Hey everybody. Did you know that sometimes it’s hard to be the boss? It’s true, as we’re going to learn in this episode that I had zero memory of, and basically forgot everything about immediately after I watched it. Buckle up!
The episode begins with Bart and Lisa watching an Itchy and Scratchy episode that’s basically like American Graffiti that obviously ends with Itchy killing Scratchy by sticking him in a plane with Richie Valens, the Big Bopper, and Buddy Holly. Which is a solid joke. And after the cartoon we get to see that it’s apparently the night of Valentine’s Day, and Homer is letting the kids watch cartoons all night with the sound up as high as it can go so that he and Marge could have sex.
And after confirming that the kids are otherwise occupied, Homer heads up to the bedroom to begin the woo. And he’s actually being pretty romantic, putting rose petals all over the bedroom and everything. Unfortunately when Marge comes to bed, she’s too exhausted to have sex. And things aren’t helped when Homer puts on some romantic music, and it’s accidentally a tape of lullabies, since Maggie got his romance tape.
So no sex for Homer that night, which apparently depressed him enough that he decides to just wander the town and peep in on other people enjoying Valentine’s Day. And things get so ridiculous that Homer briefly considers suicide, but changes his mind when he sees a billboard for some adult education classes, and figures that that’s a better idea.
Homer then heads to some school where there seem to be plenty of classes going on in the middle of the night on Valentine’s Day. And he obviously needs to take a class about stripping for your wife, which is taught by Dr. Hibbert. Apparently Hibbert stripped his way through college as Malcolm Sex, which is wonderful. But he kicks Homer out of class when he uses the entire jug of baby oil on himself, and pushes him into another class.
And that class is some sort of success scam where a loud, angry man is yelling at everyone about how they can stop being suckers and start being winner. Obviously Homer is down with this message, and starts paying attention and reading the dude’s shady book, Megatronics. It’s primarily just buzzwords and being an asshole to people, and Homer loves it. He heads home and start using the advice from the book to enhance his and the family’s life, mainly through exploiting the fantastic power of the hook.
But things really start to get going when he reads a chapter on advancing in your business by tattling on your coworkers, and he begins spying around the Plant, compiling a list of horrible things they’re doing. And when the list is done he heads up to tell Mr. Burns all about it, and is shocked when Burns just mocks and tortures Homer for doing what is nominally hit job. Homer heads home after being electrified by an electric eel, and ends up heading to Moe’s to complain.
And while at Moe’s he gets some advice from the barflies that Homer should get revenge on Mr. Burns with a prank. Since Homer’s been drinking, he thinks that’s a great idea, and heads to the office to give Burns a flaming bag of dog poo. But he stops momentarily when he realizes it’s not a bag of poo, it’s a bag of money. And while he’s putting the fire out, he manages to listen in on Burns and Smithers, who are discussing some shady shit. Turns out Burns isn’t the legal owner of the company, it’s a canary he has in his office, so if the Plant ever gets caught doing something illegal, it’s the canary’s fault.
With the information in his head, and the advice of that terrible success speaker rattling around in there too, Homer comes up with an idea. He needs to sabotage this whole thing. So he heads home, gets Bart, and the two head back to the office after Burns and Smithers are gone to free the canary. And when that’s done Homer just waits for the next day when Burns comes into the office and finds the bird missing.
And during Burns’ panic at the missing CEO, Homer comes running in and announces that some nuclear regulatory agency has shown up for a surprise inspection that they will surely fail. Burns is then desperate for a new patsy, and after an overly long gag where he doesn’t think of using Homer, he does, and makes Homer the CEO for the time being. So they head out to the balcony where the rest of the employees are waiting, and Burns announces that Homer is now the owner and CEO of the Plant.
At which point Homer reveals his cunning plan, and fires Burns. Which doesn’t really seem to phase Burns. He seems pretty impressed by Homer’s ruthlessness. So Homer throws Burns off the balcony to crowd-surf and begins his own personal reign of terror, which he assures everyone will be better since he’ll be a man of the people.
Although it quickly becomes aware that Homer doesn’t really know how to run the Plant, and he ends up bringing in Lisa to be his CFO, which is a weird call. But she excels at it, and tells him that the business is doing terribly. And after briefly checking in on Burns and Smithers and their mission to buy opium from Morocco, we see that the life of a CEO is not fun. Homer’s stuck working all the time, even on his vacation, just to make the Plant solvent.
And that’s not the worst part, because we see that being a CEO means you’re basically always working. Homer is never home; he works crazy hours, and has to have Skype dinners with the family to even see them. And it’s when Homer’s is at this low that Mr. Burns randomly shows up in the office to give him some advice. The two head to a cemetery where Burns shows all the loved ones he had to abandon to get where he was. But this isn’t really a warning, it was more a trap, because Burns then tranqs Homer and plans to entomb him in his own mausoleum. But Burns is a slow worker, and Homer just wakes up the next morning and escapes the tomb, giving Burns back the Plant, returning everything to normal.
I don’t know what it is about this episode but it just doesn’t want to stay in my head. I really didn’t remember anything about it while watching it, and I had to check back on my notes an absurd amount while writing this article up. It’s just kind of a nothing episode. Seeing Homer being taken in by one of those weird motivational speaker guys is something we’ve seen before, but we’ve never seen him be this competent in his stupid goals. He actually manages to depose Burns in a pretty cunning, if not ridiculous, way. But the episode just felt really disjointed to me. Seeing Homer worried that Marge isn’t attracted to him, seeing him learn how to be successful, seeing him take down Mr. Burns, and seeing him run the Plant and realize that being the boss kind of sucks could all have been their own stories, and it just felt busy. There was too much going on in this episode, and it felt like two or three lackluster episodes stuck together. Who knows, maybe I’m being overly tough on this one, but it’s just super bland and leaves virtually no impression on me.
Take Away: Being the boss is much harder than it looks.
“C.E. D’oh,” was written by Dana Gould and directed by Mike B Anderson, 2003.