Original air date: 2/26/1995 (produced in 1994)
Production code: 2F14
Homer is blackmailed by Patty and Selma after losing his mortgage money on a bad investment. Meanwhile, Bart is forced to sign up for ballet class after coming to school late on the day the kids pick their favorite sports to play in gym class, and a Russian ballet teacher (voiced by Susan Sarandon) convinces Bart to embrace the allegedly girly dance.
Tropes used in the episode
- Bait-and-Switch:Homer: All right, that’s the last straw! Time to take out the trash! — But first, I’m gonna have to ask you to leave.
- As Richard and Lewis rush to sign up for a PE sport, Lewis says that if Bart and Milhouse miss out, "it's T.S. for them".note We then cut to the school's swimming pool and see that by "T.S." he meant Tethered Swimming, which consists of kids like Ralph having to swim while tied to the edge of the pool so they don't actually move.
- Ballet Episode: The B-story has Bart forced to take ballet for gym class after he comes late to class and all the other electives were taken. He becomes surprisingly good at it, but performs wearing a mask to keep from being teased. When the school bullies become moved by his performance, Bart unmasks himself, thinking that they will accept him now. They chase him down to wail on him anyway.
- Beg the Dog: Homer blows the family's savings on an ill-advised investment in pumpkin farming. He needs a loan for a mortgage payment and, after exhausting every other option, is forced to beg Patty and Selma (who, earlier in the episode, he forcibly kicked out of the house), for the money. They give him a check, but force him to become their slave in exchange for not telling Marge about the deal—which becomes moot when she sees the I.O.U. note from them.
- Berserk Button: Don't let Patty and Selma's supervisor catch you smoking inside the DMV. If you work for her, she will demote or fire you. If you do not, then she will personally slap the cigarettes out of your mouth.
- Bitch Slap: Patty and Selma's supervisor gives Homer a painful slap on the face that knocks the cigarettes out of his mouth, as she angrily calls him worse than Hitler for smoking inside a government building.
- The Cameo: Mel Brooks appears as Homer's limo customer.
- Chekhov's Skill: Subverted when Bart tries to use a ballet leap to clear a ditch and escape the bullies, but just ends up falling in.
- Clueless Deputy: Police Chief Wiggum, as usual.Wiggum: Evening, Simpson. You got a short in your taillight. Started blinking when you made that turn.
- Coincidental Broadcast: Parodied when Homer wonders how to make some money and an ad for limo drivers appears on the TV.
- Comically Missing the Point:
- Homer thought Young Frankenstein was a serious horror film.
- Honer laughing alongside Patty and Selma when they begin to wickedly laugh at him for being in their debt.
- Continuity Nod: During the gym class sign-up day, Lisa is seen in ice hockey gear. She previously took up ice hockey earlier in the season, in "Lisa on Ice".
- Couch Gag: The family is beamed onto the couch a la Quantum Leap.
- Department of Major Vexation: Since Homer has to take his chauffeur's license test with Patty and Selma as his examiners, they go out of their way to penalise him for things like having his seatbelt twisted and not completely filling in a circle on the multiple choice test.
- Description Cut: Invoked intentionally by Homer:Marge: I'm sorry. Homer doesn't mean to be rude. He's a very complicated man.
(Homer pokes his head out of an upstairs window and smashes a plate over it)
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Patty and Selma both get very...excited when they apply the Fail stamp to Homer's chauffeur test, and immediately follow up with a cigarette.
- Easily Forgiven: Ironically, Marge is quite sympathetic towards Homer after finally discovering about his botched investments.
- Epic Fail: Homer somehow places a phone call to an unknown casino in Las Vegas to gamble to get some money to pay off his bills. After losing and in spite of not giving whomever he called his name, he still feel compelled to send a check.
- Even Bullies Have Standards: Downplayed: after Bart jumps into a pit while trying to escape from his bullies and injures himself, they give up the chase, citing "As long as he's hurt."
- Evil Laugh: Patty and Selma starts laughing evilly after agreeing to lend Homer money. Then Homer ruins it by joining in the laughter and breaking into genuine, uncontrollable shrieks of laughter for no reason whatsoever.
- Exiled to the Couch: Averted - Homer is disappointed in his own actions, and ascends the stairs quietly, saying "I'll understand if you want to sleep on the couch tonight." It's unknown if she did.
- Felony Misdemeanor: Patty and Selma's boss describes Homer as "worse than Hitler" for smoking.
- Game of Nerds: At gym class sign-up day, nerdy Milhouse signs up for baseball.
- "Gender-Normative Parent" Plot: Parodied. Bart is forced to join the ballet class after all the other PE activities had been taken, and to his surprise turns out to really enjoy it. On his first recital (in front of the entire schoolnote ) he performs in a Paper Thin mask to conceal his identity. When the other boys are moved by the performance, Bart reveals himself. The others then rush onto the stage to beat him up.
- Getting the Boot: Homer has to act as a lackey for Patty and Selma to keep them from telling Marge that he lost their money on a bad investment. When she finds out anyway, Homer decides he's no longer obligated to be nice to them. Cut to the front door; he throws out Patty, throws out Marge (then realizes what he did, runs out and brings her back in while apologizing profusely), and finally throws out Selma.Homer: I never want to see you again! (Beat) You either.
- Godwin's Law: Patty and Selma's supervisor at the DMV, who after being convinced by Homer that the cigarettes that they were smoking inside the building were his, says that he is worse than Hitler for doing so and smacks him in the face.
- Hidden Depths: Bart is a natural at ballet, becoming very good in a short time.
- Hollywood Healing: Subverted; a heartwarming speech and a sisterly kiss on the cheek from Lisa aren't going to do much for Bart after he's fallen into a ditch.
- Humble Pie: Patty and Selma get theirs after Homer saves their promotions.
- Hypocritical Humor: After Homer berates Marge for breaking a deal where she'd not have her sisters over after six o'clock if he stopped eating her lipstick, he turns around and removes lipstick stains from his teeth.
- I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham: Bart goes into ballet class dreading it and thinking it's gonna be awful. However, when he actually starts dancing, he realizes he loves ballet.
- I Resemble That Remark!:Marge: Homer, are we in some sort of fiduciary trouble?
Homer: [imagines Marge dressed like a queen] Oh, Marge, my loyal wife, of course not. [Lisa walks up; Homer imagines her dressed like a princess] And Lisa, my little princess. [Bart walks up and Homer imagines him as a Forced Transformation victim with a rat's head and tail] And who could forget dear Ratboy?
Bart: Ratboy? I resent that! [gnaws on doorframe]
Marge: Bart, I told you before, stop gnawing on the drywall.
- Indentured Servitude: Patty and Selma start treating Homer like their servant while they're blackmailing him over the debt, making him give them footrubs, light their cigarettes, and pretend to be a dog for their amusement.
- Ink-Suit Actor: The ballet teacher was drawn to look like Susan Sarandon.
- It's All About Me: A minor example, but Marge makes Homer try and get along with Patty & Selma because it's hard on her for them to be fighting when Patty & Selma degrade him all the time. And Homer saves them from getting demoted or fired because Marge is upset that they're in trouble for smoking on government property.
- Jerkass: Patty and Selma really up the ante here, gloating about their success in front of Homer, blackmailing Homer about being in debt to them, revealing the debt to Marge anyways, and failing him on his chauffeur's test (until Homer has to save them from being fired for smoking in a government building).
- Jerkass Has a Point: Skinner was being rather smug about it, true, but he wasn't wrong in stating that Bart wouldn't have had to take ballet if he had arrived earlier.
- Kick the Dog: Patty and Selma go out of their way to be as horrible as possible to Homer and take immense pleasure in failing his driving test.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Subverted: although Patty and Selma were this close to being fired for smoking in the DMV after they failed Homer's chauffeur test, Homer noticed how upset Marge was getting, and decided to bail them out.
- Money to Burn: Parodied when Homer lights up a $5 bill to smoke a cigar to demonstrate his potential investment earnings. Then he realizes he's burning money, quickly extinguishes it, and adds it to the similarly singed bills already in his wallet.Lenny: Hey Homer, how come you got so much money to burn? Or singe, anyway.
- Obnoxious In-Laws: Patty and Selma take advantage of the fact Homer owes them money to blackmail him.
- Of Course I Smoke: Homer pretends to smoke to save Patty and Selma when they were caught smoking by their boss, claiming both their cigarettes as his.
- Once Done, Never Forgotten: An incident from Homer's childhood of pushing a dog like a vacuum cleaner is added to the list of reasons the bank won't give him more time to pay the mortgage.
- Pink Is for Sissies: What the other boys think of ballet. When Bart reveals to the audience of his love for ballet, the other boys chase him out of the school, intending to beat him up.
- Platonic Kissing: Lisa kisses Bart on the forehead after seeing the ballet.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Mel Brooks was with wife Anne Bancroft when she was recording her lines as Dr. Zweig in "Fear of Flying" earlier this season, and he wanted to appear in an episode himself, so he was written into this one.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Enforced on Bart when forced to take ballet classes. He soon finds out he has talent, and accepts ballet.
- Running Gag: Homer seems to have a habit of misinterpreting Mel Brooks films.
- Sarcasm Mode: Homer goes into this big time regarding Patty and Selma.Marge: Try to be nice to my sisters. It's very hard on me to have you fighting all the time.
Homer: Oh, OK, Marge, I'll get along with them. Then I will hug some snakes! Yes, I will hug and kiss some poisonous snakes! [Beat] Now that's sarcasm!
- Stamp of Rejection: When Homer fails the scantron part of the driving test because he didn't completely fill in one of the circles, Patty and Selma gleefully stamp his test with a red FAIL stamp.
- Take That!: The way Marge returns from making "the most international coffee in the house".Marge: [sadly] I'm sorry. All we have is Nescafe. I'm very, very sorry.
- Taking the Heat: When Patty and Selma are about to lose their promotions as punishment for smoking at their workplace, Homer helps them by telling their supervisor that he was the one who was smoking.note
- Tempting Fate: Bart delivers a pretty good Shaming the Mob speech after he's mocked for doing ballet but perhaps unwisely decides to end it with "—and if that makes me a sissy, well then, I guess I'm a sissy!", giving his antagonists the perfect hook.Jimbo: He's a sissy! Let's rush him!
- Unreveal Angle: Homer experiences a very frustrating version during a Dream Sequence. He's having money problems and he dreams of an invention that will make him rich, but he's never able to actually see the invention because someone is standing in the way.
- Versus Title: One of many for The Simpsons. Others include, but are not limited to, "Marge vs. the Monorail", "Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy" and "Bart vs. Australia".
- What the Hell, Hero?: Bart invokes this regarding Lisa when she kisses him and walks off after she gives him a heartwarming speech about his embracing of ballet and showing his sensitive side (after his failed attempt to escape from the bullies left him lying badly injured at the bottom of a ditch).Bart: Why'd she just leave me here when I clearly need medical attention?
- You Are Fat: Among the many demeaning or otherwise rude behavior Patty and Selma show towards Homer include insulting his weight, including calling him a "Blubber-in-law" and quipping, "Is it just me, or did it just get fatter in here?" when he entered the room.