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Recap / The Simpsons S 6 E 17 Homer Vs Patty And Selma

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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 sport for gym, Lewis says that if Bart and Milhouse miss out, it's T.S. for them. 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 wail on him anyway.
  • "Billy Elliot" Plot: Parodied, but actually predating the trope namer by 5 years. 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 school) 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 the stage to beat him up.
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  • The Cameo: Mel Brooks appears as Homer's limo customer.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: Parodied when Homer wonders how to make some money and an ad for limo drivers appears on the TV.
    Homer: Good thing you turned on that TV, Lisa!
    Lisa: I didn't turn it on, I thought you did.
    Homer: Oh. Well, anyway, turn it off.
    Lisa: [Beat] It is off. [ominous, X-Files-style music plays]
  • Comically Missing the Point: Homer thought Young Frankenstein was a serious horror movie.
  • Continuity Nod: During the gym class sign-up day, Lisa is seen in ice hockey gear. She previously did take up ice hockey nine episodes earlier in the season, in "Lisa On Ice".
  • Description Cut: Invoked intentionally by Homer:
    Marge: He's a complicated man.
    (Homer pokes his head out of a window and smashes a plate over it)
    Homer: Wrong!
  • 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.
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  • Easily Forgiven: Ironically, Marge is quite sympathetic towards Homer after finally discovering about his botched investments.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Patty and Selma’s boss describes Homer as “worse than Hitler” for smoking.
  • Getting the Boot: After his secret is exposed to Marge, Homer tosses Patty and Selma out of the house in this manner. Amusingly, in-between throws, he accidentally throws Marge out; he brings her back inside before resuming the throws.
    Homer: I never want to see you again! You either.
  • Hidden Depths: Bart is a natural at ballet, becoming very good in a short time.
  • 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.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: The ballet teacher was drawn to look like Susan Sarandon.
  • 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 who could forget dear Ratboy?
    Bart: Ratboy? I resent that! [gnaws on doorframe]
    Marge: Bart, I told you before, stop gnawing on the drywall.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Mel Brooks was with his 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 a Simpsons 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!
  • Shout-Out: Bart being told to "use the ballet", in a similar matter to "Use the Force".
  • 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 
  • 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?


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