Well what a coincidence. Yesterday we had an episode about Bart and Marge’s relationship, and today we get an old-fashioned Lisa and Homer episode. However, this episode really only uses that to get to a really weird jumping off point where the episode completely goes off the rails. Let’s get into it!
The episode starts off with Homer prancing around the living room hanging Christmas decorations. This proves to be confusing to Bart and Lisa, since it’s June. But it’s explained by the fact that Homer apparently thinks that they should be celebrating Father’s Day in a much more lavish way, including having Father’s Day Eve. So clearly Homer’s really excited to Father’s Day, and the kids get to go with Marge to the mall to get presents. Hopefully they meet his expectations!
Marge and the kids wander around the mall, looking for a gift, and they pretty quickly find some stuff. Bart finds some crazy pocket-knife called the Leather Buddy, which has an absurd amount of gadgets attached. Lisa however only found a shirt about Shrek, so she’s feeling a little inadequate. And she decides that the only way to get past that is to do something special for Father’s Day, and decides that she should make a gift for Homer. So she goes to the craft store to buy supplies to make something that comes from the heart.
We then cut to the next morning where Homer is getting breakfast in bed, and the kids are giving him his presents. And he’s psyched about the Leather Buddy, even having a ridiculous fantasy about using it to fight pirates. However, he’s less excited about Lisa’s adorable handmade picture book about a pair of father and daughter unicorns having a great day. He’s disappointed in it, and just kind of blows it off, which instantly crushes Lisa. Strike one.
So now it’s time for damage control. Marge yells at Homer, so he decides to try and fix things and puts the book up on the fridge. And in doing so he accidentally destroys the book with the water dispense. Strike two. Next Homer tries to take Lisa to a movie to bond, but he decides to try and get her in as a baby, which causes her to storm off in a huff. Strike three. Yeah, Lisa’s not doing well at this point. Oh, and we quickly see that the bullies have egged Bart into stealing a road sign that says Bart Street. Seems irrelevant, but it’ll come back later.
Anyway, Lisa’s full of fury now, and she’s just waiting for a target to vent it at. Which she finds in Martin, who just simply asks her for a colored pencil before school. And that sets her off. She starts freaking out, yelling at Martin about all men do is take and take, until she begins a whole rampage. She even throws her book bag through Skinner’s window, making him the new target. And just like that, Lisa has gotten a frowny face on her permanent record. Which means Homer and Marge are getting called in.
So Homer and Marge are brought into Skinner’s office for a meeting with Dr. Pryor. And he doesn’t have good news. He’s basically decided that Lisa is having a bit of a breakdown because she doesn’t have any positive male role models. So it’s all Homer’s fault, and he needs to fix it. And Skinner has just the way to win her back. Apparently the Elementary School usually has some adult dress up in a salamander suit and be some sort of safety instructor called the Safety Salamander. And he thinks that if Homer becomes this Salamander, he’ll win back Lisa’s respect. Somehow.
Homer quickly agrees to Skinner’s idea, and starts wearing the suit all the time, heading home to show Lisa how cool this is. And, if anything, it just embarrasses her. But he soldiers on, regardless of the fact that Homer is terrible at safety, and just keep botching everything he tries to do. He even tries to have some sort of assembly that ends with the auditorium being on fire and the kids having to evacuate, where Homer decides he should just give up.
However, right as Homer’s giving up something ridiculous happens. That missing Bart Street sign causes Cleetus and Brandine to get in a massive car accident that ends up creating an enormous pile up, right in front of the school. So Homer springs into action and begins climbing the tower of cars, saving people. And by the time he’s done, he’s becomes a local hero, and the best Safety Salamander there’s ever been.
Homer’s even such a hero that he’s awarded the keycard to the city in a special ceremony with Mayor Quimby. And during that ceremony things spin wildly out of control, to the point that by the end the town decides to get rid of Mayor Quimby and have a recall election to find a new mayor. And just like that, 200 candidates decide to throw their hats in the ring and try to be mayor. And, because Homer was a moderately good Safety Salamander and a local hero, Lisa convinces him that he should run for mayor.
And because Springfield is almost completely populated by idiots, Homer decides that he should run as the Salamander and not Homer Simpson. And, once again, because they’re idiots, the people of Springfield love his campaign and he quickly becomes the leader in the polls. So Homer’s doing good. Unfortunately it turns out he hasn’t been washing his Salamander suits, and it’s starting to smell like death. So Marge decides to wash it.
This doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a problem, until Homer’s invited to a debate with the other weirdoes who are doing well in the polls. And as Homer starts explaining all of his platform, disaster strikes. Because the suit apparently wasn’t built to be washed, and it quickly starts falling apart. And the people of Springfield have no intention of electing Homer, they want a Salamander. So Homer ends up completely failing at the election, no one get s enough votes and Quimby gets to stay as the mayor, and apparently Homer and Lisa’s relationship is fixed, because they dance at the wreckage of his victory party.
This episode just doesn’t do much for me. Normally I’m a huge sucker for Lisa/Homer episodes, but this one felt incredibly half-baked. It really seemed like this was two episode plots that they just couldn’t work out, and smashed together. Because it starts off as a typical Homer/Lisa episode where they have some sort of argument where Lisa’s feelings are hurt and Homer has to work to redeem himself. However, at the point where they would normally find something to bond over the episode takes a wild left turn with the Salamander nonsense. I have no idea why Lisa would forgive Homer being an asshole because he’s bad at being a mascot. And then things get even more insane when the recall election stuff happens! Was there a prominent recall going on at the time? Why would they even do this plot as what amounts to a B-Plot? Because as soon as Homer starts running for mayor we completely ignore all the Lisa stuff until the last minute when she forgives him for reasons that don’t really make sense. But everything had to end, so they all get back together and everything goes back to normal. It just felt muddled and meandering, and didn’t even use the Homer/Lisa formula in an effective way.
Take Away: Ironic mayoral candidacy can fix any problems in your personal life.
“See Homer Run” was written by Stephanie Gillis and directed by Nancy Kruse, 2005.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons