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Recap / The Simpsons S 6 E 12 Homer The Great

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Original air date: 1/8/1995 (produced in 1994)

Production code: 2F09

After noticing that his buddies Lenny and Carl are privy to a lot of perks, Homer spies on them — and discovers that they're part of a Freemasons-esque secret society called "The Stonecutters."

This episode contains examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Patrick Stewart's character "Number One" is what Captain Picard calls his executive officer Commander Riker.
  • Affectionate Parody: The Stonecutters are a parody of the Freemasons and Illuminati, though done in a much more lighthearted fashion for the former.
  • A God Am I: Homer's attitude after becoming The Chosen One.
    Homer: I've always wondered if there was a god, and now I know there is — and it's me.
    • Subverted when Homer grows bored with all the stuff he gets, and decides to use his power over the Stonecutters for charity... Only for them to misinterpret his good intentions as a poorly-disguised excuse to perpetuate that trope.
  • All There in the Manual: An event in The Simpsons: Tapped Out, released nearly two decades after the episode aired, finally revealed the numbers of the other Springfield Stonecutters (except for Sideshow Mel, Herman, Barney, Mr. Largo, Kirk Van Houten, and Apu, who never got Stonecutter costumes for whatever reason):
    • Dr. Hibbert is #2.
    • Jasper is #5.
    • Moe is #21.
    • Mayor Quimby is #22.
    • Krusty is #36
    • Chief Wiggum is #50.
    • The martian is #51. He's even called by his number in the game.
    • Smithers is #59.
    • Principal Skinner is #60.
    • Kent Brockman is #66.
    • Arnie Pye is #67.
    • Groundskeeper Willy is #85.
    • Grampa is #111.
  • Already the Case: When Homer joins the Stonecutters he must take an oath that says if he ever discloses the Stonecutters' secrets, "...may my stomach become bloated and my head plucked of all but three hairs." Moe thinks that Homer should be made to take a different oath, because Homer has only three hairs and quite the beer belly.
    Number One: Everyone takes the same oath!
  • Ambiguously Gay: Grampa is the president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance "for some reason".
  • An Aesop: Homer learns two of them. The main one being Lonely at the Top, and the secondary one No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • Grandpa: "I'm an Elk, a Mason, a Communist, I'm the president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance for some reason..."
    • The Stonecutters song has them boast that they control the British crown, they know about Atlantis and aliens and cover it up...and they also boost Steve Guttenberg's career and rig the Oscars.
  • Atlantis: The Stonecutters are apparently responsible for keeping it off the maps.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • When Homer accidentally intrudes upon a meeting between the Stonecutters while attempting to spy on them, the Stonecutters ominously declare that he must pay "the ultimate price", implying that they intend to kill him to maintain their secrecy... only to anticlimatically throw him out of their hideout.
    • Done when the Stonecutters learn Homer is their chosen one, while he's already naked and dragging the Stone of Shame.
      Number One: Remove the Stone of Shame!
      Homer: Woohoo!
      Number One: Attach the Stone of Triumph!
      (An even bigger rock is chained to Homer's neck)
      Homer: D'oh!
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: Homer's remark to Lenny and Carl after his bungled attempt at spying on the Stonecutters:
    Homer: I saw weird stuff in that place last night. Weird, strange, sick, twisted, eerie, godless, evil stuff! And I want in.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Subverted; when Marge asks him not to start stalking people again, Homer tries to come up with a lie to explain where he's going. Emphasis on tries.
      Homer: I'll be back in a minute. I'm going outside... to... stalk... Lenny and Carl. [realizes] D'oh!
    • To justify Homer winning a poker game despite his cards being worthless, Carl claims that Homer has a "royal sampler."
  • Brick Joke:
    • The "No Homers" club.
    • Homer's idea of using a bunch of monkeys to re-enact the Civil War.
    • Easy to miss, but the "Egg Council Creep" reappears in the crowd of the "We Do" musical number.
  • Brotherhood of Funny Hats: Supposedly, the Stonecutters are an Ancient Conspiracy that has been controlling the world from the shadows for centuries. But all they ever seem to do is party every night in fancy robes and act weird and secretive for the sake of being weird and secretive.
  • Butt-Monkey: Homer, over the course of this episode, has his basement flooded, breaks his chair, falls through a skylight, is forcibly ejected from the Stonecutters' meeting, falls five stories and is paddled to bejesus during his initiation, is chained to two very large rocks while naked, and is abandoned by the Stonecutters when he tries to turn them into a force for good. Even after all that, he ends up getting paddled again, this time by his own family.
