[1F13] Deep Space Homer

Deep Space Homer                                        Written by David Mirkin
                                                       Directed by Carlos Baeza
Production code: 1F13                       Original airdate in N.A.: 24-Feb-94
                                                  Capsule revision I, 22-Feb-97

Title sequence

Blackboard :- None due to shortened intro.

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

Couch      :- OFF runs in to find a very fat man sitting on the couch.
              He moves a tiny bit to his right, and the family sits to
              his left all scrunched together.  Recycled from 1F05.

Did you notice...

Dave Hall:
    ... most of the plant employees don't care for the worker of the
        week award, yet all of them wear theirs?
    ... Homer carries a union rule book on him?
    ... the green food at dinner?
    ... the space thingy on the NASA control's orbit chart is slightly
        off course?
    ... Tim's riding mower had a windshield and four wheel drive?
    ... Homer uses Moe's telephone to make long-distance phone calls?
    ... Homer doesn't hang up on the President?
    ... how good the scientist is at knocking out two grown men with one
    ... Homer and Barney's training program only lasts three weeks?
    ... Homer starts his training by eating a donut?
    ... how different Barney looks when sober?
    ... even with gloves on, Scratchy clawed the sides of the spaceship?
    ... food particles leaving Homer's mouth when he screams at the
    ... James Taylor wore suspenders?
    ... Maggie doesn't looked that all surprised when she saw the "huge"
        ant while the rest of the family screams?
    ... Marge turns Maggie's head away from the TV screen?
    ... neither Patty nor Selma smoke nor talk?  (If Homer were there,
        he'd probably be pleased.)

Don Del Grande:
    ... the person who introduces Homer and Barney at the press
        conference calls them "Nassau astronauts"?
    ... Homer breaks into a sweat after watching the I&S cartoon?
    ... the shuttle's name is CORVAIR, and the mission patch is a gold
        star above a wavy red/white/blue-striped strip on a red
    ... the shuttle does a slow (about 5 RPM) roll in space?
    ... when Bart writes "HERO" on Homer's head, it's on the right side
        of the head (when viewed from behind)?

Don Milenko:
    ... when Smithers puts the medal on the rod, Burns' arm dips for a
        moment because of the weight of the medal?

Olafur B. Gudnason:
    ... Barney sings the lyrics to W. S. Gilbert's "The Modern Major-
    ... Homer refers to James Taylor as president, confusing him with
        Zachary Taylor?

Jussi Pakkanen:
    ... the security camera under Burns' balcony?
    ... the woman at the fighting arena?
    ... the NASA guy almost whacks James Taylor?
    ... Maggie eats with her pacifier?

Voice credits

- Starring
    - Dan Castellaneta (Homer, Tom Brokaw's partner, scientist, chimp,
      Barney, Grampa)
    - Julie Kavner (Marge)
    - Nancy Cartwright (Bart)
    - Yeardley Smith (Lisa)
    - Hank Azaria (Lenny, Tim Taylor, Al Bundy, researcher, reporter,
      Race Banyon)
    - Harry Shearer (Smithers, X-ray machine guard, Carl, Burns, "You
      stupid..." man, Tom Brokaw, assistant, Jim Wallace, I&S Announcer,
      mission controller, Kent Brockman)
- Special Guest Voice
    - Buzz Aldrin (himself)
    - James Taylor (himself)
- Also Starring
    - Pamela Hayden (Peg Bundy)
    - Maggie Roswell (Woman scientist, Toby Hunter)

Movie (and other) references

  + "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine"
    - episode title
  + "Total Recall"
    - everyone walking through the X-ray machine
  + "2001: A Space Odyssey"
    - Itchy attacking Scratchy with the space-pod is identical with HAL
      attacking Frank Poole
    - Homer eating chips to "Blue Danube" same as spaceship docking
    - Bart throwing the marker which becomes a satellite same as Ape
      throwing bone
    - Homer the star-child like Bowman the star-child
  + Tom Brokaw {tfb}
    - "Tom", the boring commentator, sounds just like him, lisp and all
  + "Married...With Children"
    - even stupider version watched by the NASA people
  + "Home Improvement"
    - another show watched by the NASA people
  + "Beverly Hillbillies"
    - the family arriving at Cape Canaveral
  + "Planet of the Apes"
    - Homer imitates Charlton Heston: "Damn them all to hell!"
  + "Johnny Quest"
    - astronaut Race Banyon similar to Race Bannon
  + "Popeye"
    - Homer on the centrifugal force machine
  + "Star Trek" (the original series)
    - Homer and Barney in the ring is from "Gamesters of Triskelion"
    - music is classic Star Trek "fight music"
    - "I'll wager 400 quatloos on the newcomer"
  + "Star Trek: The Next Generation"
    - title of I&S cartoon: "Scar Trek: The Next Laceration"
  + "Alien"
    - Itchy coming out of Scratchy's stomach just like in the movie
  + "The Right Stuff"
    - scene at Moe's similar to scene at Edwards Air Force Base
    - Barney and Homer in the centrifuge {mfj}
    - Barney and Homer blowing into the tube with the ball
    - shot of Homer and others walking towards the camera down the hall
    - using the rod to lock the hatch, like Yeager needed with his
      broken ribs that he concealed {mfj}
    - singing on reentry after equipment malfunction
    - Homer: "...the right...what's that stuff?"
  + "The Reluctant Astronaut" {rc}
    - Homer at the payphone like Don Knotts
    - food floating around in the shuttle clogging up controls
  + "Airplane II: The Sequel" {gp}
    - Homer turning into Nixon like all the passengers in Airplane II
  + "Hellstrom Chronicles" {rc}
    - the ants talking and taking over
  + "Empire of the Ants" {rc}
    - ants ruling from sugar caves

Previous episode references

- [7F19] Bart's class election is a "popularity contest"
- [8F19] Bart draws on the back of Homer's head
- [9F07] Barney before beer ("Lachrymose is to dyspeptic as ebullient is
  to...effervescent!  All right, Harvard: here I come!")
- [9F14] Skinner's "Nooo!" in slow motion (cf. Homer in 1F13)
- [9F15] Homer reads the union rules
- [9F15] Homer running sideways like a Stooge
- [9F18], [1F01], [1F02], [1F04] More Nixon gags
- [9F19] A pillow factory appears (Luke Perry lands in one in 9F19)
- [9F20] Lionel Hutz to Apu: "...if that _is_ your real name" (like
  Homer to Buzz Aldrin)
- [9F20] "Married...With Children" appears (the cause of Ned's downfall
  in 9F20)
- [9F22] Gilbert and Sullivan is sung
- [1F01] Homer endorses Big Macs (cf. Golden Grahams in 1F13)
- [1F03] Homer: "I'll bash it good!" to weather station (cf. "I'll bash
  you good!" to Banyon in 1F13) {ra}

Freeze frame fun

- On the back of Homer's head: {rc}
    - Insert Brain Here
    - Hero
- NASA stuff: {rc}
    - Cape Canaveral Formerly Cape Kennedy Formerly Cape Arbuckle
    - "Hail to the Chef"
- In the Corvair (Dynaglider) re-entry spaceship: {rc}
    - Potato Chips, Heavily Salted
    - Children's Letters to God, To Jettison
    - Experimental Ant Colony
    - The chip
        - 536 837-1717 (no such area code as 536 *sigh*)
- The ants' conversation: {rc}
    - Protect the Queen!
    - Which one's the Queen?
    - I'm the Queen.
    - No you're not.
    - Freedom!
    - Horrible, horrible freedom!
- TIME magazine: In Rod We Trust {rc}
- Barney's accident: {rc}
    - Pillow Factory
    - Marshmallow delivery truck

Animation, continuity, and other goofs

Homer's never been "worker of the week" - but isn't he the only person
other than Smithers to be "employee of the month" (in "Homer Defined")?

Homer's shadow doesn't quite match his profile.

Since when is carbon green?  {at}

OFF's position changes at the kitchen table.  {dh}

OFF shouldn't be eating dinner at the kitchen table.  {dh}

When Marge says that the whole family respects Homer, Maggie's plate
disappears, then reappears empty.  {tkc}

The parking meter is missing from in front of Moe's Tavern.  Did Moe
have it removed?  {dh}

Barney is sitting at the end of the bar, yet some scenes don't depict
this.  {dh}

Before Cape Canaveral was called Cape Kennedy, it was called Cape
Canaveral.  [not really a goof, but anyway - ed]

The microphone is missing from stand in the wide shot.  {dh}

Homer seems not to figure out that "Planet of the Apes" is actually
about the Earth until this episode.  Yet, in 8F10, when Marge asks him
if he's thought about the future, he asks, "You mean, when apes will
rule the earth?"  This might imply he'd already understood the ending of
"Planet of the Apes" before this episode.  {kh}

Homer's egg turner disappears.  {dh}

Barney's golf club appears to turn into two beer cans.  {dh}

Both the lung-test machines appear to be hooked up to the one monitor.

When Homer's at the gas station, the moon is a crescent, but there's a
star right in the middle where the invisible part of the moon is.  {gp}

After Barney takes the champagne bottle, he holds it upside down for
several seconds, yet no champagne flows.  {md}

The champagne glasses disappear.  {dh}

Barney first holds the champagne bottle in his left hand, but changes
hands when he blasts off.  Later, he loses the champagne bottle.  {dh}

Homer's arm stretches during the struggle.  {jp}

Another hatch replaces the blown one in I&S cartoon.  {dh}

Banyon asked permission to "sedate cargo ahead of schedule" - he never
did "sedate cargo", on schedule or otherwise.  {ddg}

One of the astronauts appears to change his helmet.  {dh}

Floating potato chips aren't seen when Homer crashes into the ant farm.

The gravity on the shuttle is inconsistent.  While they're in their ant
farm, the ants are standing on the ground, as if there were gravity.
Similarly, when the ants short out the controls, Race and Buzz run back
and forth on the floor, while Homer runs on the ceiling, as if both had
gravity.  {at}

You can't create a total vacuum outside of a house, at least not without
destroying the house.  {ddg}

SLH and SBII join the family for one scene.  {dh}

In some later scenes the ant farm isn't smashed.  {dh}

When the hatch is blown open, Homer isn't not wearing his seat harness;
nobody is strong enough to prevent being pulled out by the force simply
by "holding onto something".  Also, when Homer is holding onto the
handle, chips are still being "forced" out of the shuttle, but neither
of the other two astronauts are affected.  {ddg}

In one scene, the shuttle hatch appears to be the wrong scale.  {dh}

The inside of the shuttle shouldn't get hot on re-entry.  {ddg}

The only way they could survive the sudden stop caused by a nose-first
landing into a building is with VERY large air bags.  {ddg}

In space the rod jamming the hatch appears to come out easily once the
shuttle is back on earth.  {dh}

Homer's hand made the cover of TIME, yet his spacesuit glove isn't on in
the photo.  {ddg}


Samuel Walch: IMHO, the best episode this season!  The Malibu Stacey
    episode had some great social satire, but when it comes to all out
    laughs, Deep Space Home takes the cake (or floor pie).  Up to this
    point, I've been worried that the show had run out of gas, but the
    last two episodes have restored my faith.

Tom Celentano: Last night's episode was hysterical.  The barbs at the
    news media were especially funny and right on target.  As a long
    time space buff, I loved the space humor.  The takeoffs of Home
    Improvement and Married With Children were perfect.

John J. Wood: Yow!  Two weeks in a row, The Simpsons produce another
    hilarious outing!  Like James Cherry said: choice gags, an
    interesting plot, the pre-beer Barney, and the 2001- Homer-chows-
    potato-chips gag (another classic Homer bit).  Interestingly enough,
    I've found that many of my favorite Simpsons episodes have had
    "Homer" involved in its title (Homer The Heretic, for example): this
    one's a keeper.  My grade: A!

Don Del Grande: (B+) A very good episode overall, but it lacked that one
    standout item that would have made it "excellent".  The bit about
    the "giant ants" was overdone a little, and the animators could have
    made the shuttle look a little more like the real thing.

Jeff Briskin: IMHO, this was the best episode (maybe second to "Homer 'n
    Mindy") of the season so far.  The writing, pacing, even the
    references were sharp as nails.  [...] After the nadir of "Bart Gets
    Famous," OFF has rebounded with a bang over the last few episodes.

Carl Frank: The plot was a trifle slow to develop and the big theme
    (Homer needs respect) was never really tied together.  Moreover, the
    SF references were rather easy and slight (Right Stuff, Apes, ST and
    ST-TNG, and Alien).  And the carbon rod was too much of a gimmick.
    Rating A-.

Andrew Ross: I give the episode a B, not because it was below par, but
    because there were too many space movie references that went right
    by me.

Ron Carter: [ B ] Awfully good, but not great.  The pacing gets thrown
    off at odd times, and usually by the guest appearances.  Homer as a
    "2001" icon was super as always, but the awkward moments were a

Matthew Kurth: "Deep Space Homer" was decidedly average.  I thought the
    dialogue was uninspiring, and more expositional than usual.  In
    fact, for the the first act the lines seemed a little forced and
    uncharacteristic.  The references were superb, but there was no
    punch to the script.  [...] 5 of 10.

Yours truly: Awright!  A giant leap for the Simpsons over 1F12, "Lisa
    vs. Malibu Stacy".  Packed with choice lines, references everywhere,
    previous episode gags.  Barney reverts to the smart, pre-beer Barney
    first seen in 9F07.  I give it an A-.

Comments and other observations

Homer and Tang

Bill Lapworth notes, "Homer is on the phone to NASA and talks about
    Tang, among other things.  Next we see him talking to the President
    (and I don't have the exact quote) because the Pres. knows Tang.
    The way my twisted mind works, they were alluding to 'tang, as in
    poon tang, as in Gennifer Flowers, et. al."

Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle

Scott Renshaw says Arbuckle was a silent film comedian who "was
    blackballed from the film industry after a scandal in which he was
    accused of inadvertently killing a young woman during particularly
    rough intercourse."  Kurt Eppley adds, "Though Mr. Arbuckle was
    acquitted of killing his friend (one Virginia Rappe), he suffered
    irreparable harm to his career due to the persistent rumor that he
    had violated and ruptured the young lady using a wine bottle."

Minneapolis Star

Tony Hill says, "The Star folded in April 1982.  The Tribune was the
    renamed the Minneapolis Star and Tribune, but even a child could
    tell it was 90% Tribune, 10% Star.  In 1987, the paper was renamed
    StarTribune: Newspaper of the Twin Cities (an appellation for this
    area which I never EVER use!), with separate Minneapolis, St. Paul,
    and outstate editions.  [...] On the day the Star published its last
    issue, I called the paper and asked where the answer to the
    crossword puzzle would appear."

"Corvair" as the shuttle's name

Tom Long says, "The Chevrolet Corvair (automobile) was the subject of
    Ralph Nader's book/expose' of the auto industry in the sixties --
    `Unsafe At Any Speed.'  Corvairs, as I recall, just were plain old
    accident prone cars, and they were eventually discontinued as the
    publicity got real bad.  So, it seems to me that the name of the
    ship in the 2/24 episode was a reference to the shoddiness, etc.,
    and dangerousness of the ship, in the general sarcastic Simpsons

Homer as an Ape: the gags continue

Here is a list of episodes with Homer being compared to an ape in them:

