What a lovely day! Hell, a lovely week! This is Silly Week, a full week of goofy and light-hearted episodes. The week begins with the real start of Season 8, and it’s one of my favorite episodes of all time. For a lot of my Simpsons life I would handily say that this episode was my favorite, and while that’s probably not true anymore, it’s still so amazing. This is peak Simpsons here people.
The episode starts off with the silly opening of Smithers happily walking to work while proudly singing that he works for Monty Burns. But as Smithers is trotting down the street he’s approached by some people in a car, who attempt to convince him to work for their nuclear plant instead of Burns’. Smithers turns them down though, so they go to the next most senior man at the Power Plant, Homer. And of course, Homer accepts the job without even bringing it up to the family, even though it requires them to move out of Springfield and go to a town called Cypress Creek, where the Globex Corporation is headquartered. The family are mad at Homer, but he kind of wins them over by saying that his biggest dream is to own the Dallas Cowboy, and this managerial position could get him a step closer.
And after they’re done laughing at that dream, they give Homer a shot, and let him put in a video about how great Cypress Creek is to see if it can convince them to go through with it. Which mainly just shows them replacing all the bad things about a city, like empty stores and hobos, with coffee shops and mailboxes respectively. But it convinces them, and they decide to leave Springfield and move to Cypress Creek. Unfortunately they can’t find anyone to buy their house, so they just abandon it and leave. They pack up all their belongings, including stuff they’ve stolen from Flanders over the year, and head out. We get a funny scene of them driving past everyone in town as they say goodbye to the Simpsons, before Homer yells out “so long, stink town!” and they’re off to Cypress Creek!
They get to Cypress Creek, and it’s beautiful. And so is their enormous house, which they begin exploring. But as soon as they start to get settled there’s a knock at their door and their introduced to the head of the Globex Corporation, and I guess mayor of the town, Hank Scorpio, voiced by the amazing Albert Brooks. Scorpio is instantly the friendliest, most reassuring person in the world, and makes the Simpsons feel super at home. Now, I’m just going to say this here, every single goddamn line Hank Scorpio says in this episode is gold, so I’m not just going to blast this article with fantastic lines, just know that he’s amazing.
And once Scorpio leaves, we start to see Homer’s first day at work, and how the family are dealing with their new surroundings. Marge is a little lost, since the fancy house basically cleans itself and she has nothin to do, while Maggie is stuck in a robotic swinging device. Lisa apparently is just wandering around loving all the nature, until she learns she’s allergic to everything in the new town. And Bart gets to go to a fancy school, which had what must have been a funny gag in 1996, with the school having its own website, although now it doesn’t even read as a joke, since of course a school would have a website. But Bart’s day gets really bad when it’s revealed he doesn’t know cursive, long division, or the multiplication tables, although he does know of them, and he’s sent to the remedial class.
But while the rest of the family is having a bad time, we see how good Homer is doing. Scorpio personally shows him around the friendly company, with all its glass walls and happy workers, while Homer starts to love the place. And he really starts to admire Scorpio after he tells him his dream to own the Dallas Cowboys, and Scorpio says that that could happen, and he should follow his dreams. And then Homer starts to do his job, which is basically supervising some dudes who are doing what he used to do in Springfield, and he’s actually not bad at it.
Unfortunately while Homer keeps doing better and better in Cypress Creek, the rest of the family is doing worse. Marge starts drinking wine during the day because she’s so bored and Lisa continues to be miserable from her severe allergies. And Bart’s new remedial class is pretty horrible. He’s in a class with a kid from Canada who they assume is slow, a girl who fell off the jungle gym and woke up there, and a boy who starts fire. Although it does have Bart’s amazing summation of remedial classes: “we’re behind the rest of our class, and we’re going to catch up by going slower than them?” But I guess no one is telling Homer their problems, so he just keeps working along, even buying Tom Landry’s hat from a sports memorabilia store. He assumes this will help motivate his team, but they’re really worn out from all their work, so Homer comes up with the great idea of getting them hammocks. So he heads to Hank to ask for some hammocks.
And here is where the episode gets amazing. Up until now it was a pretty funny episode, but after Homer asks Hank Scorpio for advice about hammocks, we learn something special about Hank. He’s a Bond villain. He excuses himself momentarily from his hammock conversation so he can threaten the UN and destroy the 59th St Bridge to show them he’s not bluffing. Then goes right back into hammock talk without Homer even commenting on it. And the supervillain stuff just keeps going as we’re treated to one of my favorite Simpsons scenes of all time. Homer wanders into Scorpio’s secret base, where he’s prepping his giant death ray and asking Homer:
Scorpio: “Hey Homer, which country do you like least, Italy or France?”
Scorpio: “No one ever says Italy.”
We then get the incredibly weird scene where Homer asks Hank for some sugar, and he just brings two fistfuls of sugar out of his pockets, and then asks if Homer needs cream too.
We also see Scorpio attempt to kill James Bont with a laser a la Goldfinger, only to have Bunt escape, and get tackled by Homer. Scorpio then proves to be the most intelligent Bond villain of all time, but just having his goons machine gun the knocked out Bont. So Homer goes home to tell his family about how he “tackled a loafer at work today,” and they finally break down and tell Homer that they’re too unhappy in the city to stay there anymore. So, even though he’s loving being a random henchman in Scorpio’s evil plots, Homer goes back to the death ray room to reluctantly quit. And while he’s doing that Scorpio is dealing with the army invading the base to stop him, but he still takes a moment to try and convince Homer to stay. But in the end, Homer has to quit, and leaves Scorpio to blast a flamethrower at some soldier. So the Simpsons make it home to Springfield and find Otto has been squatting in their house. And right as Homer is getting ready to sullenly go back to his old life they get a telegram from Scorpio, who has apparently taken over the entire East Coast, and he’s given Homer the Denver Broncos as a gift. We’re then treated to seeing the Broncos run around their front yard incompetently before the episode ends with its great Goldfinger theme song parody.
This episode is such a blast. I’ve talked before on the site about what a huge Bond fan I am, so this episode was right in my wheel-house. Plus, I’ve always been a fan of villains, and the people involved in their evil organizations, so it was just hilarious to see Homer accidently working for a man trying to take over the world. The episode before he villain reveal is pretty great, and has some fantastic jokes about the town, especially Bart and his remedial class, but man does it kick into high-gear after the reveal. Albert Brooks delivers an amazing performance as the friendliest boss/supervillain in history, and seriously, every single one of his lines rocks. Yeah, there’s not a whole lot of emotional substance to this one, but who cares, we get to see a man pull sugar out of his pockets and Homer ignore a woman in a bikini snapping a soldier’s neck with her legs.
Take Away: James Bond is awesome, and it would be pretty fun to work for a supervillain, they have great benefits.
“You Only Live Twice” was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Mike B Anderson, 1996.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons