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Recap / The Simpsons S5 E13 "Homer and Apu"

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Apu is fired from the Kwik-E-Mart (thanks to Homer working with Kent Brockman to rat him out after Homer gets sick from bad Kwik-E-Mart food) and agrees to stay at the Simpsons' house. Meanwhile, James Woods is hired as the new Kwik-E-Mart clerk.

This episode provides examples of:

  • A Day in the Limelight: For Apu. This is the first episode to have him as a main character instead of a side-character.
  • An Aesop: Marge delivers the moral, "I guess happiness is wherever you find it," when the Simpsons assume the episode is ending on the second act.
  • All for Nothing: Apu and Homer travel all the way to India, and from there several hundred miles, through mountain ranges, to find the first Kwik-E-Mart... and Homer blows Apu's chance of getting his job back.
  • Ambulance Cut: The two times Homer gets sick from eating bad Kwik-E-Mart food (the expired ham and the two buckets of "frozen" shrimp that aren't frozen and smell funny).
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • When Homer learns how far India was from Springfield, it cuts to a scene with him and Apu riding donkeys... to Springfield Airport. They spent so much money on the plane tickets they couldn't pay for a cab ride.
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    • Earlier in the episode, Apu watches Homer through the window and says, "This is all because of Homer Simpson! It's time to settle the score!" When Homer answers the door, Apu comes at him with his hands stretched out, causing a terrified scream from Homer. After the commercial break, it turns out that Apu was merely doing an Indian forgiveness custom and wasn't intending to choke Homer.
  • Big "NO!": Apu does this in slow-motion when taking a bullet for James Woods near the end.
  • Brick Joke: When Apu gives the impression he wants to strangle Homer for getting him fired, he's actually trying to apologize. When Apu does want to strangle him, Homer thinks it's another apology.
  • Cluster Bleep-Bomb: James Woods' cursing a blue streak as he's scraping melted cheese off the microwave walls.
  • Do Wrong, Right: The Kwik-E-Mart official chastises Apu, not for selling dangerously inedible stock (that was in fact the company's standard procedure), but that he failed to place the blame on a suitable scapegoat.
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  • Driven to Suicide/Interrupted Suicide: When Apu is fired for getting caught selling rotten food, he tries to kill himself by eating Kwik-E-Mart food. His boss prevents him from doing so.
  • Dumbass Has a Point
    Homer: ...You're selling what now?
    Apu: I'm selling only the concept of karmic realignment.
    Homer: You can't sell that! Karma can only be portioned out by the cosmos! (slams door)
    Apu: He's got me there.
  • The Ghost: Ned Flanders doesn't appear in this episode, but he is mentioned once.
    Homer: I've learned that life is one crushing defeat after another until you just wish Flanders was dead.
  • Hero of Another Story: In a Brick Joke to his method acting, James Woods says he is leaving to go fight aliens on a distant planet.
  • I Owe You My Life: As thanks for saving him from a bullet, James Woods gets Apu his job back.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bug: The hidden camera cowboy hat not only obviously has the camera lens sticking out, but makes a loud buzzing sound. Apu not only falls for it (he assumes that the noise is caused by a bee, as does Homer when Apu mentions this), but directly talks to the camera after Homer stomps on it.
    Apu: Now, this is just between me and you, smashed hat.
  • Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: When Apu is fired, the Kwik-E-Mart official tears off his name tag and "Ask about our fried pickles" badge from his uniform.
  • Irony: The world's first conveniance store is in a horribly inconvenient location. Homer even points it out.
  • Just Following Orders: Apu's defence when confronted by a senior Kwik-E-Mart official. The man turns it around him by doing the exact same thing seconds later.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: After the big song, Homer observes that everything has wrapped up, even checking his watch and saying it was much faster than usual. Happens again at the end of the episode, where the family hugs Apu. Homer then checks his watch and says there's still time, so they hug him again right before the Executive Producer credits.
  • Method Acting: In-Universe, James Woods takes Apu's job at the Kwik-E-Mart to prepare for his upcoming role as a store clerk. He says he previously worked in a law firm for two months to prepare for True Believer and apparently traveled through time to prepare for a role in Chaplin.
    James: Do I sound like a laid-back convenience store kind of guy?
    Jimbo: Actually, I thought it sounded a little labored. You gotta lose yourself in the moment, man.
  • Mushroom Samba: The incredibly spicy Indian food Apu cooks for the Simpsons has this effect on Lisa.
    Lisa: (strained voice) I can see through time!
  • Must Make Amends: Apu decides to move into the Simpsons' house and do chores for them to atone for causing Homer's illness.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Barney has apparently killed someone (possibly a woman) by accident before, or at least thinks he has and it was similar to knocking over the oversized Mrs. Butterworth bottle. This might be a callback to when Barney accidentally shot a woman after Homer slammed the door in his face in "Rosebud" but, considering how this series doesn't really usually care about continuity, it might have been an unseen incident.
    • Grampa once recorded and released an album that Homer finds to be just as disturbing as Lisa playing the shenai.
  • Not Helping Your Case:
    • The traditional form of apology in Apu's village involves slowly approaching someone with your arms outstretched. As Apu puts it, many have died needlessly because of it.
    • Also, Apu when trying to defend his store's policies on TV.
      Brockman: Apu, will you ever stop selling spoiled meat?
      Apu: (sweating profusely) No. I mean yes. I mean... oh, dear.
      (Pan out to the Kwik-E-Mart, where Apu and a customer are watching the interview on TV.)
      Apu: (turns the TV off) I think I come off rather well.
      Customer: Monster! Run, children!
  • Oh, Crap!: When Apu accidentally slips that he sells bad food.
  • Retirony: Kent tells Homer that the hidden cam hat he smashed was a day away from retirement.
  • Riddle for the Ages: When James Woods is talking on the phone to his manager, he asks how his upcoming movie was the same if his character was retconned from a store clerk to a "jittery eskimo firefighter". We never learn the answer but whatever it was, Woods accepted it.
  • Rule of Three: When Apu and Homer meet the owner of the Kwik-E-Mart chain to ask for Apu's job back, he says they'd only be allowed three questions. Apu only wants to ask one, but Homer wastes all of them asking if that guy really owned the Kwik-E-Mart. And the answers still aren't enough for him.
  • Say My Name: James Woods's shout of "Apu!" when Apu takes the bullet meant for the former.
  • The Scapegoat: Kwik-E-Mart policy is to use one of these (or a sacrificial lamb) when something goes wrong.
  • Shout-Out: The scene with the Indian train being so crowded that passengers are hanging on the outside spoofs a similar scene in Gandhi.
  • Sitting on the Roof: Apu does this after the "Who Needs The Kwik-E-Mart" song. The family hear him crying and go outside to find him sitting on the roof of the house and looking at the Kwik-E-Mart in the distance. Though one does have to raise the question of how he got up there in the first place...
  • Smart Ball: Homer corrects Apu on the nature of karma, using somewhat more complex words than usual.
    Homer: You're selling what now?
    Apu: I'm selling only the concept of karmic realignment.
    Homer: You can't sell that! Karma can only be portioned out by the cosmos! (slams the door in Apu's face)
    Apu: ...he's got me there.
  • Spy Cam: The hidden camera that Homer is asked to carry to tape Apu's mishandling of food. Although it's "hidden" only in the sense that it's inside of a gigantic novelty cowboy hat, it weights so much that it can damage a man's spine if worn too long and makes a very loud buzzing sound when it's adjusting its lens that Apu (and Homer) confuse for that of a bee.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That:
    James Woods: But as for me, I'm off to battle aliens on a far away planet.
    Marge: That sounds like a good movie.
    James Woods: Yes...yes, a movie.
  • Taking the Bullet: The example from this episode is the trope image!
  • Too Dumb to Live: Homer still buys bad food from the Kwik-E-Mart even after he got sick from it twice. He even goes in and orders a hot dog immediately after he saw the disgusting close-up of a hot dog that fell on the floor being put back on the rack. Him wasting all three allowed questions he and Apu got on the same one when talking to the owner of the Kwik-E-Mart chain also counts.
  • Turn in Your Badge: After the Insignia Rip-Off Ritual mentioned above:
    Official: Now... turn in your pricing gun.
    (Apu takes gun out of shoulder holster and hands it over)
    Official: The other one too.
    (Apu takes gun out of ankle holster and hands it over)
  • Verbal Backspace: Homer says that going to India with Apu is the least he can do, before correcting himself and saying that no, the least he can do is nothing at all.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Whether the armed robber that shot Apu escaped or was apprehended is not delved upon.
  • White Dude, Black Dude: The subject of a black comedian's stand-up.
    Comedian: Black guys, we drive a car like this... (leaning back and humming) yeah but white guys, they drive a car like this... (leans forward and hums in a dorky tone of voice)
    Homer: (laughs) It's true! It's true! We're so lame!
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: Apu decides no-one is stupid enough to buy expired ham from him... until Homer walks into the Kwik-E-Mart.
  • You Monster!: A woman calls Apu a monster after he's exposed for selling spoiled meat.


Example of: