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Recap / The Simpsons S4 E9 "Mr. Plow"

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"Call Mr. Plow, that's my name! That name again is Mr. Plow!"

Original air date: 11/19/1992

Production code: 9F07

After crashing his car into Marge's station wagon during a drunken ride home during a snowstorm, Homer buys a snowplow and starts a business eventually rivaled by none other than Barney.

This episode contains examples of:

  • 555: Mr. Plow's number is KLondike-5-3226, which if called soon enough, will net a free t-shirt...of Stockdale for Veepnote . The Plow King's number is KLondike-5-4796.
  • Adam Westing: The Trope Namer plays a goofy rendition of himself, in which he drives the Batmobile from the show (which is now a broken down wreck), complains about the Michael Keaton Batman films, and dances the "Batusi" while the Simpsons slowly back away.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: A teenage Barney is studying for the SAT when Homer sneaks in with a six pack of beer. After Homer pressures him, Barney reluctantly agrees to take a drink and, with one sip, we actually see his IQ drop sharply.
  • The Alleged Car: Homer initially test-drives a ridiculously small car, which runs on kerosene and has a distance measured in hectares. It's from a country that no longer exists, and given the salesman's accent and the Cyrillic lettering, was presumably part of the Soviet Union before it collapsed.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Homer attempts to rap when Lisa suggests a fresh approach to his ads. Naturally, the kids are traumatized.
    Bart: Stop. Please. Stop it right now!
    Lisa: Promise you'll never do that again.
  • Ambiguous Situation: When Homer gets a call from the motor company that made the plow, Homer pretends to be a wrong number saying, "Oh, you want the Mr. Plow who plows driveways. This is Tony Plow. From Leave It to Beaver?" There is a brief pause and then Homer says, "Yeah, they were gay." According to Word of God, it was meant to be ambiguous whom Homer was talking about. (And by the way, the actor's name was Tony Dow.)
  • Analogy Backfire: When Marge tries to dissuade Homer from driving up the mountain to rescue Barney, Homer assures her that his plow is "as sure-footed as a mountain goat." Cue perfectly-timed mountan goat tumbling painfully down a series of high peaks.
  • And Then I Said: "Kiss my asphalt!"
  • As Himself: Linda Ronstadt and Adam West.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: After telling Homer to take the car for a test drive, Yaclav says "Zagreb ebnen zlotny diev!", which is just random Slavic-sounding gibberish.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": The first Mr Plow commercial (the low-budget one that airs at 3:17 in the morning)
  • Bad Job, Worse Uniform: Barney is shown handing out fliers for Lullabuy$ baby furniture store, wearing a diaper and bonnet, in the middle of winter. He then loses the diaper after saying that things can't get any worse...
    Barney: Come back, diaper! Come back! (turns to face his mother) Hi, Ma.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The Mr. Plow ad contains dialogue typical of advertising where Lisa asks a question a viewer of the ad might reasonably have and Homer answers it. When Bart adds, "You are fully bonded and licensed by the city, aren't you, Mr. Plow?", it seems like more of the same until Homer mutters to him to shut up, implying that he isn't licensed and Bart went off-script to get him in trouble.
  • Before My Time: Bart doesn't know who Robin is.
    Adam West: I guess you're only familiar with the new Batman movies.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Linda Ronstadt's Spanish version of the Plow King jingle translates as "Mr. Plow is not manly. He's only a drunk." (Señor Plow no es macho. Es solamente un borracho.)
    • While pushing the car out of the lot, the car salesman tells Homer to "Put it in 'H' [gear]!" The lettering is Cyrillic, and "H" makes the sound of "N", for neutral (the proper gear for being pushed).
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: "It may be on a lousy channel, but the Simpsons are on TV!"
    • Fox taping a TV special on Bigfoot (which accidentally—and thankfully—tapes footage of Barney being caught in the avalanche) which had the shot of "him" ruined due to the production member's invokedwristwatch being visible.
  • Blasphemous Boast: After saving Barney's life, Homer goes into partnership with him in the snow-plow business, shouting out that if two friends stick together, not even God Himself can stop them. Cue a voice from the clouds: "Oh, no?" and the weather immediately becomes warmer, melting all the snow.
  • Blatant Lies: Homer after crashing his car:
    Insurance Agent: Now, before I give you the check, one more question. This place Moe's you left just before the accident. This is a business of some kind?
    Homer's brain: Don't tell him you were at a bar! (gasps) But what else is open at night?!
    Homer: It's a pornography store. I was buying pornography.
    Homer's brain: Heh heh heh. I would'a never thought of that.
  • Bowdlerization: The UK version of this episode that airs on Channel 4 cuts Homer telling the insurance agent that Moe's is a pornography store instead of a bar. What's notable is that this scene used to be uncut...until it aired on Christmas day during family viewing hours and has now aired edited ever since.
  • Brick Joke: When Homer removes the snow from the front of Springfield Retirement Castle, the residents are excited about being able to leave but decide not to do so because it's too cold outside. After the climax, the snow melts and the residents of Springfield Retirement Castle are once again happy they're free to leave. This time they refuse because they don't like the teenagers.
  • Competing Product Potshot: when Barney starts his Plow King commercial by destroying a wooden cutout of Homer, who runs the competing plowing company Mr. Plow. Linda Ronstadt joins Barney in singing a song that accuses Mr. Plow of being an alcoholic loser.
  • Compressed Vice: An intentional example, as when young Barney takes a single sip of beer, he's hooked immediately and becomes identical in demeanour and appearance to his adult self.
  • Continuity Nod: The company that manufactured Homer's snowplow is the same one that took over Powell Motors in "Oh, Brother, where Art Thou?".
    • The insurance agent for "Total Disaster Insurance" is the same one from "Homer the Heretic".
  • Couch Gag: The couch is replaced by a small wooden chair, which the family crowds together on it.
  • Dada Ad: Homer hires a fancy ad firm for his plowing business, and they give him a weird Calvin Klein Obsession knock off complete with a Citizen Kane Shout-Out.
    Lisa: Dad, was that your commercial?
    Homer: I... don't know.
  • Dangerous Clifftop Road: Homer has to go up a dangerous narrow road in order to rescue Barney, who he had sent on a wild-goose chase up the mountain.
  • Deadline News: Arnie Pye, who is sent out — under threat of losing his job — to cover a fierce blizzard and the conditions at Widow's Peak. As the helicopter is flying into whiteout conditions and Arnie, begging to come back, tries to point this out, Kent Brockman cuts him off, demanding to know the ski conditions. The pilot then begins losing control of the helicopter as Arnie begins an If I Dont Return speech to his wife.
  • Delayed Safety Feature: When Homer had his accident, the airbag in his car deployed after he got out of the car.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The Mr. Plow jingle.
    Call Mr. Plow
    That's my name
    That name again
    Is Mr. Plow.
  • Disco Dan: Homer and Barney use telephone exchange numbers for their plow services. These were phased out in The '60s in favor of all-digit dialing.
  • Drunk Driver: The episode begins with Homer becoming drunk at Moe's Tavern and attempting to drive home in a snowstorm. He ends up rear-ending a car...the family station wagon parked in his driveway! Both his and the station wagon are heavily damaged and inoperable as a result. In the next scene, Homer tries to file an insurance claim but after letting slip he was at Moe's, the adjuster asks him what type of business Moe's is. After Homer-think tells him to not say that Moe's is a Tavern, he says aloud: "It's a pornography store. I was buying pornography!"
  • Dumbass DJ: When Homer is driving home from Moe's.
    Bill: Yes, folks, it's SNOW picnic out there!
    Marty: I SNOW what you mean!
    Bill: (sarcastic laugh) You're dead weight, Marty.
  • Dutch Angle: The camera tilts as Adam West gets lost in a Batman reverie, then later as he complains about Mr. Plow's late arrival.
  • Embarrassing Cover-Up: Homer's reply to what Moe's business is:
    Insurance Agent: Now, before I give you the check, one more question. This place Moe's you left just before the accident. This is a business of some kind?
    Homer's brain: Don't tell him you were at a bar! (gasps) But what else is open at night?!
    Homer: It's a pornography store. I was buying pornography.
    Homer's brain: Heh heh heh. I would'a never thought of that.
  • Epic Fail:
    • Homer managed to damage both his and Marge's their own driveway.
      Homer: D'OH!
    • Also, later on while trying to rescue Barney, he crosses a very rickety wooden bridge in his plow truck and only then he spots a larger, well-built bridge right next to it.
      Homer: D'OH!
    • The fact that Bart's snarky line, "You ARE fully licensed and bonded by the city, aren't you, Mr. Plow?" (as well as Homer quietly telling him to shut up) was never edited out of the first commercial.
  • Even the Dog Is Ashamed: Family cat Snowball II runs yowling from the room with fur on end when Homer busts out a rap.
  • Exact Words: Homer's ad promises a "free t-shirt" to anyone who calls immediately. By that, he means some worn-out James Stockdale campaign tee that he happens to have lying around.
  • The Foreign Subtitle: The episode's Brazilian title is "Homer Escavadeira - Um Homem da Neve", which literally translates as "Homer Plow - A Man of the Snow".
  • Fourth Reich: Spoofed with the German car company "Fourth Reich Motors", founded 1946 (i.e. just after World War Two ended). After a crash test demonstration, Lisa notices the "dummies" are moving, and the salesman immediately closes their exhibition.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The dummies in the Fourth Reich Motors gag are wearing seatbelts, they just all immediately break when they crash.
  • Hilarious in Flashback: A nice Black Comedy example: Barney was an intelligent and hardworking student with Ivy League aspirations before Homer pressured him into his first beer.
  • Honest John's Dealership: Crazy Vaclav's Place of Automobiles. The car Crazy Vaclav tries to convince Homer to buy is too small, the gear's set for Russian standards, and Crazy Vaclav says the car "will get three hundred hectares on a single tank of kerosene" and came from a country that no longer exists.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
  • I Resemble That Remark!: When Linda Ronstadt sings in Barney's commercial, she mentions Homer's a drinker. Cut to Homer doing a Spit Take.
  • Imagine Spot: After seeing the plow, Homer imagines himself driving it through a protest at the White House to clear a path for the President (George H. W. Bush).
  • Insurance Fraud: Homer is talking to an insurance agent after crashing his car:
    Insurance Agent: Now, before I give you the check, one more question. This place Moe's you left just before the accident. This is a business of some kind?
    Homer's brain: Don't tell him you were at a bar! (gasps) But what else is open at night?!
    Homer: It's a pornography store. I was buying pornography.
    Homer's brain: Heh heh heh. I would'a never thought of that.
  • Invisible Celebrity Guest: During the episode's opening scene, Angela Lansbury was advertised to appear in Circus of the Stars walking on hot coals ("Excitement, She Wrote!"). All we get to see of her is a close up of her feet.
  • Jaw Drop: Homer, Bart and Lisa's reactions after meeting Adam West in real life.
  • Jerkass Ball: Barney after he sets up his own snow plow business. He stole the idea from Homer, shot out his tires to give himself an edge in the competition, and based his entire advertising campaign on slandering his friend. And this is all after Homer's pep talk gave Barney the determination to make something of himself, making him an Ungrateful Bastard to boot.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Arnie Pye, shortly before the news helicopter crashes and the live signal is lost (while trying to report on blizzard conditions at Widow's Peak): "Tell my wife I love ... ." Kent Brockman nonchalantly chuckles and says, "Good one, Arnie!"
  • Kitschy Local Commercial: The first Mr. Plow commercial.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: "It may be on a lousy channel, but the Simpsons are on TV!"
  • Made-for-TV Movie: According to Troy McClure, Krusty's percodan addiction is going to be the subject of this.
    Krusty: I'll be played by Jimmy Smits! (goofy laugh)
  • Ms. Fanservice: At the Car Expo, a beautiful model stands in front of a car that is being given away for a contest. Homer asks her if she comes with the car, to which the model just giggles. Another entrant asks the same question and the model gives the same response.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Homer feels remorseful for how he tricked Barney into plowing driveways on Widow's Peak.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Barney is reduced to handing out baby supply store flyers wearing a diaper, and concludes "At least I can't sink any lower", then the wind blows his diaper off. He runs after it around the corner shouting "Come back, diaper!" then, off-camera "...hi, Mom."
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Homer is directly responsible for Barney's descent into alcoholism.
  • Noodle Incident: Barney never explains how exactly he knows Linda Ronstadt, other than the fact that they've been looking look for a project to do together for some time.
  • Old School Introductory Rap: "I'm Mr. Plow and I'm here to say / I'm the plowin'-est guy in the USA!"
  • Phone Number Jingle: Barney Gumble starts competing as the "Plow King", and enlists Linda Ronstadt to sing this jingle:
    When the snow starts a-falling,
    There's a man you should be calling.
    That's K-L-five, four seven-nine-six! (Let it ring!)
    Mr. Plow is a loser,
    And I think he is a boozer...
    So you better make that call to the Plow King!
  • Piss-Take Rap: Homer's rap act doesn't get any approval by his kids.
  • Recognition Failure: Pulled by Barney, who mistakes Adam West for playing Superman.
  • Rhyming with Itself: Homer's jingle: "Mr. Plow!/That's my name!/That name again/Is Mr. Plow!"
  • Riddled and Rattled: when Bart is ambushed by the other Springfield Elementary School students, who're angry because Homer's snowplowing business means they have to go to school on what would otherwise be a snow day. In a parody of the The Godfather, he's pelted from all sides by snowballs and jerked around from the impact before finally collapsing.
  • Rock Bottom: Barney announcing that "at least I can't sink any lower". Cue the wind blowing away his diaper.
  • Rope Bridge: On his rescue mission to save Barney, Homer crosses a rope bridge which starts to swing dangerously and fall apart.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Godfather: Bart being struck by numerous snowballs by Nelson and other angry students was an homage to the infamous scene in the 1972 movie where Sonny Corleone is shot numerous times in an ambush.
    • Roto-Rooter: The Mr. Plow jingle is obviously inspired by the drain-cleaning company jingle.
    • The Wages of Fear and its American remake Sorcerer: Homer's trip across the rickety bridge is based on the films, with the music inspired by the latter. According to Mike Reiss, this was because they'd learned Sorcerer director William Friedkin was a fan of the show!
