June 6, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Simpsons Did It!: “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?”


Homer Simpson, for the most part, has been presented as an Only Child.  Well, sometimes he isn’t.

After a nearly fatal heart attack, Grandpa Simpson relates to Homer how Abe did something before he got married with a woman from a traveling carnival.  Said woman would do things Homer’s mother never would, like have sex for money, so Abe did stuff (possibly in exchange for money) and a year later he had a son who wasn’t Homer.

Homer believes this means Homer is the one Grandpa really loved, which Grandpa finds to be an interesting theory.

Using what few clues he has, Homer manages to track down his half-brother, a man given up for adoption.  Re-dubbed Herb Powell, it turns out Herb has done rather well for himself in that he has his own giant car company.  He also looks a lot like Homer, only with more hair and less waistline.  Unkie Herb, as the kids call him, takes to the family immediately.

That’s Herb’s downfall.  When he offers Homer a free car, Homer can’t find something he likes, namely a big gas guzzler with a lot of power.  Believing Homer is the key to his company’s problems, Herb puts Homer in charge of designing a car.

I’m pretty sure we don’t need to draw anyone a map here.  Homer’s car is an expensive monstrosity, and Herb ends up losing his company, house, and fortune due to putting all his eggs in the Homer basket.

And as much as Herb hates Homer in the end…how much do we really blame Homer?  Homer himself didn’t think he was up to the job, having no experience designing a car, and Herb filled him up with all this confidence in nonexistent abilities.  We’re talking about a man who failed to notice the Shelbyville orphanage had merely moved across the street.  Or that he failed to take a hint from the man running the place to go to Detroit.  Or that said man was obviously the long lost twin brother of Dr. Hibbert.  Herb was just asking for it.

Speaking of, Herb was voiced by Danny Devito, possibly the biggest name guest star to do the show to this point.  Devito does a good job, being patient with his half-brother’s pork chop related questions while spoiling his niece and nephew.

For all that Homer ended up ruining Herb, to the complete non-surprise of Grandpa, Bart thought the car was cool, and Lisa got to ride a pony on a boat, so it wasn’t that bad a trip for the family.

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