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Recap / The Simpsons S 7 E 7 King Size Homer

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Original air date: 11/5/1995

Production code: 3F05

Mr. Burns decides to help get the workers at the Power Plant in shape by implementing a mandatory ten-minute morning calisthenics program. Homer, the most obese and physically unfit worker on the plant, detests the thought of daily exercise, notices that fellow employee Charlie gets to work from home following an injury, and immediately begins scheming to gain this "perk" for himself. A bit of research reveals that anyone who weighs three hundred pounds or more qualifies as disabled, and he quickly realizes that he can use one of his greatest loves—eating—to achieve his dream of working from home (which he imagines will consist of using his usual terminal while Marge flatters him and Flanders suffers from the rat race). Dr. Nick advises Homer to eat from the "neglected food groups"—including "whipped, congealed, and choco-tastic"—to reach his goal weight.

One Shopping Montage of disgustingly fattening foods later, Homer has begun packing on the pounds at an alarming rate, worrying Marge and Lisa, but earning Bart's approval. Homer eventually tops out at 315 pounds, qualifying him as disabled (and requiring him to wear a flowered muumuu and "fat guy hat"). True to his word, Mr. Burns installs a computer terminal in the Simpsons' home, tasking Homer with the duty of repeatedly venting the plant's nuclear gas to prevent a core meltdown. After some initial confusion, Homer discovers that all he needs to do is press the "Y" button to complete the assignment. At first, things seem wonderful—especially after Homer rigs up a drinking bird to hit the button for him—but he soon discovers that being morbidly obese isn't what he dreamed it would be. Marge admits that she no longer finds him sexually attractive, the general public bullies him, and he cannot enjoy things such as a trip to the movies, as the cinema lacks the ability to accommodate him.

Upon returning home from an unauthorized break, Homer discovers that the drinking bird has tipped over, and the gas build-up has reached a critical point that requires a manual release. With his fingers too fat to dial a telephone, Homer begins a mad dash to the power plant, eventually commandeering an ice cream truck to reach the site in time. All of the employees are too excited at the thought of ice cream to listen to Homer's warnings, and somehow miss the leaking gas tank that's ten feet away, so he's forced to climb the vent to reach the manual shutdown button. Unfortunately, Homer's newfound flab shatters the thin ladder leading to the button, and it looks like all is lost... but thankfully, his massive girth is just big enough to plug the tank and prevent the catastrophe.

Mr. Burns rewards Homer (who's still stuck in the tank while being decontaminated) with a medal and a promise to grant any request he may make. Homer, realizing all of the trouble his excess weight has caused, asks his boss to make him thin again. Mr. Burns vows to do so, and it seems like a Training Montage will soon begin—but given that Homer is too fat to do even a single sit-up, the exasperated Burns decides to pay for liposuction instead.


