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Recap / The Simpsons S9 E23 "King of the Hill"

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Original air date: 5/3/1998

Production code: 5F16

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...

  • Acrofatic: While this usually holds true for Homer, it's Subverted in this episode as his weight makes him lose ignominiously at Capture the Flag after falling short of breath. Then played straight when, after working out for some time and becoming stronger, he challenges his family to "try and grab some flab"; they're still grabbing flab everywhere and he tells them to just focus on his biceps.
  • 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.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The creators wanted to avoid this for the native language of the Sherpa characters and so contacted the producers of the movie Into Thin Air, which featured the language extensively. They were disappointed to find that the movie producers had used this trope.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • The two Powersauce guys lie frequently. First of all, everything they say about their product is a sham, as the supposedly healthy energy bars are made of apple cores and old Chinese newspapers. Second, when Homer sends the Sherpas home and goes alone, they tell the viewers that he has switched to their competitor, Vita-Peach Health Log, in an attempt to absolve themselves of responsibility in case he doesn't survive.
    • Also, the end of Grandpa's story:
      Grandpa: I fell 8,000 feet onto a pile of jagged rocks. Of course, folks were tougher in those days. I was jitterbugging that very night!
  • Body Sled: Homer uses McAllister's corpse as a makeshift sled to get down the Murderhorn.
  • Boring Return Journey: After spending half the episode and several days climbing the Murderhorn with difficulty, Homer descends the mountain in a matter of 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.
    • Towards the end while Lisa was scanning the mountain for Homer, one of the Powersauce guys bluntly tells her that her father is dead, then offers her a free Powersauce bar.
  • 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.
    "McBain to base! Under attack by Commie-Nazis!"
    "They won't stop me from delivering these UNICEF pennies!"
    "Go pennies! Help the puny children who need you!"
  • Couch Gag: The Simpsons sit on the couch, and the camera zooms out, revealing that the living room is part of a snow globe that two hands shake to make the snow fall.
  • Determinator: After finding out that the Sherpas were paid to make sure he succeeded, Homer fires them and becomes determined to make it to the peak alone. Due to being inexperienced and physically unfit, his progress is slow and painful, but he manages to climb as high as anyone else ever had.
  • 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"?
    Grandpa: Sure.
  • 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 bars were a Magic Feather and/or outright detriment), but overestimates himself, nearly dies climbing a mountain, and presumably gives up his new regimen.
  • 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.
    • Springfield may be a town full of idiots and Jerkasses, but even they knew that Homer's stunt was dangerous and tried telling Brad and Neil that the whole thing was crazy.
  • 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 disturbed.
  • 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.
  • Hallucinations: Exhaustion and thin air makes Homer briefly hallucinate that he's dancing with the abominable snowman, and that magic lifts and bubbles are carrying him to the top of the mountain. In reality, he's sliding down the mountain, which he wakes up to upon hitting his head on a rock.
  • 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 that, technically, 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!"
  • Idiot Ball: Bart volunteers Homer to climb the Murderhorn after hearing Rainier Wolfcastle describe it as "suicide".
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: The Murderhorn.
  • If I Do Not Return: McAllister has such a line in his journal.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Brad and Neil try to convince Rainier Wolfcastle to climb the Murderhorn; Wolfcastle points out that it's suicide, which the execs admit is true for experienced mountain climbers, but try to sell Wolfcastle on it by pointing out that he's a movie star. Not being suicidal or insane, Wolfcastle still refuses.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong:
    • Marge tries to assure the kids that Homer will be fine as long as he's with the Sherpas. Lisa then points out the Sherpas outside of their house, trying to hitchhike back to Nepal.
    • Taking shelter in a cave, Homer remarks that at least he won't freeze to death. He then lights a lantern, illuminating the corpse of McAllister, who had long since frozen to death.
  • 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.
  • Lampshade Hanging: 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.
  • 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.
  • Magic Feather: Powersauce bars, the source of Homer's confidence, turn out to be made of apple cores and Chinese newspapers.
  • 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.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Bart is horrified when he thinks that Homer will die trying to climb the Murderhorn just to impress him.
  • Never My Fault: After Homer feels ashamed of how out of shape he has become, the first thing he does is complain to Marge about how SHE allowed him to get like that.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party: Homer finds the frozen corpse of Abe's mountaineer partner McAllister, whom Abe had tried to eat when they were snowed in back when he tried to climb the mountain.
  • 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.
  • Nutritional Nightmare: After experiencing some success at the gym after becoming hooked on Powersauce bars, Homer resolves to eat only what he can compress into bar form. He extrudes five pounds of spaghetti and meatballs into a small bar, eats the whole of said bar, and calmly calls the hospital.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Homer has three in rapid succession as he sees the two sizable mountains that he mistakes for the Murderhorn, then the actual Murderhorn, which dwarfs both of those mountains.
    • Marge, when she sees that the Sherpas have left Homer to climb the mountain alone.
    • Homer, upon seemingly reaching the peak of the Murderhorn, yells the trope name aloud as he looks up and sees that the mountain goes even higher.
    • Homer gets a final one at the end of the episode when Marge spies his wallet at the mountaintop through a telescope.
  • 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.
    • Also for Lisa while examining Homer's snow covered "sled" she screams mid-sentence when she realizes it's McAllister's corpse.
  • 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).
  • Special Guest: Brendan Fraser and Steven Weber as Brad & Neil.
  • 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.
  • Suddenly Bilingual: When Brad tells Homer the Powersauce bars are nothing but apple cores and Chinese newspapers, Homer squints at the bar and reads it out loud in English.
    Brad: Wake up Homer, those Powersauce bars are just junk! They're made of apple cores and Chinese newspapers!
    Homer: (squinting at bar) Hey, Deng Xiaoping died.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Homer starts working out at night. After several weeks, he's stronger and in much better shape, and gained some muscle mass and definition in his chest and arms. However, he still has a lot of flab around his midsection, as losing subcutaneous fat is pretty hard, and Homer's exercise regime is mostly based around weight training rather than cardio, so he lacks the stamina or experience to climb a mountain despite no longer being grossly unfit, and makes slow progress once his guides abandon him.
  • 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 to 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.
  • Unexplained Recovery: When Grandpa tells a story about his mountain-climbing days; "I fell 8,000 feet onto a pile of jagged rocks. Of course, people were a lot tougher in those days. I was jitterbuggin' that very night!" Note that his story begins with him warning Homer not to try climbing a particular mountain: "You'll die up there, just like I did!" Of course, this could just be Grandpa being senile or entirely a lie (it's later revealed that he lied about everything else in the story).
  • 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... for the Flanders family.
    • 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. He succeeds.


Video Example(s):


McBain and the Commie Nazis

The trope namer comes from an episode of The Simpsons, titled "King Of The Hill" where McBain is attacked by literal Commie Nazis while delivering UNICEF pennies to children.

How well does it match the trope?

4.97 (40 votes)

Example of:

Main / CommieNazis

Media sources: