the restaurant because everyone in the jury is an obese food-lover that sympathizes with Homer.
- Completely Missing the Point: The morning after Bart discovers that Laura is dating Jimbo Jones, he asks Homer and Marge at breakfast what to do if a girl is going out with a guy who isn't worthy of her. Immediately, Homer swoops Marge into his hands, and proudly claims "Like me?" Granted, Homer is at least a hardworking guy who does his best to take care of his family by this point of the series. Jimbo on the other hand....
- Cool Big Sis: Laura more or less acts like this towards Bart and to a lesser extent towards Lisa.
- Cool People Rebel Against Authority: Laura gives off a big vibe of this to Bart blended in with his Precocious Crush.
- Deadpan Snarker: Laura gives off this vibe.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Moe tries to cut Jimbo with a knife when Bart frames him for making all the prank calls to the bar.
- Distracted by the Sexy: When doing her school work, Jimbo attempts to play through to making out with Laura by claiming his "shirt is chaffing [him]". It works, but considering the kind of character Jimbo is like, it doesn't help that this is presumably one of the few early dates they've been on, and next thing the viewers know, he thinks that he has a home run and claims "now my pants are chaffing me". Thankfully, Moe comes in to ruin this moment slasher movie style.
- Euphemism Buster: The subversion is subverted:Homer: Heh, heh, heh... I know what you mean. (pause) Just let me make sure we're not talking about food.
Ruth Powers: I'm not.
Homer: Right! Me, neither. (pause) We're talking about sex, right?
Ruth Powers: Right.
Homer: I hear you loud and clear.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Averted, although Homer wants it enforced at the "all-you-can-eat" restaurant. He's determined to make the restaurant hold to its word that it is, indeed, an "all-you-can-eat" establishment... by his standards.
- Extreme Omnivore: Homer ate two plastic lobsters at the Frying Dutchman without suffering any ill effects.
- Freudian Excuse: Lightly implied with Laura's love of "bad boys" and "quasi thugs". Considering her dysfunctional family life, she might has some daddy issues that are vaguely hinted to in retrospect considering Ruth's actions and motives in Marge On The Lam.
- Fictional Video Game: Escape from Death Row.
- Frivolous Lawsuit: Homer vs. "The Flying Dutchman". If they kick Homer out before he has had 'all he can eat,' does this make it fraudulent publicity?
- He stays hours past closing time, forces them to make runs to the grocery store and eats far more than any thoughtful person would. 'All you can eat' does not mean 'you can eat it all.'
- They actually settle that one out-of-court; they invite him back, but set Homer up in a glass display and let all the people gawk at him pigging out! It draws boatloads of customers who came to watch, but they decide to try some food — because this restaurant has to be pretty good if he's eating like that. Well, Homer is happier, the restaurant's owner is happiest, Marge... not so much!
- Hutz also mentions in that episode that he sued The Never Ending Story for false advertising.
- Generation Xerox: Whether she likes it or not, Laura of her mother, Ruth Powers. Some In-Universe Harsher in Hindsight Sins Of The Mother too: if it weren't for Bart, Laura would have likely suffered the same kind of embittering dysfunctional love life her mother had with her divorced deadbeat dad, with a robbed teenage youth and jaded view on men in all.
- Girl Next Door: Though Laura fits the bill of being next door, everything about her is charmingly subverted 1990s style. A lot more in line with Bart's mischief making and rebellious personality, but with a teenage street smart tomboy surface and a feminine side to show deeper in. Also pretty cultured and loves to mess with people psychologically.
- Hesitation Equals Dishonesty: When called to testify, Marge quickly states of how she and Homer just abruptly left the premises when he got thrown out. Either by play or by noticing his client's emotional whim, Hutz reminds Marge she is under oath, and she then spills the beans about how they both went out fishing into the late, late night.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Granted, though Laura's rebellious spirit gets her to bond with Bart, this also gets her to stray off to jerkasses like Jimbo Jones and his friends when she isn't careful enough.
- Imagine Spot: Laura ripping out Bart's heart after she told him she had a boyfriend.
- Innocent Inaccurate: A flashback reveals how Homer learned about sex."Zookeeper! Zookeeper! Those two monkeys are killing each other!"
- Just a Kid: A few words from Laura that eats at Bart the moment she departs with Jimbo. He's not particularly happy that he's not as "mature" enough to impress her.... Then Played for Laughs out of Cringe Comedy when Marge announces he comes in for his jammy-jams before going to bed.
- Karma Houdini Warranty: For Jimbo, if the stipulations were likely in word, it would probably be around "Steal another guy's girl who you are not worthy of having and try to get into her pants."
- Knight of Cerebus: Moe. His portrayal in this episode is one of the few times we get to see the truly vicious side of him, intending to cause serious harm to Jimbo for a simple prank call.
