Homer's Odyssey

Homer's Odyssey                     Written by Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky
                                                      Directed by Wesley Archer

TV Guide synopsis

After being fired from the nuclear power plant for negligence, Homer
becomes a safety activist, facing a crisis of conscience when his
former boss tries to silence him with a new position and a raise.

Title sequence


    {I will not skateboard in the halls.}
    {I will not skateboa} at cutoff.


    Homer yells ``Aaugh!'' when the car closes in on him.


    The couch flies apart.  The family land on the floor.

Didja notice...

    ... Smithers is black in this episode?
        Actually, most of the employees in the plant seem to have
        unusually dark skin.
    ... the person sunbathing along the outlet river? @{cjb}
    ... the three-eyed fish swimming in the pond?
    ... the light on the fire alarm (during Homer's unemployed whale
        scene) is blinking?
    ... the El Barto graffiti at the front of the school and City Hall? @{cjb}


Yours Truly {rjc}:  A strong showing.

Movie References

     Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head by They Might Be Giants
     - Homer writes a memo: Dumb things I gotta do today

Freeze Frame Fun

Springfield Nuclear Power Plant

Exterior signs


On the security kiosk

    * Do not enter
    * Employees ONLY!
    * Authorized personnel ONLY!
    * Stop!
    - The man in the booth is watching Krusty on the video monitor.

Steel doors

    * Enjoy Your Visit

Snack area

    * Clean up your own mess
    * Frosty Donuts

Viewing area

    * Radiation-suited men handling a drum
        (Note that Homer and the kids wander past with no protection.)
    * LOOK OUT
    * Our Safety Record: [7] Days Since Last Accident
    * Caution: Open only under supervision
    * And a button simply labelled, ``DANGER''
        arrow points to a chute, over which is the sign

                  /---- missile
                  |       ^
                  v       |
                waste     |
                drum -----/

        The waste is to be reprocessed into weapon-grade material...
        Ohhhhh... {cjb}

Bart's Report card:

    Science         |U
    Social studies  |F
    Reading         |U
    Math            |F
    Writing         |U
    Physical Ed     |D

Newspaper headlines

   SIMPSON STAYS SAFE!           - Homer poses with his new stop sign.
   DOZENS CHEER HOMER SIMPSON    - Homer poses with his speed bump.
   HOMER SIMPSON STRIKES AGAIN!  - Homer poses with the sign ``Sign Ahead''.
   WATCH OUT, HERE COMES HOMER   - Homer clasps his hands over his head
                                   in front of a `Please Drive Friendly' sign.
   ENOUGH ALREADY HOMER SIMPSON! - Homer points at a `Dip' sign and himself.

Signs in the park

    * GO BACK
    * TRASH (over a trash can)
    * KEEP OFF GRASS (Homer and the family are on the grass.)
    * JUST SAY <NO>!
    * Keep this place CLEAN and SAFE.

Protest signs

    * STOP IT
    * DUMP the DUMP
    * NO NUKES
    * Here Comes Homer
    * Simpsons Says Safe

Animation and continuity goofs

= When Terry makes her comment about donuts, she has no body!
= Non-goof: When Bart walks back to Wendell's seat, there is one other empty
  seat, but it's Ms. Krabappel's.

Comments and other observations

The other black guy that Homer works with

By now, most people have noticed that Smithers is black in this episode.
According to David Silverman, Gyorgi Peluci, the person who did the color
styling randomly decided the ethnicity of various characters, which usually
wasn't much of a a problem, but it sort of ruined the ``white sycophant''
persona for Smithers.  Budget constraints precluded recoloring, so they left it
the way it was.  If it really bothers you, just imagine that he has a
``Caribbean suntan.''

Quotes and scene summary


 The students are on the front lawn of Springfield Elementary.
   Ms. K: [blows whistle]  Now class, I don't want this field trip to be a
          repeat of our infamous visit to the Springfield State Prison.  So
          I want you all to be on your best behavior.  Especially you,
          Bart Simpson.
   Bart:  Mrs. Krabappel, I didn't unlock that door!
   -- It was like that when I got there!  ``Homer's Odyssey''
 The school bus arrives, screeching to a halt on the sidewalk.
 Otto is visibly hung-over.
   Oooh, sorry little dudes.  Party hearty equals tardy.
   -- Otto, ``Homer's Odyssey''
 The kids file onto the bus, except for Bart, who chats with Otto.
   Bart: Hey Otto!  Hey Otto-man!
   Otto: Hey Bart-dude!
   Bart: Any new tattoos, Otto?
   Otto: Ho!  Funny you should ask, man.  This morning I woke up
         with this one.  [lifts his sleeve]
   Bart: Cooool!  I want one!
   Otto: Not till your fourteen, my little friend.
   Bart: [forlorn look]
   -- Good things come to those who wait, ``Homer's Odyssey''
 Mrs. Krabappel orders Bart onto the bus.  The last available seat is
 next to Wendell, who pukes on every bus ride.
   Please try not to shake the seat like that.
   -- Wendell rides on the school bus, ``Homer's Odyssey''
   Ms. K: Now class, remember, do not stick any part of your body out the
          window.  We all know the tragic story of the young man who stuck
          his arm out the window and had it ripped off by a big truck
          coming in the other direction.
   Bart:  [arm tucked inside his shirt]  And I was that fool!
   -- ``Homer's Odyssey''
 With a crunch of the bus gears, they're on their way.  ``Oh-oh, I don't
 feel so hot,'' moans Wendell.

 They drive past the toxic waste dump (waving their arms out the
 window), the tire yard, the state prison, Springfield Elementary School...
   Lewis: Look, there's our school again!
   Ms. K: Otto, are you sure you...
   Otto:  It's a shortcut Mrs. K, trust me!
   -- Field trip, ``Homer's Odyssey''
 Wendell doesn't look too hot, and Bart waves his arms frantically.
   Bart:   Mrs. Krabappel, Mrs. Krabappel!
   Ms. K:  Bart!  Not another word out of you, or I'll subject you to the
           humiliation of making you sing in front of the class.
   Bart:   Can I pick the song?
   Ms. K:  No!  The song will be `John Henry Was a Steel Driving Man'.
   Bart:   [moans] Oh no.  [zips his mouth shut]
   Sherry: We're gonna make you sing, Bart Simpson.
   Terry:  Yeah, Bart Simpson, we're gonna make you sing.
           [they consult privately, giggle, then both lean over the
           bus seat and kiss Bart]
   Bart:   Waaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh!
   Ms. K:  That's it Bart!  Oh, why can't you be more like...  uh... uh... uh...
   S+T:    [raising their hands] Us, Mrs. Krabappel?
   Otto:   Yeah... Sherry and Terry, they know how to behave.
   S+T:    [halos appear over their heads as they sit angelically on the bus]
   -- ``Homer's Odyssey''
 As the bus pulls into the nuclear power plant...
   Bart:  Da-da, da da-da, DA, Whoa!
    :     They took Bart Simpson to the graveyard. [ungh]
    :     And buried him in the sand.  (oh yeah)
    :     And every locomotive that came rollin' by|
   Ms. K: Bart!
   Bart:                                           |said
    :     There lies a steel-driving man,|
   Ms. K: Bart!
   Bart:                                 |(lord lord, ooh)
    :     There lies a steel...
   Ms.K: Okay, Bart, that's enough!
   -- Bart sings as punishment, ``Homer's Odyssey''
 The bus comes to a stop, and Bart gives Wendell a congratulatory slap
 on the back for making through the entire bus ride without throwing up.
 Cut to the exterior of the bus as we hear (*splort*) and see the kids
 escaping out the windows and emergency exit.  The kids file right past
 a security kiosk.  The guard takes absolutely no notice of them.

 In the auditorium, the class is introduced to the wonders of nuclear energy.
 Smithers is their guide.  ``And so this plant harnesses the power of the
 atom so that we have energy to run everything from your favorite video
 games to yummy cotton candy machines  [class applause]  Ha ha, let's learn
 more about nuclear energy shall we?  Lights!''

 The kids are shown one of those lousy 16mm educational films ``NUCLEAR
 ENERGY, our misunderstood friend''.
   Narrator:  When most people think of nuclear energy, they think of this...
   A-Bomb:    BOOM!  [the kids cheer wildly]
   -- Nuclear Energy, our misunderstood friend, ``Homer's Odyssey''
 ``But when we mean nuclear energy, we mean this.''  A Jetson-like
 family enjoys their electrical appliances.  ``But what exactly is nuclear
 energy?  I don't know, but I know someone who does, Smilin' Joe Fission.''

 Smilin' Joe Fission speaks with a Texas accent.  ``Hi there energy eaters!''
 SJF introduces the rods of U235, which are hot due to radioactivity.  So
 they go for a dip in the pool.  ``Last one in is a rotten rod!''  The water
 becomes so hot, it boils.  The rods yelp, ``Ouch, ouch!''  The steam
 generated is used to turn turbines and produce electricity.
   Uh-oh.  Looks like there's a little left-over nuclear waste.
   [pulls out a hand broom]  No problem!
   I'll just put them where nobody will find them for a million years!
   [sweeps the wasties under a throw rug and stomps them down]
   -- Smilin' Joe Fission, ``Homer's Odyssey''
 One of the wasties escapes, and SJF kicks him aside.  (``Ow!'')

 After the end of the film, Smithers opens the steel doors and takes
 the children through the plant.  ``To your right if you'll look
 through this window, is where our water rejoins the rest of nature's
   Sherry: Hey Bart!  Our dad says your dad is incompetent.
   Bart:   What does incompetent mean?
   Terry:  It means he spends more time yacking and scarfing down donuts than
           doing his job.
   Bart:   Oh, okay.  I thought you where putting me down.
   -- ``Homer's Odyssey''
 Homer meanwhile is yacking and scarfing down donuts.
   Ya know, I defy anyone to tell the difference between these donuts and
   ones baked today!
   -- Homer enjoys some donuts, ``Homer's Odyssey''
 He asks if anyone has seen the kids on their field trip and decides
 to ``go where the action is'' in a go-cart.  Bart calls out to him while
 he drives past.  Distracted, Homer collides with a pipe from the reactor.
   Supervisor:  All right, who's responsible for this?
                [everyone points at Homer]
   Homer:       [meekly raises his hand]
   Supervisor:  I might have known it was you, Simpson.
   Homer:       But sir, I...
   Supervisor:  I don't want to hear about it Simpson, your fired!
                [looks up to catwalk]
                Oh, hi, girls!
   Sherry+Terry: [waving]  Hi, Daddy!
   -- ``Homer's Odyssey''
 [End of Act One.  Time: 6:27]

 At breakfast, Lisa helps search through the classifieds.
   Lisa:  Here's a good job at the fireworks factory.
   Homer: Those perfectionists, forget it.
   Lisa:  How about this, a supervising technician at the toxic waste dump.
   Homer: I'm no supervising technician, I'm a technical supervisor.
   -- ``Homer's Odyssey''
   There there, Homer.  You'll find a job.  You've caused plenty of
   industrial accidents, and you've always bounced back.
   -- Marge, ``Homer's Odyssey''
 With the encouragement of the kids, Homer goes job-hunting.
 But everyone he approaches literally slams the door in his face.
 Wait a second, that last door was the Simpsons front door.
 The door opens.  Bart says, ``Don't give up Dad.''  He shuts it again.

 At Moe's Tavern...
   I'm just a technical supervisor who cared too much.
   -- Homer bemoans his lost job, ``Homer's Odyssey''
 The phone rings.
   Bart:  Is Mister Freely there?
   Moe:   Who?
   Bart:  Freely, first initials I. P.
   Moe:   Hold on, I'll check.  Uh, is I. P. Freely here?
          Hey everybody, I. P. Freely!
          [the customers laugh]
          Wait a minute...  Listen to me you lousy bum. When I get a
          hold of you, you're dead. I swear I'm gonna slice your heart in half.
   -- ``Homer's Odyssey''
 Moe refuses to credit Homer another drink.  He explains why:
 ``I don't think your ever going to get another job and be able to
 pay me back.''

 Homer is unable to sleep.
   Marge:  Are you all right, Homer?
   Homer:  I'm fine, I'm just thinking.
   Marge:  I've been thinking, too.  You know Homer, you've always been such a
           good provider... but when we got married, even Mr. Burger promised I
           could come back to my old job any time I wanted.
   Homer:  You think you can still do that line of work?
   Marge:  Sure, you never forget.  It's just like riding a bicycle.
    :      [at a drive-in restaurant]
   Otto:   Hey Momma, where's my fries already!
    :      [Marge skates in, somewhat annoyed]
   -- ``Homer's Odyssey''
 Back at home, Homer lies unshaven on the couch.
   Lisa:   Dad!  Eat something!  [holds up a sandwich] It's got mustard on it.
    :      [Homer's eye view of the ceiling]
    :      [Bart leans in and waves his hand.  Lisa also leans in.]
   Bart:   All he does is lie there like an unemployed whale.
   Lisa:   I don't know what else to do.
   Maggie: [pokes Homer in the eye.  The picture fuzzes.]
   Bart:   There's only one thing we can do... take advantage of the old
           guy.  You've gotta sign my report card, Dad.
           [Bart takes Homer's hand and scrawls his name]
   -- ``Homer's Odyssey''
 Time passes...
   TV Announcer:  Loaf-time, the cable network for the unemployed, will be
           back with more tips on how to win the lottery right after this.
   Duff Beer commercial:  Unemployed?  Out of work?  Sober?  You sat
           around the house all day, but now it's Duff time!  Duff, the beer
           that makes the days fly by!
   Homer:  Beer.  Now there's a temporary solution.
   -- ``Homer's Odyssey''
   Beer.  Now there's a temporary solution.
   -- Homer, ``Homer's Odyssey''
 Homer searches the fridge.  He pulls out a box, but it contains a cake
 which reads, ``Don't worry, Daddy, we love you anyway!''  Homer discards
 the cake, ``Damn!  I need money!''  Homer sneaks into Bart's bedroom
 and carefully snags the piggy bank without waking his son.
   [smashes open Bart's piggy bank with a hammer]
   Oh no!  What have I done?  I smashed open my little boy's piggy bank,
   and for what?  A few measly cents, not even enough to buy one beer.
   Wait a minute, lemme count and make sure... [counts] not even close.
   -- Homer, ``Homer's Odyssey''
 He reaches for the notepaper.  (``Dumb things I gotta do today''.)
 ``Dear Family.  I am an utter failure, and you'll be better off
 without me.  By the time you read this, I will be in my watery
 grave.  I can only leave you with the words my father gave me:
 Stand tall, have courage, and never give up.  I only hope I can
 provide a better model, in death than I did in life.  Warmest
 regards...''  He scratches that last part out.
 ``Love, Homer J. Simpson.''

 Homer takes one last look at the house.  With a rock tied to his
 waist, Homer heads out the gate (which he oils to keep the family
 from hearing the creaking) makes his way up the road.
 ``Nothing's easy'' he says to himself.

 [End of Act Two.  Time: 11:50]
   Mrs. Winfield:  Looks like young Simpson is going to kill himself.
   Mr. Winfield:   Oh, maybe not.
                   Maybe he's just taking his boulder for a walk.
   -- Homer walks down the street with a rock tied to his waist,
      ``Homer's Odyssey''
 The kids wake Marge thinking the house has been burgled.  Bart's
 piggy-bank and their father are missing.  Lisa finds the note.

 A speeding car almost knocks Homer over as he crosses the road.
 ``Hey, buddy!  Watch where you're going!''  He arrives at the bridge,
 and finds there a boulder just like the one he's been carrying.
 Bart calls out ``Don't do it, Dad!'', and Homer saves his family
 just in time from a speeding van.
   Homer:  Boy!  This intersection is dangerous.  Someone oughta put a
           stop sign here.  [a beam of sunlight graces Homer's face]
   Marge:  Oh, Homer, how could think of killing yourself?  We love you.
   Lisa:   Yeah, Dad, we love you.
   Bart:   Yeah!
    :      [during Homer's speech, the sun rises slowly in the distance]
   Homer:  Kill myself?  Killing myself is the last thing I'd ever do.  Now
           I have a purpose, a reason to live.  I don't care who I have to
           face, I don't care who I have to fight, I will not rest until
           this street gets a stop sign!
   -- ``Homer's Odyssey''
 At City Hall...
   Chief Wiggum:  Well it's no secret.  Our city is under siege by a
          graffiti vandal known as El Barto.  Police artists have a
          composite sketch of the culprit.  If anyone has any information,
          please contact us immediately.
   Bart:  [looking at the `Wanted' poster that shares only a slight resemblance]
          Cool man!
   -- ``Homer's Odyssey''
 Homer's submission for the council is next.
   Homer:  Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed councilmen, boys and girls,
           retired people with nothing better to do.  Danger comes in many,
           many forms, from the dinosaurs that tormented our caveman
           ancestors, to the...
   Esteemed Councilman:  Simpson!  Get to the point.
   Homer:  I think we should put a stop sign on D Street and Twelfth.  The
   Councilman:  All in favor [unanimously with the other councilmen] Aye.
           Approved, Meeting adjourned.
   -- ``Homer's Odyssey''
   If they think I'm going to stop at that stop sign, they're sadly mistaken!
   -- Homer becomes safety-conscious, ``Homer's Odyssey''
 Homer makes the headlines.

 In the park, Marge and the kids pride themselves with what
 Homer's accomplished... but he's not so sure.
   Homer:  But come on, we all know this is small potatoes.  There's a
           danger in this town that is bigger than all the Dips put together.
   Lisa:   What, Dad?
   Homer:  I'm talking about <that>!  [points at the SNPP]
   Marge:  You mean your going to pick on your old bosses?
   Lisa:   Wow!
   Bart:   Gee, Dad's a hero.
   Homer:  Whadja say, son?
   Bart:   Nuthin'.
   Homer:  That's ok, I'll just assume you said what I thought I heard you say.
   -- ``Homer's Odyssey''
 At a demonstration outside the gates of the SNPP.
   He also brought you the speed bump [cheer!]
   The dip sign  [cheer!]
   The fifteen mile per hour speed limit on Main Street [boo!]
   I give you the man whose very name is synonymous with safety:  Homer Simpson!
   -- Demonstration in front of SNPP, ``Homer's Odyssey''
   Unlike most of you, I am not a nut.
   -- Homer, ``Homer's Odyssey''
 Surveyed from above...
   Burns:    Look at that man, he has the crowd in the palm of his hand.  I
             haven't seen anything like it since Jolson.  [to Smithers]
             Who is he?
   Smithers: That's Homer Simpson, sir.  He used to work here in the plant,
             but we fired him for gross incompetence.
   Burns:    Ah, so that's his little game.  Get this Simpson character up here
             right now.
   Smithers: But Mr. Burns!
   Burns:    I said do it, now DO IT, DO IT, DO IT!
   -- ``Homer's Odyssey''
 Homer addresses the crowd.
   Your lives are in the hands of men no smarter than you or I,
   many of them incompetent boobs.
   I know this because I worked alongside them,
   gone bowling with them,
   watched them pass me over for promotions time and again.
   And I say... This stinks!
   -- Homer leads a demonstration at the SNPP, ``Homer's Odyssey''
   Smithers:  Hey, Simpson, Burns wants to talk to you privately.
   Homer:     [still speaking through the megaphone] Privately?
   -- Homer leads a demonstration at the SNPP, ``Homer's Odyssey''
 He tells the crowd, ``Stay here.  I'll be right back.''

 Homer is brought to Burns' office.
   Ah, Homer Simpson, at last we meet.
   -- Monty Burns' famous words, ``Homer's Odyssey''
 Monty makes a generous offer.
   Burns: Hear me out Simpson!  I don't want you to come back as a technical
          supervisor, or supervising technician, or whatever the hell you
          used to be.  I want you to be in charge of safety here at the plant.
   Homer: Safety?  But sir!  If truth be known, I actually caused more
          accidents around here than any other employee,  [leaning forward]
          including a few doozies no one every found out about.
   -- ``Homer's Odyssey''
 The offer expires in thirty seconds.  Burns starts an hourglass.
   Homer: [thinking to himself] Me in charge of safety?
          This place could blow sky-high.
          Naah, I'll concentrate on my work now.
          Hey, this guy's desk sure is big.
          I can't let Marge support the family!
          This guy's got the cleanest shirt I've ever seen.
          What should I...
   Burns: Simpson!  Time's up.
   Homer: What the hay, I'll take the job.
   -- A carefully-thought-out decision, ``Homer's Odyssey''
 ``Your first duty would be to step out on the balcony, and tell
 that crowd this plant is safe.''

 Homer goes out onto the balcony.  ``This plant is...''  His family look
 up at him.  ``Oh... sit tight, I'll be right back.''  The crowd cheers.
 Homer turns back into the office.
   Burns: You mean you're willing to give up a good job and a raise, just
          for your principles?
   Homer: Hmmmm, you put it that way it does sound a little far-fetched,
          but that's the lug your looking at... and I vow to continue
          spending every free minute I have crusading for safety.  Of
          course, I'd have a lot less of those free minutes if you gave me
          the job.
   Burns: You're not as stupid as you look, or sound, or our best testing
   -- ``Homer's Odyssey''
   You're not as stupid as you look, or sound, or our best testing indicates.
   -- Monty Burns, ``Homer's Odyssey''
 Homer faces his public for one last time.
   Friends, you have come to depend on me as your safety watchdog.
   So you won't scrape yourself, or stub your toes, or blow
   yourselves up. But you can't depend on me all your life.  You
   have to learn that there's a little Homer Simpson in all of us,
   and I'm going to have to live without your respect and awe.  The
   only reason I'm telling you is, I'm going to be leaving you...
   But don't worry, I've just been appointed the new Safety Inspector at
   this very plant, and a big fat raise!
   -- Homer's announcement, ``Homer's Odyssey''
   You have to learn that there's a little Homer Simpson in all of us.
   -- Homer, ``Homer's Odyssey''
 Homer stumbles and falls, his fall broken by the adoring crowd below.

 [End of Act Three.  Time: 20:27]

Boring distribution restrictions

Episode summaries Copyright 1992 by Chris Baird and Raymond Chen.  Updated 1999
Andrew A. Gill.  Unattributed discrepancies between this and the previous
revisions are mine.  Gyorgi Peluci and György Ligeti are not related.  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

HTML conversion by
Howard Jones(ha.jones@ic.ac.uk) on Sat 10 Sept 1994