After embarrassing Bart during a game of Capture the Flag at a church picnic, Homer decides to get in shape (despite everyone else saying that Homer can't commit to a diet and exercise regimen), and his newly-sculpted muscles from an energy bar and exercise makes him the perfect candidate for a publicity stunt, in which he climbs the tallest mountain in Springfield, the Murderhorn.
This episode of The Simpsons provides examples of...
- All for Nothing: Homer conquers Murderhorn, but the flag he plants falls off before he has a chance to show Bart. It's subverted because he is proud his dad accomplished the task regardless.
- Artistic License Geography: A mountain more than five vertical miles high would be higher than Mt. Everest.
- Blatant Lies:
- Boring Return Journey: After spending half the episode and several days climbing the Murderhorn with difficulty, Homer descends the mountain in a matter of seconds...by sliding down it using the frozen corpse of McAllister as a sled.
- Brutal Honesty: After being caught in the act of dragging him up the mountain, the Sherpas admit to Homer that they were hired to make sure he didn't fail or die. They also admit that they don't really care if he dies and happily leave him to his fate when he fires them.
- Captain Obvious: When examining McAllister's frozen, immobile corpse (which Homer had just used as a makeshift sled), Dr. Hibbert dramatically declares "we're too late; he's dead".
- Chekhov's Gun: Homer kept the "Simpsons" flag from the church picnic, using it to replace the Powersauce flag after discovering he'd been deceived.
- Commie Nazis: The Trope Namer in a McBain movie.
- Diet Episode: Homer attempts to redeem himself before Bart by getting in shape through visits to the gym and eating a bunch of energy bars. He makes significant improvement from the exercise (it's implied the bar were a Magic Feather if not a detriment), but overestimates himself, nearly dies climbing a mountain, and presumably gives up his new regiment.
- Did You Die?: Grandpa Simpson tries to talk Homer out of climbing the mountain by claiming that, when he tried to do it himself, he died in the attempt:
Grandpa: Son, don't go up that mountain! You'll die up there, just like I did!
Homer: You? Did?
- Dirty Coward: After it was revealed that Grandpa betrayed McAllister (not the other way around), he chose to flee rather than explain himself.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Mr. Burns is tagged "it" by Ralph. Burns retaliates by chasing Ralph in his car.
Ralph: Aaah! You're not it!
- Doomed Predecessor: As Homer prepares to climb Springfield's Murderhorn, Grampa tells him of how he once tried to climb the mountain until he was betrayed and left for dead by his partner. Later, during his climb, Homer finds the frozen corpse of said partner in a cavity near the top, and he finds out from his diary that Grampa actually betrayed him.
- Dude, Not Funny!: While watching the McBain movie, in response to seeing McBain snapping the Commie Nazis leader's neck while on top of a fighter jet, Marge says "Now that's what I call breakneck speed!" and laughs, but Bart stares at her and flatly says "Mom, a man just died", to which Marge groans in annoyance.
- Dying Declaration of Love: Subverted; the last lines in McAllister's journal are a plea to tell his wife that his dying thoughts are of her... blinding and torturing Abe Simpson.
- Even the Guys Want Him: While gushing over meeting Rainier Wolfcastle, Homer briefly segues into a graphic description of the man's muscle tone.
- Everyone Has Standards:
- Rainier Wolfcastle may be a shameless shill for Powersauce bars and a bit of an egotist ("Picture this: you..." "I love it!"), but he immediately refuses to climb the Murderhorn, calling it "suicide".
- Brad and Neil are both horrified to learn that Homer plans to finish the climb alone and try to talk him out of it. It doesn't stop them from lying on TV to cover their own asses, but it's the thought that counts.
- Fake Ultimate Hero:
- Homer realizes that he's becoming this when he learns the Sherpas were taking him up the mountain while he was sleeping.
- Grandpa Simpson claimed to have been betrayed by his own partner, McAllister: Grandpa himself stole the last oxygen tank, and abandoned him, but not before taking a bite out of him.
- Fat Flex: Homer tries to impress Bart by being able to crush a beer can underneath his rolls of belly fat. Bart is understandably distubred.
- Formerly Fat: Homer is still a bit pudgy, but is in much better shape starting in the second act, and is noticeably more muscular. Naturally, he's gained it back by the next episode.
- Geographic Flexibility: In likely the show's most absurd bending of Springfield's geography, it suddenly turns out three enormous mountains, one of which is taller than Everest, are all within view.
- Honor Before Reason: When Homer discovers the Sherpas had been pulling him up the mountain while he's asleep, he realizes that unlike Bart, nobody believes that he'll make it to the top. Homer insists he'll carry on alone, because he'd promised Bart he'd do it. When one of the Sherpas says Homer should go back down and start it all over for the promise's sake, Homer ignores the comment and sends them home.
- "I Can't Look!" Gesture: When Bart sees Homer sliding down the mountain, Marge assumes he fell and turns away, exclaiming, "I can't look!"