- Laser-Guided Karma: After years of getting away with tormenting Springfield Elementary's students, Jimbo finally gets his comeuppance from Moe of all people.
- Love Informant: Apu notices that Bart is in love when the two play video games at the Kwik-E-Mart. He's seen it more times than he could tell.
- Love Makes You Stupid: One of Laura's biggest flaws. Though she didn't know it because of moving in so recently, but considering the kind of scumbags Jimbo and his posse are, she nearly learned the hard way of the proverb "beauty is only skin deep".
- Mad Woman In The Attic: Bart makes up a horror story about the Winfields hiding a mutated son in their basement.
- Metaphorgotten: When attempting to give the Talk to Bart, Homer compares a woman to a refrigerator, then to beer. A case of beer later, Homer's story has wandered a bit.
- Military Brat: Laura, as strongly given with her olive green military trenchcoat and her love for Middle Eastern food. Given that her father was in the military, she's most likely been with him to Afghanistan during his tour of duty during the Gulf War.
- Mind Screw: Upon Kearny and Dolph introducing themselves into Bart and Laura's hangout time with a crude hit on to Laura, Laura returns the favor in kind responding if Kearny's "boyfriend" wouldn't mind. Instantly messed with a good deal of smarts, the two back off in surprise.
- Noodle Incident:
Abigail: No Bart put it down... put it down Bart... Bart put it down...
- Homer calls Abigail, one of the kids' past babysitters to watch them while they go out to dinner. Abigail's sister answers instead, saying she takes care of her because something Bart did caused her to have a mental breakdown and is now sitting on a rocking chair with a thousand-yard-stare muttering to herself.
- And then there's Lionel Hutz suing the makers of ''The Never Ending Story' for false advertising.
- Not So Above It All: Despite being a freewilled, authority sticking, and mischief loving teen, Laura will easily fall in teenage sensation fangirling obsession if the target of her affections is but a "bad boy quasi thug", no questions about their character asked and all the hormones included.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Though considered Disproportionate Retribution and framing him for stuff he never did, the kind of crap that Jimbo and his gang put most of Springfield through never really was given proper justice. Going out with a girl who is leagues ahead far worthy than his kind of personality and probably was going to take advantage of her for the action simply because he fits the bill of her hots checklist gave Bart a proper window to show what kind of loser wannabe "quasi thugs" like Jimbo really were like when faced with real consequences.
- Precocious Crush: Bart develops a crush on new neighbor Laura Powers, who is in her mid teens. When he finds out she's going out with Jimbo, one of the bullies who picks on him, he arranges a plan to break them up. It's successful by the end of the episode, Laura's broken up with Jimbo and even tells Bart that she would date him if he were older.
- Put on a Bus: The Winfields, an elderly couple who live next door to the Simpsons, had made a decent amount of appearances in the previous seasons, and were referenced more than that. In this episode, they sell the house (that Ruth and Laura Powers buy), move to Florida, and are never seen or mentioned again. The only exception was a crowd scene in "Lisa the Iconoclast" where Mrs. Winfield appeared, but given that they haven't appeared on the show in two decades and even many fans have forgotten about them, it is very unlikely they will ever appear again.
- Rebellious Spirit: As stated in her character profile, Laura dislikes authority.
- Recycled Animation: The shot of Homer drooling at the commercial for The Frying Dutchman is recycled from "Bart's Friend Falls in Love" (the scene where Homer is drooling over a food commercial) and is mirror flipped in this episode.
- Shout-Out: During the trial, a group of men bring in bags of what turn out to be 18,000 letters addressed to Santa Claus."You want The People of Springfield vs. Kris Kringle. That's next door."
- Sure, Let's Go with That: When Bart visits Grandpa at the retirement home, Grandpa assumes Bart remembered his birthday. Bart plays along by giving him a pocket calendar he happened to be carrying.
- Take That!: A buffet employee tried making Homer use a very tiny plate (with the same radius as his hand) for the All-you-can-eat. In reality, buffets usually give smaller than average plates to their customers to discourage them from eating because it would require continuous trips from your table and to the trays.
- The One That Got Away: Coming from Abe Simpson, Bart pays him a visit for some wisdom on relationships, and especially on dating older girls. Abe recalls of how one of his loves was that of the "oldest woman in the world", but this soon turns into a sad story of unrequited love and even a bit of foreshadowing; his flame soon joined the Guinness Book of World Records holders crowd and her life eventually saw little time to see him again. Not even getting 15 pounds of bees to hang off of his chin as a beard and getting into the record books was able to rekindle their relationship again, and sadly, Grandpa had to let their relationship pass onto the wayside.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: Lionel Hutz actually manages to win a case, by making it clear that Homer did not in fact have all he could eat.
- Tomboy: Laura has a tomboyish personality, but it is also her Charm Point.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Of a lighter variety. Laura still is, but all of that painfully strict childhood upbringing was implied to have slingshot her personality a near 180 degrees.