Hey remember how last week we had an episode called “Homer to the Max?” Well that combination of words sounded good, so here’s “Maximum Homerdrive,” which is also a great nod to a truly insane film.
Things start off with the family sitting around their dinner table in the middle of a truly insane story Homer’s telling everyone about how he didn’t get a tetanus shot after Lenny bit him. Although Homer’s explanation of “I really gave him no choice,” is hilarious. But that scintillating conversation is shut down when Lisa shows up, full of righteous indignation. Apparently there’s a new restaurant opening in Springfield that’s all about meat, and even has the option to pick out the cow you want to be killed and prepared for you. Which is somehow worse than picking the lobster you want to be boiled alive. Unfortunately while Lisa is trying to get the rest of her family pissed off, all it actually accomplishes is making sure the rest of the family are going to check the restaurant out that night.
So everybody but Lisa heads over to the Slaughterhouse, and gets ready for a meal full of meat. And as usual, everybody in town is there and enjoying the food. We even get to see Mr. Burns kill several cows for no reason, and then stealing milk from one. However, a plot actually starts to develop when Homer is angry that the biggest steak they offer is a whopping 72 oz. So he complains to the waiter, who lets him know that there is a special steak called Sir. Loinalot which is 16 pounds and the size of a boogie board. Plus, if he finishes it he’ll join a wall of fame with the only other two people who have eaten it, a trucker called Red Barclay and Tony Randall.
And wouldn’t you know it, Red happens to be there, and he strikes up a conversation with Homer, warning him that the steak will be too much for him. This obviously pisses Homer off, and he challenges Red to an eating contest. Red agrees, and the whole restaurant stops eating to watch two fat men gorge themselves on some steaks the size of toddlers. And it quickly becomes evident that this is an insurmountable task for poor old Homer, who can’t even eat half of the steak before he has to tap out, since his sinuses are clogged with meat. But it was a Pyrrhic victory for old Red Barclay, because even though he finishes the steak, he dies of beef poisoning. And since Homer is more or less responsible for Red’s death, he decides to honor the man by completing his last cross-country delivery to Atlanta in three days. So Homer and Bart hop in Red’s truck and head off to be truckers!
And things are going pretty well for Homer. He and Bart become truckers pretty easily, even though a kid tricks Homer into pulling the wrong cable in the car, causing him to release his cargo. However, it’s not just Homer and Bart having fun this week! Because Marge and Lisa have a fun little adventure on their own. And this time it’s not eggs, it’s doorbells. Marge and Lisa go to a doorbell store, called Senor Ding-Dong, and buy a novelty doorbell from Gil that plays the Carpenter’s “Close To You.” So they go and install it at the house, and patiently wait for someone to come ring the bell. Which doesn’t work great, since they see Milhouse selling seeds, Jehovah’s Witnesses that realize they’re just bothering people, and a pizza guy who only knocks on the door. This drives Marge and Lisa crazy until Lisa finally breaks down, and rings the bell herself. And it works! Too well though, because it starts playing and doesn’t stop.
But that’s enough bell-talk for now, we have to cut back to Homer and Bart, who are having fun fishing and watching bad drive-in movies like “The Monster That Ate Everybody.” But the good times come to an end when they realize they have a lot of ground to cover in just a few hours, so Homer stops by a gas-station, and buys some pills. He eats a whole bottle of pep-pills and a whole bottle of sleeping-pills, which he figures will balance him out. Which it doesn’t. Instead Homer just passes out almost as soon as he starts driving, and the truck start careening for a cliff.
However right as the truck is about to crash to it’s fiery doom, a little computer on board activates, and safely drives Homer’s truck down the mountain to a gentle stop at a gas station. Home wakes up the next morning, stunned, and starts to tell the other truckers congregating at the gas station about it. At which point they let Homer know that it wasn’t magic, it was that little computer, which is actually driving everyone’s trucks. Apparently truck drivers don’t do anything, and this little robot does all the work. Which they regret telling Homer when they realize he’s not actually a trucker, since it’s a huge secret. But Homer promises he’ll keep their dirty secret, and heads out to complete his mission.
And he promptly stops keeping that secret, and shows Bart how it works by sitting on the hood of the truck while it drives. Which becomes a problem when a whole tour-bus drives by the truck, and Homer explains the whole thing to them. And when another truck driver sees them, he calls in the report that someone is blabbing about their secret scam, and gets all the other truckers on the road to come to their aid and stop Homer. We also briefly check in on Marge and Lisa, who are slowly going mad from the doorbell, and only make it worse when they try to just rip some wires out, and cause it to get faster and louder.
But now it’s time for a convoy fight! They all show up and start ramming into Homer’s truck, trying to knock him off the road. They even try to climb onto the truck to stop him, but Homer uses all his trucker skills to shake them off. And it looks like he’s in the clear. That is until a whole wall of trucks appear in front of him, ready to kill him. However, Homer earns their respect when he slams on the breaks of the truck, and ends up catapulting the whole thing over the convoy to their freedom. So the convoy stops caring, Homer gets to Atlanta and drops off the shipment of avocados and migrant workers, and everything is right in the world. Homer and Bart then pretend to be engineers and get aboard a train full of napalm to Springfield so they can get home.
But that’s not the end! Because we still have to close out the Marge/Lisa plot. Things aren’t going well. The doorbell is still going, loud and out of control, and it’s caused the entire town to show up, ready to blow up the Simpsons house to stop it. And right before things get ugly and Chief Wiggum shoots the thing, the day is saved by the real Senor Ding Dong, who shows up in a truck to stop their doorbell with the help of his magical whip. And once everyone is properly impressed, he heads out into the night, where his van promptly craps out.
This is a dumb episode. And I love it so much. I mentioned a few episodes ago in the “Sunday, Cruddy Sunday” episode that I really didn’t like the main, football plot, but I absolutely loved the bonkers B-Plot with Marge and Lisa painting some eggs endorsed by Vincent Price. And this week we get an equally weird B-Plot with Marge and Lisa that sounds super boring, but ends up being fun and bizarre. Plus, the A-Plot in this episode is actually good! Yeah, it’s just one of those episodes that revolve around “Homer gets a new wacky job,” but this one worked better than some of the others. I’m always a fan of Bart and Homer being little pals, and this was a fun one. It had a lot of silly jokes and some father/son bonding, while also having some mother/daughter bonding. I just had a great time with this one.
Take Away: Being a trucker is apparently super easy, doorbells are hard work, and it ate everybody, stupid!
“Maximum Homerdrive” was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Swinton O Scott III, 1999.