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Recap / The Simpsons S 9 E 22 Trash Of The Titans

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Original air date: 4/26/1998 (produced in 1997)

Production code: 5F09

Homer's jerkass antics gets the family's garbage collection cut off, and Marge writes an apology to the garbagemen on Homer's behalf. Incensed that Marge would do something like this, Homer takes on sanitation commissioner Ray Patterson (voiced by comedian, actor, and one of Saturday Night Live's most frequent and memorable hosts, Steve Martin) in an upcoming election and wins his seat with a campaign that promises more than it can deliver.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Mine: Homer's solution for solving the Springfield Sanitation Department's budget crisis is to allow other U.S. cities to dump their unwanted garbage in one (located on the outskirts of the city) in exchange for money. The plan backfires when the garbage starts erupting from the ground all over the town.
  • Adam Westing: The episode pokes fun at Bono's political activism.
    Bono: Hold on, people. The man's talking about waste management. That affects the whole damn planet!
    The Edge: Aww, here we go...
  • All Elections Are Serious Business: The vote for sanitation commissioner is treated like a standard big political election.
  • Analogy Backfire: When the city resumes collecting the Simpsons' garbage, just before Marge tells Homer it was because she apologized on his behalf, he asserts, "It's just like David and Goliath, only this time, David won!" Rather than correct Homer, Lisa's mind gives her Beethoven's "Für Elise" to bliss out to.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Mayor Quimby looks at garbage that suddenly popped out of the ground at the Springfield golf course.
    Mayor Quimby: What's this? Melon rinds, pantyhose, a term paper from Texas Tech?
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Homer's campaign promise to have the garbage men do all of the sanitation work in Springfield is so convenient on paper that it gets him elected, only for it to inevitably drain the town's budget in less than a month. Turns out getting garbage men to do all the work is ludicrously expensive to implement.
  • Baldness Mockery: When crashing the U2 concert and encountering the baldheaded (female) producer in charge of the show's graphics, Homer calls her "Kojak" and kicks her away after she protests him touching the switchboard.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: At least initially. On one side, Homer should have been more responsible with taking out the trash, and also not have insulted the garbage men when they did not big up his bin (since he didn’t leave it out). On the other, the garbage men should not have engaged in a fight with Homer, which is generally a poor PR image for themselves and the company they work for.
    • However, despite Homer’s understandable anger towards the city’s garbage workers, he still takes the issue way out of proportion that causes more problems than it solves, and largely takes his anger out on the guy who didn’t actually do anything to harm or insult him.
  • Bowdlerization: In the UK, the following scenes are cut during pre-watershed airings:
    • The many times the word "wanker" is said.
    • Homer being told by a city hall clerk that he's standing in a line for people who have to register as sex offenders (with Moe coming in and complaining that there's always a line to wait in for everything).
    • Marge, Bart, and Lisa guessing that Homer raised money for the garbage collection budget by dealing drugs (though Lisa's line, "I almost wish it were drugs!" was retained).
    • Ray Patterson's line "You're screwed!" in his resignation speech was cut (though Quimby's responding line, "We are far from screwed!", was retained).
  • Brick Joke: Early in the episode, one of the pieces of trash that Homer tries to dispose of is the Sir Loves-a-Lot bear that Marge bought him for Love Day. Near the end of the episode, when other cities pay Homer to let them dump their garbage in Springfield so he can pay his workers, Sir Loves-a-Lot (who now has used syringes in him) is among the garbage being pushed into Springfield's abandoned mine.
    • Adam Clayton calls his bandmates The Edge and Larry Mullen "wankers" after they refuse to let him go with them to Moe's. At the end of the episode, while the band is flying to their next show, Mr. Burns says it to them after Bono accidentally hits him with one of Adam's collectible spoons.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: Homer brings one in lieu of the garbagemen's paychecks.
    Garbage Man: (angrily) Where's our paychecks, you bum? My men ain't working another minute till we get paid!
    Homer: (opens briefcase filled with money inside) Will cash be okay?
    Garbage Man: (smiles at this) Will it!
