401. He Loves to Fly and He D’ohs

He Loves to Fly and He D'ohs(originally aired September 23, 2007)
Homer Simpson used to be a man who was constantly kicked around by fate, and his own lack of intelligence exacerbated his misfortunes. But regardless of his carelessness or ignorance, his actions at the end of the episode always reflected what he’d learned and his attempts to make things right. Nowadays, Homer Simpson is a screaming impulsive man child whose family coddles and enables him through his manic episodes, and any shit he gets into, he gets away with it, completely scot-free. This episode involves him being completely enamored by being on a private jet, when Mr. Burns invites him out to dinner in Chicago. Why is this? Who cares. Burns is now apparently a nice affable rich guy who will waste his time wowing this (to him) complete stranger. Homer becomes depressed after this experience, enough that the family blows their entire life savings to hire a life coach to get him out of his funk. I guess they had some money left over after rock ‘n’ roll fantasy camp to flush down the toilet on a worthless expenditure.

Colby Kraus is voiced by Stephen Colbert, and it’s another example of celebrities playing characters like them, but not actually them. I mean, his name is Colby, for God’s sake. I can’t even enjoy his performance because I have no idea what the fuck is happening. So he’s going to help Homer get a successful job? In the end, even when he instills him with confidence, we see that he blew the big interview by being a complete imbecile, so it was of no purpose whatsoever. The third act involves him lying to his family about getting the job, and wasting his “work days” away moping at Krusty Burger. When he’s caught by Bart, Homer decides he needs to come clean and tell Marge the truth… on a private jet he rents to just build his wife up further. He’s concerned that Marge is buying luxury items like Campbell’s soup on money they don’t have, yet he has the cash to rent a jet to tell his wife that they don’t have any money. Makes sense, dudn’t it? The episode ends with the pilot becoming incapacitated and Homer landing the jet, and him telling Marge he’s going to quit his “job” and go back to the power plant. So the episode ends with Homer being a hero and never telling his family the truth. It’s like “Crook and Ladder” all over again. Why should I support a character who continually lies to his loved ones like this?

Tidbits and Quotes
– More of Burns being a pathetic enfeebled prop with the whole fountain “gag.” The whole first act confuses me. He goes to Chicago for deep dish pizza specifically because Homer wants to. The two walk around the town and sit in on local improv like good buddies. Is he on some kind of ether kick? Why the fuck is Mr. Burns all of a sudden Homer’s best friend?
– Homer is so depressed he drives his car into the garage and doesn’t stop, as the car plows through the house into the backyard. But this episode makes it clear this family is made of money, so I’m sure it’s no big deal.
– Homer’s new confident life style wearing his bowling shoes simply involves him holding a staple gun the right way around and having sex with his wife. Then we cut to Colby congratulating him. For… being an actually functioning human being?
– As if Burns wasn’t desecrated enough, we later get Smithers shoving a giant pole down his throat to try to hit a button on the cell phone violently vibrating in his stomach. Very disturbing.
– After Homer goes in for his interview, we cut to him outside the house depressed. Then he walks in, puts on a happy face and proclaims he got the job. He leaves for his first day of work, sad music begins as he passes by the place he applied for and ends up at Krusty Burger. But why include that shot of him sad before? It ruins the bait-and-switch it looked like they were going for. In all, it just makes Homer that much more pathetic. Though it gave me the only laugh in the whole episode (“One small coffee, please. And a dozen of those place mats with the maze on it.” “They’re all the same maze.” “Somebody’s gotta do ’em.”)
– Homer fucks up his interview by freezing up after one question, then lunging over the desk and trying to manipulate the Rich Texan’s lips to make him say that he’s hired. Does this man have serious brain damage? Some of these episodes, I’m just really concerned about this guy’s mental state.
– “At least we can take the extra income you’ve earned in the last few months and set it aside for a rainy day.” “You’d think so, but no.” So Homer kept this charade up for several months? How long could he have kept this up? Homer’s number one priority used to be supporting his family, now he’s the self-centered sad sack loser who would rather go broke than admit his own mistakes.

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17 responses to “401. He Loves to Fly and He D’ohs

  1. “Colby” even looks a bit like Colbert. I’m curious as to how the writers decide when a celebrity should play a character that’s essentially them, and when they should just flat out play themselves.

  2. They did this with Flight of the Conchords and it was the worst. They even had them fly at the end, like in their posters—which might have been a funny reference, if they didn’t ALREADY LOOK EXACTLY THE SAME.

  3. The best part of this episode is the opening that follows from where the movie left off.

    • Yeah, I enjoyed the revised opening sequence. And while I’m not a fan of Spiderpig, the couch gag was kinda cute: “My summer love.”

      As for the episode, it should’ve been hilarious with Stephen Colbert guest starring, but it just… wasn’t. He didn’t have much material to work with (the only laugh I can recall was him being embarrassed about the college he graduated from- “Don’t make me say it.”). And while I understand Mr. Burns being so chummy to Homer was because Homer saved his life, it was still an odd relationship.

      Even though they kind of gave away that something was wrong with looking forlorn, I did like the reveal that Homer didn’t get the job and was hiding out at Krusty Burger all day. Call me crazy (especially since it was later revealed that it was his own fault for blowing the interview so badly), but I felt bad for him in that moment.

      It was so stupid, but I also enjoyed Homer requesting that one of Lionel Ritchie’s songs only contain the word “beer”. “Beer beer, beer beer!”

  4. Let’s see another Apple reference (not too long til it all goes to hell) and an Oprah reference (again not too long either)

    Also the bit that pissed me off the most was Homer being unable to put on a damn sock involving a bit of idiotic boob homer and homer getting hurt… just another lame season premire from ZS.

  5. I remember this one and many subsequent episodes getting a lot of backlash on Toonzone and elsewhere, mostly from people saying “What the hell, why do the new episodes still suck? They’re done making the movie! I thought that meant the show was supposed to get better now!” And I really don’t know where they got that from. Apparently, they were under the assumption that the show had been sucking because the writers were investing all their effort into the movie. No, the show had been sucking because it was ten years past its expiration date and Homer had become a colossal unlikeable asshole.

  6. “Does this man have serious brain damage?”

    Well… he *does* have a crayon lodged up there.

    Wait, I just had a thought. What if when Moe re-inserted the crayon in ‘HOMЯ”, he went too far, and that’s why Homer became such a selfishly impulsive maniac, because he actually had brain damage? OK, it doesn’t quite explain the 3 seasons of Jerk-ass Homer before then, but still.

    • Homer in the classic seasons didn’t appear to suffer from effects of a crayon in his brain…

      • Well, except for lowering his IQ by 50 points (supposedly).

        But like I said, my theory was that the worst effects occurred when Moe hammered the crayon back into Homer’s brain at the end of the episode, not when he first shoved it up there as a child.

      • First you have to believe that a crayon could even be stuck up there in the first place.

      • Great theory.

        …I have a theory on Mr. Burns becoming more and more helpless and fucked-up as time goes on. It’s a simple one, but … he’s just on a shitload of medication … probably 100 micrograms of fentanyl and shit. He also lives in constant fear of being shot by babies. And so on. SEE THE SHOW MAKES SENSE IT DEVELOPS CHARAC

      • Weird you mentioned homr, just came across this..

    • the crayon episode is one of the most insulting, “universe-wise”, in the whole series. so Homer always been a super genius, but that crayon made him the man we always watched and loved for 8+ seasons? great. typical ZS crap.

  7. One the most what-the-fuck episodes ever.

  8. “One small coffee, please. And a dozen of those place mats with the maze on it.” “They’re all the same maze.” “Somebody’s gotta do ’em.”

    This was way, way, way after I gave up on The Simpsons but I’ve definitely heard that joke before and thought it was great.

  9. I have to watch this episode again because I barely remember it, but having Colbert basically play himself is a real waste. Anyone who’s watched “Harvey Birdman” knows Colbert is a hilarious voice actor who can play actual characters (he played the boss and Reducto, for those who don’t know).

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