    • Raiders of the Lost Ark: The melting snowmen resemble the melting Nazis in the climax, complete with a similar sounding Scare Chord.
    • The Wolfman: Barney transforming from a smart cleancut student into a slovenly drunken idiot after he has his very first beer mimics Lawrence Talbot's transformation.
      Barney: Hey! Where have you been all my life?
    • CBS's Circus Of The Stars: Springfield's Carnival Of The Stars, a show with local and national celebrities that Homer and the kids watch.
    • Kent Brockman's newsroom announcement of Barney being trapped at Widow's Peak is taken from Walter Cronkite announcing President Kennedy's assassination.
    • Barney's descent from a bright, straight-laced student into a worthless, brain-damaged drunk after being introduced to alcohol mirrors Reverend Jim Ignatowski's similar fall into drug abuse from a single pot-laced brownie on Taxi. James L. Brooks worked on both shows.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: When Homer plows the streets and causes school to happen on a snow day, the angered kids of Springfield Elementary pelt Bart with snowballs.
  • Special Effects Failure: In-universe, when production footage of the upcoming FOX special In Search of Bigfoot is shown on TV; the actor in the Bigfoot suit's wristwatch is visible, and the director calls it out.
  • Special Guest: Phil Hartman as Troy McClure.
  • Spit Take: When Homer is watching Barney's commercial and hears that it directly calls him a "boozer", he spits out his beer in shock.
  • Tempting Fate: When Homer and Barney decide to be partners, Homer states even God can't stop them. God takes offense to that and acts accordingly, melting the ice and putting both boys out of business.
  • Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket: "Are you tired of having your hands cut off by snowblowers? And the inevitable heart attacks that come with shoveling snow?"
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Barney used to be a college-bound student, before Homer gave him exactly one beer. And the rest is history.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: A literal example as Homer was the one who introduced his friend Barney Gumble to beer right before the SAT exam and made him into an alcoholic.
  • Two Words: I Can't Count: Homer in the flashback to high school with Barney.
    "I've got two words for you: mellow out, man."
  • Uncanny Valley: Adam West is a little too realistic for comfort, with detailed wrinkles and oddly small eyes compared to the usual Simpsons art style. Although arguably, given Homer, Bart, and Lisa's reactions, this just amplifies the "unhinged" vibe they were clearly going for.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Bart's reaction to seeing Krusty, his idol, being savaged by three Siberian tigers? "Meh, they'll be chewin' on him for a while," before changing the channel to the Mexican Bumblebee Man's sitcom.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Homer moves the snow away from the Kwik-E-Mart, allowing it to stay open. Cue Snake driving up to the door.
    • This episode also reveals that Homer gave a studious, Harvard-bound Barney Gumble his very first beer.
  • Vandalism Backfire: When Homer was driving home from Moe's drunk during a blizzard, he ended up crashing into the back of a car. Though the front of his car was totaled, he looked at the bright side that he got the other guy just as bad...until he saw that it was Marge's their driveway.
    Homer: D'oh!
  • Voodoo Shark:
    Moe: Linda Ronstadt? How'd you get her?
  • Waving Signs Around: Homer has an Imagine Spot of him helping George H. W. Bush sneak valuable art works out from the White House by plowing through the protesters. Signs include "Forget the Alamo", "I dislike Ike" and "Pay me not to work".
  • We Can Rule Together: At the end, Barney suggests to Homer that they work together.
  • Wham Shot: Within the Fourth Reich Motors gag. A car full of dummies crashes into a low wall. The driver is impaled on the steering wheel, the one riding shotgun is violently launched through the windshield, the one on the right backseat hits their head, while the one on the left backseat falls out of the car, and then starts crawling away.
  • What Were They Selling Again?: The second Mr. Plow commercial, which looked more like an overly arty perfume ad.
    Lisa: Dad, was that your commercial?
    Homer: I don't know.
  • Zillion-Dollar Bill: Homer gets rival plowman Barney Gumble to spend the day dragging his plow up a mountain with the promise of a ten thousand dollar bill. When asked which president is on it, he claims, "All of them. They're having a party. Jimmy Carter has passed out on the couch."note  Barney is so impressed that he leaves immediately, abandoning his hot tub with Linda Ronstadt.


Video Example(s):


"Got Him As Good As He Got Me"

When driving home drunk at night during a snow storm, Homer accidentally rear ends the back of a car. Despite his car being wrecked, he looks on the bright side that he got the other car just as bad...until he saw that it was MARGE's station wagon, in their own driveway!

How well does it match the trope?

4.5 (20 votes)

Example of:

Main / ConsolationBackfire

Media sources: