Hey, it’s been a while since Homer had to replace some random secondary character at their job right? How about Moe this time? Sure, roll with it.
The baffling first act of this episode starts off with Homer laughing and misunderstanding the newspaper when he notices that Bart is just randomly digging a hole in the back yard. Homer, Marge, and Lisa are all pretty confused by the activity, but for some reason Lisa is the only one with the initiative to go ask Bart just what the hell he’s doing. And she unfortunately doesn’t get a good answer, because Bart just says that he’s digging, and that the reason is being he should be digging.
So that’s a little odd. And it just gets weirder because Bart digs the whole damn day, ignoring everything else, just digging deeper and deeper. He ignores everyone who comes to talk to him, even Homer’s lame attempt at reverse psychology. Hell, he even ignores the real psychologist that Marge brings in. Nothing is working. And that’s where things get weird, because we see that a Chinese satellite is spying on Bart, and they’re taking this digging as an act of aggression.
Which is where the episode suddenly stops and we realize that this whole bizarre digging story has been just that, a story that Homer is telling his buddies at Moe’s. And they aren’t pleased with this rambling nonsense. However, while Lenny, Carl, and Barney are just annoyed with Homer, Moe gets really mad, and starts gripping at Homer and his other beloved regulars, bitching and moaning that they’re always bothering him.
And the regulars realize that this isn’t normal, and ask Moe to open up, because something is clearly bothering him. Moe then explains that he’s just feeling unfulfilled in his life as a bartender. He complains that he used to be young and idealistic about bartending, and has lost his spark. So, in order to regain some of the magic he decides that he should head back to his old alma matter, Swigmore University, to see if that inspires him again. And in true Simpsons fashion, he decides that Homer is the perfect person to run the bar while he’s gone.
So Moe heads out to the massive, seemingly Ivy League university and start wandering around the campus, digging up old memories. He even runs into his old mentor, and the two start to chat about Moe’s lack of interest in his profession. The two walk around the university, catching up, while the mentor starts to give Moe some advice. He clearly recognizes that Moe’s problem lies in his tavern itself, and recommends that Moe update it, and maybe try something new. At which point the professor commits suicide in a lake. Moving on!
While Moe is having this enlightening trip Homer is actually doing a pretty good job as the bartender. Just like Bart and Milhouse running the Android’s Dungeon, Homer has made some changes to the way the bar is usually run, and has made it a fun place where people can bring in food, dance on the bar, and slowly bleed out from jukebox accidents. And he loves it. He even gets a prank call from Bart, which doesn’t go well.
But all good things must come to an end, and when Homer heads into the bar the next day to open up, he finds that it’s being destroyed by construction workers. He briefly freaks out before realizing that Moe is organizing the destruction. He and Moe have a conversation where Moe tells him that he’s renovating and reimagining the bar, even brining in a special image consultant to make it new and hip. Which should probably be a red flag for Homer.
And a couple weeks later Moe’s reopens as a chic new club called m, and it seems to be the hit of the town. It’s full of annoying hipsters, and has completely changed its image. Which isn’t really what Homer and the regulars were anticipating. After being held up by the doorman they’re eventually let into the crazy new bar, and quickly realize that it’s not really their style. There’s weird videos of eyes, postmodern art everywhere, an oxygen bar, Russian models, and all sorts of other things that make them feel uncomfortable.
Plus, it looks like Moe has seriously changed in the couple weeks that he’s been away, and he doesn’t really want these regulars around anymore, preferring to hang out with the horrible hipsters. So he has a fight with Homer and the regulars, and they leave, promising not to return. And where will they drink? Homer’s garage!
Turns out Homer really liked his tenure as a bartender, and decides to transform his garage into a makeshift bar for him and the guys to drink at now that they don’t want to be around Moe. So everybody’s happy, right? Well, not Moe. Because he slowly starts to realize that hipsters are horrible people, and he can’t stand the people who come to his bar. So after a particularily bad night he decides to go over to Homer’s house to apologize, only to find the bar swinging.
Which is mainly because Homer has somehow convinced REM that he and the guys are millionaires, and gotten them to play a private concert in the garage. Which is ruined when Moe comes storming in, pissed that they’ve made their own bar. Homer gets defensive and the two get into a big fight, where Moe points out that it’s illegal to have a bar in your house without a liquor license. But Homer has that covered, and lets Moe know that it’s actually a hunting lodge, which gets a loophole.
However, Moe is still irritated at them, so he decides to call Homer’s bluff, and lets him know that hunting lodges actually need to hunt, so Homer has to go hunting. So the next morning Homer heads out in to the forest to shoot a turkey, which is disgusting Lisa. Luckily though she finds an ally in Moe, who feels bad about the whole thing, and the two concoct a plan to scare away all the turkeys so Homer can’t kill them. Which obviously results in Moe getting shot instead. But it’s all good, because that accidently gunshot wound convinces everyone to make up, Moe changes the bar back to normal, and the Simpsons, Moe, and REM have Thanksgiving dinner together in the bar.
What an odd episode. The ones revolving around Homer getting a new ridiculous job can really be hit or miss, and I think this one more or less hits for me. There are some serious problems with it, like the bizarre first act that really just felt like they were padding the script out, but overall I think I like this one. I’m always a fan of exploring Homer and Moe’s relationship, and this was an interesting way to see it. Honestly it felt more like what the episode where Moe gets plastic surgery should have been, with Moe getting too big for the britches and driving a wedge between him and Homer. Plus, all the jokes about Moe’s horrible new bar were pretty spot on if you’ve ever been dragged to one of those insufferable trendy bars.
Take Away: Just because you’ve lost your passion for something doesn’t mean you have to completely change everything about it.
“Homer the Moe” was written by Dana Gould and directed by Jen Kamerman, 2001.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons
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