[1F02] Homer Goes to College

Homer Goes to College                                  Written by Conan O'Brien
                                                        Directed by Jim Reardon
Production code: 1F02                       Original airdate in N.A.: 14-Oct-93
                                                  Capsule revision H, 22-Feb-97

Title sequence

Blackboard :- None due to shortened intro.

Lisa's Solo:- None due to shortened intro.

Couch      :- The family runs in and sits on the couch, when they get
              crushed by a Terry Gilliam-esque Monty Python bare foot.

Did you notice...

    ... Bart is drinking tea and dipping a marshmallow square into it?
    ... the sign outside Springfield College: "Ask about our latin motto
    ... the nerds say "Intruder alert" and "Stop the humanoid", which
        are from the "Berserk" video game?
    ... one of the nerds has a pocket protector, and another has a
    ... the "Space Mutants 5" and Devo posters, and the triple bunk bed
        in the nerds' room?
    ... the sign outside Springfield A&M: "If you were a student here,
        you'd be home by now"?

Don Del Grande:
    ... The kitchen bulletin board has the "four-finger turkey", "God
        Bless This Mess", something about "Pizza", and a drawing of a
    ... Bart is drinking Buzz cola (well, Buzz something).
    ... Homer's high school diploma says "Springfield High School GED".

Ricardo Lafaurie:
    ... Smithers sleeps like a dog?
    ... the painters have indeed moved Burns' desk from its usual
    ... the dean in the college movie is named _Bitter_man?
    ... Springfield Univeristy has phone-in modem connect?

Voice credits

- Starring
    - Dan Castellaneta (Homer, Quimby, Abe, Krusty)
    - Julie Kavner (Marge)
    - Nancy Cartwright (Bart)
    - Yeardley Smith (Lisa)
    - Hank Azaria (Agent 2, less gifted employee, "Steakie" commercial
      voice, admissions committee man, Dean Bitterman, Corey Masterson,
      Nerdlinger, Jock, worried student, Dean Peterson, nerd 1, nerd 2,
      construction worker, meltdown man, Snake)
    - Harry Shearer (Burns, Smithers, Bernie, Lawyer, application
      reviewer, guidance counselor, the President, college lecturer,
      nerd 3, construction foreman, meltdown man, Richard Nixon)
- Also Starring
    - Maggie Roswell (power plant voice, Agent 1, application reviewer,
      answering machine voice)

Movie (and other) references

  + Monty Python
    - animated foot in title sequence
    - "Holy Grail": the Knights who say "Ni!"
  + "Let's Make A Deal"
    - Burns trying to get the inspector to take "what's in this box"
  + "Star Wars"/"Spaceballs"
    - Burns' escape pod
    "The Maltese Falcon"
    - "jade monkey" stuff
  + "The Untouchables" (the movie)
    - Burns' meeting with the admissions committee
    Punch and Judy {bl}
    - Burns holds the bat just like Punch: vertical, parallel to his
      body, with both arms gripped around the handle end
    - Bart scraping his fingers on the blackboard
  + Talking Heads
    - Lisa refers to David Byrne
    - The I&S cartoon: title similar to "Burning Down the House"
  + "Room 222" {rc}
    - the nerds' room number
    - music in the background
  + "The Blob"
    - fleeing the radioactive school
    Usenet (rec.arts.startrek hierarchy)
    - "Picard vs. Kirk" (mailed from MIT)
  + "A Clockwork Orange" {er}
    - Homer's eyes are being held open to study with a similar device
      used in the movie
    "Paper Chase" {ekf}
    - music during final exam
  + Miscellaneous college party movies
    - many similarities to "Revenge of the Nerds", "Meatballs", "Animal
      House", "Porky's", etc.

Previous episode references

- [7F01] An inspection of the nuclear plant {rl}
- [7F10], [8F07] Smithers is associated with a dog {rl}
- [8F04] Burns gives Smithers the cold shoulder in a nuclear scare {rl}
- [9F01] The Simpsons' home is set on fire {rl}
- [9F03] Homer's knowledge of the Supreme Court justices {rl}

Freeze frame fun

- Homer's "dorm" room: {rc}
    - Posters
        - Ballet
        - W. C. Fields
        - Einstein with his tongue out
    - On his bookshelf
        - lava lamp
        - eight ball
- The Dean's office: {rc}
    - miniature basketball hoop
    - Pink Floyd "Dark Side of the Moon" poster
- A couple of the frames as the pig snaps his head around to bite Homer
  are truly hilarious: the pig's head becomes angular, his mouth full of
  jagged teeth.
- Just before Bart and Lisa scream as the TV is unplugged, a couple of
  frames grossly distort their faces.
- Homer's test answers were ADBD/BECB/CBDC/ECED/DADB/CDCC/ABBB
- Still shots behind the credits: {rk}
    - Homer, in a toga, water skiing.
    - Homer in a food fight.
    - Homer, naked, being spanked during Rush Week.
    - Lots of guys being stuffed into a telephone booth.
    - A tank trying to run over a football player.
    - Nixon wearing a bra on his head (cf School of Hard Knockers)
    - Homer pushing the dean into the swimming pool.
    - Homer at graduation, flashing the audience.

Animation, continuity, and other goofs

The trap door button on Burns' desk changes from small and white on a
blue background to larger and red on a red background.

How did Homer learn to set his watch alarm?  (Looks like Lisa saved
mankind this time).  {ddg}

When Homer is trying to fill out the applications and Lisa takes one of
them and reads it UPSIDE DOWN!  I mean, Homer was sitting in front of
her, and when Lisa takes the application, she doesn't turn the sheet, so
the letters must be upside down.  {bs}

I don't know about Springfield, but in Berkeley, which is on the
periodic table (TWICE, if you count "Californium"), nuclear physics
requires one year of the non-nuclear kind first.  {ddg}

Since when does a high school give out GEDs?  {ddg}

The Simpson house has TWO front doors - one in front of the stairs and
one in the "TV room" near the kitchen.  (Only the first one is seen from
the outside.)  {ddg}

"Knights Who Say 'Ni'" isn't in any of the TV episodes of Monty Python's
Flying Circus, but in the movie "Monty Python and the Holy Grail".

When Homer was cramming, the library used Dewey Decimal Numbers; every
college library I've been in uses Library of Congress "numbers".  {ddg}

In the credit sequence, the VW bus changed from pink in the ground shot
to red in window.  {nt}

In the last frame of the credits, when Homer flashes the commencement
ceremony, how did Homer get a diploma?  {ddg}


[Editor's note: opinions on this show were so polarized, this section
has been made quite long on purpose.]

Eliot Williams: I found this last episode to be utterly devoid of any
    plot and there were extremely few _funny_ parts.  I normally laugh
    hysterically at least once during an OFF episode, but not this week.
    I sincerely hope the quality of the shows improve else I might have
    to only watch each episode three times.

Phil Karn: This was definitely the best Simpsons episode I've seen in a
    long time.  The three stereotypical computer nerds, references to NG
    vs Classic Trek, Monty Python, etc, were all hysterical to me.
    Maybe it helps to have been a college student in the 1970s (ie., to
    be about the same age as Groening and his writers) to really
    appreciate this episode.

Chris Corcoran: Don't get me wrong.  I really liked Cape Feare, and the
    B#'s was kind of good in a weird way, but the college episode was
    the worst Simpsons episode I've ever seen.  I've loved every other
    episode, I'm not at all critical when I watch but what happened?
    Are there new writers?  I'm embarrassed.  I've gotten so many people
    into this show, and now I look stupid.

Ron Dippold: I thought this was far better than the last episode.  The
    references, where they were used, integrated very smoothly into the
    story flow, and didn't seem strained, as they have been.  It could
    also be that I'm a big Homer fan (Wahoooo!) and he was in top form
    this time.  Plus the three geeks were priceless.

Ron Carter: Yikes!  Really, really bad, and the "true" second show of
    the new season?  *sigh* Highlights were the I&S episode, the
    "Steakie" commercial, and the freeze frames during the end credits,
    in other word, virtually any stuff not having to do with the "plot"
    of Homer in college.  My score for it?  The same score Homer gets on
    his final: F.

Andrew Ross: After two disappointing starts, OFF has hit its first
    "homer" of the new season.  The entire episode was connected by a
    single theme (Homer trying to live college life as it's portrayed in
    the tits-n-zits sex comedies) which was integrated expertly with the
    plot.  There were good jokes of proper duration every minute, and
    few or no slow spots.  I give the episode an "A".

Greg Charles: After watching the last three episodes, I have realized
    that the show sucks now.  Oh, it's not easy for me to say that, but
    come on, they're not putting any thought into anymore.  Satire has
    been replaced with sight gags.  The characters are losing their
    individual personalities.  The storylines have become a series of
    non sequiturs.  The whole thing reminds me of the last season of
    Moonlighting, and we all know how ugly that got!  [well, not all of
    us do - ed]

Don Frega: I thought last night's episode was extremely clever.  It
    didn't rely on sight gags and nonsequiturs as some of you have
    claimed, but rather parodied and saluted the college experience.
    The whole idea of Homer attending college in the 90s with his 70s
    expectations made for fine, fine humor.  Those of us who have been
    out of college for a while can attest to the fact that college life
    simply isn't what it used to be (for better or for worse!).

J. Constantyne: Despite the numerous people who have said this season
    has been lacking so far, I think ``Homer Goes to College'' was the
    weakest of the three, despite the fact that Mr. Burns and Smithers
    had a prominent role.  The only good thing I have to say about the
    depiction of college is that based on the two Mid-Western
    universities I have attended, Springfield U. didn't have nearly
    enough squirrels on campus.

John Wood: I've been laughing for the last five minutes at those who
    ripped apart last night's *hilarious* episode!  The college
    references were wonderful and clever...everything had me ROTFL
    (Rolling On The Floor Laughing).  [...] If you couldn't enjoy last
    night's episode, you can't enjoy The Simpsons!

Shauna Farr-Jones: The three episodes so far this year have a lot more
    violence and I thought were far less funny.  The Simpsons is the
    only show I ever watch but if this writing continues, I won't

Steve Portigal: Oh man, I LOVED that episode.  I was killing myself
    laffin for most of it.  Having been through first year physics, sat
    at the very back and been irked while everyone giggled at the aged
    professor's STUPID physics puns, I loved seeing Homer in the same
    position.  I enjoyed it more when something I could relate to ended
    up in the episode.  Having spent years with people who incessantly
    quote Python, who type madly at their computers about Star Trek and
    so on, I thought it was brilliant.  Having had my modem on when
    others have tried to use the phone and have not understood what that
    noise was...yeah.  And man, we all were finally ON the Simpsons,
    that Internet reference may have used Star Trek, but come ON!  It
    was US!
    Don't care who likes it, I *DID*.

