You know something? This is one damn dark episode.
Let’s look at the basic concept here: what would happen if a regular person from the real world had to deal with Homer Simpson? Now, the audience knows Homer is basically a genial fool, well-meaning but missing many of the basic social cues and general knowledge to be anything more than an annoyance. But Frank Grimes, a man who works hard and suffered for it his whole life, doesn’t know that. He sees a fat, disgusting moron who coasts through life and has all kinds of advantages that a hardworking honest man like Frank lacks.
Considering the first act mostly shows the world from Frank’s perspective, Homer does come across as a dangerous man who shouldn’t be anywhere near a nuclear power plant. Lenny and Carl seem to think Homer only got hired because he was there the day the plant opened. Frank was hired by Mr. Burns seeing his hard-luck story on the news, but then Burns forgot the next day and hired a heroic dog instead for the executive position.
The thing is, Homer realizes Frank hates him, particularly since Homer nicknamed him “Grimey” despite Frank’s protestations, and tries really hard to make amends. He invites Frank over for dinner, and all Frank can see is the size of Homer’s house, how attractive Marge is, the smell of lobster for dinner, a son who owns a factory, and all these achievements on the wall that Homer doesn’t get are not things most people experience. Homer’s attempts to be more professional at work also fail, since Frank sees how pathetic Homer’s professionalism is.
Oh, yeah, Bart did buy a factory at an auction for a dollar. His only employee, Milhouse, was working as a night watchmen when it collapsed. Milhouse, like a good watchman, watched it fall down.
But back to Frank. To him, it’s bad enough that Homer is incompetent and the safety inspector. The fact that everyone lets him slide makes it much, much worse. Determined to prove Homer is stupid, he tricks Homer into entering a Power Plant design contest for children.
Again, no one notices. Homer is competing against the likes of Ralph Wiggum and Martin Prince…and he wins by adding a couple cosmetic details to the existing plant! And everyone who isn’t Frank cheers for him! Frank snaps, starts to act like his view of Homer, and dies when he grabs some electrical wires marked “Danger, High Voltage”.
Told ya it was a dark episode. Thanks to John Swartzwelder for the script.
As a final note, Homer sleeps through Frank’s funeral, where we are told he liked to be called “Grimey,” and when he talks in his sleep to get Marge to change the channel, everyone laughs while Frank’s casket is lowered into the ground.
Damn that’s dark.
1 thought on “Simpsons Did It!: “Homer’s Enemy””