  • Call-Back: On Homer's "revenge" list, one of the names is "H-2-Whoa!", the water ride Homer got stuck inside in season 2's "Brush with Greatness".
  • Celebrity Paradox: Number One is played by Patrick Stewart whose character Jean-Luc Picard was mentioned on the show in "Homer Goes to College".
  • Chirping Crickets: Happens when Homer tells the Stonecutters that they should dedicate themselves to helping the less fortunate, either due to poor communication and inadvertently making it sound like an order and not a request, or because it just happened to make them think he's gone mad with power and would kill those who disobey.
  • The Chosen One: Homer turns out to be the Stonecutters prophesied leader, and they immediately make him the head of their society.
  • The Comically Serious: Patrick Stewart provides his usual Shakespearian delivery to everything Number One says, including the Stonecutter's induction ritual, which involves asses and paddles.
  • Cool Chair: Standard issue for all Stonecutters. They even vibrate.
  • Couch Gag: The living room is at the center of an M.C. Escher Relativity-style environment, with the family entering from various directions (and dimensions) and until they reach the couch.
  • Description Cut: As Homer sits at home talking to his family about how everything's going well, and that as long as the Stonecutters are behind him he's making the world a better place, the scene immediately cuts to the Stonecutters meeting, and Moe angrily declaring they have to kill him because they're misinterpreting Homer's good intentions as "going mad with power".
  • Enemies List: Homer comes to work and sits on a stool, which promptly collapses. Homer checks the stool and sees it was actually a budget stool produced by Econo-Save. Homer promptly adds the company to his revenge list, which includes (among other things) Stern Lecture Plumbing (the plumbing service he had to deal with at the beginning of the episode), H-2-Whoa! (the water slide in which he got stuck from "Brush with Greatness"), God, gravity, the Bill of Rights, Grandpa, and "the boy" (Bart).
  • "Everybody Helps Out" Denouement: The episode seems to be ending this way, with Homer deciding to use his power as The Chosen One to have the order help out around the community...but they all hate it so much, they found another order, based on not having Homer as a member.
  • Exact Words:
    • The "No Homers" wouldn't let Homer Simpson in because they already had somebody else named Homer.
    • When Homer is telling Marge about being left out as a kid, Marge comments, "Kids can be so cruel." Bart, passing by and overhearing, decides to take "can" in the permissive sense and runs down the hall to torment Lisa.
      Bart: We can? Thanks, Mom!
    • When Number One laments that as long as they're Stonecutters, Homer will control their lives, Moe has the epiphany that they can get out from under Homer's thumb by just not being Stonecutters anymore, leading to the founding of the "Ancient Mystic Society of No Homers".
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin:
    • "The Paddling of the Swollen Ass... with Paddles!" By the time Homer receives it, his ass is probably swollen by the previous paddling sessions.
    • The Ancient Mystic Society of No Homers is indeed an ancient mystical society that bars membership from people named Homer (in keeping with their name, they can have one).
  • Expy Coexistence: The Stonecutters are a parody of the Freemasons. However, Grampa mentions being a member of the Freemasons (as well as the Stonecutters).
  • Flat Joy:
    • When the Stonecutters declare Homer the winner of a fixed game of Blackjack:
      Homer: Oh, I win again, don't I? Woo hoo.
    • Also done when Homer wants to talk to Lisa while she's in class.
      Skinner: The grand exalted leader requests a moment of your time. (claps hands) Class dismissed!
      (The children immediately rush out cheering)
      Mrs. Hoover: Yay.
  • Floorboard Failure: During Homer's initiation ceremony into the Stonecutters, he jumps from what he believes to be the roof of a five-floor building. A series of floorboard failures makes it a real experience.
  • Foreshadowing: Moe was in the process of explaining to Homer about The Chosen One, only for Homer to stop caring. Funny too, since he is The Chosen One.
  • For the Evulz: The Stonecutters' "I Am" Song is them detailing the things they are responsible for, most of which seems to have no obvious motivation and never gets explained (making cave fish blind or blocking the metric system).
  • Good Feels Good: Homer gets more satisfaction from using the Stonecutters to do good deeds than he did from having them worship him. The other Stonecutters, unfortunately, disagree.
  • Hand Gagging: Bart does this to Lisa under Homer's order when she, once again, annoys him with her lectures.
  • Hat of Authority: Number One wears a large hat with the Stonecutter logo on it. Dr. Hibbert wears a smaller hat, and Tapped Out would eventually establish that he's Number Two of the Springfield chapter. Homer gets an even larger (and sillier) hat after they discover he's the Chosen One.
  • Hidden Depths: For somebody who's usually characterized as lazy and disliking of exercise, Homer apparently does have an interest in gardening. To the point that he was willing to stalk one of his neighbors because he thought he dug it up.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Rejected by the Stonecutters, Homer wonders why people don't like him, only to be told by Marge that he's a wonderful person... to which Homer replies by wondering why "those stupid idiots" won't "let [him] in their crappy club for jerks?".
  • "I Am" Song: "Who controls the British crown?/Who keeps the metric system down?/We do! We do!"
  • The Illuminati: This episode gloriously mocks every aspect of the very notion of a clandestine, privileged society. While the Stonecutters do wield considerable power (evidenced by their song), they use it to basically congratulate themselves and "get drunk and play ping-pong." In fact, this is enforced; the moment Homer tries to have them actually use their power for anything more than conspiratorial messing around and keg parties, they quit to Start My Own.
  • Initiation Ceremony:
    • Part of Homer's initiation is having his behind paddled in different ways, one of which is "The Paddling of the Swollen Ass... with Paddles!".
    • At the end of the episode, Homer's family gives him a similar initiation into their "club".
      Homer: This club better be worth it!
  • Irony: The Stonecutters start growing sick of Chosen One Homer when they misinterpret his having them do charity as an excuse to make them thralls and think he's become a mad dictator.
  • Jerkass: The guy Homer hires to fix his plumbing at the beginning of the episode. Despite the basement being flooded (and the cat being down there and at risk of drowning), the plumber tells Homer that the parts he requires will take weeks to be delivered and blatantly refuses to order them. Then it turns out that the plumber only had to use a wrench on the faulty pipe, meaning that he was lying through his teeth the whole time.
  • "Just Joking" Justification: During this episode's blackboard gag, Bart writes that saying you're just joking doesn't justify insulting the principal.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Homer mentions he's been excluded all his life, even having a flashback to an example in his childhood. Marge uses this trope by name. Bart, passing by, uses this as an excuse to attack Lisa.
  • Lonely at the Top: As head of the Stonecutters, Homer soon starts to feel isolated, as his followers let him win every game and won't be honest with him about it.
  • Loophole Abuse: When the Stonecutters realized Homer would still rule their lives for as long as they were Stonecutters, they became "No Homers".
  • Logo Joke: The shushing of the Gracie Films logo is countered with Carl's "shut up".
  • Mundane Made Awesome: After Homer joins, the Stonecutters celebrate their 1,500th anniversary, and in honor of the occasion, they're havin' ribs.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Moe, and then three of the four Stonecutter World Council members, think killing Homer would be the best solution.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Part of Homer's punishment for being kicked out of the Stonecutters is burning all his official Stonecutter clothing. He's then forced to drag a rock home naked. It becomes funny when he's discovered to be the Chosen One... and in their celebration, they forget to give him his clothes back.
  • No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction: After a while, Homer finds having the Stonecutters cater to his every whim and rig every game in his favor grows stale, just as Lisa warned.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Precisely what Billy Crystal, the Grammys, and Soloflex did to earn spots on Homer's revenge list is left to the viewer's imagination (God, Grandpa, and Bart's presences on the list are somewhat more self-explanatory, and the Grammys being on Homer's revenge list could either be from when Homer got hit in the head with a Grammy on "Homer's Barbershop Quartet" or yet another burn against The Grammys courtesy of the show writers). Equally unclear is the origin of Homer's feud with the "Egg Council".
    • Homer has apparently stalked people before (including journalist Charles Kuralt, whom Homer thought dug up his garden).
    • Grandpa is somehow, much to his own confusion, president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance.
  • Not Helping Your Case: When Homer ruins the Stonecutters' parchment, he pleads them not to kick him out, claiming he learned his lesson. However, he subsequently punches the parchment as he exclaims, "I've... learned... my... les-son!".
  • Not So Above It All: The episode ends with Bart paddling Homer to "initiate" him into the family. Marge makes him stop...because it's Lisa's turn.
  • Off the Wagon: Played for Laughs when Homer lists off the activities that the Stonecutters indulge in:
    Homer: Beer busts, beer blasts, keggers, stein hoists, AA meetings, beer night...
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: Subverted: All they like to do is party.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted. Homer Glumplit is allowed into the “No-Homers” twice. No-Homers literally has a One-Homer Limit as technically there can be a Homer as long as there's no Homers, plural.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Number One's real name is unknown.
  • Only Sane Man: Number One is the only senior Stonecutter to be against killing or mutilating Homer after he "goes mad with power".
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: The Stonecutters claim in their song to be The Man Behind the Man to the British crown, hiding the existence of Atlantis and Martians, and keeping electric cars and the metric system down. However, for how much power they supposedly wield, they seem to not actually do anything but throw parties, play games, use their connections to get special privileges at businesses, and boast about how powerful and great they are. While they do have influential members in their ranks, including actors, politicians, and the rich and powerful, nothing indicates the Stonecutters are doing anything of importance except For the Lulz. When Homer, as their leader, finally starts leveraging them to do some actual good in Springfield, they're so disgusted that they quit en masse.
  • Rule of Three: Lenny nearly blowing the Stonecutters by mentioning "it's a secret", only to be told by Carl to shut up. In the third one, Carl's busy drinking a cola, so Homer has to do it for him.
  • Saved by the Platform Below: Subverted. One of the trials is the "Leap of Faith," a five story plunge where they push you off a ledge and you fall five stories - but it's really only a few feet. Homer falls the few feet, everyone laughs, and then the floor gives way sending Homer on a genuine five story plunge.
  • Saying Too Much: After Homer sees the Stonecutter meeting, he confronts Lenny and Carl the next day. Carl tries to play dumb, but Lenny outright gives him the name, to Carl's annoyance.
  • Secret Circle of Secrets: The Stonecutters is a secret organization, though nevertheless quite a lot of Springfieldians are members. Steve Guttenberg, Mr. T, Jack Nicholson, George H. W. Bush, and even a Martian (named Number 51) are apparently Stonecutters as well. And popcorn entrepreneur Orville Redenbacher, who would die eight months later in real life.
  • Secret Handshake: Homer reveals himself as a Stonecutter to the Stern Lecture plumber this way.
  • Shameful Strip: As punishment for desecrating their Sacred Parchment, the Stonecutters force Homer to strip naked in front of them all, burn his official Stonecutters clothes, and walk home naked dragging the Stone of Shame. However, it's through stripping him that they find a birthmark on his body that looks exactly like their symbol, identifying Homer as the Chosen One, at which point they start celebrating him instead (though they still don't give him anything to wear).
  • So Long, Suckers!: When Homer goes to work after gaining his Stonecutter privileges, he leans out of the car and exclaims this before taking a secret route hidden behind a boulder under the overpass.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Patrick Stewart as "Number One", given his Shakespearean method of communication and deep, rich baritone can have this effect, especially with lines like this:
    Number One (solemnly): Tonight is our glorious ancient society's fifteen-and-hundredth anniversary, and in honor of this momentous occasion... (Beat, grinning from ear-to-ear) ...We're havin' ribs!
  • Special Guest: Patrick Stewart as "Number One"
  • Start My Own: When the other Stonecutters disagree about the direction Homer's leadership takes them in, they start a new secret society that explicitly forbids Homer from joining.
  • Take That!: One of the mysterious things the Stonecutters is apparently responsible for is making Steve Guttenberg a star. In fact, the entire song is the writers airing their grievances upon things they find annoying.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • When Homer follows Lenny and Carl to a Stonecutter meeting, he sits upon their hideout's skylight, giggling, "I can see everything and they're none the wiser!" Then the skylight shatters and he falls in.
    • When Homer orders Lisa to be carried away, she points out that, since they're at home, there isn't anyone to carry his orders but she's interrupted by Bart taking her away.
  • Truth in Television: Burns being ranked lower among the Stonecutters despite his high station in Springfield is actually possible. In real fraternal orders, advancement to the higher levels is only possible with the approval of other members and personal/professional issues — and, since it's Burns, there are many — outside the order come into play when considering someone for promotion.
  • Unishment: Like everyone who becomes a Stonecutter, Homer must take an oath that his belly will bloat and he'll have no more than three hairs on his head if he reveals the club's existence. Understandably, Moe suggests Homer should take a different oath.
    Number One: Everybody takes the same oath!
  • Walk of Shame: After being thrown out of the "Stone Cutters", Homer's punishment includes walking home naked with a stone chained to him. A birthmark then reveals he's The Messiah...which leads to him still having to walk naked, with an even larger rock chained to him.:
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Thrice: Homer becoming a Stonecutter ended with him almost getting kicked out because of his stupidity, Homer being discovered to be their Chosen One drove him to despairing boredom because the other members were letting him win, and the happiness he felt from following Lisa's advice and using the group to do good ends with the group abandoning him and his family treating him like crap.
  • You Are Number 6: All the members of the Stonecutters have numbers depending on their initiation. The Stonecutters' leader is known as Number 1. As numbers 12 and 14 respectively, Lenny and Carl outrank Mr. Burns, who's number 29. Homer is initiated as number 908.