    Mayor Quimby: (opens door and pops head in) Did I hear a, uh, briefcase opening?
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • U2's bassist, Adam Clayton, is the Butt Monkey to the rest of the band, with The Edge and Larry refusing to let him go with them to Moe's bar and Bono tossing one of his collectible spoons across the airplane while flying to their next gig.
    The Edge: [To Larry Mullen] What do you say we slip out to Moe's for a pint?
    Adam: Can I come?
    The Edge: No.
    Adam: Wankers.
    • Homer, as usual, gets beaten up by garbagemen, again by U2's security (and recorded on the concert's big screen), and is implied to get horse whipped after destroying the town after running through the Sanitation Department's entire yearly budget in less than a month.
    • Ray Patterson is tormented by Homer and the townspeople who fall for Homer's bad ideas. As Laser-Guided Karma they themselves lose their hometown.
    • One more point for poor Milhouse: "The Garbage Man" is a song about how under Homer's leadership the garbage men of Springfield will help with a myriad of odd jobs and requests beyond just picking up the garbage, but when Milhouse hopes they will help him reunite his parents, Homer bluntly tells him (in song) that is the only thing the garbage man can't do.
  • Call-Back: The half-baked development of Love Day goes similarly to the poorly-planned creation of Poochie in "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show".
  • Cassandra Truth: Ray Patterson tries to warn the townsfolk that Homer's promises are unworkable, but they just brush him off.
  • Celebrity Cameo: Bono, The Edge, and Adam Clayton from U2 voice themselves in the episode. Drummer Larry Mullen is also depicted but not voiced since he was unavailable for the recording session. The episode also features a brief cameo from U2's manager at the time, Paul McGuinness.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Parody: Homer leads the town in a musical number, "The Garbage Man", that's sounds a lot like "The Candy Man".
  • Chirping Crickets: Happens during the U2 concert, when Homer explains why the audience should vote for him without giving an actual reason.
  • City Shout Outs: Homer interrupts a U2 concert in Springfield so he can promote his campaign for Springfield's Sanitation Commissioner.
    Bono: Now, Homer, I hear Ray Patterson's a fine public servant. Why should the people of Springfield...
    Audience: (cheering)
    Bono: ...why should they vote for you?
    Homer: That's a good question, Bono. 'Cause I'd be the most whack, tripped-out sanitation commissioner ever! Can you dig it?
    (dead silence, leading Homer to try and dance, prompting boos from the audience)
    Bono: Wow, look at him go. You're the real Lord of the Dance, Homer.
    (Bono gestures to the security guards to take Homer away)
  • Couch Gag: The family find themselves in Mrs. Krabappel's classroom, where Bart is writing "I will not mess with the opening credits" on the blackboard.
  • Crying Indian: Parodied. The Crying Indian is seen and does cry when he sees a can carelessly thrown at his feet, but another Indian appears next to him and tells him not to turn around and see the true horror that pollution has wrought on the former location of Springfield. Unfortunately, the Crying Indian does turn around and screams, and the second man lectures, "I told you not to turn around."
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ray Patterson, being played by Steve Martin and all. His flat, ending declaration that the town of Springfield is screwed before leaving the people to their fate is the crowner.
  • Delivery Guy Infiltration: Homer gets backstage at a U2 gig by posing as the "poh-tah-to man". He gets in when their manager, Paul McGuinness, asks him, "Where the hell have you been?"
  • Description Cut: Patterson denounces Homer's "crazy promises" and calls him a "sleazy lunatic" at their debate. A Spinning Paper then establishes Homer's election, quoting him saying the said "crazy promises" were key to his win.
  • Did Not Do the Bloody Research: When this episode first aired in the UK, it caused controversy because of how it had multiple characters say "wankers" (which is a really offensive thing to call someone in the UK) in a show airing before the 9 PM watershed. Most initial airings (including its premiere there) had it cut.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Homer gets it twice over. He becomes sanitation commissioner via Landslide Election and proceeds to implement his crazy promises...which drain his annual budget within a month. Then his sale of underground Springfield to other cities for their trash leads to it being so polluted it has to be moved five miles away, building by building.
  • Disaster Dominoes: The episode starts with a department store fake holiday... and through a chain of events ends with an ecological disaster where entire town being so polluted with trash, it's forced to abandon its location.note 
    • Kicking the episode off, some Department Store executives decide to create a fake holiday called "Love Day" in a shallow ploy to increase their sales. Marge & Homer completely fall for it, buying many gifts.
    • The Simpsons' "Love Day" Celebration creates a lot of trash, which Homer tries to avoid taking out until it's too late. When he finally is forced to take out the trash, he misses the Garbage Men.
    • Homer is enraged at the Garbage men missing his house, and in anger picks a fight with them. This leads to the workers cutting off all garbage collecting services to the Simpsons' House.
    • Homer refuses to apologize and make amends with the Garbage company, even when his lawn is increasingly covered in trash. Eventually, Marge decides to secretly forge his signature to write an official apology letter to the Sanitation Commissioner to have the garbage removed. When Homer gloats at his "victory" all day, Marge has enough and tells him what she did, which infuriates him even further and he goes to city hall to get the apology back.
    • At City Hall, Homer starts an argument with Ray Patterson, the Springfield Sanitation Commissioner, and then decides to run for election for Patterson's position purely out of spite.
    • Initially, Homer's campaign is a pathetic joke, even embarrassing himself at a U2 Concert he tries to hijack; but (with the help of Moe in creating a new slogan), he creates several new campaign promises where the garbage men will do all cleaning and janitorial services in the city round-the-clock, which win the population over. Patterson points out how ludicrous these promises are, but the residents of Springfield elect Homer regardless.
    • Sure enough as Patterson warned, Homer's campaign promises are expensive to implement. He spends the town's entire annual budget in less than a month. To fix the budget problem, Homer opts to have other cities pay him to accept their garbage, which he then stores (or rather shoves) into the abandoned underground mine below Springfield.
    • Soon, the mine is overfilled with all the country’s garbage and it finally bursts from beneath the ground, flooding the entirety of Springfield with garbage. The citizens then fire Homer and try to reinstall Paterson. But Paterson, understandably fed up by the city's stupidity in electing Homer and polluting the town, rejects their offer and leaves for good.
    • Finally out of options, Mayor Quimby finally decides to resort to "Plan B": literally moving the entire town five miles down the road to escape the massive, self-inflicted garbage dump that occupies what was Springfield.
  • Downer Ending: Played for Laughs. Springfield is so badly trashed that the only solution is to move the whole town five miles down the road. As in: literally taking every building and house in the city, put them on trucks, and drive them to the new location.
  • Easily Forgiven: Played with. All the people of Springfield agree to horse-whip Homer for messing up the town (at least, only Homer votes against it), but strangely, as Springfield is being moved five miles down the road, Homer gets amicably welcomed by Moe when he heads into his tavern.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: If somewhat justifiably, nobody opposes brutally punishing Homer for ruining the town. To punctuate this most of Homer's close friends and family members can be seen in the front rows glaring stoically as the vote is given.
  • Everyone Has Standards: A strange example: Mayor Quimby, in spite of his slick and opportunistic nature as a sleazy and corrupt politician, berates Homer for his wasteful spending of the sanitation department's yearly budget in a month, and when he learns that Homer has buried huge amounts of trash under Springfield to pay the garbagemen of the salaries and solve the budget crisis, he furiously fires Homer (with the unanimous vote from the angry townspeople). And with Patterson refusing to be reinstated, Quimby decides to take action by transporting the town five miles down the road in order to prevent the people from being affected by the polluted land.
  • A Fool and His New Money Are Soon Parted: Homer spends his entire year's budget, $4.6 million, in less than a month.
    Homer: They let me sign checks with a stamp, Marge. A stamp!
  • Forged Message: When the Sanitation Company cuts off their service at the Simpsons' house, Marge gets tired of the garbage pile in her front yard, so she sends the Sanitation Company a letter of apology with Homer's name. Homer is outraged when Marge tells him this. Marge points out that Homer has signed her name numerous times, but Homer claims that his dignity isn't like a loan application or a will.