    - [7G01] "Simpsons, what a bunch of savages.  Especially that big
      ape father."
    - [7G02] Bart calls Homer a "KWYJIBO" (a balding ape)
    - [7G09] Homer is mistaken for Bigfoot
    - [7G10] Burns calls Homer an "over-sexed orangutan in heat"
    - [7F02] uses 'Gorilla Man' hair tonic
    - [7F05] Bart calls him one sad, ape-like dude
    - [7F08] Homer can't make the shot at the Ape hole
    - [7F10] Burns wants to buy off Homer with a banana or two.
    - [7F19] Lisa to Homer: "You, sir, are a baboon!"
    - [8F06] Opening scene with 2001
    - [8F18] Marge calls Homer a big ape
    - [8F22] Homer hoots like an ape
    - [9F04] "King Homer" sketch
    - [1F01] "Planet of the Apes" with Homers pulling the carts
    - [1F13] Homer looks like an ape walking through the X-ray machine

Quotes and Scene Summary

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

Grim music plays at the nuclear power plant as Smithers' voice comes
over the PA system.  "Attention.  All workers trudge immediately to the
main yard for the mandatory 'Worker of the Week award' festivities."
Each person must walk through an X-ray machine watched by several
security guards.  One of them watches each worker: "Clean.  Clean.
Pistol.  Uzi.  Two kids posing as an adult.  Oh -- " he says, seeing a
Neanderthal-looking skeleton, "hey Homer."

 Carl: I hate these "Worker of the Week Award" ceremonies.
Lenny: Who even cares any more?  Everyone at work sure has already got
 Carl: Except foooooor --
Homer: Hello!  Well, today's the day for Homer J.!  I _know_ I'm going
       to win this time.
Lenny: Yeah?  How come?
Homer: Union rule 26.  "Every employee must win 'Worker of the Week' at
       least once, regardless of gross incompetence, obesity, or rank
       odor."  Heh heh heh heh.
-- He's a shoo-in, then, "Deep Space Homer"

Smithers uses a megaphone to make an announcement.

Smithers: Attention, everyone.  Let's have an awed hush please for Mr.
           [Everyone gasps]
   Burns: Compadres, it is imperative that we crush the freedom fighters
          before the start of the rainy season.  And remember, a shiny
          new donkey for whoever brings me the head of Colonel Montoya.
           [Smithers whispers to him]
          Hmm?  What?  Oh, and by that I mean, of course, it's time for
          the "Worker of the Week Award".  I can't believe we've
          overlooked this week's winner for so very, very long.  We
          simply could not function without his tireless efforts.  So, a
          round of applause for...this inanimate carbon rod!
           [Everyone cheers]
   Homer: [growls] Ooh...inanimate, huh?  I'll show him inanimate!
           [stands perfectly still while his shadow elongates]
-- Homer, master impressionist, "Deep Space Homer"

Homer is despondent that night at dinner.

Homer: Stupid carbon rod.  It's all just a popularity contest!
 Bart: Wow!  Did you actually get to _see_ the rod?
Marge: Oh, I'm sorry, Homey.
Homer: [mournful] Nobody respects me at work.
Marge: Well _we_ respect you!
        [Bart writes "Insert Brain Here" on the back of Homer's head]
        [Lisa and Bart laugh]
       Bart, I told you, don't draw on your father's skull.
        [Marge reads it and begins to chuckle]
-- Once a Simpson, always a Simpson, "Deep Space Homer"

Since everyone's laughing, Homer asks, "What does it say?  I want to
see!"  He tries spinning around to see it, but only ends up falling on
the ground and gasping as he continues to run in circles.  The family's
laughter tapers off slowly.  Soon, they all groan.

Homer: Ah, TV respects me.  It laughs _with_ me, not at me!
        [Turns it on; a man points at him]
  Man: You stupid -- [laughs uncontrollably]
Homer: D'oh!  [switches channels]
-- "Deep Space Homer"

The channel Homer happened to flick to shows two men talking about the
impending launch of the space shuttle.

  Tom: It's a lovely day for a launch, here, live at Cape Canaveral, at
       the lower end of the Florida Peninsula, and the purpose of
       today's mission is truly, really electrifying.
Man 2: That's correct, Tom.  The lion's share of this flight will be
       devoted to the study of the effects of weightlessness on tiny
  Tom: Unbelievable, and just imagine the logistics of weightlessness.
       And of course, this could have literally millions of applications
       here on Earth -- everything from watchmaking to watch repair.
Homer: Boring.
        [tries to switch channels, but the batteries fall from the
       remote control]
       No!  The batteries!
  Tom: Now let's look at the crew a little.
Man 2: They're a colorful bunch.  They've been dubbed "the Three
       Musketeers".  Heh heh heh --
  Tom: And we laugh legitimately.  There's a mathematician, a different
       _kind_ of mathematician, and a statistician.
Homer: Make it stop!  [panics]
 Bart: Oh no, not another boring space launch.  Change the channel.
       Change the channel!
Homer: I can't!  I can't!
        [Bart dives for the plug and tears it from the wall]
        [He and Homer both sigh]
-- Close call, "Deep Space Homer"

Meanwhile, at Mission Control...

Assistant: Sir, we've run into a serious problem with the mission.
           These Nielsen ratings are the lowest ever.  [holds a piece of
Scientist: Oh my God...we've been beaten by "A Connie Chung Christmas!"
-- NASA's ultimate nightmare, "Deep Space Homer"

A meeting is called to discuss the ratings fiasco.

Scientist: People, we're in danger of losing our funding.  America isn't
           interested in space exploration any more.
Assistant: Maybe we should finally tell them the big secret: that all
           the chimps we sent into space came back super-intelligent.
    Chimp: No, I don't think we'll be telling them _that_.
            [Roller skates away, making monkey noises]
-- The best-kept secret, "Deep Space Homer"

Scientist: We need a fresh angle to keep the public interested.
Assistant: The public see our astronauts as clean-cut, athletic go-
           getters.  They hate people like that.
    Woman: Well, who do they like?
Assistant: Well, here are the most popular personalities on television,
           or "TV".
            [Turns one on, shows "Home Improvement"]
   Taylor: I did it!  I supercharged my riding mower.
            [Makes his characteristic noises.  Backs through a fence by
           Oh, no!  I've killed Wilson.  Looks like it's back to jail
           for me.
            [Makes more train noises]
            [The next channel shows "Married...With Children"]
      Peg: [whines] Al...let's have sex!
       Al: Ehh, no Peg.
            [Audience laughs and claps]
            [Al flushes a toilet, and everyone hollers and cheers]
-- Fox: only the best programs, "Deep Space Homer"

The scientist sees the common theme in the popular shows.

Researcher: Why, they're all a bunch of blue-collar slobs!
 Scientist: People, that's who we need for our next astronaut.
 Assistant: I suggest a lengthy, inefficient search.  At the taxpayers'
            expense, of course.
 Scientist: I wish there was an easier way.
             [Phone rings]
     Homer: Hello, is this NASA?
 Scientist: Yes?
     Homer: Good!  Listen: I'm sick of your boring space launches.  Now
            I'm just an ordinary, blue-collar slob, but I know what I
            likes on TV.
 Scientist: How did you get this number?
     Homer: Shut up!  And another thing: how come I can't get no Tang
            'round here?  And also --
             [a toilet flushes]
 Scientist: People, our long search is over.
-- At no expense to the taxpayers, yet, "Deep Space Homer"

Homer's next phone call from Moe's is to the President of the United

    Homer: Hello, is this President Clinton?  Good!  I figured if anyone
           knew where to get some Tang, it'd be you.  ...Shut up!
Assistant: Excuse me --
    Homer: Aah!
Assistant: Are you the person that called NASA yesterday?
    Homer: No, it wasn't me, I swear!  It was...him!  [points to Barney]
Scientist: Sir, how would you like to get higher than you've ever been
           in your life?
   Barney: Be an astronaut?  Sure!
Scientist: Well, welcome aboard.  I think you'll find this will win you
           the respect of your family and friends.
    Homer: [gasps] Respect?  Nooo!  It was me.  _I_ made the crank call.
           I do it all the time!  Check with the FBI: I have a file.  I
           have a file!
Scientist: Ehh, better take both of them.
            [The assistant clubs Barney and Homer, knocking them out]
           I don't really think that was necessary; they _wanted_ to be
Assistant: I know.
-- "Deep Space Homer"

[End of Act One.  Time: 6:05]

Homer drags his whole family down to Florida in a Beverly Hillbillies-
style junker.  They arrive at a gate through which a guard motions them.

The scientist has called a press conference.  He stands at a podium on a
stage in front of red curtains.

Scientist: Ladies and gentlemen and members of the press.  I'd like to
           present the new generation of NASA astronauts: the average
            [Curtain rises to show Homer wearing a "Hail to the Chef"
           apron and Barney dressed as a golfer]
 Reporter: Jim Wallace, Associated Press.  [clears throat] Is this a
Scientist: [cheery] Far from it, Jim.  One of these men will prove space
           travel is within the reach of the common man.
 Reporter: Toby Hunter, Minneapolis Star.  No really, is this a joke?
Scientist: No, Toby, and no more questions about whether this is a joke.
            [Everyone lowers their hand, dejected]
-- "Deep Space Homer"

Another reporter decides to grill Homer.

 Reporter: Uh, question for the barbeque chef.  Don't you think there is
           an inherent danger in sending underqualified civilians into
    Homer: I'll field this one.  The only danger is if they send us to
           [ominous] that terrible Planet of the Apes.  Wait a minute...
           Statue of Liberty...that was _our_ planet!  You maniacs!  You
           blew it up!  Damn you!  Damn you all to hell!  [weeps]
   Barney: [burps] Oh -- [falls over]
Scientist: Thank you, that's all we have time for.
-- The NASA press conference, "Deep Space Homer"

The scientist tries to impress on Homer and Barney the weight of their

Scientist: Now of course only one of you will be chosen to go into
           space.  So the next few weeks will be a grueling series of
           tests to determine which one of you is most qualified.
Assistant: Oh, and Mr. Gumble: for the duration of the training there
           will be no more beer.
   Barney: What?  Three whole weeks with only wine?  I'll go crazy!
    Homer: And may the best man win.  [whispers to assistant] He's got a
           big drinking problem; could embarrass the program.  Meet me
           up in that tree later and I'll tell you more.
-- Good sportsmanship, "Deep Space Homer"

At their new homette on-site, the family sits down for dinner.

 Bart: Wow, my father an astronaut.  I feel so full of...what's the
       opposite of shame?
Marge: Pride?
 Bart: No, not _that_ far from shame.
Homer: [quavering] Less shame?
 Bart: [happy] Yeah...
-- English has a word for everything, "Deep Space Homer"

Marge: You know, Homer, when I found out about this, I went through a
       wide range of emotions.  First I was nervous, then anxious, then
       wary, then apprehensive, then...kind of sleepy, then worried, and
       then concerned, but now I realize that being a spaceman is
       something you have to do.
Homer: Who's doing what now?
-- Does Marge read "Life in Hell"?, "Deep Space Homer"

The next day, Homer shows up for training eating a pink donut.  (But not
wearing a pink shirt.  Careful, he wets his -- oh, never mind.)

    Homer: Well, here I am, right on time.  I don't see Barney "Let's
           crash the rocket into the White House and kill the President"
Assistant: Actually, he's been here since sunrise.
            [Barney works with a punching bag]
   Barney: Hi Homer.  Since they made me stop drinking, I've regained my
           balance and diction!  Observe: [does backflips] "I am the
           very model of a modern major general, I've information
           vegetable, animal, and mineral."
    Homer: Oh, that's nothing.  Watch this: [does cartwheels] "There
           once was a man fron Nantucket, Whose --" [smashes into a
-- Let's not complete that limerick, "Deep Space Homer"

Both men are tested on the centrifugal force machine, their faces taking
on obscene-looking shapes (Homer's remarkably reminiscent of Popeye).
They both blow into small tubes connected to columns filled with water
and a white ball, to test the strength of their lungs.  Homer drinks his
water instead, sighing, "Mmm...mediciney."  {They are even forced to do
battle in a futuristic arena while everyone watches.  The assistant
whispers, "I wager 400 quatloos on the newcomer."}

Scientist: Gentlemen, I'd like you to meet the two experienced
           astronauts who will accompany the winner into space: Race
           Banyon and Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon!
     Buzz: {Second comes right after first.
            [Long pause]}
           So Barney, we hear you're kickin' ass.
    Homer: [contemptuous] I, er, don't think this contest is over yet,
           "Buzz"...if that _is_ your real name.  I believe there is
           still a little something called "The Swimsuit Competition".
Scientist: There's no swimsuit competition, Homer.
    Homer: [voice rising] You mean I shaved my bikini zone for nothing?!
-- That's what he means, "Deep Space Homer"

At last, the big day arrives.  Barney does somersaults while holding
onto some gymnast's rings as Homer stands there.  The scientist and his
assistant approach, and Barney does a perfect dismount.

Scientist: Gentlemen, you've both worked very hard.  And in a way,
           you're both winners.  But in another more accurate way,
           Barney is the winner.
    Homer: [downcast] Congratulations, Barney.
Scientist: That's very gracious of you, Homer.  Please join us in a
           toast...to the mission!
            [The four of them drink, and Barney looks slightly crazed]
   Barney: It begins...[grabs the bottle and chugs]
-- So close and yet so far, "Deep Space Homer"

The two men try to restrain Barney, but he breaks free and runs for a
rocket backpack.  Drunkenly yodeling a fanfare, he straps it on and
blasts off.  But it runs out of fuel in midair.  Barney bounces
repeatedly off the corrugated metal roof of a pillow factory, then lands
in the middle of the road, only to be run over by a marshmallow truck.
"I don't understand it," says the assistant, "that was non-alcoholic

Scientist: [resigned] Well, Homer, I guess you're the winner by default.
    Homer: Default?  Woo hoo!  The two sweetest words in the English
           language: de-fault!  De-fault!  De-fault!
            [assistant clubs him]
Scientist: Where'd you get that, anyway?
Assistant: Sent away.
-- Thank God for mail-order, "Deep Space Homer"

[End of Act Two.  Time: 11:13]

The Itchy and Scratchy cartoon is a topical one: "Scar Trek: The Next
Laceration".  Scratchy pilots a spaceship, eating a baloney sandwich and
licking his fingers as he swallows it whole.  But his stomach starts to
bulge out, and he screams as Itchy breaks through, holding the
undigested sandwich.  Out of spite, Itchy eats the sandwich himself and
tosses the cat in the airlock, pressing the button to blow him into
space.  Luckily, Scratchy is prepared, and he snaps his space suit
helmet on just as he is ejected.

Floating free in space doesn't save him, however.  Itchy goes out in a
space pod with arms and giggles, grabbing Scratchy's body.  He carries
the body up to the rings of a nearby planet and saws the unfortunate cat
in half.  Scratchy chases after his lower half, but it burns up as it
enters the planet's atmosphere.  He shrugs, but Itchy flies up to him,
grabs his torso, and removes his helmet.  His head enlarges in the
vacuum, and Itchy bursts it with a pin.  "THE END" appears on the screen
in Scratchy's blood.

Announcer: The preceding program contained scenes of extreme violence
           and should not have been viewed by young children.
            [Bart and Lisa cackle with mirth]
-- Pointless disclaimers after Itchy and Scratchy, "Deep Space Homer"

Homer sweats as his children laugh.

Next, we see a shot of Homer, Race, and Buzz, all wearing their space
suits, striding towards us down a hall.  They approach the shuttle in
which they'll be flying.  Homer looks up at it with awe, and becomes
frightened.  "Noooo!" he yells, then runs back down the hall, panting.
He loses his nerve and calls Marge.

Homer: Marge...I don't really want to go through with this.  But being
       an astronaut is how I got you to respect me!
Marge: Homer, when I met you, you weren't an astronaut.  You didn't even
       know how to use a touchtone, but I _still_ respected you and I
       always will, no matter what.
        [touchtone sounds come from the phone]
       Homer, you already dialed.
-- I can't believe they invented it, "Deep Space Homer"

Marge: But on the other hand, when you don't take advantage of an
       opportunity, you can end up regretting it for the rest of your
Homer: You're right, Marge.  Just like the time I could have met Mr. T
       at the mall.  The entire day I kept saying, "I'll go a little
       later.  I'll go a little later."  And then when I got there, they
       told me he'd just left.  And when I asked the mall guy if he
       would ever come back again, he said he didn't know.  Well, I'm
       never going to let something like that happen again!  I'm going
       into space right now!
Marge: Oh, I am so proud of you.  And I know it's going to go just fine
        [touchtone sounds come from the phone]
-- I still can't believe they invented it, "Deep Space Homer"

At the Cape, a voice announces, "T minus three minutes till liftoff and

      Buzz: Mission Control, this is Corvair.  Launch sequence
            initiated.  All systems go.
     Homer: Are we there yet?  I'm thirsty.
      Race: Mission Control, request permission to sedate cargo ahead of
Controller: Permission denied.
-- Busted!, "Deep Space Homer"

Race: Payload checklist.  IRS surveillance satellite --
Buzz: Check.
Race: Ant farm --
Buzz: Check.
Race: Children's letters to God --
Buzz: Check.
-- Only the essentials on _this_ mission, "Deep Space Homer"

The voice counts down, "Three, two, one, make rocket go now!"  It lifts
off.  The G forces are very strong, and they cause Homer to take on a
Nixon-like appearance briefly.

Marge, her sisters, Grampa, and the kids all watch at home.

    Bart: Go, Dad, go!
    Lisa: "How doth the hero strong and brave,
          A celestial path in the heavens pave."
Everyone: Huh?
    Lisa: [quiet] Go, Dad, go.
-- No time for eloquence, "Deep Space Homer"

Good news at Mission Control, too.

Assistant: Sir, the TV ratings for the launch are the highest in ten
 Everyone: Yay!
Scientist: And how's the spacecraft doing?
Assistant: I dunno.  All this equipment is just used to measure TV
-- Equipment purchased at the taxpayers' expense, "Deep Space Homer"

It's beautiful.  It's the most awe-inspiring sight I have ever seen.
Giver of life, mother of us all...hey guys, look what I smuggled aboard!
[shows a bag of chips]
-- Homer, just after lift-off, "Deep Space Homer"

Buzz warns him, "Homer, no!"  But it's too late: Homer opens the bag
nonetheless.  The chips float about the cabin, and Race rues, "They'll
clog the instruments!"  Buzz is worried: "Careful!  They're ruffled."
Homer has the solution, however; he unbuckles his seat belt, and
accompanied by "The Blue Danube Waltz", he floats about the cabin,
eating the chips.  But his head drifts perilously close to the ant

Ant 1: Protect the queen!
Ant 2: Which one's the queen?
Ant 3: I'm the queen!
Ant 1: No you're not!
Homer: Nooo!  [his head smashed the colony, and the ants float free]
Ant 1: Freedom!  Horrible, horrible freedom!
 Buzz: You fool!  Now we may never know if ants can be trained to sort
       tiny screws in space.
-- The bane of humanity, "Deep Space Homer"

Controller: Er, some good news, gentlemen.  We have quite a treat for
            you.  We've been able to coax superstar James Taylor in here
            to Mission Control to wish you well and play you a little
            bit of his own brand of laid-back adult contemporary music.
     Homer: Wow, former president James Taylor.
    Taylor: How ya doin', fellas?
      Buzz: With all due respect, Mr. Taylor, this isn't the best time
            for your unique brand of bittersweet folk rock.  We have a
            potentially critical situation here.  I'm sure you'll
    Taylor: Listen, Aldrin, I'm not as laid back as people think.  Now
            here's the deal: I'm going to play, and you're going to
            float there and like it.
            When you're down, and troubled,
            And you need a helping hand,
            And nothing, oh, nothing is going right...
-- Strangely apt choice of lyrics, "Deep Space Homer"

Kent Brockman reports on Channel Six.

    Kent: We're just about to get our first pictures from inside the
          spacecraft with "average-naut" Homer Simpson, and we'd like to
          -- aah!
           [Camera shows a close-up of an ant floating in front of the
          three astronauts]
Everyone: Aah!
    Kent: Ladies and gentlemen, er, we've just lost the picture, but,
          uh, what we've seen speaks for itself.  The Corvair spacecraft
          has been taken over -- "conquered", if you will -- by a master
          race of giant space ants.  It's difficult to tell from this
          vantage point whether they will consume the captive earth men
          or merely enslave them.  One thing is for certain, there is no
          stopping them; the ants will soon be here.
          And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.  I'd like to
          remind them that as a trusted TV personality, I can be helpful
          in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar
   Marge: Mmm, don't worry, kids.  I'm sure your father's all right.
    Lisa: What are you basing that on, Mom?
   Marge: [with forced cheer] Who wants ginger snaps?
-- I do!  Me too, please!, "Deep Space Homer"

James Taylor continues to sing to the hapless astronauts.  "{There's
hours of time on the telephone line,/Talking 'bout things to
come.}/Sweet dreams, and flying machines,/And pieces on the ground --
um..." He pauses, then continues, "Sweet dreams, and flying
machines,/Flying safely through the air..."

Things go from bad to worse on the spaceship.  Some of the ants land on
the controls and crawl into them.

     Race: Oh my God, the ants are shorting out our navigation systems!
            [the astronauts smack back and forth into the walls]
   Taylor: Ants, huh?  We had quite a severe ant problem at the vineyard
           this year.  I had Art Garfunkel come by with his compressor,
           and we created a total vacuum outside the house, and we blew
           the ants out the front door.  But I'm sure you high-tech NASA
           people could care less about our resort-town ways.
Assistant: [menacing] Quiet, you --
Scientist: Wait a minute...this unkempt youngster might just be on to
-- Unkempt?  Young?  Naah, "Deep Space Homer"

Race and Buzz prepare the shuttle to be evacuated of air.  Buzz pushes
the button with a "Make hatch blow now!"  The ants and chips get sucked
out, as planned, and Homer (who has forgotten to attach his seat belt)
dusts off his hands, says, "And that is that!"  He, too, gets sucked
towards the hatch.

Luckily, he manages to grab the handle of the door, but it bends under
the strain.  "Oh my God," says the scientist, "this is a disaster!"
James Taylor uses the distraction to run away.

Homer hangs outside the shuttle still, and the handle finally gives in
and snaps off.  Fortunately, Buzz and Race are there to grab him.

 Buzz: Homer, you broke the handle.
 Race: With that hatch open, we'll burn up on re-entry!  That's it: if I
       go, I'm taking you to hell with me.
Homer: Wait a minute, Race.  Wait a minute...wait!
        [breaks off a support rod]
       Aha!  Now I'll bust that pretty face of yours!
        [tries to swing it, but it catches in the door]
       Aw, stupid bar.
 Buzz: Wait, Homer.  If that bar holds, we just might make it back to
Homer: Oh.  [voice rising] I'll bash you good!
-- One-track minds, "Deep Space Homer"

Well, this reporter was...possibly a little hasty earlier and would like
to...reaffirm his allegiance to this country and its human president.
May not be perfect, but it's still the best government we have.  For
 [notices "HAIL ANTS" sign taped up, tears it down]
Oh, yes, by the way, the spacecraft still in extreme danger, may not
make it back, attempting risky reentry, bla bla bla bla bla bla.  We'll
see you after the movie.
-- Kent Brockman, backpedaling furiously, "Deep Space Homer"

On the dangerous trip back through the atmosphere, the shuttle heats up
until it glows red.  Buzz and Race hum, "The Battle Hymn of the
Republic," while Homer sings, "Oh, those Golden Grahams.  Oh, those
Golden Grahams.  Crispy, crunchy, graham cereal, brand new breakfast

The Simpson family still watch in suspense.

Lisa: Come on, Dad.  You can make it!
 Abe: Aw, of course he'll make it.  It's TV.
-- Metahumor, "Deep Space Homer"

The spaceship hurtles towards the earth at a dangerous speed.  It
smashes into the building where the press is housed, which is convenient
in terms of post-trip interviews.

     Tom: Uh, how'd you solve the door dilemma?
    Buzz: Homer Simpson was the real hero here.  He jury-rigged the door
          closed using this.
   Man 1: Hey, what is that?
   Man 2: It's an inanimate carbon rod!
Everyone: Yay!
           [Time magazine cover: "In Rod We Trust"]
-- Rod Flanders?  Nope, "Deep Space Homer"

A parade is organized in honor of the rod.  It gets to ride in its own
limousine.  The family watch the parade, but Homer turns the TV off

       [Homer shuts off the TV]
 Bart: Aw, they were just about to show some close-ups of the rod!
Homer: Oh, stupid rod!  I got gypped.
Marge: Oh, Homey, you should be proud!  Only a handful of people have
       done what you've done.
 Lisa: Yeah, Dad!  How many people have seen the icecaps and the deserts
       all at once, or the majesty of the Northern Lights from one
       hundred miles above?
Homer: Yeah, maybe I do have the right...what's that stuff?
-- Uh, stuff?, "Deep Space Homer"

Homer thanks his wife and elder daughter.  "Bart, do you have something
nice to say to your father?"  Bart, who has just written "HERO" on
Homer's head, says, "Ehh, he knows how I feel."  He tosses the marker in
the air, and we watch it close up, tumbling slowly.

It turns into a FOX satellite in space, descending slowly to "Also
Sprach Zarathustra".  It hits a glass ball containing a baby Homer in
it, who says, "D'oh!" indignantly.

[End of Act Three.  Time: 21:24]


   {ra}  Rakesh Agrawal
   {tfb} Thomas Brown
   {tkc} Tim Callahan
   {rc}  Ron Carter
   {md}  Marc Desrochers
   {kh}  Keir Hyatt
   {mfj} Mary-Frances Jagod
   {rl}  Ricardo Lafaurie
   {jp}  Jussi Pakkanen
   {gp}  Gerald Prentice
   {at}  Aaron Teitlebaum
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.)