- I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: The Murderhorn.
- If I Do Not Return: McAllister has such a line in his journal.
- Irony: Homer complains that they had a church picnic last week; Marge corrects him: "No they didn't. You just brought a bucket of chicken to church." Homer replies, "If God didn't want us to eat in church, He would've made gluttony a sin." Which it is.
- It's All My Fault: Bart when he realizes that his father is risking his life by climbing the Murderhorn alone and rejecting the support of Powersauce.
- Magic Feather: Powersauce bars, the source of Homer's confidence, turn out to be made of apple cores and Chinese newspapers.
Homer: (squinting at bar) Hey, Deng Xiaoping died.
- Laser-Guided Karma: The Springfield Police Department and Fat Tony's mafia are having a picnic next to each other. One of Fat Tony's goons shoots a mustard jar at the policeman's table drenching Chief Wiggum in mustard. Wiggum takes it in stride since they borrowed the mustard from the mafia.
- Major Injury Underreaction: After Homer compresses five pounds of spaghetti into one bar and eats it, he calmly picks up the phone and says, "Hospital, please."
- Malaproper: When Homer first comes across the gym, he asks, "Gyme? What's a gyme? (opens the door and sees people working out) Ohhhh, a gyme."
- Metaphorically True: At the end of the episode, Homer manages to reach the summit of the mountain. He actually gave up at the highest he could and planted the flag, but he caused a landslide that destroyed the top of the mountain, so he technically was at the top.
- No Party Like a Donner Party: Grandpa tried eating McAllister.
- Not This One, That One: When Homer is told he has to climb the Murderhorn, he's pointed towards a massive mountain outside Springfield. Homer gulps in fear, but Neil informs him that it's actually a much bigger mountain next to it, to which Homer gasps in shock at seeing. Then Neil once again corrects Homer, turning his head towards the absolutely gigantic true Murderhorn.
- Only Sane Man: Subverted; it looks like Marge is the only one with the good sense to point out that Homer knows nothing about mountain climbing and that the whole stunt is ridiculously dangerous, but the Powersauce execs point out that a number of people have already raised similar objections. This being Springfield, of course, it's not enough to actually stop the whole thing.
- Overturned Outhouse: Homer leans on a port-a-potty, knocking over the top part and exposing Comic Book Guy.
Comic Book Guy: Oh! It appears I will have to find a new Fortress of Solitude.
- Peek-a-Boo Corpse: When Homer turns on his lamp in the cave, he screams upon seeing the corpse.
- Reality Ensues: Apparently, a number of people (including Marge) objected to the promotion, pointing out that Homer doesn't know anything about mountain climbing and that the whole thing is crazy.
- Reveal Shot: At least three times. When Homer mistakes a small mountain for the Murderhorn, two reveal shots are used to show the real mountain. Another reveal shot when Homer uses the oxygen bottles and the camera zooms out to show he hasn't come that far. And lastly, when he believed he finally reached the top of the mountain, only to see he still has a long way to go (until he accidentally broke the top, which wasn't that far anyway).
- Stout Strength: After working out for several weeks under Wolfcastle's coaching, Homer doesn't exactly lose his gut but he does gain some noticeable muscles.
- Sweet and Sour Grapes: When he realizes his father let him down, Homer thinks he's let Bart down himself, so he decides to give up on climbing the mountain. Taking the flag out, he takes the Powersauce banner off and replaces it with the "Simpson" flag from the church picnic, saying "It's not the top, but it's as close as a Simpson's gonna get.", and hammers it in. However, this causes a landslide bringing down the top of the mountain, thereby making where he's standing the top.
- Tempting Fate: After working out for weeks, Homer coaxes the family to try and find some flab on his body. Bart and Lisa immediately grab some, causing Homer to tell them to feel his biceps, which is the only part that isn't flabby anymore.
- Unimpressive Progress Reveal: Thrice
- Homer decides to start running at night, the scene cross-fades just as he passes by the fence next door, and he's reduced to crawling in exhaustion and stops in front of a mailbox...the Flanders family's one.
- Homer starts climbing the Murderhorn and one Time Skip later, the camera follows a trail of spent oxygen tanks and a Homer that is greedily sucking down on a new one... and then we find out that he just ascended about 20 feet (it's still close enough to the ground that Bart can easily tell him to stop using up his oxygen).
- While Homer is telling his family through walkie-talkie that this is the most difficult ordeal he's ever faced, Bart replies that he's only got four more vertical miles. Homer responds with "D'oh!"
- Unreliable Narrator: Grandpa leaves out a few choice details in the story about his failed climb up the Murderhorn. Namely that he tried to eat McAllister, and even took a bite out of him. And of course, his claim that he survived a long fall onto a jagged pile of rocks.
- Weight Woe: Homer becomes ashamed of how fat he is after the kids pelt him with eggs at the church picnic and he humiliates Bart.
- "Well Done, Dad!" Guy: Homer spends the whole episode trying to impress Bart.