We’ve had a rough week here on Lifetime of Simpsons. Just a week of bummer episodes with weird characterization and uninteresting scenarios. And you know what the perfect way to end that week is? Why to talk about the Rapture! Who doesn’t love the Rapture?! Let’s get to it.
The episode begins with Bart and Lisa being tricked into coming inside by Marge. They thought they were getting treats, but they’re actually getting haircuts, because apparently Marge still cuts their hair. And they’re horrified, mainly because their hair is awful. As they point out. Marge defends her styles, and the templates she uses to cut their hair, but they hold their ground and demand that they go to a real barber. Marge refuses, but Homer just waltzes in and says he’ll take the kids to the mall to get haircuts, so that obstacle was quickly avoided.
Homer brings the kids to the mall and then drops them off at some trendy kids barbershop so they can get decent haircuts. Which quickly falls apart. Because while Bart and Lisa are sitting in their goofy little seats to get their haircuts they begins fighting, and end up just getting chunks of their hair cut off, giving them ridiculous buzz-cuts. And they’re mortified about their new terrible looks, and decide that they need to get home without anyone seeing them.
Which proves to be impossible, because right outside the barbershop are several of their classmates and Principal Skinner, who is apparently chaperoning some sort of photography club. So there’s a bunch of peers, all with cameras, and Bart and Lisa look ridiculous. So they flee through the mall, trying to escape the mockery that will surely await them, and they end up running into Homer, who decides to help them out and the three sneak into a random movie theater.
And the movie that they snuck into turns out to be some horrible Christian propaganda called Left Below. It’s all about the Rapture, and focuses on some modern guy who doesn’t want to devote his life to Christianity, so he’s the bad guy, and gets punished by staying on Earth while the rest of his pious family are Raptured up to heaven. The movie is angry and spiteful, making fun of other religions, technology, and choosing to be gay, just like most real Christian movies. Seriously, check out “God Isn’t Dead” and see how this movie is actually pulling punches. Things get way more sanctimonious and obnoxious in real Christian movies.
Anyway, the kids seem to be bored to tears by this awful movie, but Homer is enthralled. Homer starts to think that the Rapture is real, and impending, and quickly becomes obsessed with it. He’s worried that he hasn’t lived a good enough life to get in to heaven, and after he starts seeing signs of the Apocalypse, he really freaks out. And these signs are a dude in a devil costume and blood raining from the sky. Although that blood was just from Captain McCallister hunting a whale from a helicopter. You know, like you do.
So with those signs taken as gospel Homer decides to stop by a Christian bookstore and buy everything they have on the Rapture. Which means he’s about to get real obnoxious. He heads home with his haul and begins pouring over the books, researching as hard as he can while Marge knits toupees and wigs for Bart and Lisa out of their hair trimmings, which she keeps for some reason. Marge is confused about Homer reading, and gets very confused when he explains what he’s doing.
Homer has decided that he has developed some insane nonsense math by reading the books, and by his calculations the Rapture will happen next week. Marge is less than convinced about this theory, but she lets Homer go along with it, becoming a local lunatic. Homer begins wandering around town, telling everyone that the world is going to end next week, and everyone starts mocking him. Especially Kent Brockman, who comes to joke interview him. And during the interview Homer says that the stars will soon fall to the Earth, proving his prediction.
And wouldn’t you know, that evening something weird happens. He comes home and the family are watching some crazy thing on TV where Krusty and a bunch of celebrities are being flown into a stadium by a blimp. I’m not sure what the endgame of this special was, but it doesn’t happen because the Blue Angels fly through the blimp, dropping the stars from the blimp, to the Earth. Homer was right. And people are instantly convinced.
The people of Springfield are now convinced that Homer is right, and that the world is about to end. So they all agree to get together on the day that Homer predicted the Rapture, and drive out to the middle of the desert so they can hold balloons and stand atop Springfield Mesa, which I guess makes it easier to get Raptured? Well, I guess we won’t find out, because shockingly, the Rapture doesn’t happen, and everyone stand on the Mesa all day for nothing, slowly getting angrier and angrier at Homer until they all abandon him.
So Homer’s crushed. His prediction was completely wrong and he’s made a laughingstock out of himself. The town begins mocking him, and he sees that several townspeople did stupid things because they thought the world was ending. Like Moe selling his bar to a sushi place. That’s not cool. And it makes Homer so depressed that he decides to throw out all of his Rapture crap. However, as he’s throwing everything away he realizes he’s made a huge mistake.
The Rapture wasn’t for that day, it was for this day. The Rapture is about to happen in half an hour, and it’s already the middle of the night. He tries to wake up the rest of this family to get them to follow him out to the Mesa gain, but no one is having it. They yell at Homer and go back to bed, causing him to drive out to the Mesa in the middle of the night by himself. So he gets up to the Mesa, and prepares to be Raptured.
And guess what? It happens. Homer is suddenly nude and flying through space, on his way to eternal happiness. He’s brought up to heaven, which turns out to mainly just be a fancy cloud-filled resort. He gets a brief introduction to the place thanks to a helpful angel, and is shown to his hotel room that he’ll be spending the rest of eternity in. However, as he’s settling in he decides to check out the TV and see how Earth is doing. And it’s not well. He sees his family being tormented by demons and what not, and decides that he needs to change things.
Homer decides that the only way to help his family is to go right to the boss. God. Homer somehow gets into God’s office, and politely requests that the rest of his family be brought to heaven too. God refuses immediately, so Homer decides to do the mature thing and cause a huge scene. He begins running around heaven, causing havoc, until God arrests him and they actually have a talk. God agrees to undo the Rapture, put it off for a couple years, and allows Homer to go back. So Homer wakes up on the Mesa, it all having been a dream, and he goes back to the way his life used to be. Oh, and God has also fixed Moe’s, which I guess means it all happened?
This episode isn’t bad, despite the fact that it’s all about something that I personally hate. I’ve talked on here a lot about my dislike of Christianity, but I don’t think I’ve talked about how much the idea of the Rapture pisses me off. It’s just a made-up thing that Christians use to act like they’re on the right side of things, and the people who legitimately believe that any minute the world will end really horrify me. They’re so convinced that this life doesn’t mean anything, and that they get to go hang out in heaven for eternity, so they tend to be awful in real life. But taking the Rapture aside, I do like the idea of Homer being fascinated by it and becoming one of those obnoxious doomsday seers. I’m not a fan of the idea that Homer actually met God and convinced him to undo the Rapture, but I think we can just look past that and pretend that it was all a dream and the Moe’s thing was a coincidence.
Take Away: If someone says that the Rapture is coming, politely never speak to that person again. You don’t need them in your life.
“Thank God It’s Doomsday” was written by Don Payne and directed by Michael Marcantel, 2005.