This episode is so amazing. A secondary character episode that gets to focus on the relationship between Homer and Moe the bartender. We get to see how the two relate to each other, and a little bit of a look into what makes Moe tick. It wasn’t as in depth of a look as an episode like “Principal Charming,” but it was still great to see Moe. The episode starts right off the bat with “Eye on Springfield,” a crazy local show that’s apparently a reference to a show that played in Los Angeles at the time, but who cares, it’s nuts. It’s basically just a montage of local landmarks and ladies in bikinis while Kent Brockman talks about public interest stories, including the anniversary of the great Tire Fire. It’s awesome, and I would love to watch whole episodes of “Eye on Springfield.”
It turns out while Homer is watching “Eye on Springfield” Lisa is hosting a slumber party. Bart’s getting nervous about the party, assuming that the girls have evil plans in store for him, and we get one of my favorite types of Simpsons sight-gags, the look between the Simpson’s floor boards, where this time we learn it’s full of lead and asbestos. Up in Lisa’s room the girls are playing some sort of game where they drip wax into water and decide that whatever the wax becomes will tell you the job of their future husband. And the poor girl who goes gets a janitor, because even when Lisa bullshits a better answer for a mop, she gets a dustpan, sealing her fate forever. But after that game is done they decide to do Truth or Dare, and of course the girl picks dare, and has to go kiss Bart. We then get a crazy scene where Bart is attacked in the kitchen, and after she kisses him Lisa tricks Bart into getting jinxed. There’s then one of my favorite scenes in all Simpsons history when Bart comes down to get Homer to unjinx him, but Homer refuses to say his name, leading Bart to blow up yelling “I’m jinxed damnit!” To which Homer punches him in the arm, because that’s the law. The girls then decide to chase Bart down and give him a makeover, and after they unscrew his door from the walls to get to him, Bart decides to jump out of the window to escape, leading them to pick Maggie instead. When Homer sees what the girls have done to Maggie, he decides to bail, and goes to Moe’s.
But when Homer get’s to Moe’s it turns out it’s the slowest night of all time, mainly due to the fact that Moe is out of beer. Homer tries sucking on the taps, but apparently Barney already had that idea, so Homer decides to let Moe make him a mixed drink. But when they can’t decide what to make, Homer tells Moe about a secret cocktail he invented once. One time when Patty and Selma came over, and drank his last beer, Homer mixed all the leftover bits of alcohol he had, and some Krusty brand children’s cough syrup by accident, and made a pretty decent drink that didn’t make him go blind. But then when some of Patty’s cigarette ash hit the drink and lit it on fire, the drink became amazing. So Homer and Moe whip up some “Flaming Homer’s” and they’re a great success, but when another customer gets on, Moe of course takes credit, saying he invented them, and that they’re called Flaming Moe’s.
And man do people love Flaming Moe’s. The bar becomes super popular and everybody loves the drink. Things are even so busy that Moe has to get a waitress, who is essentially Diane from Cheers. Moe even gets approached by a representative from a popular restaurant chain with the amazing name of “Tipsy McStagger’s Good Time Drinking and Eating Emporium.” He wants to buy the drink from Moe, but Moe won’t sell it. And as Moe’s becomes more and more popular, Homer starts to get really bitter. There’s also a funny little scene tossed in where Bart brings alcohol to work to make a Flaming Homer to honor Homer as his favorite inventor. Moe’s ends up changing its name to Flaming Moe’s, and becomes the place to be. There’s a bouncer, a red carpet, and all sorts of local celebrities start showing up. Even Aerosmith, who agree to play a set in exchange for pickled eggs. Homer shows up, disgusted at what the bar has become, and has to sneak in the window. I love the quick gag that Lenny lights his head on fire with his drink. There’s also a weird gag that Barney is in a suit and has friends named Armando and Raffi, which I guess is just random? I did some cursory googling, and couldn’t figure out if that was a reference or not. Homer also gets hit on my Mrs. Krabappel, which is creepy. There’s then an amazing scene where Bart calls in a prank-call with the name Hugh Jass, and then there’s actually a Hugh Jass there, who talks with Bart, and thinks he’s a nice young man. But then Homer calls Moe out on the drink theft, and Moe deflect it. Homer then leaves, telling him that he “lost a customer” but the crowd is too loud, and all Moe says is “Yeah, you can use it.”
I love that when we come back from commercial we get a faux-Cheers opening, and it’s spectacular, especially the song. So good. Moe’s is still doing amazing, and the Tipsy McStagger guy is back, offering to give Moe a million dollar for the secret ingredient, since all of Professor Frink’s research revealed Love to be the secret ingredient. A sad Homer tries to go find a new bar, but ends up finding some crazy place where a guy with an eyepatch tried to shoot him. He then consults Lionel Hutz, but apparently you can’t copyright a drink. I love that Hutz is shocked to find that the books behind him actually have precedent that are helpful. Turns out Moe is sleeping with the waitress, and she convinces him to share the million dollars with Homer, and he agrees. Unfortunately Homer has gone insane, and is hearing everyone say Moe, before seeing everybody as Moe, and he heads off to confront Moe again, and destroy him! Back at the bar, Moe is getting ready to sign the contract, just as a crazy Homer in a bathrobe shows up, clinging to the rafters of the building, telling everyone that the cough syrup is the secret ingredient. So the guy cancels the deal, and the next day everybody in town is selling Flaming Moe’s, and Moe’s goes back to being a dive bar no one goes to. Homer and Moe sit around in the empty bar, apologizing to each other, and becoming friends again.
This is such a great episode. Moe is such an amazing character, and it was so great to see him and Homer’s relationship crumble and regrow in this episode. And I think one of the most beneficial things about this episode was that there wasn’t a B story. Besides the great slumber party stuff in the beginning, this was all about the Moe story, nothing else diluting it, letting it come to fruition. It’s such a fun premise, and it’s really sad to see Moe completely screw his friend over for his own gain. And it’s tragic that right when Moe grows a conscience, Homer kamikazes both of their chances at money and success.
Take Away: Don’t screw over your friends, and don’t steal other people’s ideas. Oh, and the secret ingredient is always Love.
“Flaming Moe’s” was written by Robert Cohen and directed by Rich Moore and Alan Smart.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons