First Aired - 11/19/1992
After crashing both his car and 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 555-PLOW, which if called soon enough, will net a free t-shirt...of Stockdale for Veep in '88.
- Adam Westing: The Trope Namer does it years before Family Guy did, though The Simpsons' take on Adam West wasn't as bizarre as Family Guy.
- 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.
- As Herself/Himself: Linda Ronstadt and Adam West.
- 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...
- 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!"
- 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! 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.
- 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.
- 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".
- 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.
- Delayed Reaction: 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. PlowThat's my nameThat name againIs Mr. Plow.
- 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 Coverup: Homer's reply to what Moe's business is:Insurance Agent: Now this place you were at, Moe's, is this a business of some sort?
Homer's Brain: Don't tell him you were at a bar! *gasp* 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 car...in their own driveway.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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".
- 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:
- When Barney introduces himself as "Plow King", he tells Homer there was no problem with a fair competition. Then he shoots Homer's tires, laughs evilly while driving away, and does a commercial where he bashes a cardboard cutout of Homer as Mr. Plow and gets Linda Ronstadt to join in.
- After watching Angela Lansbury painfully walk over hot coals in Carnival Of The Stars, Homer questions how anyone can mistreat their body like that. Then he drinks a pitcher of brine that Moe was about to throw out.
- Linda Ronstadt calls Homer a "boozer", in spite of Barney being an even bigger boozer.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Jaw Drop: Homer, Bart and Lisa's reactions after meeting Adam West in real life.
- 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.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Homer feels remorseful for how he tricked Barney into plowing driveways on Widow's Peak.
- 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.
- 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!)''
- Piss Take Rap: Homer's rap act doesn't get any approval by his kids.
- Redshirt Reporter: 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 a If I Dont Return speech to his wife.
- 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.
- 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!"
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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 commerical 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.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: 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.
- 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.
- 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 car...in their driveway.
- 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.
- 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.