I’d just like to note this episode has Springfield covered in snow, but it isn’t a Christmas episode. That sometimes happens. Usually, it means Homer buys a plow.
That doesn’t happen here.
Instead, it’s Lenny’s birthday. Homer has organized a huge party in the breakroom. Donate five dollars towards the party, and you can sign the giant card. And just as everyone thinks Lenny is entering, in walks Mr. Burns. Will Burns give five dollars and sign the card?
Yes and no, by which I mean yes, he will sign the card in very large script, but no, he won’t donate five dollars. And while Lenny is delighted at how everything turned out, Homer fumes over Mr. Burns’ lack of generosity.
Is Homer new here?
Regardless, the next day, Homer goes to see Burns, demanding the money. And Burns…gives Homer five dollars from a giant roll. He also gives Homer a cricket on a string for good luck. Because when I think of good luck tokens, I think live insects on thread.
But the luck isn’t good because Smithers already has to demand Homer stop taking advantage of Mr. Burns’ generosity when the old man is doped up on skin thickeners, a medication that has unexpected bouts of decency as a side effect. As punishment, Homer will now be supervisor for the Power Plant’s interns. That, we’re told, is the worst job in the entire Plant.
So, you know, it looks like that cricket didn’t help out much. At least it has the decency to look embarrassed.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, hypothetical reader probably named Greg: where’s the guest star. Because this is The Simpsons, we expect a guest star. Well, we do have one. Character actor Michael Rapaport is here as Mike Wegman, a 35 year old intern who worships Homer enough to defend Homer against all attacks. He even asks for Homer to be his mentor.
Yes, Homer loves that idea. He even invites Mike and his wife over to dinner. She seems…less enthused. How did Mike meet her? He was a waiter at her wedding.
That just raises more questions…
However, when Bart starts his usual name-calling…Mike goes off on Bart, telling the boy how ugly he is and not worthy to criticize the great Homer Simpson. Here’s where having an actor like Rapaport, who specializes in obnoxious people, really works. Because it reduces Bart to tears and everyone else to horrified looks.
Except for Lisa, who loved every second of it.
Marge isn’t happy. Homer wants to know how many times he needs to apologize for that. Marge says once would be nice. In the meantime, Homer needs to help Mike grow up. That sounds like a good plan, and Mike does have one idea: a food truck that serves pizza by the slice. As in, he only makes one slice at a time. Homer likes the idea. Will Mr. Burns donate to that cause?
No. His skin treatment wore off, and he’s back to his old self, prompting Burns to shoot Mike in the face when Mike tells Burns off for being Burns. Fortunately, the gun was 200 years old, and Mike survives.
Well, this isn’t going anywhere. Homer is out of ideas when Mike pulls up in front of the Simpson house with his new pizza slice food truck. Where did Mike get that kind of money? He borrowed it from Fat Tony (returning guest Joe Mantegna, obviously). Mike used half to buy the truck and bet the other half on Lehigh University to win a basketball game.
What an odd team to pull for. And I went there for a period in grad school. Now I write these articles. Draw your own conclusions.
Lehigh loses, and the only thing that keeps Mike (and Homer) alive is Mike blurting out how he wished he used the truck for betting instead of pizza.
Yeah, the mob likes that, especially when Mike adds pot to his sales.
So, Homer was a good mentor after all, at least according to Fat Tony.
Maybe next time, Homer should just be satisfied with the respect of his wife and kids. It’s less deadly.