First Aired - 12/18/1994
Homer gets banned from Moe's Tavern after playing a lame prank, and uses an airport bar as his new watering hole, but when Homer is mistaken for a pilot and causes an accident, the head of the airline pays him off with a vacation to anywhere in the United States (except for the freak states, Alaska and Hawaii). However, the trip is short-lived, when Marge has a mental breakdown before the flight. Marge assures the family that she's fine, but when her erratic behavior begins freaking out the family, Marge goes into therapy to find out why she's afraid of flying.
This episode contains examples of:
- Absurd Phobia: A quick gag reveals that Homer is deathly afraid of sock puppets.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: When Bart learns that Marge has a fear of flying:Bart: So much for the days when I could say, "At least my mother's normal."
- Analogy Backfire: Homer insists to Lisa that Marge's therapist will convince her to divorce Homer, the family will break up, and Lisa will have to live with her grandmother and pick beans for a living. Lisa states she likes picking beans with grandma, and a miffed Homer tries to get the last word in:Homer: Well, keep it up then.
Lisa: Okay, I will.
Homer: Good. You do that.
Homer: You'll be picking many a bean.
Lisa: Hope I do.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Homer upon discovering a man identical to himself lying knocked out in front of Moe's:(Gasp) Oh, my god, this man is my exact double! (GASP) That dog has a puffy tail! (chases dog) Here puff, here puff! (giggles)
- Awesome McCoolname: You have to admit it, Guy Incognito is a pretty cool-sounding name. Too bad it sounds like the kind of hastily-made fake name Homer would adopt to hide his true identity, and only made the poor guy look all the more suspicious.
- Homer is looking for a new drinking hole and wanders into the 'She She Lounge' full of butch women:Homer: Wait a minute... there's something bothering me about this place... I know! This lesbian bar doesn't have a fire exit! Enjoy your death trap, ladies!
- A man going by the suspicious name "Guy Incognito" enters Moe's Tavern for a drink. He looks and sounds just like Homer, only with a fancy suit, top hat, and mustache. Having been previously banned from the establishment, the patrons beat him up and throw him out...just in time for Homer to walk by and catch his double lying unconscious on the pavement.
- Earlier in the episode, when the guys at the bar are playing pranks on Moe, Barney's prank has him goading him to smell a flower on the lapel of his blazer, which he does. You think the flower was going to squirt him with water or even ink, but instead he lights his shirt on fire (which could have seriously harmed him, since, as he lampshades, his clothes are soaked with alcohol and therefore highly flammable).
- Right after Marge's panic attack on the airplane before it's supposed to take off ("Let me off, let me off, let me off, let me off!") the next shot shows the plane taking off, accompanied by a triumphant variation of The Simpsons theme, making you think the family is still on board the plane and Marge is feeling better... but then the camera pans to show the Simpsons family standing nearby with their luggage watching the plane leave, to which the music takes a downbeat note.
- Homer is looking for a new drinking hole and wanders into the 'She She Lounge' full of butch women:
- Black Comedy Cannibalism: When Marge's fear of flying resurfaces, Homer tries buying movies of planes to help calm her. Of course he chooses Alive on the basis of its title.Passenger: (eating sounds) Pass another hunk of co-pilot.
- Blatant Lies: Dr. Zweig says she's not going to judge anyone, as she immediately pegs Homer as a serious problem for Marge's mental health.
- Cassandra Truth: Homer repeatedly tells the airline controller that he's not a real pilot and was just pretending so he could drink at the bar, but the guy assumes Homer's just doing an extended joke.
- Cathartic Chores: After Marge's first panic attack on the plane, she acts very anxious. She cooks and bakes all night and later she's seen repairing the roof at 3 AM.
- Comically Missing the Point:
- Hilariously subverted, Homer is banned from Moes and explores Springfield for another drinking location, at one point ending up in the She-She lounge, obviously a lesbian bar. Homer looks around noticing something is wrong with the bar, then realises "This Lesbian bar has no fire exit. Enjoy your death trap ladies." and leaves the bar. The comically missing the point trope is then played again as Homer leaves, a lesbian looks at Homer leaving and asks "What's her problem?"
- Homer doesn't see any issue with Marge being awake at two in the morning fixing the roof, other than asking her if she's going to make pancakes for breakfast.
- Compressed Vice: Marge wasn't afraid of flying when the family flew to Washington, D.C. in the previous episode "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington."
- Deconstructive Parody: The scene where Homer goes to Cheers treats Norm's alcoholism in a much more realistic manner (namely that he's surly, slurs his speech and tries to attack Woody when he gets cut off).
- Decoy Protagonist / Halfway Plot Switch: The episode starts with Homer trying to find a new bar, but then suddenly switches to Marge dealing with her acrophobia.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Life-long banning (enforced by brutal beatdown) for unscrewing a sugar shaker. Bear in mind it's probably The Last Straw for Moe, but it is nevertheless the only prank which has everybody reacting in a "Dude, Not Funny!" fashion, when the others had Moe bitten by a snake and set his clothes alight though he saw the funny side to those gags.
- Don't Look at Me!: Marge's dad screams this when a traumatized Marge sees him as a male flight attendant (see below).
- Dude, Not Funny!: Exaggerated for laughs. Homers prank of unscrewing the salt shaker is the most harmless of the three pranks Moe suffers, but its the only one that pisses off everybody, because of the mess it leaves behind, no less.
- Epic Fail: When Homer is on the plane and presses the button that retracts its landing gear even before starting take-off procedures wrecking it -funnier still since planes have sensors to prevent that.-
- Faux Horrific: The event which traumatized Marge in her childhood and rendered her unable to go on a plane? Finding out her father was a steward.
- Forced Perspective: When we first see Marge watching Alive, the camera is positioned head on and we're led to believe she's just sitting on the couch. After Lisa notes how tense she looks, we then cut to a side view, and see that Marge is actually standing stooped over a few feet in front of the couch.
- Freudian Couch: Marge lies on the couch while talking to her therapist.
- Freudian Excuse: Marge's fear of flying comes from seeing her father as a male flight attendant (steward). This is followed by a montage of other traumatic plane-related incidents.
- From Bad to Worse: After the fact that her dad was a steward seems to be the trigger for her phobia, Zweig says they are making progress only for Marge to point out three more traumatic things: her (almost-blind) grandmother nearly poking her eye out while doing the "here comes the plane" trick to spoon-feed her as a baby, a toy airplane she had as a kid catching fire, and being attacked by a maniac gunman flying a biplane when she and her mom were visiting a corn field.
- Gay Bar Reveal: Subverted. Homer, having been banned from Moe's and looking for a new watering hole, is the only man in a very obviously lesbian bar.Homer: There's something bothering me about this place...I know! This lesbian bar doesn't have a fire exit! Enjoy your deathtrap, ladies!
Random Lesbian: What was her problem?
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Averted when Homer tries to find a new bar. One scene shows him standing in a crowd of women saying, "There's something bothering me about this place... *gasp* This lesbian bar doesn't have a fire exit! Enjoy your death trap, ladies!"
- Grievous Bottley Harm: Norm Peterson doesn't take to being cut off by Woody.Norm: Just gimme a beer, you brain-dead hick! I'll Kill You!! I'll kill all of ya!
- Halfway Plot Switch: The first half of the episode has Homer trying to find a new bar after being banned from Moe's. Then the second half forgets about that story-line as it focuses on Marge's fear of flying.
- Hypocritical Humor: Homer, in his paranoia about Marge's therapy.Homer: Did you talk about me in therapy today?
Marge: I've just left my first session and I haven't even opened my mouth yet!
Homer: Y'see! "I" just left "my" first session and "I" haven't even opened "my" mouth yet!
- I Take Offense to That Last One!: The patrons of Moe's Tavern proceed to play pranks on Moe. Lenny causes him to get bit by a cobra, Barney causes him to be lit on fire, and Homer simply winds up causing some sugar to be spilled. And of course, Homer's prank causes him to be banned from the bar for life.Barney: We were just messing around, but you went too far!
- Identical Stranger: Homer is permanently banned from Moe's due to rampant douchebaggery (for Moe, at least). Soon after, a man who looks exactly like Homer with a mustache, in a top hat and suit goes to Moe's. He introduces himself as "Guy Incognito" and is promptly beaten up and thrown out. The real Homer, passing by, is shocked to find his exact double unconscious but is suddenly distracted by a dog with a puffy tail.
- Ignored Expert: Dr. Zweig tries to talk about Homer, who immediately drags Marge away.
- Inexplicably Identical Individuals: Homer and Guy Incognito are virtually clones, much to Guy's misfortune.
- It's All About Me: Homer is completely against Marge going to therapy because he believes that he'll be blamed for all of Marge's problems. Sure enough, Homer tries spying on Marge's sessions and makes demands that she tell him what they discussed. Of course, Homer is actually correct because Dr. Zweig truly believes Marge needs to talk about how Homer treats her.
- It's Probably Nothing: Grandpa joins the Simpsons in their aborted first flight. The family returns home afterwards without him, though Bart suspects they've forgotten something. After a brief cutaway of Grandpa screaming on the plane ala Kevin McCallister in Home Alone, Homer dismisses the notion, saying, "I'm sure it's nothing."
- One of Young Marge's friends for saying The Monkees weren't a real band.
- While it is not completely unjustified, Homer believes the only thing Dr. Zweig is going to do is brainwash Marge into hating him... and points out the rest of the family already does. Thus he ridicules himself by trying to overhear their sessions.
- The rest of the patrons at Moe's Bar get a pretty big level on this episode, kicking Homer out and being perfectly capable of beating Homer (or some guy that happens to have the bad luck of looking exactly like Homer) to a bloody pulp to keep him out.
- Norm is an angry and pathetic drunk in his cameo.
- Moral Myopia: The patrons of Moe's bar play a sequence of increasingly brutal practical jokes on their publican, all of which he takes in good humor (such as lighting his clothes on fire and HIDING A COBRA in the cash register which repeatedly bites him). Lastly, Homer plays the innocuous "Loose Salt Shaker Lid" gag on Moe and immediately gets chewed out by his friends and barred from entry. Of course, this is the joke.
- My Beloved Smother: A Freudian Slip from Skinner is the Trope Namer.Bart: I never thought I'd win this easy.
Skinner: Oh, this has nothing to do with you, Simpson. I have many issues with my beloved smother. (twitches) Mother!
- Noodle Incident: Citing his distrust of psychiatrists, Homer claims among other things it turns "neighbours against me."
- Offer Void In Nebraska: The free tickets Homer gets from Krazy Klown Airlines are for "anywhere in the United States, excluding Alaska and Hawaii, the freak states." Of course, in the very next scene, Bart and Lisa immediately suggest going to those states.
- Properly Paranoid: Homer is convinced Dr. Zweig will blame him for all of Marge's problems. This is in fact the first thing she does.
- Random Events Plot: Homer gets thrown out of Moe's, which leads to him finding a new bar to drink in, which results in him wrecking an airliner, leading to a coverup that uncovers Marge being afraid to fly, and the rest of the episode is about Marge getting therapy for it.
- Riddle for the Ages: How or why is Guy Incognito an exact double of Homer? Then again, considering that Abe has two other children from different mothers...
- Sanity Slippage:
- Marge begins acting strangely from not talking about her phobia, which includes being up at 3 in the morning cooking and doing roof repairs, insisting the cat and dog need to be married, and keeping herself in a state of "catlike readiness." Homer finally concedes to Marge seeing a therapist when it's pointed out she's sitting in mid-air watching an airplane disaster movie.
- Homer, when Marge starts therapy.
- Selective Condemnation: Everyone in the bar, who had Moe bitten by a cobra and set on fire, yet when Homer does a harmless loose sugar cap prank, they all call him out on it and ban him from the bar.
- Separated by a Common Language: Referenced in Homer's rant about wanting to take a vacation:Homer: I'm sick of eating "hoagies". I want a "grinder", a "sub", a "foot-long hero"!
