Oh man. A super fun Homer and Grandpa story? Count me in! This episode is so fun, and shockingly emotional by the end.
The episodes starts off by showing Homer and Marge’s lackluster sex-life, as they both have various reasons why they’ve can’t have sex. The best is definitely Homer wanting to watch some horrible movie called Goodtime Slim, Uncle Doobie, and the Great Frisco Freak-Out starring Troy McClure. Or the time Homer simply falls onto the bed, all swollen and fat and just says “oh, enchiladas.” So after several unsuccessful attempts at sex they decide to go get a tasteful book to help them. The next day the family heads off to a bookstore which is kind of an antiquated notion. So Homer and Marge buy a book about being an “Erotic American,” narrated by Paul Harvey, while Lisa buys a book by Al Gore, and Bart gets one about UFO’s and conspiracies, because Bart is obsessed with aliens in this episode. And I really love the gag that Al Gore has some weird alert set to inform him any time someone buys one of his books, and that Lisa is the first to do so.
And now that Marge and Homer have their sex audiobook, they start to try it’s tips, to disasterous results. They try to have a sexy bath together, but end up getting stuck in the tub in the dark, and have to call the kids to come help them, which must be the most scaring thing in the world. Then they head off for a little vacation at some sort of sex hotel with themed rooms, but didn’t think ahead to reserve a room, so they get stuck sleeping in the utility closet. And at that point they give up and just destroy the tape by running it over repeatedly with their car, and just head home. And when they get to the house Grandpa starts to talk to Homer, and guesses that Marge is unhappy because of their unfulfilled sex life. Homer is obviously grossed out by his elderly father talking about sex, but when he brings Grandpa back to the Retirement Castle, Grandpa gives him a weird little home remedy that’s supposed to be a powerful aphrodisiac that he made out of crap in his medicine cabinet. Homer’s pretty skeptical, but when he drinks the stuff he ends up racing home, kicking the kids out to go to a movie, and has crazy sex with Marge, while the kids end up watching a series of sexual suggestive stock footage, like the end of a movie from the 50’s.
After a night of crazy aphrodisiac-sex, Marge talks to Homer about Grandpa’s sex-soda, and tells Homer that he and Grandpa should sell the drug to the other sexless people of Springfield. So Homer and Grandpa begin bottling the sex-potion like crazy, marketing it as Simpson and Son Revitalizing Tonic and trying to sell it at a kiosk in the mall. Homer quickly proves to be a terrible salesman, so Grandpa takes over while dressing like Colonel Sanders and talking like an old carnival barker. And Grandpa is a huge success, selling the tonic like crazy, even to Professor Frink who turns super suave when he takes a sip of it. The tonic quickly takes over the town, as pretty much every adult couple we know starts taking the tonic and having crazy sex. All thanks to Grandpa! Unfortunately that means all of the adults are spending their time having sex, leaving the kids in charge of the town.
Now that Springfield has been conquered by Simpson and Son, they decide to head off to the small towns around Springfield to sell their sex-potion to them too. Unfortunately Homer is still a terrible shill, and they end up getting chased out of some hillbilly town by an angry mob. Meanwhile, all the kids in Springfield are getting increasingly confused about their parents odd behavior, and Bart starts to explain it as being an evil plot by aliens. The kids come to Bart’s treehouse and argue about the nefarious alien plot, while Milhouse argues that it could be a government conspiracy, and Lisa sarcastically implies that they’re all reverse-vampires who need to get home before dark, which really makes sense to the kids. So while the kids try to figure out what’s going on, Grandpa and Homer continue to roam the countryside, and Grandpa ends up taking Homer to the old farmhouse that they lived in when Homer was a boy. They walk around the dilapidated house, getting hit by garbage and bathtubs that fall from the roof, and Homer even finds their old TV, the Radiation King, which has burnt his shadow into the wall.
But things start to get bad as Homer gets all mad at Grandpa for not treating him right as a kid, leading them to have a crazy argument in the car. They start yelling at each other, even having the hilarious joke of Grandpa choking Homer and saying “why you little!” But it gets awkward when Grandpa says that the only reason Homer exists is the sex-potion, telling Homer that he was a mistake. This infuriates Homer, who ends up kicking Grandpa out of the car, leaving him there. Grandpa immediately realizes that this was a terrible idea, and starts to try and make it up to Homer, to little success. Homer doesn’t want to forgive Grandpa, and decides instead to over-parent Bart, Lisa, and Maggie, and be a better father than Grandpa was. And this goes terribly.
Homer tries to teach Bart how to ride a bike, to which Bart explains all the reasons that idea is stupid, such as the bike being a girl’s bike, and Bart already knowing how to ride a bike. Homer also has Lisa stuck in some greasy tire swing he made by himself, that’s incredibly unsafe. The kids then explain to Homer that it’s not fun when he tries to parent them so hard, telling him that his half-assed under-parenting is a lot more fun that his whole-assed over-parenting. So Homer gets depressed and heads off after making this hilarious interaction with the kids:
Homer: Some day you’ll thank me for all this scary love. But now I’ve gotta go somewhere and do some serious thinking.
[Homer gets in the car and drives off.]
Bart: I’m sure he meant to say “serious drinking.”
Lisa: That’s what I assumed.
So hilarious. But while Homer is driving off to think, we see that Grandpa has been attempting to keep selling the sex-potion, with Barney as his “son,” which works even worse than having Homer be involved. So Grandpa wanders off to think too and they both end up at the old family farm. Homer rumages through some old stuff at the farmhouse, and ends up finding an old picture of Grandpa being Santa at a Christmas, and Homer realizes that Abe wasn’t a terrible father, and he should really cut him some slack. At that point the two Simpsons men accidentally light the house on fire, and end up running into each other. They make up, and the episode ends as they bond trying to smother the flames on their back.
This is such a fun episode. Homer and Grandpa are great characters, and it’s always fun to see their relationship explored. We spend a lot of time talking about how episodes that explore Lisa and Homer’s relationship are great, but I think Grandpa and Homer is equally interesting. Abe really did seem to be a kind of bad dad, but at the same time, we get the feeling that he may have been trying his best, since Mona wasn’t around (not that we know that yet). Grandpa had to raise Homer by himself, and they both have some resentment toward each other. It’s so funny, and tackles some serious topic. Troubled sex-lives of married couples, father-son issues, and saucer people are all serious things people need to deal with, and it was really fun to see it tackled like this.
Take Away: Maintaining a sex-life can be hard, and cut your parents some slack, they’re doing their best.
“Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy,” was written by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein and directed by Was Archer, 1994.