First Aired - 11/3/1996
The Simpsons are moving away to a town called Cypress Creek after Homer is offered a position at a nuclear plant run by a benevolent man who's actually an evil genius bent on world domination. While Homer is blissfully unaware of his boss's actions and happily adjusting to his new job, Marge tries to compete with a house that cleans itself, Lisa becomes allergic to the wildlife, and Bart is put in a class for special ed. kids after his teacher discovers that Bart doesn't know how to read cursive or do long division.
Showrunners Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein described this episode as one of the hardest to produce, animation-wise, because the crew basically had to design an entirely new town for only one episode.
- Accidental Misnaming: Homer calls Scorpio "Mr. Scorpion" before being corrected.
- Advertised Extra/Never Trust a Trailer: The original promos for the episode heavily featured James Bont as a major character. He only appears in one scene and dies by the end of it.
- Affably Evil:
- Hank Scorpio. A Benevolent Boss and all-around nice guy whom you'd be happy to work for (he calls all his employees friends and invites them to go golfing with him), who also just happens to want to take over the world, Bond-villain style. It isn't an act, he's not actively trying to "manipulate" people, he's really just that friendly - on the principle that a happy employee is a productive and loyal employee. And what's so wrong with that?
- His Villain Song goes even further; apparently his twisted twin obsessions are his plot to rule the world and his employees' health! He also loves German beer. You get the feeling that were Scorpio to conquer the world, it would be more like more like a pleasant benevolent dictatorship anyway than, say, Hitler.
- At the end of the episode, Homer reluctantly asks him if he should leave Scorpio's organization because his family is miserable in their new town (not even knowing Scorpio is a supervillain), even though Homer himself was proud of his work for the first time in his life: Scorpio actually agrees that Homer should leave because it's the right thing for his family, and lets him go (unlike other supervillains).
- The Alcoholic: Played with in Marge. A couple of scenes showcasing her increasing boredom at Cypress Corners makes it look like she is on the quick road to become this... and then it turns out that she can't bring herself to drink enough to actually officially be classified as such or even enough to meet the suggested healthy daily amount to drink.
- Badass Beard of Evil: Scorpio, of course.
- Bad Boss: Inverted. Scorpio is a Blofeld-style supervillain who's the nicest boss you could ever want.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Scorpio takes over the East Coast, although given that he's Affably Evil he may as well be the least worst villain to ever succeed. The only "loss" for the "good guys" is that the Simpsons family had to move back to Springfield because no one was happy in the "perfect" neighborhood they had set up in. To rub salt in the wound, Homer was given his life's dream: ownership of a football team... Sadly, that football team was shown to be the worst in the league at the time.
Homer: Any sugar around here?Guard: (While pointing to the room he's guarding) Try in there, Homer.
- Marge's drinking. Bored at home, we see her drinking wine accompanied by a Scare Chord. Near the end of the episode, it's revealed that she's actually finding it difficult to meet a guideline she read that recommended one-and-a-half drinks per day.
- Also the mean-looking guard who is protecting the door with a sub-machine gun to the room housing Scorpio's Doomsday Device while Homer is wandering around the building looking for sugar for his coffee.
- Battle Butler: The female recruitment agent for Globex Corporation who approached Smithers in the opening of the episode is later seen doing flips and breaking a soldier's neck with a twist of her legs, all while wearing only a bikini and high heels.
- Benevolent Boss:
- Scorpio is the perfect boss to his employees, acting on their suggestions and providing them with their every need. It actually shows how well Homer would do at his job if he was given some praise and encouragement once in a while.
- Homer follows Scorpio's example to his own team by letting them be on a First-Name Basis with him. When they later admit to feeling overworked and tired, Homer wants to get them hammocks so they can take relaxing breaks.
- Better Living Through Evil: This is how Scorpio recruits Homer as the manager to run the nuclear power plant that powers up his giant doom laser. He is generous with employee benefits, firmly believes in a casual workplace, quick to give compliments and an all-around amazing boss.
- Big "WHAT?!": Homer does one when the rest of the family tell him they want to move back to Springfield, mainly because for the first time he actually feels good at his job. He reluctantly comes round when he sees how unhappy they all are.
- Black Comedy: Homer talks about his grievances with Scorpio, who gives him advice to do whats best for his family. He does this while killing soldiers attacking his secret base.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Subverted when Scorpio tries to kill Mr. Bont with such a deathtrap, and Bont escapes, only to be promptly tackled by Homer. Wising up, the guards just shoot him.
- Canada, Eh?: One of the kids in the remedial class is from "Ca-na-dah and they think I'm slow, eh."
- Can't Get in Trouble for Nuthin': When Marge and Lisa tell Homer they're miserable, Marge is bored out of her mind because the gadgets make her housekeeper duties redundant, and Lisa's allergic to all the native flora, Homer mentions that Bart is actually doing well since he hasn't gotten in trouble at school. Bart responds that thanks to his status as a remedial student (he was removed from his first class because he didn't know neither cursive writing nor the multiplication tables) can't get in trouble at school.
- Casual Danger Dialog: "I'm having a little trouble with the government."
- Compressed Vice: The problems that the rest of the Simpson family suffers: Lisa never shows being susceptible to allergies to this level ever again and Bart and Marge are remarkably inconsistent in other episodes about whether or not being placed in similar positions again would be pleasurable or irritating (and that is including the episode where Bart by mandate of the local government (manipulated by Sideshow Bob) is sent back to kindergarten).
- Creator Cameo: In the Cypress Creek video, the hobo holding an envelope turns into a mail box. The hobo is modeled after James L. Brooks.
- Creepy Child: One of the kids in Bart's remedial class starts fires and tries to hit Bart before the teacher stops him.
- The Creon: Smithers is the first one offered a job working for Scorpio. He absolutely refuses, as he is "Flattered but spoken for." He ends up getting extremely irritated over being repeatedly offered a job somewhere else.
- Curse Cut Short:Mr. Doyle: So, you never learned cursive?
Bart: Um, well, I know hell, damn, bit-
Mr. Doyle: Cursive handwriting. Script.
- Diabolus ex Machina: Homer being hired by Globex was basically the gold standard for how his life could improve; not only is his new boss nice to him, and listens to his ideas, but those ideas turn out to greatly improve the company.note However, it all comes crashing down because everything in Cypress Creek torments the family he loves, which is far more important to him than even a job this good. The Cool House Globex gave Homer did all of Marge's work for her, boring her to madness. Bart loved the house, but the quality school Globex built put him in remedial classes with kids every bit as bad as him.note Lisa was ecstatic with the house, school and even the town itself... until she discovered that the local wildlife sent her never-seen-before (or since) allergies into overdrive. And Maggie doesn't actually enjoy her Swing-A-Majig.
- The Dilbert Principle: Homer is pretty good at being a manager for Scorpio's projects, despite his incompetence most of the rest of the time. It seems to owe from the fact that he no longer has to do real work on the ground, while being pretty good at motivating, encouraging, and looking out for the technical experts assigned as his subordinates.
- Don't Explain the Joke: When Scorpio presents the Simpsons a fruit basket as a welcoming gift:Scorpio: Try the papayas, they're juicy and full of papain — makes you strong like Popeye. Popeye, papain. Popeye, papain. See? Same thing. Same... ah, forget it.
- Doomsday Device: Scorpio has, of course, built one to menace the world.
- "Eureka!" Moment: Homer and Marge get one when they decide to simply abandon their house in Springfield rather than sell it. This works out for them because when they return to Springfield, they are able to move straight back in (well, not quite, Otto is squatting in there with his girlfriend).
- Everyone Has Standards:
- Even though Bart is usually a fun-seeking troublemaker, he expresses discomfort at being "surrounded by arsonists" in the remedial class. He also doesn't like how the kids in the class "have mittens pinned to their jackets all year round" for some reason.
- Homer ultimately sacrifices his own happiness for his family.
- Evil, Inc.: The Globex Corporation, run by Hank Scorpio, a man whose twin desires are world domination and the well-being of his employees.
- Evil Laugh: Scorpio does one towards the end while wielding a flamethrower.
- James Bont is a very obvious knock-off of James Bond.
- Scorpio himself is a parody of "the Bond villain" as an archetype, with the work attitude and ethics of entrepreneurs like Richard Branson.
- Bart's remedial class is filled with Ralph Wiggum expies.
- The soldier who Scorpio's female henchman kills with a Neck Snap resembles U.S. Army general Norman Schwarzkopf.
- Femme Fatale: Scorpio's assistant was meant to evoke this. The Simpsons: Tapped Out flat out calls her this since she doesn't actually have a name.
- First-Name Basis: Scorpio insists that Homer call him by his first name, Hank.
- Fish out of Water: Marge had always been a busy homebody, doing all the typical housework. She found herself with no purpose due to the automated house doing all the cooking and cleaning for her. Because of this, Marge had nothing to do but take shots of wine.
- Foil: While still being villainous, Hank is this to Mr. Burns: Hank is an Affably Evil and Benevolent Boss who genuinely cares for his employees and is even good friends with Homer. Mr. Burns however is Faux Affably Evil (mostly) a Bad Boss who couldnt care less about his employees, not to mention Homer who he cant even bother with remembering the name of.
- Funny Background Event: Homer idly scratching his ass as Scorpio threatens the UN.
- Gambit Roulette: One of the UN members suggests Scorpio is doing this to absurd lengths, banking on the 59th Street Bridge naturally collapsing on its own at just the right time to enforce Scorpio's bluff.
- Hypocritical Humor:James Bont: Scorpio, you're totally mad.
Scorpio: I wouldn't point fingers, you jerk.
- Ignorant Minion: Homer manages to go the entire episode without realizing his new boss is a supervillain. He even tackled James Bont, taking him for a slacker, after hearing Scorpio shout that he wanted Bont dead.
- Insane Troll Logic: The school in Cypress Creek seems to run on this. One of your students falls off the monkey bars and passes out? Don't take her to the nurse's office and call her parents; put her in the remedial class! Though she does like it in there at least. Bart points out another one:Let Me Get This Straight...: we're behind the rest of the class and we're supposed to catch up to them by going slower than they are?
- Jerkass Has a Point: Bart when he points out the Insane Troll Logic the remedial class seems to run on, saying how it would be impossible for the remedial class to catch up to the rest of the school by going slower than them. Unfortunately, it seems to go over the teacher's head.
- The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: The Simpsons leaving Springfield is accompanied by a rapid-fire sequence of characters saying a variant of "Goodbye." The last of these characters is Nelson Muntz, who instead points at them and gives his Signature Laugh.
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: James Bont. In fact, this was supposed to be 007 himself, but Fox feared they might get sued, so they just removed the last letter.
- Like a Duck Takes to Water: Homer turns out to be surprisingly pretty good at his new job, which (as a management position) might overlap with The Dilbert Principle, since all he really has to do is check to see if everyone else is working and occasionally ask them what's wrong. On the other hand, he's also able to quickly pinpoint what his workers need (as a guy used to leisure), and he's receiving enough genuine support to be in a constant good mood.
- Minion with an F in Evil: Homer, to Hank Scorpio.
- Morality Pet: Homer would qualify as this for Scorpio, though this likely applies to everyone in his company, as his Villain Song describes."His twisted twin obsessions are his plot to rule the world and his employees' health!"
- Multiple Gunshot Death: Homer tackles Mr. Bont at Scorpio's command, thinking he is a "loafer". As Homer walks away, the Globex guards stand over the still-prone Bont and unload their submachine guns point blank. Only a brief few moments are shown, but it can be implied they shot him hundreds of times.
- Murderous Thighs: During the attack on Scorpio's "office", a woman in a bikini flips over to one of the invaders, leaps atop him, and wraps her legs around his neck as she pins him to the ground. She then twists and squeezes until the inevitable Neck Snap.
- New Job Episode: This episode revolves around Homer getting a new job at Globex.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Arguably parodied when Homer takes a job in another city working for Hank Scorpio. Homer turns out to actually be pretty good at his job, successfully setting up the nuclear reactor Scorpio needed for his plan to succeed, and unwittingly preventing Scorpio's plans from being derailed when "James Bont" tries to stop him. When the family moves back to Springfield, Scorpio sends Homer a thank-you note, stating that he couldn't have taken control of the East Coast without Homer's help.
- No Antagonist: An odd example compared to others. While Hank Scorpio is clearly a James Bond villain who is using his company to Take Over the World, he's not antagonistic towards the Simpsons. The main conflict comes from the Simpson family members (sans Homer) becoming miserable in Cyprus Creek and Homer having to choose between his happiness with his new job or his family's well-being.
- No Poverty: A Time Passes Montage shows an ugly suburb transforming into the perfect community of Cypress Creek; parking meters become trees, abandoned warehouses become coffee shops, and a bum becomes a mailbox. Somewhat justified by Scorpio being a megalomaniacal James Bond villain who's ridiculously good at administration - enough so that from that one town, he manages to conquer the East Coast.
- Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Inverted. The already school-hating Bart is only at a remedial level in the more advanced Cypress Creek school.
- Not Used to Freedom: Marge. When the Simpsons move into a new house where robots do all the chores for both cooking and cleaning, Marge is clueless on what to do now so she becomes trapped in simply sitting down and drinking red wine.
- Obliviously Evil: Homer has absolutely no idea that he's become a Punch-Clock Villain for an evil organization, and that his time there helped Scorpio move his agenda forward.
- Oh, Crap!: Bart has one when he discovers he's going to be put in the remedial class.
- Only One Finds It Fun: Homer enjoys life in Cypress Creek and his new position at Globex, but everyone else finds something about the change that makes them miserable.
- Pet the Dog:Scorpio: [After Homer has tackled James Bont to the ground thinking he was a slacker] Nice work Homer, am I proud of you!
Homer: [Proudly] Well.
Scorpio: When you get back home today, there'll be another story in your house!
- Pop-Culture Pun Episode Title: The episode title is a reference to the James Bond film You Only Live Twice.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Homer unwittingly ends up working as one for Hank Scorpio. When Hank mentions he's "having problems with the government" (actually a full-scale base invasion straight out of James Bond), Homer expresses sympathy, but doesn't join in the fight (though he earlier prevented the escape of "Mr. Bont").
- Privately Owned Society: Spoofed. Homer gets a job for the Globex Corporation and the family moves to Cypress Creek, a town owned and operated by Globex Corp. for its employees, with its own school, shopping center and boardwalk among other things, and presumably all public services are run by the company. The spoof part is that the Benevolent Boss Homer works for, Hank Scorpio, is actually a James Bond-style supervillain (who's surprisingly nice to his employees), so Cypress Creek also has its own private army good enough to take on the United States military and a doomsday device apparently capable of destroying France (or Italy, but no one ever chooses Italy over France). By the end of the episode, Scorpio has seized control of the East Coast and not only buys Homer the Denver Broncos, he has the entire team shipped to his front door.
- Prove I Am Not Bluffing: Spoofed:Scorpio: Good afternoon, gentlemen. This is Scorpio. I have the Doomsday Device. You have 72 hours to deliver the gold or you'll face the consequences. And to prove I'm not bluffing, watch this.
UN Man 1: [all the men look at the explosion] Oh My God, the Fifty-Ninth Street Bridge!
UN Man 2: Maybe it just collapsed on its own.
UN Man 1: We can't take that chance.
UN Man 2: You always say that. I want to take a chance!
Scorpio: (scoffs) "Collapsed on its own"... You have seventy-two hours.
- Rhetorical Question Blunder:Scorpio: Ever see a guy say goodbye to a shoe?Homer: [chuckles] Yes, once.
- As stated above, the episode title is a pun on the James Bond film You Only Live Twice. The final battle in the hollowed-out volcano parodies the one from YOLT, right down to a bikini-clad heroine taking part in it.
- The laser gun scene and Bont's "do you expect me to talk?" line are a nod to Goldfinger. The "Scorpio" song during the end credits is also a parody of the Goldfinger theme.
- Smithers leaving his house is a reference to My Fair Lady.
- Similar Squad: There's a kid in Bart's original class at Cypress Creek who bears an uncanny resemblance to Milhouse. Bart gets switched to remedial class before they can really interact."Milhouse": Hey Bart, do you have a best friend yet?; 'cuz I've been looking for someone to boss me around.
- Song Parody: "Scorpio", a parody of the titular song from Goldfinger.
- Status Quo Is God: Homer gets a new job and the family move to a new town. By the end of the episode they're back in Springfield.
- Stock Phrases: Spoofed when Scorpio blows up a bridge to intimidate the U.N. One official tries to write it off as a coincidence, but another responds "We can't take that chance." The first says "You always say that! I want to take a chance!"
- Stunned Silence: At Bart's new school, the teacher and students look shocked when Bart was unable to read the cursive text on the board. He then tries to play it off by making an armpit fart, which was only met with more awkward silence.
- Take That!:Scorpio: [While calibrating a giant laser] By the way, Homer, what's your least favorite country: Italy or France?
Homer: Hmm... France.
Scorpio: Heh, nobody ever says Italy.
- One is also made at the Denver Broncos, when Homer receives them at the end of the episode and expresses disappointment (he'd originally wanted the Dallas Cowboys).
- Too Dumb to Live: One of the UN members."We can't take any chances."
"You always say that! I want to take that chance!"
- Trust-Building Blunder: Homer is subject to the trust-fall exercise:
- Scorpio: The key to motivation is trust. Let me show you what I mean. I want you to close your eyes and fall backwards, and I'll catch you. That's gonna show you what trust is all about. Ready?
Scorpio: Three... Two... [phone rings] One second...
[Scorpio turns to answer the phone and Homer falls]
Scorpio: Oh, my God, the guy's on the floor. [goes to help Homer] Uh, that was a phone call; don't chalk that up to mistrust, now.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Homer treats the various SWAT teams and special agents invading Scorpio's "office" with mild curiosity.
- Vengeful Vending Machine: Homer struggles to get a vending machine to accept his incredibly beat up dollar bill.
- Villain of Another Story: Hank Scorpio is a bizarre example of this trope. Despite being an explicit on-screen James Bond-style super villain, he is always super nice towards the Simpsons, offering Homer a job at his company Globex Corporation, treating him as a friend rather than a subordinate, and being understanding but saddened when Homer has to quit for his family's sake. He's the page image of The Bad Guy Wins, but he never once antagonizes the Simpsons (the closest he comes is when he buys Homer a football team as a farewell gift, but gives him the Denver Broncos rather than the Dallas Cowboys as he wanted, and even then he acknowledges that it's not what Homer wanted). Scorpio was almost the Big Bad of The Simpsons Movie, but instead the writers went with a Suspiciously Similar Substitute with the same voice actor.
- Villain Song:
- Villains Out Shopping: When Scorpio isn't trying to take over the world or run his corporation, he likes doing a fun run, which he's apparently in the middle of doing when he first meets the Simpsons after they arrive in Cypress Creek.
- Visual Gag: Of a Wraparound Background. In the scene where Hank and Homer discuss their dreams, they are first shown walking, but the background somehow wasn't moving◊. The camera pulls back to reveal they were actually walking on treadmills◊. They then step off, but then they stop walking, yet the background continues to move◊. The camera pans further back to show that they are actually standing on◊ Jetsons-style moving sidewalks.
- We Care: Played with. Scorpio's attitude seems too good to be true, but he really is a generally nice guy who values his employees' input. He just also happens to be a supervillain who wants to Take Over the World.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Scorpio takes this option with Bont when the plan to kill him with a giant laser fails.
- You're Insane!: James Bont tells Scorpio he's "totally mad", but Scorpio brushes it off.Bont: Scorpio, you're totally mad.Scorpio: Hah, I wouldn't point fingers, you jerk!