It’s been a weird week folks. Lots of ups and downs, highs and lows, and weird existential dread about the impending decline in quality, so let’s just end the week on a nice, stupid, fun episode about Homer becoming a hippie to honor his mom.
We start things off with Mr. Burns and Smithers hanging out in Burns’ office, checking out the weird lunch Burns has packed for himself, complete with a whole jar of garlic pickles. But trouble arises when Burns starts having issues opening the jar. He asks Smithers for help, with no luck. So they put out a call to the rest of the Plant, since pickles are more important than their actual jobs, and still no one succeeds. And with that pathetic display on his mind, Burns decides they need fresh blood in the Plant, and he decides the only way to do that is a cool new recruitment video, which he obviously needs to write and direct himself. Which leads to a ridiculous little skit with Lenny, Carl, and Homer pretending to be cool high school graduates from the 50’s who are getting excited about their new careers in Nuclear Power, while speaking like Stan Lee’s approximation of teenage slang.
But one good thing comes from the terrible recruitment video, which Mr. Burns slaps an Alan Smithee direction credit on, Homer’s decision to join the Screen Actors Guild. He starts filling out the application form, but runs into an issue with his name. The form wants his full name, and he only seems to know his middle initial, J, and not what it stands for. Which seems like a ridiculous thing for a nearly 40 year old man to be dealing with, but whatever. He asks Grandpa, but that doesn’t really lead anywhere, since Grandpa apparently just let Mona do everything about raising Homer, and he has no idea what the middle name is. And since Mona is still on the run, Homer and Grandpa decide to the do the next best thing to asking her, and go visit the hippie commune she lived at.
So Homer and Grandpa drive off to the commune and run into the two hippies that still live there, Seth and Munchie, played by Martin Mull and George Carlin. Homer is introduced to the two hippies who knew him as a kid, and he learns that he apparently went to Woodstock with his parents, while Grandpa just sat there in a suit not approving of anything that was going on. He also finds a mural that Mona painted on a barn while she was there, featuring a little Homer in a psychedelic background. The mural also has his full name, revealing his middle name as Jay, which is so stupid, but so fun. Because the episode now stops being about the quest for his name, and switches over to Homer decided that the hippie lifestyle Mona fled Abe for sounds awesome, leading him to want to be a hippie as well.
So Homer gets Mona’s old poncho and heads home to do some research on his new lifestyle by watching some crazy Bob Hope comedy special about hippies. Which doesn’t really help much. But he does learn one important part of being a hippie. That he has to be insufferable. Which quickly starts to wear on his family, who start to hate his new persona. And this causes Homer to head up to the commune again and try to hang out with Seth and Munchie, figuring that they’ll be more open to his new life.
They’re a little hesitant about the whole thing, especially since Homer is so aggressive and annoying to them, but they cut him some slack and just let him hang out with then. They even reveal that they aren’t really hippies anymore, and own a huge vegan juice company, which they run themselves. They’ve turned the commune into a well oiled machine that grows, juices, bottles, and distributes the juice around the state. Which kind of crushes Homer, who just wanted them to hang out with him and freak out the establishment. And to throw their old friend’s kid a bone, they decide to take the day off and drive around with him, freaking people out.
Which doesn’t go well, basically from the beginning, since Homer would rather listen to “Uptown Girl,” than Strawberry Alarm Clock. And things just get worse when they get to town, and no one really cares at all about Homer’s attempt to freak them out. Although he does have some success when they get to the Elementary School and declare it closed, which leads to the amazing Principal Skinner line: “15 years of service and this is how they tell me? A jester with an invisible proclamation?” However, disaster strike when they decide their freak-out is over, and they head back to the commune, only to find Homer’s Frisbee jamming their machine, and destroying their shipment. Seth and Munchie then freak out, and kick Homer out of the commune, not letting him be a hippie like them.
And instead of just moving on with his life, Homer starts to sulk around the house and be depressed. The family have some sympathy for him though, and start to give him some confidence about his stupid hippie plan, which gives him the boost to do something stupid. He then sneaks off to the commune in the dead of night, and decides to pick a whole new harvest of veggies, juice them himself, and get the shipment ready for Seth and Munchie to prove he’s not a screw-up. And he succeeds! The next morning Seth and Munchie wake up and find Homer there after bottling and distributing their order. They’re pretty excited, until they realize that Homer found their “secret” garden, and accidently spiked the juice with LSD and peyote.
We then cut over to Springfield, where apparently everyone is super into this hippie juice, and they all start tripping balls. Willie starts making out with his rake while assuming it’s a lady, Jasper and Grandpa sit on a park bench and giggle like Beevis and Butthead, Barney is attacked by a goblin before causing a drunken pink elephant to ride in and kill it, Ned gets attacked by a bunch of band logos, and Lou is spinning around in his chair in the police station. And it’s that last one that becomes a problem, because when Chief Wiggum realizes that the hippies have spiked the juice, he decides to hold a police raid on the hippies. So a riot squad show up, ready to bash some hippie skull, and Homer does little other than make things worse. He even does that cliché thing of putting daisies in their rifles, which ends with the daisy being fired into Homer’s head, and we close out on this amazing interaction before hitting the crazy trippy credits:
Lisa: “Are you gonna remove the flower?”
Dr. Hibbert: “I’m a doctor, not a gardener.”
Homer: “Well, can you at least cut the leaves so I can watch TV?”
Dr. HIbbert: “What did I just say?”
This episode is so silly. It’s one of those episodes that are so dumb, but that just click with me just the right way. Maybe there’s some crazy ingrained nostalgia with this episode, or maybe it’s my passionate obsession with the genius of George Carlin, but I really love this episode. Seeing Homer become an insufferable, and ineffectual, hippie in this episode is so much fun. There is some emotional stuff in this episode, such as Homer being on a quest to find his “identity” only to move on to finding a new persona, but that’s not really while we’re here. This is an episode where Homer dances around like an idiot, and makes the whole town drink peyote water by accident. It’s dumb, and I love it.
Take Away: Don’t be a hippie. And there’s no such thing a “Selling Out,” that just called becoming an adult.
“D’oh-in’ in the Wind” was written by Donick Cary and directed by Mark Kirkland and Matthew Nastuk, 1998.