  • An Aesop: Appearances do affect your social life and how everyone sees you.
  • A Weighty Aesop: A more obvious Aesop than the one stated above would be that being morbidly obese can make doing simple tasks in everyday life very difficult at best and impossible for you at worst such as driving a car, finding a seat at the movies, managing a marriage or even dialing phone numbers.
  • Artistic License Physics: The drinking bird toy wouldn't have worked in the first place. The upwards motion is triggered by the beak cooling due to evaporation heat escaping, condensing the liquid within and making the tail heavier. Since the keyboard is presumably not wet, his beak would have just kept resting on the Y key. In short, it's not a perpetual motion machine.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The episode starts with Homer hiding from Smithers and Mr. Burns' goons in the bathroom stalls. One would think he was afraid of a beating, but it turns out he was just trying to avoid morning exercises.
  • Benevolent Boss: Mr. Burns, surprisingly enough. Despite running a nuclear power plant with an iron fist and being a cruel boss to his employees, he personally leads his calisthenics sessions to ensure that the employees stay fit and motivated during their work hours, much to their delight; even Lenny and Carl admitted to finding the program to be quite effective. Burns even rewards Homer for preventing the imminent explosion by helping him lose weight again.
    • Earlier Homer, in an appetite to get injured, slides on an oil slick into Mr. Burns' office. While Burns seems mildly annoyed by the intrusion, he obliges Homer's request for a nudge in the other direction.
  • Big Beautiful Man: Invoked and defied. When Homer imagines working from home after reaching 300 pounds, he envisions himself as suave and debonair with Marge commenting on him being a "young, vigorous go-getter." In reality, Marge finds herself repulsed by Homer's obesity and admits she doesn't find him sexually attractive anymore.
  • Big Eater: Homer. Even more than usual because he was under a Back-Alley Doctor's orders (read: Dr. Nick's orders) to overeat so he can reach his weight goal. However, after finally gaining all the weight he wanted to, Homer isn't seen eating again until he hijacks an ice cream truck to get to the nuclear plant. Word of God deliberately avoided showing Homer eating after becoming extremely obese, to avoid making him unsympathetic if he was still shown eating so much. Case in point, Homer is insulted when a movie theater manager tries get him to leave by promising him a garbage bag full of popcorn.
  • Bowdlerise: As noticed by (now, the Closed-Captioning in the original airing for this episode showed that the farmer originally had a different line when the gas destroyed the corn—instead of "Paul Newman's going to break my legs" it was "Jolly Time's going to break my legs" this was changed presumably out of concern that Jolly Time might potentially threaten them with a lawsuit (the Pier-One incident in "Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily" likely played a part in the line change).
  • Bystander Syndrome: Lenny ignores the imminent meltdown as it is Homer's problem to deal with.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Lisa joins Marge in nagging Homer to abort the weight gain strategy.
  • The Cake Is a Lie: Lisa tells Homer Marge baked him a cake to get him to go in the kitchen so Marge could discuss all the flaws with his plan. After the discussion ends, Homer asks for the cake.
  • Chair Reveal: Parodied when after Bart tells Homer he'll help him gain weight, a pillow that was sitting by the fireplace turns around à la a swivel chair, revealing that Lisa was eavesdropping on their conversation.
  • Chekhov's Gag: During the montage of Homer gaining weight, he checks himself on the bathroom scale, only to become dismayed that he somehow lost weight and was now 225... until Bart points out his stomach was caught on the towel rack.note  Eventually, Homer weighs himself again, only to find out he's one pound off (which quickly is fixed when Maggie gives him a Play-Doh donut)... only for Bart to point out he's once again caught on the rack, where it's revealed he already hit 300.note 
  • Comically Missing the Point: To start his work, the screen says to press any key. Homer is unable to find the "any" key, but instead finds "Esc", "Ctrl" and "PgUp" (which he pronounces "esk", "kuh-tar-uhl" and "pig-up" respectively). He then decides to order a Tab note  by pressing the "Tab" key.
  • Construction Zone Calamity: Homer wanders into a hardhat area in an attempt to deliberately injure himself so he can be put on disability at work. After he tries and fails to get hit with falling construction tools, a worker gets crushed by a wheelbarrow full of cinderblocks.
    Homer: Hmmm... Probably better that didn't hit me.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Cool Old Guy: Burns plays this straighter, happily leading his employees' exercise routine and rewarding Homer for saving the plant from destruction.
  • Couch Gag: The family are malfunctioning wind-up dolls who waddle their way to the couch (or at least near it).
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: Homer at first tries to hurt himself to get out of work on worker's comp. When that doesn't work, he tries deliberate weight gain.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Ralph's jokes about Homer get this response from Lisa, who insists that Homer's not a gluttonous monster because he's obese. Cue Homer driving past in an ice cream van.
  • Epic Fail:
    • To qualify as "disabled" and work at home, Homer becomes so morbidly obese that he can no longer dial a phone number without assistance.
      The fingers you have used to dial are too fat. To obtain a special dialing wand, please mash the keypad with your palm... now.
    • Before getting obese, Homer tried to get on disability by trying to injure himself. One of his attempts was to slip on some oil he placed on the floor; instead, he glided along the floor like a figure skater. He eventually found himself in Burns' office and had to ask him to give him a push in the opposite direction (which he surprisingly did, without question, via a cane).
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Downplayed. Hibbert is disgusted by Homer's intentions and refuses to be a part of it, but he will recommend a doctor who will.
    • While Homer was overjoyed to reach 300 pounds, he sounds a bit less than pleased to discover he's actually 315. While he deliberately put on weight to get on disability, having gained too much clearly wasn't something he wanted.
    • Despite making himself obese, Homer is outraged when the movie theater owner tries to bribe him with a garbage bag full of popcorn to get him to leave.
    • Although Marge makes it clear that she still loves Homer (and is concerned about what this means for his health), she admits she no longer finds him sexually attractive.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Twice, Homer fails to notice his belly is resting atop the towel rack when he weighs himself. Bart points it out both times, leading to Homer finding out he's heavier than he expected (296 the first time, and 315 - fifteen pounds heavier than he wanted - the second).
  • Fat and Proud: Homer loves all the perks that come with his obesity, and considers himself a better man for it.
    Homer: Marge, this is everything I've ever dreamed of right here, and nobody's gonna take it away from me. You never had faith in me before, but let me tell you the slim lazy Homer you knew is dead. Now I'm a big fat dynamo!
  • Fat Comic Relief: Homer, more obese than ever before, definitely falls in this trope.
  • The Fat Episode: Although Homer is already pretty fat to begin with, a key plot point has him deliberately gain weight to be considered obese, so his job would consider him disabled and allow him to work from home.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When the goons kick in the bathroom door to look for Homer, you can see it blocked by a box labeled "Bathroom Tissue Extra Coarse".
  • Gilligan Cut: After Lisa says that any doctor will disapprove of Homer's plan, Homer says "Oh, yeah, we'll see about that!" We immediately turn to Dr. Hibbert, who's so horrified he immediately refuses to help him. However, by Homer's request, he gives the name of a doctor that would help him, namely Dr. Nick.
  • Gluttony Montage: Of Homer gaining weight.
  • Hard Truth Aesop: Marge at one point admits she's repulsed by Homer's appearance and doesn't find him attractive. The lesson is that what's on the outside does count in a relationship.
  • Hopeless with Tech: While its already established that Homer has no idea how to use the console at his work station, he doesn't even know how to use a regular computer in this episode, having problems knowing the keys to the keyboard and even expect the "Tab" key to give him a soda.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Ralph pokes fun at Lisa for her dad being overweight, although both Ralph and his dad are on the heavy side.
    • After being mocked for his weight, Homer became angry at people for their fat shaming and vows to prove that obese are not undisciplined, lazy and irresponsible. This statement would had carry more weight (no pun intended) if Homer was the opposite of the traits he mentioned. Even his reason for becoming obese is so he could skip the exercise program and his idea of working at home means he can be lazy whenever he wants. Not to mention Homer was, at the time, skiving off work to see a film.
  • Imagine Spot:
    • Bart imagines himself being morbidly obese, which leads to one of the series's most famous lines:
      Obese Bart: I wash myself with a rag on a stick.
    • Earlier, Homer imagines what his job would be like once he becomes obese; it consists of his workstation in the backyard, where Marge brings him drinks and he gets to mock Ned for his own struggles at work.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: Homer complains that because of Mr. Burns' physical fitness tests are aggravating him, he's "sick of being so healthy".
  • Inadvertent Entrance Cue: Lisa is riding the bus with Ralph when she defends Homer, saying that he hasn't become a "food-crazed maniac" just because he's gotten fatter. Homer himself instantly speeds by in an ice cream truck, devouring a cone as he rushes to the plant. She sighs with exasperation at her bad luck.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: On the bus, Ralph tells Lisa he heard that Homer went into a restaurant and ate so much that the restaurant had to close. Lisa insists that Homer may've gained weight but isn't some food-crazed maniac. Cue Homer driving by in the ice cream truck, stuffing his face with the inventory.
  • Irony:
    • Discussed by Lisa and Bart. Lisa points out that it was ironic that Homer's weight saved the day, while a slimmer man would have died. Bart then adds that it's ironic that, for once, Homer's butt prevented the release of toxic gas.
    • The humorously old and frail Mr. Burns is more enthusiastic about (and apparently quite good at) exercise than the younger and stronger Homer Simpson.
  • It's All My Fault: Homer laments this when he realizes he just made the nuclear plant start a meltdown.
  • I Was Told There Would Be Cake: The lie Marge used to get Homer to come to the kitchen table and argue with him about his plans of staying over 300 pounds just to work at home. Did we mention the cake was a lie?
  • Kevlard: Homer successfully stops a nuclear meltdown with his morbid obesity.
    Bart: I find it ironic that for once Dad's butt prevented the release of toxic ga-
    Marge: Bart!
  • Lazy Bum: Homer hides in the bathroom from Smithers and puts on a dangerous amount of weight just to get out of five minutes of calisthenics. Even when he gets a job where all he has to do is push one key on the keyboard, he still is so lazy he lets a toy bird do that job for him.
  • Kick the Dog: After Homer is publicly told he's too fat to be allowed in a movie theater:
    Wise Guy: Hey, fatty, I got a movie for ya: A Fridge Too Far.
    [Everyone laughs]
  • Kindness Ball: Everything Mr. Burns does in this episode, from leading a calisthenics session, to politely pushing Homer back when Homer slides into his office on an oil slick, to honoring Homer's gambit to be considered disabled, to agreeing to do whatever Homer wants in exchange for saving the plant. This is probably the nicest Burns has ever been. Maybe the calisthenics put him in a good mood.
  • Literal-Minded: When Homer turns on the workstation computer and is prompted to press any key, he starts looking for the "any" key ("There doesn't seem to be any any key!"). Feeling thirsty, he presses the Tab key, thinking the computer will somehow give him some Tab brand cola.
  • Loophole Abuse: Homer when he finds he can chicken out of doing calisthenics by weighing over 300 pounds so that he can work at home. Lisa points out Homer's also exploiting government welfare while doing this.
  • Magic Countdown: "FIVE-hy-ay-ay, FOUR-hy-ay-ay...
  • Mistaken for Insane: Homer, realising the Nuclear Power Plant is about to explode, tries to get an ice cream truck to give him a lift to the plant. Unfortunately, due to the fear-stricken Homer babbling incoherently, the driver thinks Homer is a madman after his ice cream, and runs away.
  • Motor Mouth: Homer is unable to get a lift to the nuclear plant to stop the explosion due to rambling about poisonous gas, thus scaring people off. When he tries to get an ice cream truck to give him a lift, his rambling and obesity scares the driver out of the truck.
  • Never My Fault: When Homer first learns of the impending explosion, he starts blaming his toy bird but he quickly gives in and realized it was his own fault.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Hank Azaria imitates the late Cary Grant when voicing the pig encouraging Homer to gain 61 pounds. This was the idea of the writers, who wanted the real Cary Grant to voice the pig, before realizing that he died years before this episode was made.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Marge mentions a time Homer tried opening a detective agency, only to shut it down when Marge mocked his hat.
    • Also, what, exactly, happened to the drinking bird that caused it to fall over?
  • No OSHA Compliance: The nuclear power plant tank can get shut down manually, but there's no guide rails for the narrow catwalk.
  • A Nuclear Error: The nuclear power plant nearly explodes, but Homer's fat ass saves the day.
  • Nutritional Nightmare: The stuff Homer eats during the Montage clearly count, products like Uncle Jim's County Fillin', Much Ado About Stuffing, Ham Ahoy, and Tubbb. (A commentary explained that the last one was the cream in Oreo cookies, sold as chip dip.)
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Homer, when he sees the plant is about to explode.
      Homer: (nervously) Marge... Lisa... Flanders?
    • Also, the farmer whose crops are destroyed by his crop's scarecrow dispensing the plant's radioactive gas. "Paul Newman's gonna have my legs broke!"
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Burns initiating a calisthenics program at the nuclear power to keep the employees fit and motivated. He even agreed to do whatever Homer wants in exchange for saving the plant: getting rid of Homer's extra weight through liposuction since Homer can't even do a single sit-up.
    • Homer thinks he's come up short and has no food to eat, so Maggie offers him a Play Doh donut.
  • Plot-Demanded Manual Mode: When the gas buildup becomes too great to vent remotely, Homer has to rush to the plant to do it manually.
  • Rage Quit: Burns, after failing to get Homer to do a single situp finally gives up on using exercise on Homer and opts for a simpler option.
    Mr. Burns: [getting more and more annoyed] One... one. One! ONE! Bah! [throws away his megaphone] I'll just pay for the blasted liposuction!
  • Riddle for the Ages:
    • Homer's trying to stop the tank from exploding, as the catwalk breaks under him. As he's dangling, he says "Wait a minute, there's probably a-", but is thrown into the air by some vented gas, before landing on top of the tank's release tube. How was Homer thinking of stopping the explosion?
    • Just who or what knocked over Homer's drinking bird?
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Homer's scheme is prompted by sloth, not wanting to take part in morning exercises, as well as envy over Charlie getting to work from home. He then indulges in gluttony to achieve disability, shows greed by exploiting a government program intended to help people with more serious needs (plus overloading his grocery cart), and expresses pride in gaining the necessary weight and being able to work at home. He starts to experience regret when Marge says that she no longer finds him attractive, thus denying him lust, and he briefly feels wrath at the drinking bird for falling down while he was away and causing a potential catastrophe.
  • Serious Business: After finding Homer hiding:
    Smithers: Boy, I've never seen a man so desperate to get out of five minutes of calisthenics!
  • Shout-Out: Bart's Imagine Spot of himself getting obese spoofs What's Eating Gilbert Grape.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: When Homer calls everyone out for laughing at him when he just wants to watch a movie, the manager tells him to "calm down" and offers him a garbage bag full of popcorn.
  • Snarky Inanimate Object: Homer gets angry at the drinking bird for falling over, but realizes that the situation is really his own fault and puts down the bird, at which point it appears to nod in agreement.
  • Spanner in the Works: Homer decided to use his drinking bird to do his job for him while he heads out to see a movie, but failed to account for the possibility of it falling over.
  • Status Quo Is God: Parodied. At the end of the episode, Homer asks Mr. Burns to help him back to his old weight. However, hours later, Homer can't even do one sit-up, so Burns offers to pay for the liposuction.
    Homer: WOO-HOO!
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • After reaching 315 pounds (gaining 71 pounds from his original weight), Homer starts sweating mad, keeps the air conditioner on non-stop, has difficulty finding clothes that match him and is denied access to the movie theater. Tasks that used to be simple, like dialing the phone and driving the car, have become difficult or impossible. Homer and Marge's marriage hit the rocks as Marge is uncomfortable having such an obese husband. Members of the community openly ridicule him, when all he wanted was to watch a movie and live his life in peace. He finds walking short distances at his newfound weight to be just as hard as doing the active exercise program at his original weight.
    • Homer abandons his work station, leaving a drinking bird in charge. Naturally something goes wrong and he wasn't at his work station to prevent it. Had he been, there likely would have been no need to journey to the plant to fix the problem manually.
  • Take That!: The film Homer tried to see at the theater is a film called Honk If You're Horny! starring Faye Dunaway and Pauly Shore. This was apparently a jab at Dunaway, who had previously refused a guest role on the show, so in revenge, the writers stuck her in a goofy film that would be considered underneath her caliber of work.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Charlie, some random Springfield Nuclear Plant employee that got disabled time off at home because he suffered an accident. Homer noticing that he's not amongst the rest of the employees doing (on in Homer's case, suffering) calisthenics is what starts the whole plot.
  • Washy Watchy: While working from home, Homer picked up the mail and found that one of the packages contained FREE FABRIC SOFTENER! Immediately Homer used it to clean his hat (and only his hat), and one scene had him sitting in a lawn chair entertained watching the sole piece of attire spin round and round in the dryer.
  • Weight Woe: Inverted. But then played straight when Homer's girth makes it increasingly difficult to prevent the meltdown from occurring.
  • Wham Line: "What happened to my bird?"
  • Wham Shot: The drinking bird fallen over and computer saying a meltdown will occur.
  • Writers Have No Sense Of Mass: Being 315 pounds is more than enough to be considered medically obese but it's hardly enough body weight for an average adult man like Homer to become as fat and physically challenged like he's depicted in this episode. Homer's appearance is more in line with someone who's over 400 to 500 pounds.


Video Example(s):


Homer's journey to obesity

In order to get obese and work home, Homer proceed to have a diet of numerous fattering foods

How well does it match the trope?

4.85 (26 votes)

Example of:

Main / NutritionalNightmare

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