  • Forging the Will: During a conversation, Marge calls Homer out for signing her name for numerous papers. By Homer's own admission, at least one of them was a will.
  • Funny Background Event: After Homer interrupt's U2's concert, he gets dragged off to the back by security. As the concert resumes, the big screen behind them displays the security guards beating the shit out of Homer.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Plan B, which Quimby speaks of in an ominous tone. There's so much garbage springing up from the ground in Springfield, that the only option to save the city is to move it five miles away.
  • Green Aesop: Word of God said this was unintentional.invoked
  • HA HA HA—No: After Moe gives Homer the idea to use "why can't somebody else do it?" as a campaign slogan, they both have fun with it for a few seconds, and then Homer makes the question to try to dodge paying Moe for his beer. Moe laughs for a few seconds and then he pulls out his shotgun and orders Homer to pay up.
  • Here We Go Again!: Lisa observes that even though Springfield is being moved five miles down the road, they'll almost certainly just trash it like they did to the old location.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Implied with Bart when riding with Homer to tell the citizens to vote for him, adding "If you don't, he'll beat us."note  Homer then lies and says that he won't, then says (into the megaphone) that he will beat Bart as horrified citizens look on.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Homer is outraged that Marge would forge his name for an apology to the garbagemen, despite her quickly pointing out he has signed her name for numerous papers.
    Homer: But this isn't like a loan application or a will. You signed away my dignity!
    • He then vows to stand up for "the little guy" against Ray Patterson's supposed tyranny ... while bullying his pet bird.
      Ray: Hey, leave the bird alone!
      Homer: Never! [Continues shaking bird cage]
  • Ignored Expert: Ray Patterson was smart enough to see that Homer has no clue what being sanitation commissioner is all about. First, during the debate:
    Ray: All right, fine. If you want an experienced public servant, vote for me. But if you want to believe a bunch of crazy promises about garbagemen cleaning your gutters and waxing your car, then by all means, vote for this sleazy lunatic.
    • Second, when he leaves office:
      Ray: Simpson, the American people have never tolerated incompetence in their public officials. You are going to crash and burn, my fat-headed friend.
      Homer: See, we're still friends. Come on, give us a cuddle.
      [Ray storms out.]
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Ray Patterson looks just like Steve Martin.
  • Irony: Homer gets his ass kicked by U2's security guards as the band performs "Pride (In the Name of Love)".note 
  • It's the Principle of the Thing: All the chaos Homer ends up causing is simply because he refuses to say he is sorry or even will accept someone else (that being Marge) apologizing on his behalf. Homer makes clear to Lisa that he takes the idea of apologizing (even if it's insincere, and especially if someone else does it for him) to the garbagemen as an insult to his pride and he rides this all the way to an apocalyptic resolution.
  • Jerkass: Homer cuts off his family's garbage service over a petty argument and runs for sanitation commissioner rather than apologizing. Once he gets elected, he renders the entire town uninhabitable in a matter of weeks. It's implied that he has been forging Marge's name on loan applications and wills, and sees no problem with doing so, yet balks at the idea of Marge signing his name. It's also implied that he tampered with the brakes in Ray Patterson's car, putting him in serious danger. He also continuously makes Ray's life a living hell by tossing lies (bringing children to his gingerbread house) and belittling him at every opportunity. When Homer wins, he laughs it all off to a fuming Ray that they were all lies and that they can keep being friends.
  • The Killjoy: Otto, rather inexplicably given the context of being at a rock concert. The other concert-goers at U2 are on their feet cheering, while he sits sedately in his chair yelling at everyone else to sit down.
  • Lead In: The episode opens with the creation and celebration of Love Day before moving on to Homer's conflict with the garbage department that drives the episode.
  • Lethally Stupid: Homer causes an ecological apocalypse because he is too stupid to think his campaign promises would be affordable, and the people of Springfield are as dumb for choosing Homer and his wishy-washy promises over someone they know was perfectly reliable.
  • Let's See YOU Do Better!: Homer is quite convinced he can completely surpass Ray Patterson's management of sanitation in Springfield. Rather surprisingly, he provides exceptional service. Less surprisingly, it doesn't last very long, and things get worse from there.
  • Literal Metaphor:
    Homer: I came to fight City Hall. I want to shake things up, Patterson. Stir up some controversy. Rattle a few cages. [Shakes a nearby bird cage]
    Patterson: Hey, stop that!
    Homer: You'll never silence me! I'm the last angry man, Patterson, a crusader for the little guy! [Shakes it again]
    Patterson: Leave the bird alone!
    Homer: Never! [Shakes it again]
  • Logic Bomb: Costington's slogan is "Over a century without a slogan." Word of God said it took "a lot of wasted man-hours" to think it up.invoked
  • Long Speech Tea Time: Apparently, Bono's speech is long enough for the other U2 members to go to Moe's and back again.
  • Malicious Slander:
    Ray: You told people I lured children into my gingerbread house.
    Homer: Heheheheh. Yeah, that was just a lie.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Homer's stupidity and shortsightedness turns Springfield into such a polluted mess that there's no choice left but to move the whole town five miles away.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Homer goes on the warpath and ruins a man's career (and tries to kill him — Patterson also accuses Homer of cutting his brake lines at one point) and ruins an entire town (although in Homer's defense that one was due to incompetence) because he didn't like how two trash men treated him and then didn't like that Marge wrote a letter of apology in his name when they decided to stop picking up his trash.
  • New Job Episode: This episode has Homer getting a new job as sanitation commissioner.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Homer gets two: one offscreen by garbage collectors and one onscreen by U2's security detail.
  • No Sympathy: Marge and Lisa are annoyed over the fact that Homer won't apologize for insulting and fighting the garbagemen; justified on the fact that Homer didn't take out the trash to the curb in time for the garbage truck to arrive, and that Homer neglected to tell his family about what happened before the fight.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Homer's vendetta with the professionalism of the local garbagemen is rather valid (they ignore his house, only coming back after he insults them to beat him up and cut off his service). However, his moronic self righteous tirades never once put this event in proper context, leading both Marge and Ray Patterson to just think he's being a stupid jerk who owes them an apology. And then he vows to overthrow Patterson, and things devolve from there...
  • Not-So-Innocent Whistle: When Adam Clayton gets turned down on joining the Edge and Larry Mullen at Moe's, he calls them wankers before quickly turning away to adjust his bass guitar and whistle.
  • Oh, Crap!: Homer realizes he's in big trouble when the garbage collectors hear him call them "trash-eating stinkbags".
  • Oireland: Homer gets in backstage to the U2 concert by pretending to be the "Potato man", who had apparently been expected.
  • Only Sane Man: Ray Patterson is one of the few competent people in Springfield. So naturally, he loses his job by the end of the episode.
  • Overturned Outhouse: Cletus's outhouse is knocked over by the force of compacted garbage erupting out from under it.
    Cletus: Hey Brandine, I think I done busted mah stink-bone!
  • Permanent Placeholder: Played for laughs. As the Costington executives are pondering making a new holiday, Mr. Costington suggests "Something warm and fuzzy, something like, um, 'Love Day', but not so lame." We immediately go to Marge saying "Happy Love Day, everyone!".
  • Pig Latin: When Marge tells Homer that he's turned Springfield into "America's Trash Hole", his response is "Ixnay on the ash-hole-tray!"
  • Poor Communication Kills: Homer really should have told Marge that he fought the garbage men because of how unprofessionally they acted. Otherwise she'd probably have written a letter complaining about that instead of forging Homer's apology. This is repeated with Ray Patterson, who is initially depicted as a Reasonable Authority Figure that Homer assumes is a bullying corporate. Rather than make any direct referral to the mistreatment he suffered from some of his staff, Homer starts childishly antagonising the bewildered and angry Patterson, who insults him back, starting the disastrous war.
  • Pop-Culture Pun Episode Title: This episode's title is an obvious reference to Clash of the Titans.
  • Pride: Homer's pride in this episode ruined the whole town. Homer refused to apologize and didn't tell Marge what really happened. When Marge forged the apology letter, Homer gets angry about it. When Ray Patterson gave the letter back, Homer's stupid pride caused him to run for sanitation commissioner.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Homer gets elected sanitation commissioner, but messes up so badly that Springfield tries to bring back Homer's predecessor, Ray Patterson, who Homer defeated. Ray, however, has some choice words for the people who ignored his warnings of Homer being ignorant about the position.
    Ray: Oh, gosh, you know, I'm not much on speeches, but it is so gratifying to... leave you wallowing in the mess you've made. You're screwed, thank you, bye.
  • Rule of Three: Homer vs. Ray's birdcage. See Literal Metaphor above.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • After Homer has created an apocalyptic chaos with the trash accumulation, the city of Springfield welcomes Ray Patterson back with open arms in the hope that he can solve the crisis. Patterson stands in front of the whole auditorium long enough to savor the people's desperation and tell them they're screwed, then promptly leaves.
    • It turns out that Springfield's protocol for an emergency as bad as the trash crisis that is affecting them at the climax is to move the whole town, buildings and all, several miles away rather than do something (and that is anything) else about it.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Homer's appearance on the big screen at the U2 concert spoofs Bill Gates' appearance at the 1997 Macworld Expo, in which Gates announced that Microsoft would be investing in the (then-)struggling Apple Inc.
    • Ray Patterson's end speech was inspired by an incident in which Redd Foxx was to perform in Las Vegas, but noticed that there were very few people present, prompting him to leave immediately; the band which played him on with the theme from Sanford and Son, after a moment's confusion, played him off with the theme again. This incident was also spoofed in "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons" when Moe walks onstage at a bachelor auction, and without stopping, walks straight to the "rejects" section.
    • In the opening scene, a saleswoman suggests that the proposed new holiday should be something religious, saying, "We had great penetration last spring with Christmas 2!" Christmas 2 was a holiday (falling on March 25) created by B.Z. to cash in on the success of Patch's Puce Pops in Santa Claus: The Movie.
    • During their debate, Homer accuses Patterson of having his "finger on the button". Patterson confusedly asks what button he's talking about, in turn causing Homer to mock Patterson as a senile old man who doesn't know what he's doing. This is a reference to the 1992 vice-presidential debate, where Ross Perot's running mate, James Stockdale rhetorically asked "Who am I? Why am I here?" in his opening statement, which rival candidates Al Gore and Dan Quayle (and, subsequently, most of the press) immediately twisted to portray Stockdale as being so senile that he literally didn't know where he was.
    • Oscar the Grouch is the last figure to pop out of the four garbage cans during "The Garbage Man Can" musical number following Apu, Sideshow Mel and Flanders.
  • Skewed Priorities: The garbagemen ignore Homer's pleas to stop for his trash, though quickly reverse when he begins to insult them in response.
  • Somebody Else's Problem: When Moe and Homer are discussing what to do to make Homer's campaign attractive, they fall on the slogan "Can't someone else do it?" and Homer rides it all the way to victory. His promise: the garbagemen will do everything regarding taking out the garbage, even getting it out of the homes, and the townsfolk will be free to laze around. Eventually, the additional payment Homer gives the garbagemen so they will follow this order (as well as the extra-flashy uniforms and new equipment) uses up the annual budget within a single month.
  • Song Parody: The song "The Garbage Man" spoofs "The Candy Man" from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, and its end parade spoofs that of The Music Man (as does Homer snapping his fingers to change into a uniform). Also, Oscar the Grouch appears in one of the trash cans in said parade.
  • Speaking Like Totally Teen: Used by Homer at the U2 concert:
    Bono: Why should they vote for you?
    Homer: That's a good question, Bono. 'Cause I'd be the most whack, tripped-out sanitation commissioner ever! Can you dig it?
  • Special Guest: Steve Martin as Ray Patterson and U2 as themselves.
  • Stating the Simple Solution:
    Lisa: Dad, is this [Homer's dispute with the garbage department] another one of those things that could be solved with a simple apology?
  • The Stinger: Has an extra scene towards the end of the credits run rather then the beginning with U2 and Mr. Burns riding on an airline.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Homer makes a bunch of insane promises regarding what he will do if elected as the Commissioner of the Springfield Sanitation Department, such as round-the-clock garbage pickup and garbagemen doing all possible sanitation work (such as janitorial work). He also buys the Springfield garbagemen fancy new uniforms with suede boots and a huge fleet of expensive new (supposedly amphibious) garbage trucks. The end result is that he blows through the entire department's annual budget in under a month and is forced to resort to shady methods to pay the garbagemen.
  • Take That!: To the gift/greeting card industry for creating new holidays purely to boost revenue. Love Day bears a marked resemblance to Sweetest Day, a Valentine's Day-like manufactured holiday created in Cleveland in 1922.
  • Time for Plan B: Springfield's all-purpose contingency plan to move five miles away is enacted when Homer's methods to dispose of the garbage had Gone Horribly Wrong.
  • Trash of the Titans: This episode is the Trope Namer. The plot revolves around Homer's bid for sanitation commissioner of Springfield. He succeeds but as usual, his incompetence takes charge, leading him to fill the town with so much garbage that it must be uprooted and moved five miles away.
  • Tuckerization: Ray Patterson was named after an animator who worked on Tom and Jerry cartoons.
  • Unaccustomed as I Am to Public Speaking...:
    (Ray enters to a band playing the theme to Sanford and Son.)
    Ray: [Happy sigh] Oh gosh. You know, I'm not much on speeches, but it's so gratifying to — [Growling] leave you wallowing in the mess you've made. You're screwed, thank you, bye.
    (Ray leaves. The band shrugs, and plays the Sanford and Son theme again as he leaves.)
  • Unsportsmanlike Gloating: Once Homer believes he beat The Man and forced them to clean up his immense mess, he gloats about it for what we assume is all day long (thanks to him starting once it's morning and he sees they cleaned up and then a Time Skip to the evening and him still gloating in bed), to the point that Marge (who secretly sent an apology letter in his name and probably knows what will happen if she confesses to it) can't take it anymore and tells him she sent the letter just to make him shut up.
  • Villain Protagonist: Jerkass Homer is in full force this episode, as he beefs with the garbagemen, runs for santitation commissioner, and literally trashes the town all through petty egotism, selfishness and incompetence.
  • The Voiceless: Larry Mullen, Jr. is the only U2 member who isn't seen speaking onscreen because he was unavailable when the episode was produced.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The two garbagemen who antagonised Homer in the first place are not seen again, due to Homer becoming obsessed with taking down The Man that is supposedly Patterson. One can only assume they were replaced by Homer's re-innovated services, at least until he blows everything.
  • Whispered Threat: When campaigning for Homer's run as Trash Commissioner, Bart says on a loudspeaker to vote for him or "he'll beat us". Homer gets angry, tells him that he's only joking...then whispers to him (into the loudspeaker) "You're gonna get such a beating!" to the looks of horrified citizens.
  • Why We Need Garbagemen:
    • The episode begins with the local garbagemen cutting the Simpson house out of their route, causing garbage to start piling up.
    • Later, the local sanitation union threatens to strike after Homer is left with no money to pay them. It's only by getting other cities to pay him to take their garbage that he prevents the strike.
  • Worse with Context: This and Not Hyperbole. When Homer wants to show the rest of his family the illegal thing he did to get the money to fund his department, they all think that it's drugs until Homer shows that it's allowing other cities to dump trash in an abandoned mine. A distraught Lisa then points how much of an ecological disaster that is and says "I almost wish they were drugs!" and Bart then says a deadpan "some of it is," pointing out a truck from New York City that is dumping guns and used dope syringes.
  • X Must Not Win: Shown to quite a detrimental level, since Homer's campaign is based largely on a spite war towards Patterson, he proves completely incompetent when he finally gets the job.


Video Example(s):


"Don't Turn Around"

After Springfield moves their entire city, one Native American advises his friend not to look at the horror they left behind. He doesn't listen.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / CryingIndian

Media sources: