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Recap / The Simpsons S5 E13 "Homer and Apu"

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Original air date: 2/10/1994 (produced in 1993)

Production code: 1F10
"Homer and Apu" is the thirteenth episode from the fifth season of The Simpsons. It features shopkeeper Apu bonding with Homer and his family after being fired from the Kwik-E-Mart (after Homer exposes Apu after getting sick with expired food), while James Woods is hired as his replacement.

Episode Summary

It's business as usual at the Kwik-E-Mart, with Apu grossly overcharging items to disgruntled customers, one of whom tries to crush a pack of Twinkies. Upon retrieving it, the shopkeeper finds a pack of ham that expired in February 1989 and proceeds to mark the expiration date out and put it on a bargain bin. Before long, Homer buys and eats the ham and gets sick. When he complains about the store's bad food, Apu offers him expired shrimp, which Homer eats, getting sick again.

After watching the "Bite Back" investigation segment on the news, Lisa tells Homer he should expose the Kwik-E-Mart. Kent Brockman gives Homer an oversized hat with a camera inside, but Homer destroys it after Apu thinks the buzzing camera is a bee. Despite this, the camera manages to capture Apu placing a dirty frankfurter back in the cooker. After an embarrassing TV interview, Apu is fired by the Kwik-E-Mart's management, not because of his misdemeanors, but because they needed a scapegoat after the P.R. snafu. After a series of unsatisfactory prospects, they pick James Woods, who is doing research for an upcoming movie role, as a replacement.

After thinking the world is laughing at him (including the river—when it was actually two hobos tickling each other with feathers), Apu atones for his deeds and decides to go to the Simpson residence, where Homer mistakes a bizarre apology ritual for a strangling attempt by Apu, who in fact wants to settle his karma debt by helping him. While Homer rebuffs him, Apu declines to budge and the rest of the family feels gratified by this gesture and Apu breaks into a song, proclaiming he doesn't need the Kwik-E-Mart anymore. But as soon Homer thinks the episode is over, they find Apu crying on the roof thinking of his old job.

The one way Apu can get his job back is by consulting the head office of the Kwik-E-Mart Corp., established... atop a high mountain in India. There, the leader gives them three questions, which Homer blows by asking him if he was the head of the Kwik-E-Mart. After Apu strangles Homer (who thinks he was trying to apologize again), he decides to "face his demons" and go to the Kwik-E-Mart, where Woods is none too happy with the fact his character has been changed to a nervous Eskimo (meaning he will have to move to an igloo). While they talk about Apu once working 96 straight hours (although by the end, he thought he was a hummingbird), a robber shoots at Woods, but Apu takes the bullet. At the hospital, Dr. Hibbert informs that Apu survived because the bullet dislodged another from a previous robbery. A grateful Woods gives Apu his job back and leaves to "battle aliens in the sky". Seeing that there are a few seconds left to the episode, the family hugs Apu.

"Homer and Apu" provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Limb Rotation Range: Apparently, Apu taught Bart some of this...which he used to get out of school by claiming he was mangled in a car wreck.
  • 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).
  • Are We There Yet?: Homer keeps on asking Apu on the plane if they are in India yet.
    Apu: Wait! (pass another mountain) Now we are!
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Bland-Name Product: Monstromart is this to Costco.
  • 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. He's on the phone with his agent, and has to quickly reassure the agent that he's not cursing at him.
  • Couch Gag: Homer, Marge, Bart, and Lisa poke their heads out from behind the couch while Maggie pokes out from behind the middle cushion.
  • Dark Reprise: "Who needs the Kwik-E-Mart? I dooooooooooo!"
    Homer: Hey, he's not happy at all! He lied to us through song! I hate when people do that!
  • A Day in the Limelight: For Apu. This is the first episode to have him as a main character instead of a side-character.
  • 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.
  • Dreadful Musician: Homer cringes at the shenai Apu taught Lisa to play. He thinks it's worse than the album Grampa Simpson released.
  • 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.
    Apu: ...I don't want to live anymore!
    Official: GIVE ME THAT WIENER!
    Official: NO, APU! IT'S NOT WORTH IT!!!
  • Dumbass Has a Point: This exchange between Homer and Apu.
    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.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The Kwik-E-Mart is robbed and Apu is shot... but not by Snake, but a generic robber. Snake already existed at this point, but he wasn't yet the writers' go-to-robber he later became.
  • Easily Forgiven: Homer quickly forgives Apu for poisoning him.
  • Fire-Breathing Diner: Implied by Lisa when she eats the dinner Apu cooked for the Simpsons and says she can "see through time". Homer, of course, handles it easily.
  • The Food Poisoning Incident: This is what causes Apu to lose his job: he food-poisons Homer twice.
  • 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.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: Of a hot dog that falls on the floor and gets put back on the rack.
  • 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.
  • Hidden Depths: Homer has enough knowledge of what karma is to tell Apu that his allegory of selling it is wrong ("it can only be portioned out by the cosmos!"). Apu even says "he's got me there".
  • 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.
  • Indestructible Edible: An enraged customer crushes a pack of Twinkies ("This is what I think of your store!") before storming out. Apu shouts at the customer that he can't "hurt a Twinkie". The Twinkies then pops back into shape and Apu puts them back on the shelves.
  • Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: When Apu is fired, the Kwik-E-Mart official tears off his name tag and the "Ask about our fried pickles" badge from his uniform.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: After changing the expiration date on the ham, Apu says to himself: "This time, I've gone too far. No one will fall for..." Before he could finish the sentence, Homer appears, takes the ham and eats it.
  • Irony: The world's first convenience 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 back on 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.
  • Lost in Translation: For non-North American audiences outside the U.S. and Canada, and less degree, Mexico, the whole joke about the western Christians doing proselitism in an Indian airport could be lost since it's a flip of the stereotype about the Hare Krishna sects doing the same thing in American and Canadian airports.note 
  • 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.
  • Name and Name: The title of the episode.
  • 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 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.
    • Bart used one of Apu's yoga tricks to get out of school by claiming to be mangled in a car wreck.
  • No Reprise, Please: Lisa starts singing the Kwik-E-Mart song again in an attempt to lift Apu's spirit after his audience with the owner of the chain fails. He isn't in the mood.
  • 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, realizing how easily confusing it is, 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... uh oh.
      [Pan out to the Kwik-E-Mart, where Apu and a customer with her kids 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.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!:
    • When Barney knocks over and spills a giant Mrs. Butterworth-esque syrup bottle at Monstromart.
      Barney: No. I've killed her! It's all happening again!
    • After overhearing Apu's Dark Reprise of "Who Needs the Kwik-E-Mart?," Homer realizes he wasn't really happy and complains, "He lied to us through song! I hate when people do that!"
  • Painful Rhyme: Referenced when Apu gets the rest of the Simpsons to rhyme "Kwik-E-Mart" with him, saying it's a "tricky part". They offer the following:
    Marge: Their floors are Stick-E-Mart!
    Lisa: They make Dad Sick-E-Mart!
    Bart: Let's hurl a Brick-E-Mart!
    Homer: The Kwik-E-Mart is real— D'oh!
  • Retirony: Kent tells Homer that the hidden cam hat he smashed was a day away from retirement. But it still manages to catch Apu in the act.
    Kent: Homer, that hat has been with the station for 20 years.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Apu's traditional apology gesture looks similar to attempted strangulation, and he comments that "many have needlessly died" over it.
  • 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 rewritten from a store clerk to a "jittery Eskimo firefighter". We never learn the answer but whatever it was, Woods accepted it.
    • What was that album Grampa released, and why was it so terrible?
  • 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.
    • Homer and Apu traveling on mules is similar to a scene in Lawrence of Arabia.
    • Homer's line "No way, man, get yourself another patsy!" comes from JFK.
    • Apu taking the bullet for James Woods spoofs the scene from In the Line of Fire where Clint Eastwood protects the President by jumping in front of him and taking the bullet meant from him, slow motion and all.
    • The title of the episode could be referencing the film Homer and Eddie, where Jim Belushi plays a mentally challenged man named Homer.
  • 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 correcting Apu on the nature of karma, using somewhat more complex words than usual.
  • 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 weighs 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 faraway planet.
    Marge: That sounds like a good movie.
    James Woods: Yes... yes, a movie.
  • Take Our Word for It: James Woods, on a phonecall with his agent, asks how his upcoming movie can still be the same if his role has been changed from a tightly-wound convenience store clerk to a jittery eskimo firefighter; we don't hear the reply, but he concedes that it's a pretty good explanation. Subverted in that his dialog immediately afterwards implies that this unheard "explanation" was just his agent telling him how much money he's going to make on this.
  • 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 question when talking to the owner of the Kwik-E-Mart chain also counts.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Before this episode, Apu was pretty much an impossibly cheap grocer who didn't care for his customers (Homer's food poisoning wasn't the first incident between the Simpsons and the Kwik-E-Mart). After being fired, however, he atoned for his old behavior and his character became a hard-working, patriotic Bollywood Nerd from this point.
  • 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.
  • Voodoo Doll: Patty and Selma keep one of these of Homer.
    Dr. Hibbert: Well, sir, Homer's illness was either caused by ingesting spoiled food, or, heh heh, some sort of voodoo curse.
    Patty: Hey: we've just been working the eyes. (holds up a Homer doll with pins in the eyes)
  • 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.


Video Example(s):


It's True, We're So Lame

Homer can't enough of an 80s era Black comic describing how Black guys drive vs. how White guys drive.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / WhiteDudeBlackDude

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