- Series Continuity Error: Marge wasn't afraid of flying when the family flew to Washington, D.C. in "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington". Also, her father looks different than the one from "The Way We Was" (the episode that tells the story of how Homer and Marge first met when they were in high school) and in "Bart the Lover", Marge said that her father was in the navy and had a job as a baby photographer (which he nearly lost due to his constant cursing), though Marge's mom could have tried to cover up her husband's airline job as a male flight attendant from Marge until she could come up with a believable lie about his job (in the episode, Marge's mom tells her that her father was a pilot).
- Homer visits the bar from the TV sitcom Cheers, where the main cast (except Kelsey Grammer) voice their characters from the show (while the characters of Rebecca Howe and Diane Chambers are absent, they do get a mention).
- Homer tries to cure Marge by giving her some "films about air travel" with "upbeat titles": Hero, Fearless and Alive.
- Marge's dream casts her family in Lost in Space, earning a disapproving comment from the therapist that she's "infringed on any number of copyrights" (ironically, with both shows produced by 20th Century Fox, it should be all right).
- When Marge finishes her therapy, she says "Thank you Doctor, whenever I hear the wind blow, I'll hear the name Lowenstein, Lowenstein...", a reference to The Prince of Tides. The fact that the therapist's name is Zweig doesn't stop her.
- One of the things that happened to Marge in her youth to traumatize her and create her fear was being shot at by a crop-dusting biplane, a la North By Northwest.
- Something We Forgot: When the family returns home after Marge's panic attack on the plane, Bart mentions "You know, I have this feeling that we forgot something...". Cut to Grandpa still on the plane screaming Home Alone style. We cut back to Homer who says "Eh, I'm sure it's nothing."
- Special Guest: Anne Bancroft as Dr. Zweig; Ted Danson as Sam Malone; Woody Harrelson as Woody Boyd; Rhea Perlman as Carla Tortelli; John Ratzenberger as Cliff Clavin; George Wendt as Norm Peterson. Bancroft's husband Mel Brooks accompanied her to the recordings, with her saying "I can't get rid of him!" This led to Brooks getting his own appearance in "Homer vs. Patty and Selma".
- Therapy Backfire: Throughout the episode, Homer is paranoid about Dr. Zweig brainwashing Marge into blaming Homer for everything wrong with her life and abandoning him (because he has seen it happen to other men, he says... to be fair, Homer can be blamed for a lot of bad things happening to Marge, but he seems to believe Dr. Zweig will do nothing other than that) and thus keeps on trying to meddle with the therapy (most probably leaving a bad first impression). After Marge obtains some Epiphany Therapy regarding her fear of flying, Dr. Zweig does try to talk to Marge about "the big problem" that is Homer... only for Homer to barge into the office (he had been listening through the door) and take Marge away.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Moe does this by throwing Homer out of his bar and refusing to let him come back.
- Unscrewed Salt Shaker: Homer plays the sugar variation. This is actually deconstructed by showing how someone in real life would react. Homer ends up banned from Moe's, being forced to look for another place to hang out, triggering the events for the episode.
- Visual Pun: When Marge watches Alive, she becomes so traumatized that she literally is "sitting" by squatting over near the TV. Apparently, the movie really did put her over the edge of her seat.
- The Voiceless: Frasier Crane during the Cheers segment. According to the DVD Commentary, they just couldn't work out a time where Kelsey Grammer could've recorded some lines for this episode.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Homer's quest to find a new bar after getting banned from Moe's isn't addressed again after Marge reveals her fear of flying.
- Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: Played for Laughs with a Gay Bar Reveal; Homer, having been banned from Moe's and looking for a new watering hole, is the only man in She-She Lounge, a very obviously lesbian bar, muttering "There's something bothering me about this place...I know! This lesbian bar doesn't have a fire exit! Enjoy your deathtrap, ladies!", which is followed by a woman asking "What was her problem?" as he leaves.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Marge admits to her fear of flying and later says everyone has something they're afraid of.Homer: (smugly) Not everyone.
Marge: Sock puppets.
Homer: Where?! WHERE?! (runs off screaming)
- Your Cheating Heart: During the Cheers scene.Carla: Sammy, you're too old to go on a date with two twins on the same night you're supposed to marry Diane without Rebecca knowing.
Sam: Alright, Carla, I'll make you a bet. If this affects my major-league comeback, I'll sell the bar.