Stephen Holland: I found it to be rather cliched.  The nuclear
    inspection scenes were brilliant and so was the Itchy and Scratchy
    episode.  It's nice to see satire in Itchy and Scratchy again after
    so many "let's see how much violence we can cram into this one"
    episodes.  As for the university sequences...they struck me as a
    feeble attempt to turn Animal House on its head.  The internet joke
    was funny but only because I know too many people who take questions
    like which captain was better or where Springfield is located
    seriously.  Overall, I would have to say that this season is off to
    a bad start.  However, I did like the rake sequence...

Cameron Campbell: I also really enjoyed last night's episode...I thought
    it was one of the best I have seen in a long time.  [...] The
    juxtaposition of Homer's expectations and the reality of college was
    hilarious.  It was clear that Homer's expectations of what college
    was going to be like were based on cheezy T&A movies and TV shows
    that he had seen.  The portrayal of the three nerds, too, was

Yours truly: Nope, I don't think I liked it much.  If I had to pick two
    adjectives to describe this episode, they would be "disjointed" and
    "surreal".  But once again, certain parts had me rolling ("Let's
    make a deal", the President dancing: "Secretary of Partying Down!",
    the incredibly cool Dean, Homer's speech before the proton
    accelerator, Picard vs. Kirk).  It just didn't hang together enough
    for me, though.  Rating: D.

Comments and other observations

The shortened title sequence

This episode proper was quite long (over 21 minutes), so presumably, in
    order to make time for enough commercials, they had to cut most of
    the title sequence.

The nerd's names

Juha Terho informs me that he has seen a production script for the
    episode, and that the nerd's names are Doug, Benjamin, and Gary.
    Gary's the black one, and Benjamin is the one without glasses and
    with the calculator on his hip.

The Springfield A&M pig

According to close captioning, the pig's name was "Sir Oinkcelot".  I
    incorrectly wrote that Texas A&M's mascot was an armadillo, but
    Cheryl Haaker says, "Texas A&M's mascot is a dog, `Reveille',
    generally (but not necessarily) a collie.  Texas University's mascot
    is a cow.  I'm not aware of any colleges in Texas that use an
    armadillo as a mascot."

Cars in the episode {nt}

While Burns' escape pod crashed onto a cartoon car, the truck next to it
    was a Chevy of Mid-1930s vintage.  The only identifiable vehicles in
    the trailer scenes were a VW bus from the ground, and then a blue VW
    bug next to it in the window scene.
    I never got a good shot of the Simpson's station wagon before.  I
    always believed it to be the same make and model as Homer's Trabant-
    Oldsmobile.  But in this episode, I noticed it had semi-round
    taillights built into the bumper, and the only cars I know that had
    that were mid-1970 Chevy Malibus and GM relatives.

Homer's amazing stupidity

Greg Wishart says, "I think Homer is getting worse.  I mean, he used to
    be just plain `dim'.  Now he's becoming the laughing stock of
    Springfield.  I pity the man.  That's why I want to be him on

Michael Neylon responds, "Remember, if the writers are trying to
    incorporate continuity into the show, then Homer *should* be getting
    worse, according to the `Clip Show' (Why me laugh?).  Furthermore,
    being in college can do crazy things to your mind, if you take it
    like Homer did.  I had a roommate once that I know, given the
    chance, would frolic with the squirrels :)"

Simpsons in decline?

Some people have felt that the three episodes shown this season haven't
    been up to par, but Sean Starke answers them: "You folks are worse
    than those damn network executive weasels when it comes to giving up
    on a show with short notice.  While I must admit that this episode
    was a little weak, I still think a weak Simpsons episode is better
    than anything else on TV.  Sometimes they hit, and sometimes they
    miss, but whatever it is, you can't grade it based on previous
    episodes, or they might as well give up now.
    Lighten up, enjoy, and stop beating the rake into the ground."

Quotes and Scene Summary

[Syndication cuts are marked in curly braces "{}" and are courtesy of
Ricardo Lafaurie and Frederic Briere.]

It's another lazy day at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant.  Homer
sits snoring at his desk, his old, faithful dog snoozing in a chair next
to him.  Lenny has craftily constructed a hammock for himself in another

In his sleep, Homer rests his head on the control panel in front of him
-- directly on the "PLANT DESTRUCT: PLEASE DO NOT PUSH" button.  The
control room becomes awash in the red glow of emergency lights, and the
automated female voice says, "Core meltdown in ten seconds...nine..."
Homer's dog wakes up, hears the voice, and pulls the reset lever with
his mouth.  The voice announces, "Meltdown averted...good boy."

Mr. Burns, too, is asleep in his chair, its back to his wall of
monitors.  Yes, even the people on the monitors are asleep too.
Smithers sleeps, curled up beside Burns' chair.  His leg twitches, and
he moans softly in his sleep.

Outside, in the parking lot, the Nuclear Inspection Van recreational
vehicle pulls up.  Three white hard-hatted, lab-jacketed inspectors jump
out and press the buzzer at the entrance to the plant.

Agent 1: [presses the buzzer]
  Burns: [awakening, over the intercom] Mmm...hmm...what?  How dare you
         disturb me during nap time.
Agent 1: We're from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  This is a
         surprise test of worker competence.
  Burns: There must be some mistake.  We, er, we make cookies here: Mr.
         Burns' Olde-Fashioned Good-Time Extra-Chewy --
Agent 2: [to Agent 3] Get the axe.
-- We've done this before, "Homer Goes to College"

Smithers and Burns watch from the window as the inspectors lead some
plant employees into their vehicle.

   Burns: The watchdog of public safety...is there any lower form of
Smithers: Don't worry sir, I rounded up our less gifted employees and
          led them into the basement.
           [Shot of the basement with Homer and two other guys]
  Bernie: Duh, Homer, why are we down here?
   Homer: Aw, geez.  I told you, Bernie: to guard the bee!
     Man: [whining] But why?
   Homer: Aw, you guys are pathetic.  No wonder Smithers made me head
           [Homer kicks the jar accidentally, smashing it, and the bee
  Bernie: Duh, he's gettin' away.
     Man: Oh, we did bad!
-- No recess for you, "Homer Goes to College"

The inspectors want to test Homer's competence next, but Smithers
apologizes for him, saying, "He couldn't _bee_ here."  Burns fobs them
off with some excuse about Homer chairing a conference on nuclear
fission in Geneva.  Unfortunately, Homer jumps up through a manhole
cover just then, exclaiming, "The bee bit my bottom!  Now my bottom's

The inspectors put Homer in the van.

Agent 2: Homer, this is an exact replica of your work station.
  Homer: [moans]
Agent 2: Now we're going to simulate a power surge in core sector eight.
  Homer: What the hell are you talking about?
-- This won't look good on a resume, "Homer Goes to College"

Homer is despondent.

  Homer: What do I do?  What do I do?  In the name of God you've got to
         tell me!  [sobbing]
Agent 2: Relax, it's just a simulator.  Nothing can go wrong.
  Homer: [sotto voce] Just poke blindly at the controls until they let
         you go.
-- It's worked before, "Homer Goes to College"

Homer begins doing just that, but something goes horribly wrong.  "This
can't be happening!" exclaims one of the inspectors, as the van begins
to glow green and sink into the ground.  Panic ensues at the plant.
Burns decides to try to get away in his escape pod.  He activates the
entrance to the pod, jumps in, and slams the door shut.  Smithers
implores, "For the love of God, sir, there are two seats!" but Burns
likes to put his feet up.  The pod takes off, but doesn't even come
close to reaching escape velocity.  Instead, it crashes into the street
and continues bouncing down it in a crumpled ball.

A glowing green Homer rises out of the hole left where the van used to
be, growling and fearsome.  "Must destroy mankind," he intones, but the
alarm on his watch goes off, reminding him that it's lunch time.  He
shakes off his radioactivity and bounds off to eat.

The agents watch the detox team spray the hole in the parking lot with a
foamy sealant.

Agent 2: I'm still not sure how he caused the meltdown.  There wasn't
         any nuclear material in the truck!
  Burns: Oh, very well, it's time for your bribe.
         Now, you can either have the washer and dryer where the lovely
         Smithers is standing, or you can trade it all in for what's in
         this box.
-- I can't decide, Monty, "Homer Goes to College"

One inspector wants the box, but the other inspector remembers her
ethics.  She explains that Burns can't make the problem go away just by
throwing money at it, but just then, Mayor Quimby walks by in a fur coat
labeled "$5000" saying that he he's decided there will be no
investigation.  He then leaves.

The inspectors tell Burns that Homer's job requires college training in
nuclear physics.  If he doesn't get Homer up to speed, they tell him,
they'll be forced to take legal action.  "Is that so?" asks Burns.  "I
have the feeling you'll be dropping the charges," he says, emphasizing
"dropping" as he pushes a red button on his desk.  A trap door springs
open, but it's nowhere near where the inspectors are standing.  "The
painters moved your desk," Smithers reminds him.

The doorbell rings at the Simpsons house, and Homer goes to answer it.

 Homer: [answers the door, sees Burns with his lawyers] Aah!
 Burns: Hello, Simpson.  My lawyers and I were in the neighborhood and
        thought we'd stop by.
 Marge: [nervously] Would you like to come in for tea and marshmallow
         [The lawyers discuss it quietly amongst themselves]
Lawyer: Yes, he would.
-- Executive decision, "Homer Goes to College"

At the table, Homer asks Burns to confirm that he must go to college.
Bart scoffs, asking Homer, "College?  Barber or Clown?"

   Burns: Remember, your job and the future of your family hinges on
          your successful completion of Nuclear Physics 101.
          Oh, and one more thing: [ominously] you must find the jade
          monkey before the next full moon.
Smithers: Actually sir, we found the jade monkey; it was in your glove
   Burns: And the road maps?  And ice scraper?
Smithers: They were in there too, sir.
   Burns: Ex-cellent!  It's all falling into place.
-- Now as long as there are no meddling kids..., "Homer Goes to College"

That night, in bed, Marge expresses her support for the idea of Homer
going to college.  "You could learn so much," she thinks.  "Maybe you're
right," says Homer, "I did always want to go to college, {but fate stood
in the way."  He thinks back to high school, where his guidance
counselor tried to get him to sign an application, assuring him, "You're
a shoe-in," but Homer gets distracted by a dog with a ham outside.
Sighing, the counselor throws Homer's application away.}

{Back in the present, Homer is filling out college applications.  His
garbage bin is full of crumpled paper.}

Homer: [growls in frustration]
 Lisa: Dad, don't let these application essays throw you.  Let's see:
       "List your three favorite books and how they've influenced your
Homer: Is "TV Guide" a book?
 Lisa: No.
Homer: "Son of Sniglet"?
 Lisa: No.
Homer: Katherine Hepburn's "Me"?
 Lisa: No!
Homer: Oh, I suck.
-- "Reading Digest" counts, though, "Homer Goes to College"

Homer slaves away at the applications.

Homer: [writing] "...It was the most I ever threw up, and it changed my
       life forever."
 Bart: You the man, Homer!
Homer: Thanks, boy!
-- What it is, "Homer Goes to College"

For the crowning touch, Homer pastes his photo to the application.  The
one he chooses shows him cramming a birthday cake into his mouth, as
Marge looks on worriedly.

 Bart: I dunno, Dad: don't you have a better picture?
Homer: Relax.  A photo can't make any difference.
        [A man and a woman review applications, and they come across
  Man: [looking at the photo] He looks crazy.
Woman: Agreed.  Reading his essay would only waste valuable seconds.
-- Next!, "Homer Goes to College"

Bart watches TV at home.

Finally!  The great taste of Worcestershire Sauce in a soft drink.
-- A TV commercial, "Homer Goes to College"

Homer walks in and preempts Bart's program for a show about college that
he really should watch.  The show is called "School of Hard Knockers",
and it stars Corey Masterson.

 Prez: [on TV] Dean Bitterman, I hope nothing unsavory happens during my
       visit.  As you know, I _am_ the President of the United States.
 Dean: Oh, don't worry.  I've expelled those rowdy members of Chugalug
Homer: [watching] Ohh, I hate that lousy Dean!
Corey: [on TV] Your Bra Bomb better work, Nerdlinger!
 Nerd: Hey!
        [Corey presses the plunger; an explosion occurs in the
        [Many colors of bras rain down on the Dean and the President]
 Dean: Corey?!  Don't worry, Mr. President, I --
        [looks over, sees the President dancing and enjoying himself]
       Mr. President!
 Prez: Lighten up, Bitterman...that youngster will make a perfect
       addition to my cabinet.  Secretary of Partying Down!
 Dean: [growls; a bra falls on his head]
Homer: [triumphant] Yes!  Take _that_, Bitterman.
-- College is _just_ like that, "Homer Goes to College"

Marge brings in the mail: it has the decision letters from all the
colleges Homer applied to.  Sadly, none of them are letters of

 Bart: Well, Pop, what are you going to do?
Homer: [resolutely] Something I should have done a _long_ time ago.
        [long pause]
Marge: You don't know, do you?
Homer: [meekly] No, ma'am.
-- Homer's empty life, "Homer Goes to College"

Burns thinks he has a solution.  He wants to use his power at
Springfield University, where he holds a chair.  But the meeting is more
difficult than he has foreseen.

  Man: I'm sorry, Mr. Burns, but I must object.  This Simpson is not
        [There are nods of agreement]
Burns: I see.  Well, you know, fellows, I look at the admissions board a
       lot like a baseball team.  You all like baseball, don't you?
        [Everyone assents]
       Yes, well, to have a successful baseball club, you need teamwork,
       [Smithers hands him a baseball bat] not some hot-dog admissions
       officer playing by his own rules!
        [Burns starts hitting the man in the head with almost no force]
  Man: [noticing] Er, excuse me, what are you doing?
Burns: I'm giving you the [grunt] beating of your life!
  Man: Look, if -- stop that!  -- you wanted him that badly, why didn't
       you just say so?
Burns: [collapses from exertion] Smithers, dismember the corpse and send
       his widow a corsage.
-- "Homer Goes to College"

Homer is elated: Burns' tactic worked!

Homer: Woo-hoo!  I'm a college man!  I won't need my high school diploma
       any more!  [sets fire to it and starts singing]
       I am so smart!
       I am so smart!
       I am so smart!
       I am so smart!
       I mean, S-M-A-R-T...
-- You were saying?, "Homer Goes to College"

The fire Homer sets quickly engulfs the diploma and begins spreading to
the wall.

[End of Act One.  Time: 8:07]

At last, it's...

Homer: My first day of college.  I wish my father was alive to see this.
  Abe: [springing up from the back seat] Hey!
Homer: How long have you been back there?
  Abe: [meekly] Three days!
-- That explains the smell, "Homer Goes to College"

Marge parks the car in the parking lot, and as she does, Homer sees a
nerd walk by.

Homer: [yelling at a student] Neeeerd!
Marge: Homer, that isn't very nice.
Homer: Marge, try to understand.  There are two kinds of college
       students: jocks and nerds.  As a jock, it is my duty to give
       nerds a hard time.
        [A "jock" walks by]
       Hey pal!  Did you get a load of the nerd?
 Jock: [not understanding] Pardon me?
-- The times, they are a-changin', "Homer Goes to College"

To meet some new friends, Homer takes Marge to the Freshman Mixer.
Glancing around, Homer sees a bowl of punch, and decides to help is

  Homer: [spiking the punch] Heh heh, I'll be a campus hero.
          [Another student tastes the punch and spits it out]
Student: Attention, everyone: the punch has been spiked.
          [Everyone gasps]
         Don't worry.  Your parents have been called and will be here to
         pick you up shortly!
          [Everyone cheers]
-- Let's try plan two, "Homer Goes to College"

Homer: Marge, someone squeezed all the life out of these kids.  And
       unless movies and TV have lied to me, it's a crusty, bitter old
 Dean: Hi there!  Hello, I'm Dean Peterson, but you can call me Bobby.
       I just want you to know if you ever feel stressed out from
       studying or whatever, I'm always up for some hackey sack.  Or,
       hey!  If you just want to come by and jam, I used to be the bass
       player for the Pretenders.  [plays a riff]
Homer: [bitterly] Boy, I can't wait to take some of the starch out of
       that stuffed shirt.
-- Character evaluation problems, "Homer Goes to College"

On the first day of class, Homer sits at the back of the lecture hall.
The lecturer is an older man in a white lab coat, and he speaks with a
germanic accent.  "I see a lot of new faces," he says, "but, you know
the old saying: out with the old, in with the nucleus."  Everyone laughs
except Homer.  When the lecturer drops his cue cards by mistake, Homer's
mirth seems to know no bounds.  None of the other students see what he
finds so funny.

 Prof: {Now if anyone would like to stay, I'm going to hold a
       comprehensive review session after every class.}
Homer: {[waving] Do we have to?}
 Prof: {No --}
Homer: {Then kiss my curvy butt goood-bye!}
-- "Homer Goes to College"

{Homer opts for chasing around a pair of squirrels with a stick instead
of staying for the (no doubt much needed) review session.}

{At home, Homer has altered his room to be more like that of a college
student.  He has posters of W. C. Fields, Einstein, and a ballerina's
feet on the wall, and he's made a makeshift bookshelf from four planks
and six cinderblocks.  He's listening to "Louie, Louie" on his stereo.}

 Marge: {Homer, we have a perfectly good bookcase.}
 Homer: {Yeah, but this is what they're doing on campus.  Besides, it
        isn't costing us: I swiped the cinderblocks from a construction
         [At the site, a worker walks forlorn up to his boss]}
Worker: {Sir, six cinderblocks are missing.}
  Boss: {There'll be no hospital, then.  I'll tell the children.}
-- "Homer Goes to College"

Back in Nuclear Physics 101, the professor explains a high-tech piece of
equipment to the class.

 Prof: This proton accelerator destabilizes the atom in this chamber
       here, then propels it --
Homer: Uh, excuse me, Professor Brainiac, but I worked in a nuclear
       power plant for ten years, and, uh, I think I know how a proton
       accelerator works.
 Prof: Well, please, come down and show us.
Homer: All right, I will.
        [Everyone abandons the glowing green building]
        [Homer walks out, glowing green himself]
Homer: [to meltdown men] In there, guys.
  Men: Thanks, Homer.
-- If I didn't know better, I _might_ think you'd met him before, "Homer
    Goes to College"

The Dean is kind to Homer, despite the egregious nature of his screw-up.

 Dean: Homer, no one blames you for the accident, we simply feel you
       might benefit from outside tutoring.  I researched these names
       myself.  [hands him a list]
Homer: [to himself] Yeah, you've won this round, Dean...but the war
       isn't over.  [exits]
        [Dean's phone rings]
 Dean: Hello?
Homer: [disguising his voice] Hello, Dean!  You're a stupid-head.
 Dean: Homer, is that you?  [looks out his window]
Homer: [looks up, sees the Dean looking at him] Aah!
-- Thank God for Call Display, "Homer Goes to College"

Homer wanders the college in search of room 222, where his tutors live.
He knocks on the door and is let in.  When he greets the three nerds,
who are tapping furiously at their keyboards, they answer in robotic
voices, "Intruder Alert", and laugh.

 Homer: Look, I'm supposed to get a physics tutor.
Nerd 1: Well, you've come to the right place then.  If there's one thing
        we know, it is science.
Nerd 2: And math.
Nerd 3: And the words to every Monty Python routine.
 Nerds: [in unison] We are the Knights Who Say...Ni!  Ni!  [laughter]
 Homer: Heh heh...Ni.
-- Homer's quest for a shrubbery, "Homer Goes to College"

At dinner that night, Homer excitedly tells the Simpson family about his
three new friends.

Homer: We played Dungeons & Dragons for three hours!  Then I was slain
       by an elf.
 Bart: Listen to yourself, man: you're hangin' with nerds.
Homer: You take that back!
Marge: Homer, please!  These boys sound very nice, but they're clearly
Homer: Really?  But nerds are my mortal enemy!
 Lisa: Dad, nerds are nothing to fear.  In fact, they've done some
       pretty memorable things.  Some nerds of note include...popcorn
       magnate Orville Redenbacher, rock star David Byrne, and supreme
       court justice David Souter.
Homer: [gasp] Oh, not Souter!  Oh, no!
-- Mmm, Burgher, "Homer Goes to College"

The three nerds try to help Homer study, but he won't put any effort
into it.

Nerd 1: Come on, Mr. Simpson, you'll never pass this course if you don't
        know the periodic table.
 Homer: Ehh, I'll write it on my hand.
Nerd 1: Ho!  Including all known lanthanides and actinides?  Ha, ha!
        Good luck.
-- Cerium, praseodymium, neodymium..., "Homer Goes to College"

 Homer: Come on, guys.  Look at yourselves!  All you do is study.  I'm
        going to show you the true meaning of college: we're gonna go
        out and par-ty!
Nerd 2: Wait a minute, I'll put on my snow pants.
Nerd 1: Me too.
Nerd 3: Me too.
-- Don't forget the Cougar boots, "Homer Goes to College"

Ah, the college road-trip.  What better way to spread beer-fueled
-- Homer, "Homer Goes to College"

Marge sees Homer loading cases of beer in the car, and she goes out to

 Marge: If you're going for a ride, I'd like you to take Bart and Lisa.
 Homer: [plaintively] But Marge, we're college guys and we're up to no
Nerd 1: Mr. Simpson, Gary spilled his ear medicine.
-- Does it stain naugahyde?, "Homer Goes to College"

The beer-fueled mayhem turns out to be a trip to the Springfield petting
zoo.  Lisa's happy that they let them feed the baby ducks, but she seems
to be alone in her happiness.

Nerd 2: I need to go to the bathroom!
  Lisa: We stopped five minutes ago!
Nerd 2: Yeah, but someone knocked on the door and I couldn't go.
-- Tension and urination just don't mix, "Homer Goes to College"

Homer still tries to figure out a way to kick-start the nerds' social
lives.  He decides a big crazy prank might do the trick: maybe rolling
the Dean up in a carpet and throwing him off a bridge?  Bart has a
better idea: pignapping the Springfield A&M mascot, Sir Oinkcelot.
Homer combines the plans, suggesting they roll the pig up in a carpet
and throw him off a bridge, but there are no takers.

Under cover of darkness, the five accomplices set out to steal Sir
Oinkcelot.  When they lug the pig back to Homer's car, Homer starts
playing with its tail, noticing that even if you pull it straight, it
curls right back up again.  He does it repeatedly until the pig chomps
on his hand in annoyance.  Homer has to be restrained from harming the
poor innocent pig.

Shortly thereafter, back at the dorm...

Nerd 1: Hey, the pig's acting kind of funny.
Nerd 2: He and Mr. Simpson split a case of malt liquor.
Nerd 3: Guys, he's really sick.
         [The pig collapses]
  Dean: [outside] Hell-oo...that sounds like a pig fainting!
-- Good ear on you, "Homer Goes to College"

Fortunately, the pig's OK.  Homer, the Dean, and the nerds watch as the
pig is airlifted to safety, tied into a harness under a helicopter.

 Dean: I'm sorry, boys, I've -- I've never expelled anyone before,
       but...that pig had some powerful friends.
Nixon: [bitterly] Oh, you'll pay.  Don't think you won't pay!
-- They are not a crook, "Homer Goes to College"

Homer is apologetic as the gates of Sprigfield College slam closed,
leaving the nerds out on the street with their suitcases.

 Homer: Guys, believe me, I didn't mean to get you expelled.
Nerd 3: Oh, don't worry, Mr. Simpson, we can take care of ourselves.
         [Snake appears, holding out his hand]
 Snake: Uh, wallet inspector.
Nerd 1: Oh, here ya go.  [All three give him their wallets] I believe
        that's all in order.
 Snake: Huh ho!  I can't _believe_ that worked.
 Homer: [realization dawning] Heyy...that's not the wallet inspector!
-- Coulda been, though, "Homer Goes to College"

Homer places a worried hand to his lips, wondering what he's done.

[End of Act Two.  Time: 15:59]

Homer decides the only recourse is to let them stay at the Simpson
house.  Marge doesn't look too happy about it, but Homer pleads their

 Homer: Marge!  They don't have anywhere to stay.  And they're geniuses.
        they'll solve all our problems.  They'll elevate us to the
        status of kings on earth!
Nerd 3: Mr. Simpson?  We all have nosebleeds.
-- Genii non-savants, "Homer Goes to College"

The nerds sit at their computer terminals once again, only this time,
they've set them up in the Simpson's living room.  Marge idly watches
them, then remembers a phone call she has to make.  She lifts the

 Marge: [hearing modem noises] Ooh, what's wrong with this phone? it's
        making crazy noises.
Nerd 2: [contemptuously] Those "crazy noises" are computer signals.
Nerd 3: Yeah.  Some guys at MIT are sending us reasons why Captain
        Picard is better than Captain Kirk.
Nerd 1: Hah!  They're outta their minds.
-- The Great Debate continues, "Homer Goes to College"

Bart and Lisa, meanwhile, are watching the Krusty the Klown Show. it's
time for an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon: "Burning Down the Mouse".  Lisa
says she's heard about it already: "This is the one where Scratchy
finally gets Itchy!"  Bart is suitably impressed.

Itchy is tied to a stake, and he looks glum.  Scratchy rubs his hands in
delight, then reaches for a crate next to him.  He puts sticks of
dynamite under the mouse's eyelids and in his ears.  He fashions a
Lincolnian hat and beard out of plastic explosive and slaps them rudely
on Itchy, attaching grenades to his ears as crude parodies of earrings.
Itchy stares up in horror as a shadow looms over his face: Scratchy is
turning a wheel, adjusting the angle of two atomic bombs so that their
sharpened tips point directly at Itchy's eyes.  Crates of TNT are
stacked around the atomic bombs.  Lighting the fuses on all the
dynamite, he hails a taxi, and leaves.

Slowly, the fuse burns down.  Itchy tries in vain to escape, his legs
struggling.  Bart and Lisa watch, transfixed.  "My purpose in life is to
witness this moment," says Bart, grasping Lisa's hand.  We see a close-
up of Itchy's sweaty face as the inevitable draws inexorably closer.
The fuse burns all the way down, and --

Suddenly the TV screen goes blank.  Bart and Lisa scream, horrified.
One of the nerds rises from behind the TV, holding a plug in each hand.
"We need the outlet for our rock tumbler," he explains.  "Plug it in,
Plug it in!" the two cry frantically.  "What, the rock tumbler or the
TV?"  "The TV, the TV!"  The nerd makes it so.

But it is too late.  A mushroom cloud is all that's left on the TV, with
"THE END" written in red superimposed on it.  The children in Krusty's
audience cheer wildly.  "Wow!" exclaims Krusty, "They'll never let us
show that again, not in a million years!"  Bart and Lisa are aghast.

 Bart: [sharpening knives] Dad, start diggin' some nerd holes!
 Lisa: [plaintively] It's bad enough that they put their retainers in
       the dishwasher; can't we do something?
Homer: Look, I'm sure we can work something out where we can all live in
       harmony, right, Marge?
Marge: No, I want those geeks outta my house!
-- Who can argue with that?, "Homer Goes to College"

The only recourse is to get the nerds back into college, thinks Homer,
with a zany scheme of some sort.  The nerds aren't sure about the "zany"
idea, but Homer ignores them: "I got it!  We're gonna fix it so you guys
save the Dean's life!"

In the next scene, Homer is behind the wheel, driving with a determined
look on his face.  He checks his watch, seeing "4:59", and says,
"Perfect."  He fishtails around the corner.

The Dean is just leaving, closing the door on his way out.  He whistles
as he strolls down the path to the parking lot.  The nerds are hiding
behind a nearby bush.

Nerd 2: OK, guys: push him out of the way in exactly three seconds.
Nerd 1: Should we correct for wind resistance?
Nerd 3: Hmm, possibly.  What do _you_ think?
         [Homer hits the Dean with his car, and the Dean goes flying]
Nerd 1: Oh, my.
-- I hope he's insured, "Homer Goes to College"

In the Springfield General Hospital, Homer and the nerds stand beside
the Dean's bed.  Homer apologizes for the "running-you-over prank", and
he admits that all the other pranks were his idea too.  "I'm the one who
should be expelled."  The Dean is touched by Homer's honesty, and he
wonders if perhaps he's been a bit of an ogre himself.  "Yes you have,"
Homer confirms quietly.

The Dean magnanimously offers to readmit the nerds and to forget that
the whole silly incident ever happened.  Just then, Dr. Hibbert walks in
with the Dean's prosthetic replacement hip.  It breaks in his hands, so
the Doctor jovially informs him he'll have to go easy on it.

The nerds move back into room 222, and check their answering machine.
"Number of messages received: zero," it says, and the three sigh with
relief.  They thank Homer for getting them back into college, and he
says, "The important thing is that we wrapped up all the loose ends."

But Homer has forgotten why he was at college in the first place: "So,
in conclusion, good luck on tomorrow's big final exam," says the Nuclear
Physics 101 lecturer.  "Exam?!  This is just like one of those bad
dreams," Homer says from his seat in the back row; he then glances down,
noticing he's wearing only his underwear.

Nerd 2: What are you going to do, Mr. Simpson?
 Homer: Actually, I've been working on a plan.  During the exam, I'll
        hide under some coats, and hope that somehow everything will
        work out.
Nerd 2: [determined] Or, with our help, you can cram like you've never
        crammed before!
 Homer: Whatever.  Either way is good.
-- I'm not picky, "Homer Goes to College"

Homer goes to the library and takes out a wheelbarrow full of books.
The nerds tie his eyes open and hold a book in front of him.  He falls
asleep while reading another book, and one of the nerds slaps him
lightly on the cheek to wake him.  Reflexively, Homer drives his fist
into the nerd's unfortunate face, and falls back asleep.

In the exam, Homer is one of the last to leave, but he hands in his
paper with a smile, clicking his heels joyously.  The instructor glances
at his answers, and stamps a circled red "F" on his paper.

The nerds are discontented with Homer's performance.

Nerd 2: Oh, man, I can't believe you failed.
 Homer: [whining] Oh, I'm going to lose my job just 'cause I'm
        dangerously unqualified!
Nerd 2: Mr. Simpson, there is a way.  We could -- well, use a computer
        to change your grade.
 Homer: [surprised] Computers can do that?
Nerd 2: Well, yes...the only problem is the moral dilemma it raises,
        which requires --
         [Homer kisses one of the computers]
 Homer: Oh, I love -- moral whuzzah?
-- You know, ethical crisis, "Homer Goes to College"

Marge: An A+!  How did you do it?
Homer: Oh, let's just say I had help from a little magic box.
Marge: You changed your grade with a computer?
Homer: D'oh!
-- How'd she figure that out?, "Homer Goes to College"

Bart is impressed at Homer's ability, and Homer is quick to redirect
attention elsewhere.

 Homer: Look, the important thing is that we all learned a lesson.
        These guys learned the richness and variety of the world outside
Nerd 2: No we didn't.
 Homer: Oh.  Then I learned the real value of college is to study, and
        work hard.
  Lisa: No you didn't.  You only passed your course by cheating, which
        you always taught us was wrong.
 Homer: Hmm...true.
-- The need for Debating 101, "Homer Goes to College"

Marge wants Homer to take the course over again so he can pass it
without cheating.  Homer accuses her of being worse than the crusty old
Dean.  But he sighs, accepting Marge's resolution.

Homer: Well, I guess it's back to college for me.  And that means it's
       time to -- what did I teach you guys?
Nerds: [timidly] Par - ty - down?
Homer: Yess!
-- Woo hoo!, "Homer Goes to College"

[End of Act Three.  Time: 21:23]

"Louie, Louie" plays over the closing credits, as many scenes of Homer's
return to college flash by.


   {rc}  Ron Carter
   {ekf} E. K. Friedman
   {rk}  Rick Kitchen
   {rl}  Ricardo Lafaurie
   {bl}  Bill Lapworth
   {er}  Eric Rasmussen
   {bs}  Barzilai Spinak
   {nt}  Noel Taylor
This episode summary is Copyright 1997 by James A. Cherry.  Not to be
redistributed in a public forum without permission.  (The quotes
themselves, of course, remain the property of The Simpsons, and the
reproduced articles remain the property of the original authors.  I'm
just taking credit for the compilation.)