(originally aired May 6, 2007)
It’s almost like I’m being punished; two surprisingly great episodes in a row, followed by two of the worst episodes of the season, perhaps of the entire series. From beginning to end, this one is just nonsensical garbage. We start with Maggie losing her shit when Marge takes away her pacifier, which ends up getting replaced by a squeaky dog toy. The noises keep Homer up at night and he develops insomnia. Why are none of the other family members affected? No reason given. He turns to drugs to get him to sleep, namely a product called Nappein. You know, like Ambien? We’re getting closer and closer to Mapple territory; making a thinly veiled parody specific to one product really limits the range and possibilities of your jokes. This turns him into a sleepwalking mess which Bart takes advantage of, and through a series of ridiculous events that hurt my brain to think about, he crashes his car into the fire station and ends up incapacitating the entire crew. The way this happens is so mind-bogglingly cartoony, and makes absolutely no sense. But whatever, it’s time for Homer the Firefighter! Another fucking job!
Homer, Apu, Skinner and Moe becomes volunteer fire fighters, and grow accustomed to reaping the fringe benefits from the people they save. But eventually Moe figures that they can just steal shit from local residents and businesses under the lie that items were fire damaged. And everyone just goes along with this, with Skinner as the lone ethical hold-out. Moe is a lecherous reprobate, so I can see him doing this. Homer at this point is a brainless sociopathic crazy person, his characterization is out the window, so whatever. But Apu? No way in hell. They just walk out of stores carrying stolen shit in broad daylight, and no one says a thing. Marge witnesses this thievery and forces him to go clean. This involves saving Moe and Apu from a burning building, and him being regarded as a hero. Does he ever confess his misdeeds? No. Does he stop being a fire fighter? No, but he sure won’t be one next week. What about all the shit he stole? Instead of return it to the stores, we see he’s given them away to homeless people, as we see bums on Segways waiting at the soup kitchen. Wonderful. The store knows Segways were lost, and are gonna see these guys riding them and think that they stole them, and they’ll be arrested. No lessons were learned, Homer suffers no repercussions for his actions, and nobody seems to care. The writers clearly didn’t. And neither do I. Fuck this episode.
Tidbits and Quotes
– The first few minutes of show concern Maggie throwing a fit after Marge tosses her pacifier, and Homer is unable to find her regular brand. When she replaces it with a dog squeak toy, I knew at some point later in the show, we’d see her again with her regular pacifier. And sure enough, we do. It’s not like I give a shit how she got a new one, it just says that what I spent watching in act one was a complete waste of time.
– My God… the mood swings joke. Twenty-two seconds has never felt so long listening to Homer scream, “Mood swings!” over… and over… and over…
– Homer fucks up the exhibits at a wax museum, and then later is personally responsible for smashing his car in the fire house and injuring everyone inside, but of course, he’s never held accountable for any of it. Same with the end where he never gets brought to task for his many thefts. He’s invincible!
– Okay, so here’s how the firemen get incapacitated. This is incredible. Homer plows his car into the fire station, knocking over a pot of chili boiling on the stove, which is on despite all the firemen sleeping, and also bending the fire men’s pole ninety degrees. Homer smashes through the windshield and triggers the fire alarm. The fire men get up, slide down the pole, get thrown down the hall sliding on the chili and slam against the wall. Then hungry Dalmatians maul them because they’re smothered in the chili. But why are the dogs vicious? Wouldn’t they just be fervently licking them, instead of mauling them off-screen? It just doesn’t make any sense… but then again, why should it? Do I expect any different at this point?
– It’s stunning how little life our supporting cast has left in them. Skinner just barely puts up a protest about the shenanigans in act three, and Apu barely says a goddamn thing as he proceeds to steal up a storm. Again, why the fuck is he doing this?
– Marge and the kids follow the fire trucks to see Homer in action. They’re on the sidewalk right in front of the store next door as Moe, Apu and Homer are all outside as they’re making off with the loot. How the fuck do they not see Marge standing right there?
– I feel like the montage of the kids looking sad trivializes Homer’s dilemma, it almost seems like it’s a big guilt trip for him to relent and change his ways, instead of him acknowledging that he’s breaking the law and should stop on his own.
– With thirty seconds of show left, we see crowds cheering for Homer, and then a slow push-in on the big oaf’s dumb smiling face. It’s stunning; he’s gotten away with all this shit, and they give him a fucking hero moment at the end? Then we get the actual end where he instead of giving the stuff back to their rightful owners, he gave them to hobos. Wonderful. What a wonderful fucking scumbag.