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Recap / The Simpsons S5E16 "Homer Loves Flanders"

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Original air date: 3/17/1994

Production code: 1F14
Homer loses out on winning tickets to an upcoming Springfield Atoms football game. What's worse, his goody-two-shoes neighbor, Ned Flanders, won the last pair. After a failed attempt at bashing Flanders' skull in and take the tickets, Homer decides to spend the day with his neighbor at the game — and Homer realizes that Flanders is not such a bad guy after all...but all the time Homer spends with Ned puts a strain on the Simpsons and the Flanders.

The tropes in this episode include...

  • Accidental Hero: Homer comes along with Ned to a homeless shelter and gets bored because Ned hands over soup to the needy too slowly, so he pushes him out of the way and starts to serve soup in a mad rush so they can get out of there faster. A reporter that is in the shelter notices this and takes a picture, and so Homer makes the news as a "passionate humanitarian".
  • Acrofatic: The normally fat, unathletic Homer is capable of keeping up with Ned's car without getting exhausted.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Homer learns to love and appreciate Flanders, and — as Lisa predicts — he's forgotten all about it by the following Thursday at 8 pm.
  • All for Nothing: Homer's rush to get to a phone so he can get football tickets by popping his car tires on the exit to the Nuclear Plant and then it turns out Flanders won the tickets to Homer's disappointment. He then hits the radio and the station changes to one playing "Two Tickets to Paradise".
  • Automated Automobiles: Parodied. Homer accepts going to a big football game with Flanders. While they are driving trough the stadium parking lot, Homer spots Lenny and Carl, and makes Flanders duck so they won't see him with Homer, despite Flanders being the one driving. Thus Lenny and Carl see Homer waving at them from the passenger seat of a "driverless" car...
    Lenny: Hey, look! Homer's got one of those robot cars! [a loud offscreen crash is heard]
    Carl: One of those American robot cars!
  • Bait-and-Switch: Homer is sad that he doesn't have tickets for the big Springfield vs Shelbyville game and Lisa attempts to put it in perspective:
    Lisa: It's just another chapter in the pointless rivalry between Springfield and Shelbyville. They built a mini-mall, so we built a bigger mini-mall. They made the world's largest pizza, so we burnt down their city hall.
  • Bowdlerization:
    • In the UKnote , the end of Act One where Homer shouts from his car window that Ned Flanders is his friend was edited to remove the part where Lenny asks Carl what Homer said and Carl says, "I don't know. Something about being gay." This actually caused a minor controversy when the edited version was first shown and led to an apology and the lines being reinstated.
    • Channel 4 also shortened Ned's nightmare where he walks up the stairs to a tower, assembles a sniper rifle, and fires at innocent bystanders (until a gun-toting mailman returns fire). The Channel 4 version shows Flanders going up the stairs, assembling the rifle, him firing at the screen, and Flanders waking up and realizing he hates Homer.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Ned bolts up out of bed after his nightmare and says that he thinks he hates Homer. At the same time, Homer also bolts up out of bed, only his dream appears to be about Ted Koppel (or, if you're watching the Mexican Spanish dub, Michael Jackson, since Michael Jackson is/was more of a world-renowned star than Ted Koppel).
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    Homer: You [Ned] know Stan Taylor?
    Stan: Know me? Ned Flanders saved me. I used to party all night and sleep with lingerie models until Ned and his bible group showed me that I could have more.
    Homer: Professional athletes, always wantin' more.
  • Couch Gag: The Simpsons split themselves in half to sit on two identical couches in the living room.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: Shelbyville spiked the Springfield water supply, causing Marge to see the walls melting and a turkey fly away after drinking a glass of water.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • One example of the hard-core rivalry between Shelbyville and Springfield is that Springfield responded to Shelbyville making the world's biggest pizza by setting the Shelbyville town hall on fire.
    • It's pretty obvious it's a nightmare, but still it's really weird to see Ned Flanders of all people going on a shooting spree because he secretly harbors that much hatred for Homer and his annoying antics.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Ned's dream in which he goes in a shooting spree has him climbing up the clock tower and putting together his sniper rifle while whistling "Bringing in the Sheaves".
  • Do Not Attempt: After Kent Brockman says that a cure for "Pigskin Fever" is to take two tickets and go to the football game, a voice quickly says, "Warning: tickets should not be taken internally". This prompts Homer to declare to Marge and Bart "See? Because of me, now they have a warning."
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Homer gets a lot of attention, news coverage and respect for doing good deeds that Flanders already does for years on a daily basis. This starts to irk Flanders until he finally snaps.
  • Epic Riff: In-Universe, Homer's opinion about the riff in "Two Tickets To Paradise" by Eddie Money is that it's an excellent riff.
  • Escalating War: The feud with Shelbyville is mentioned, but we only see the final prank.
    Lisa: It's just another chapter in the pointless rivalry between Springfield and Shelbyville. They built a mini-mall, so we built a bigger mini-mall. They made the world's largest pizza, so we burnt down their city hall.
    Homer: They swore they'd get us back by spiking our water supply, but they didn't have the guts.
    Marge: [drinks a glass of water and then sees the walls start to run] Ooooh. The walls are melting again. [giggles]
  • Evil Laugh: Bart while seeing Rod and Todd fight over the Pixie Stix.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Homer asks why he's such a loser. Bart replies, "Your father was a loser, and his father, and his father — it's genetic, man!" [Beat] "D'oh!"
  • Faceless Masses: At the Shelbyville stadium, one shot of the stadium audience features multiple figures in the distance that resemble the man from the Aardman Animations short Ident.
  • Food Fight: Homer and the Flanders have a one-sided version (where the Simpsons just throw food at them as they react with shock).
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: As the Simpsons and the Flanderses go to the lake, while most of them are crammed into Ned's station wagon, Rod is seen sitting in the boat they are hauling along.
  • Genre Savvy: Lisa has noticed that a new escapade tends to affect the Simpsons every week and advises Bart to ride it out until the Snap Back hits. By the end of the episode, it seems like Homer and Flanders' newfound harmony might actually stick, causing them to be concerned that their "wacky adventures" might be at an end. Cue jump forward to the following week's time slot when a new silly happening is unfolding and Homer hates Flanders again.
  • God: Homer mistakes a waffle sticking up the ceiling for God.
  • Going Postal: In Ned's shootout dream, there is a postal worker who retaliates. Incidentally, the postal worker resembles a proto-Ned Flanders in the first season.note 
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: In the Couch Gag, there are two couches in the living room, so the family split themselves down the middle so they can sit on both at the same time.
  • Haunted House: The Simpsons must spend a night there to obtain an Unexpected Inheritance.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Homer goes from disliking Flanders to being his overbearing best friend. He's resumed his usual hostility to Flanders by the end, though.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Moe reads to sick children and the homeless. He even gets Manly Tears as a result of what he reads — Little Women, for one. Bringing up his volunteer work at the bar earns Ned a threat from Moe, who doesn't want it getting out.
  • Humiliation Conga: Flanders, when taking an alcohol test, trips over, when a church tour bus passes by. When he enters the church everyone whispers and badmouths him. Reverend Lovejoy even titled his sermon What Ned did.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Homer accuses Marge of hating Flanders for years and wanting to bash his brains in with a pipe, to which Marge correctly points out it was him.note 
    Homer: Love, Marge. Don't hate... love.
  • IKEA Weaponry: Ned carries the sniper rifle he uses for his killing spree in his nightmare disassembled inside of a briefcase.
  • Implied Death Threat: Moe threatens Ned with one of these after Ned recognises Moe as someone who reads to sick children in the hospital.
    Moe: If this gets out, the next words you say will be muffled by your own butt!
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Flanders' usual pureness is tested enormously by Homer's obnoxious gratitude.
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Invoked by Burns in the most Burns way ever: by breaking Milhouse's leg so that the Springfield Atoms have a "crippled boy" to inspire them to victory with his hope for their success. (Naturally, he's mostly hoping for their success because Burns threatened worse if they failed.)
  • Insult Backfire:
    Homer: Why am I such a loser? Why?
    Bart: Well, your father was a loser, and his father, and his father — it's genetic, man! [realizes] D'oh!
  • Irony: The episode starts with Homer's usual routine of hating the obliviously generous Ned Flanders. By the third act, Ned is the one hating Homer, while Homer is obliviously generous.
  • Kent Brockman News:
    Kent Brockman: Tonight, on "Eye on Springfield": just miles from your doorstep, hundreds of men are given weapons and trained to kill. The government calls it the "army", but a more alarmist name would be "The Killbot Factory."
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Stan, Stan, he's our boy. If he can't do it, no one... will!
  • Literal-Minded: Apparently, Kent Brockman has to append a disclaimer to any pun he might make about "taking" game tickets as a cure for "football fever" because Homer once tried to do just that.
  • Loser Son of Loser Dad: When Homer asks why he's such a loser, Bart smartly calls him this and adds that this goes down multiple generations — "it's genetic, man!" — before realizing what he's just indicated about himself.
  • Made in Country X: Flanders is driving Homer to the big game only for Homer to make him duck so that Lenny and Carl don't see him. Once they see Homer in the passenger seat of a driverless car in motion...
    Lenny: Hey look! Homer's got one of those robot cars!
    Carl: One of those American robot cars!
  • Madness Mantra: Ned in his nightmare:
    Ned: There's Homer. [fires] There's Homer. [fires] There's Homer. [fires] THEY'RE ALL HOMER! [starts shooting faster]
  • Medium Awareness:
    Lisa: Don't worry, Bart. It seems like every week something odd happens to the Simpsons. My advice is to ride it out, make the occasional smart-alec quip, and by next week, we'll be back to where we started from, ready for another wacky adventure.
    Bart: ¡Ay, caramba!
    Lisa: That's the spirit.
  • Misophonia Gag: Ned finds Homer breathing noisily through his nose so annoying that he yells at him at the top of his lungs, even though they're in church.
  • Mistaken for Gay:
    Homer: [calls to Lenny and Carl as he and Flanders drive by] THIS IS NED FLANDERS, MY FRIEND!!
    Lenny: What did he say?
    Carl: I don't know. Something about being gay.
  • Mocking Music: Subverted. Homer fails to win the tickets to the game, hits the radio and suddenly Two Tickets To Paradise by Eddie Money starts playing on another channel. After a moment of despair, however, he gets caught in the rhythm and sings along.
  • Mushroom Samba: Homer comments that Shelbyville threatened to spike Springfield's water supply after Springfield burned down their city hall, but they didn't have the guts. Cut to Marge drinking some water in the kitchen. Sitar music suddenly plays and Marge comments that the walls are melting again. A cooked turkey pops out of the oven and flies away.
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: Flanders drives Homer to a sports game. When Homer notices Lenny and Carl he pushes Flanders' face down from sight because he is afraid of being seen with him. Lenny notices Homer's car is driving without a chauffeur and assumes his driving "one of those robot cars". As the car crashes, Carl sarcastically remarks: "One of those American robot cars."
  • Namesake Gag: The Helter Shelter is named after its founder, Father Helter.
  • Never My Fault: Homer during an argument with Marge over her concerns about him spending too much time with Flanders:
    Homer: Admit it, Marge: you've hated Ned for years! In fact, you tried to bash his head in with a lead pipe!
    Marge: That was you!
    Homer: Love, Marge. Don't hate; love.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Ned's extreme generosity in giving Homer his extra ticket, treating him to food and drinks at the game, and finally giving him the winning game ball after a friend on the team had offered it to him, wins Homer over at long which point he becomes unshakeable and causes all kinds of problems for Ned in the process.
  • Noodle Incident: After Kent Brockman says that a cure for "Pigskin Fever" is to take two tickets and go to the football game, a voice quickly says, "Warning: tickets not meant to be taken internally". This prompts Homer to point to the announcement and declare to Marge and Bart, "See? Because of me, now they have a warning."
  • Nothing Is Scarier: We don't find out what frightened the Simpsons in the Haunted House.
  • Not So Above It All: Homer and Bart start a food fight during Ned's speech that even Marge and Lisa join in.
  • Oblivious to Hatred: After haunting the "Flandereses" for some time, Homer says of Maude that she "has a thing for me, but she hides it behind a mask of low-key hostility."
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Homer's love for Flanders. Lisa lampshades this and asks, "What's next, A's on Bart's report card?"
  • The Parody: Flanders' children watch a religious children's cartoon TV show.
  • Precision F-Strike: Ned yelling at Homer to "breathe through your damn mouth!" In this case, the word is said on the show all the time, but not by Ned.
  • Protectorate: Flanders blocked out all TV channels on his satellite dish, except two, to protect his children.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Moe reads to sick children in the hospital.
    • Homer's impassioned defense of Ned at the end of the episode is a perfect example of this trope.
  • Rage Breaking Point: During prayers, Ned finally explodes at Homer after hearing him inhale loudly through his nose.
  • Rattling Off Legal:
    Kent Brockman: Springfield has come down with a fever — Football Fever, brought on by the biggest game of the year: the Pigskin Classic between the Shelbyville Sharks and our own Springfield Atoms. If you have the fever, there's only one cure: take two tickets and see the game Sunday morning.
    Announcer: Warning: Tickets should not be taken internally.
  • Scare Dare: The Simpsons must spend a night in a haunted house to get their inheritance.
  • Shady Scalper: A scalper buys all 30,000 tickets to the Springfield football game even if he only has $10 to pay for the lot. Unfortunately for Homer, who was the next guy in line and had spent a whole week camping in line to get them.
  • Shaming the Mob: The parishioners surround Ned after his angry outburst, but then Homer stands up and defends him, which gets the others to forgive Ned.
  • Shave And A Haircut: When Homer pierces all four of his tires he yells out, "D'oh-d-d-d'oh-d'oh!" in the rhythm of this bit. Unfortunately, we don't get a "D'oh d'oh!".
  • Shout-Out:
    • Homer listens to Bobby McFerrin's "I'm Worried, Need Money" on the radio, a stab at his one-hit wonder "Don't Worry, Be Happy".
    • Flanders has a painting of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper hanging on the wall. This is also a reference to the religious mother in Carrie (1976), who has the same painting hanging on her wall.
    • Homer fails to win the tickets to the game, hits the radio and suddenly "Two Tickets To Paradise" by Eddie Money starts playing on another channel.
    • The homeless shelter is named "Helter Shelter", after the The Beatles song "Helter Skelter".
    • Moe reads My Friend Flicka and Little Women to the sick children.
    • The Ten Commandments (1956): Chief Wiggum says to Flanders, "Where's your Messiah now?", much like Edward G. Robinson is popularly believed to do in this film (although this is actually from a Billy Crystal routine spoofing it). An extra joke is that Wiggum is based on Robinson's accent.
    • Terminator 2: Judgment Day: Homer appears through Flanders' hedge, much like the Terminator robot, who is so liquid that he can go through walls. Then when he chases Flanders' car with two golf clubs his attack mimics the scene where the T-1000 chases John, Sarah and the T-800 and clings on to their car.
    • Vertigo: Flanders' dream shows him climbing up a staircase into a tower.
    • Homer awakes from his dream and thinks he hates Ted Koppel. Then he concludes that he actually likes this ABC journalist and goes back to sleep.
    • Live and Let Die: Homer flies the boat over the parking lot, much like James Bond did in this film.
    • Psycho: The haunted house is Norman Bates' house.
    • Ned positions himself in a bell tower and starts shooting people like Charles Whitman's shooting spree.
    • In a scene that usually gets cut from syndication, Homer plays his Rappin' Ronnie Reagan tape for the road trip the two families take to Lake Springfield. It's an actual real-life video/tape (and not a gag created by the writers), but he doesn't just say "Well" a lot like in the episode.
  • Snap Back: Lampshaded well in advance by a Genre Savvy Lisa, who understands that Homer's newfound appreciation for Flanders won't outlast the week's adventure. It doesn't.
  • Song Parody: Homer orders nachos and sings "Nacho Man", in a pun on "Macho Man" by The Village People.
  • Soup of Poverty: Homer and Ned volunteer together at a soup kitchen, feeding soup to homeless people.
  • Surprisingly Creepy Moment:
    • The final scene is the Simpsons spending a night in a haunted house in order to fulfill a will's "On One Condition". As we get a general shot of the very creepy house (with a bat flying around included), Homer tempts fate by saying that there is nothing wrong and then we get a weird sound and the whole family screaming in terror at something before cutting to credits with "evil" music.
    • The Nightmare Sequence in which Ned commits a mass shooting from a clock tower, having snapped and believing all his victims to be Homer. Really sold by the way he remains in-character, walking up the steps whistling a church hymn with no intimation that anything is wrong until he opens the case he's carrying to reveal a gun and assembles it as music builds nightmarishly.
  • Sustained Misunderstanding:
    Homer: [shouting at the ceiling] Why do you mock me, O Lord?!
    Marge: Homer, that's not God. That's just a waffle that Bart tossed up there. [she knocks it down with a broom handle]
    Homer: [catching it] ...I know I shouldn't eat Thee, but... [eats it] Mmm, sacrelicious.
  • Swapped Roles: The episode swaps Homer and Ned's usual dynamic, with Homer trying to be Ned's best friend and Ned starting to despise Homer in return.
  • Sweets of Temptation: Bart offers Rod and Tod a Pixie Stix, despite the fact that they're not allowed to eat sugar. When they do try it they get hooked on the stuff and start fighting and insulting each other over it.
  • Take That!: Subverted when Homer wakes up from a dream.
    Homer: Marge, I think I hate Ted Koppel. No, wait, I find him informative and witty.
    • Played straight during the chase scene:
      Maude: Come on Ned! Move this thing!
      Ned: I CAN'T! IT'S A GEO!
  • A Taste of Their Own Medicine: Ned gets a taste of his own medicine when Homer won't leave him alone.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Homer taunts the Shelbyville team for losing. Someone throws a beer can at him, but he ducks and scoffs. Someone else nails him with a whole keg, however.
    • Homer says there's nothing to be afraid of in a Haunted House, only to have the entire family scream at something in unison soon afterwards.
  • Title Drop: Spoofed; every book Moe reads ends with one of these (even if the original book didn't).
    Moe: "And then they realized, they were no longer little girls: they were Little Women".
  • Unexpected Inheritance: Homer's relative uncle Boris dies and leaves him his money in his will. On One Condition that the family spents a night in a Haunted House.
  • Unmanly Secret: Moe threatens to kill Ned if he ever makes public that he reads books to the homeless, such as Little Women.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!: At first, Ned appreciates Homer being nice to him, but he soon begins to miss the old Homer.
  • Water Source Tampering: Homer says that Shelbyville vowed to spike Springfield's water supply in revenge for Springfield burning down their city hall, but "they don't have the guts". Three guesses what happens to Marge next.
  • Where Is Your X Now?: Chief Wiggum asks Ned Flanders "Where's your messiah now?" when he arrests him. (This is a Shout-Out to the supposed The Ten Commandments example, with the joke being that Wiggum's voice is based on Edward G. Robinson.)
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    Burns: [to players] Men, there's a little crippled boy sitting in a hospital who wants you to win this game. I know because I crippled him myself to inspire you.
    [cut to a hospital room where Milhouse is lying with a broken leg]
    Milhouse: [to his parents] Well, I hope they win, or Mr. Burns said he's coming back.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: When Homer is second in line to get tickets for the football game, the man in front of him turns out to be a scalper who buys out every ticket to sell them for a premium, leaving the booth sold out by the time it's Homer's turn.


Video Example(s):



Homer prays to a waffle stuck on the ceiling.

How well does it match the trope?

4.88 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / CargoCult

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