What a blissfully stupid episode. We get some fun Homer and Moe friendship and a lot of great boxing gags and movie references. So let’s see what happens when Homer Simpson starts participating in the gentlemanly sport of punching the shit out of another man’s head!
Thing start off with the Simpsons visiting the Springfield Mall, I guess to see the two surviving Indians from Bonanza. But that little presentation was pretty lackluster, so they wander off and end up coming across a new gadget store similar to Sharper Image. Homer wanders around looking at all the useless crap they sell as we get to see Comic Book Guy attempting to return something. He won some weird utility belt from a Star Trek convention, but is too fat for it, and since he doesn’t have a receipt he can’t return it, so he ends up having to sell it to Bart for four bucks. So with his new tactical pants retaining system all set up, he goes and shows it off to the kids at school, showing them how awesome having a belt with turn signals and emergency warning sirens is.
But Bart’s parade is rained upon when the bullies show up, and Jimbo tries to steal the belt. Bart then runs off, trying to escape the bully’s wrath, even tricking them with the turn signals. But they still find him, and his emergency beacon just fires a little note into the air that says to call the police, so they just beat him up. Although it does lead to Bart’s amazing line of “Can’t you read? It says ‘Call the police!’” So Bart heads home, beaten up and beltless, which Homer shockingly notices. He tells Bart that he should start squealing to people, but when Bart counters that that will just get him beaten up more Homer decides that the only logical response is for him to talk to the bullies fathers. So he meets Jimbo, Dolph, and Kearney’s fathers at Moe’s, and they just beat the hell out of him. But Homer shockingly doesn’t seem to even notice, and doesn’t fall down. Moe scares them off with his shotgun, and marvels at Homer’s strange abilities.
Homer clearly can take a lot of punishment without ever falling down, which Moe immediately sees can be put to use in the sport of boxing. Turns out Moe used to be a boxer back in the day, and has converted the ladies room in the bar to a weird little office/shrine for his old boxing days. Moe used to be a big deal, even being managed by Lucius Sweet, a Don King parody that they even namecheck, until he started losing all the time. But Moe decides he wants to get back into the business, but as a manager this time, and convinces Homer to become a boxer himself. And of course Marge isn’t down with this plan, and makes Homer go see a credible doctor before he starts boxing. But luckily they live in a state founded by circus freaks, so Dr. Hibbert gives him permission to box, wrestle, or get shot out of a cannon. Turns out Homer has an abnormally thick layer of fluid around his brain, which acts like a football helmet around his brain at all time. So He’s unbeatable!
But when Moe and Homer start training, it quickly becomes apparent that Homer is a terrible boxer, and can’t even throw a decent punch. Now, I’ve learned a bit of boxing and I can tell you that it’s super difficult, and wears you out quick. Plus, there’s way more to punching than you would ever realize, and the whole thing is just vastly more complicated than you ever would think. But Homer is terrible at it, so Moe decides that they need a different strategy, and figures that if Homer just lets his opponents wail on him until they get tired, he can just push them over and win. And it starts working out for him great. We get a montage of Homer beating up a whole slew of hobos in the bar with this strategy as Homer becomes the best semi-pro boxer in Springfield.
But just when things seem like they couldn’t get better, Moe gets a surprise visit from Lucius Sweet. He now manages Drederick Tatum, a Mike Tyson stand-in, who is the current heavy-weight champion of the world and is also incarcerated for pushing his mother down some stairs. But he’s about to get out and Lucius wants an easy comeback fight that goes at least three rounds, and figures Homer would be the perfect opponent. Moe has some doubts about it, but agrees to go through with it, and has a meeting with Homer where he doesn’t really explain who Tatum is, and still gets Homer to agree.
So Tatum gets freed after a parole hearing/press conference where he says he’s going to make orphans out of Homer’s children. And things start to go bad for Homer when Marge finally learns about the fire by reading the paper, and is not on board for things, but Homer somehow convinces her to let him do it. So we cut right to the fight, where Bart and Grandpa are helping Homer get ready while Marge has a heart to heart with Moe. She tries to make Moe promise to throw in the towel if Homer gets hurt to badly, but he refuses, and doesn’t even bring the towel into the fight.
The fight then gets ready to begin, as we see all the celebrities in the audience like Ranier Wolfcastle, Kent Brockman, and a guy who flies around with a giant fan called the Fanman. Tatum then comes in with his entourage while some rap plays and he poses for the crowd, while Homer wanders in with Moe and Grandpa while “Why Can’t We Be Friends” plays. I also found it hilarious that Homer’s robe just says “opponent.” So the fight begins, and right away Tatum’s punches are too much for even Homer’s crazy skull. Bart and Lisa are really worried, but luckily Marge’s seat is way in the back behind a pillar, so she’s not quite sure what’s going on.
Homer’s really not doing well, but is staying on his feet, which is dragging the fight out. Tatum gets bored after a while and ends up talking to Charlie Sheen for a while, until having to go back to beating Homer to death. But Marge comes running up to the ring, telling Homer that he should start punching back, and a dazed Homer says “that cactus is right,” and does his best to land a punch on Tatum. Which fails miserably, and just gets him drilled in the top of the head, which I don’t think is a legal move. But right as the fight is about to end and Tatum delivers a goddamn death-blow, Moe comes flying down with the crazy fan machine, and flies Homer out of the stadium. The whole crowd comes outside to see what happened, and Tatum is actually impressed with Moe’s loyalty. Lucius isn’t, but still gives Moe the money he owed him, so everything ends nicely. The Simpsons then wait until everyone leaves so they can find their car, and Moe flies around the world saving people and being a hero.
What a silly and fun episode. Moe and Homer are such a goofy friendship, and I love it so much. How many people pal around with their bartenders that much? Let alone engage in a crazy boxing career/scam with them. There are a lot of great boxing moments in this episode, and boy is it fun seeing the funny Tyson and King parodies walking around Springfield, since it’s the nexus of all culture. There’s not a lot to this episode, and not much more to say, but it’s an enjoyable little piece of Simpsons. Not perfect, but fun.
Take Away: Boxing is hard. Don’t trust Don King…I mean Lucius Sweet.
“The Homer they Fall” was written by Jonathan Collier and directed by Mark Kirkland.