February 27, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Simpsons Did It!: “Deep Space Homer”

In which Homer becomes an astronaut.

What’s weirdest about this episode is that, somehow, Homer becoming an astronaut and going into space does not seem anywhere near as weird as it should.  That’s kinda awesome.

It’s time for the Nuclear Plant to dispense with the Worker of the Week award.  Everyone has one except Homer.  And he still won’t since it goes to an inanimate carbon rod.  Bart really idolizes that rod.

A lot of people love that rod.  That rod has charisma and sex appeal.

Disgruntled, Homer goes to watch TV and is dismayed to find a NASA space launch is on.

Homer apparently isn’t the only one like that.  NASA itself has noticed that their ratings were down and needed to get the common man back on board or else risk the loss of funding.  What does the common man like?  Well, as a sign of the times, they love the slobs on Home Improvement and Married…With Children.

Since this episode originally aired, Katey Sagal got onto Sons of Anarchy, Ed O’Neill moved on to Modern Family, and Tim Allen got a sitcom where I think he basically continues to be a version of the Home Improvement character, so at least two of those actors referenced on The Simpsons have moved beyond the sorts of characters they used to play.  That’s impressive and shows range.

Meanwhile, The Simpsons itself is still on the air.

We’ll worry about that later.

Anyhoo, Homer chooses that meeting to crank call the conference room.  How did he get that number?  Who knows?  But he fits the criteria for NASA’s desired “averagenaut”, so two NASA guys track him down to Moe’s, where he’s busy crank calling the president.  Worried for his freedom, Homer says Barney made the call.  Then he jumps in when he finds out he can become an astronaut, crying the FBI has a file on him as proof, and one of the NASA guys knocks Homer and Barney out with a blackjack, which is not standard NASA equipment.

It turns out that once Barney is removed from all alcohol, he’s actually prime astronaut material.  Homer, on the other hand, finally figured out the twist ending to Planet of the Apes.  The original, not the Tim Burton version.  No one has figured that ending out yet.

But you can only remove booze from Barney for so long, and while toasting his victory with non-alcoholic champagne, he’s back as the town drunk with his own rocket pack.  Homer is in by default and out by the blackjack again.

So, off Homer goes with Buzz Aldrin and some other guy, and then once he gets into space he makes a mess, first with smuggled potato chips, then with a busted ant colony, and then when he got nearly sucked out the door and bent the door’s handle.  Even unkept youngster James Taylor doesn’t have an answer for that, and he is nowhere near as easy-going as he appears to be.

A handy carbon rod Homer found when looking for a club acts as a door lock, and the shuttle returns.  And the rod is a hero again, though Bart finally respects Homer more than an inanimate rod.

Kent Brockman, meanwhile, needs to explain away why he’s so quick to jump onto the giant space ants bandwagon.