Hey, have any of the Simpsons been a firefighter yet? Marge has been a cop, and they’ve been saved by firefighters, but it doesn’t look like any of them have fought fires. Well, let’s fix that.
The episode starts off with Marge fixating on some crazy magazine all about over-parenting. She flips through it, finding all sorts of stupid things to be worried about, and really fixates on an article that says that babies who use pacifiers grew up to be low achievers. So that obviously means she’s going to have to grab Maggie’s pacifier, and never let her have another one. Marge even throws the pacifier away, and it heads off with the garbage pickup.
Which makes Maggie lose her goddamn mind. She instantly becomes angry, fussy, and mean, and the family regrets this decision at once. Maggie just starts storming around the house, destroying stuff, and Marge quickly decides that she should fold and give Maggie back her pacifier. Unfortunately the one that she threw away was the last one they had, so they’re screwed. Homer races out to a store and returns with a whole bag of pacifiers, since they didn’t have the one she usually likes. And she refuses all of them. Until Santa’s Little Helper gives her one of his squeaky bones, and she likes it.
However, this proves to be a bad thing, because now Maggie squeaks this bone all night long, and it’s driving Homer crazy. He can’t sleep, and he’s slowly starting to go mad. He even goes down to the living room and stay up all night watching TV, since he can’t sleep. And while flipping through the channels he ends up coming across an ad for some new sleeping pill called Nappien that looks like will solve all of his problems.
So Homer gets a prescription, and gets ready to have a good night’s sleep. He pops the pill, and immediately passes out for a lovely night of sleep. However, when he wakes up he finds that something odd has happened. All of the food in their house has been eaten, someone has tied Hot Wheels to all of Santa’s Little Helper’s feet, and all of their VHS’s have been set up like dominoes. And they all obviously realize that it’s Homer, and he’s reacting poorly to his Nappien.
The family get together and talk about the weird sleep-walking side-effects of Nappien, while almost just straight up calling it Ambien. But, Homer decides that he’s just going to keep taking the drug and dealing with it. Which leads to him wandering the street at night, ruining a local Rock and Roll Wax Museum. Things even get so bad that they decide to lock Homer into his bedroom at night, letting him just walk into the walls.
However, Bart quickly realizes that Homer is super susceptible in his sleep-walking state, and he busts Zombie Homer out of the room and takes him around the town. They pick up Milhouse and hit the town. Which means it’s montage time. We see them get Homer into a fight, ride him down a hill like a sled, and dress him like a lady and date Moe. However, the night comes to an end when Homer suddenly wakes up in the middle of a drive, and he ends up losing control of the car and slamming into the firehouse.
This results in a crazy Rube Goldberg machine type of events that ends with all of Springfield’s firefights being too injured to work. Which means that Mayor Quimby is going to have to send out the call to form a volunteer fire fighting force. So we get Homer, Moe, Apu, and Principal Skinner as our new firefighters, since they were the first to answer the call. They then get basically no training, and start eagerly awaiting their first fire.
And after quite a bit of waiting they finally get a call, and end up going to save Luigi’s. And Luigi is so thrilled that he gives them some food, which is cool. Then they get to go rescue Ranier Wolfcastle from a carwreck, and he’s so happy that he gives them some crew-jackets from his less popular films. However, this proves to be a slippery slope, because the guys start to feel entitled to presents, since they actually aren’t getting paid for this.
This ends up being a problem when their next job is to save Mr. Burns and his mansion from burning down. And once they’re done saving him Mr. Burns just goes back into his mansion, not giving them anything. So Moe decides to do the honorable thing, and heads into the mansion under the pretense of blowing out one last ember, and ends up leading them into some sort of treasure room. At which point they just start straight up stealing everything they can.
And it doesn’t stop there. Because next we see them taking care of a fire at Costington’s department store, where they just steal a whole shitload of merchandise. And that’s really starting to bug Principal Skinner, who tries to convince them that this is wrong. But they shout him down and ignore him, continuing with their larceny. However, there’s one other person who is aghast at this behavior. Marge. Because one day while Homer is fighting a fire she and the kids walk by and see him and the guy stealing.
So Homer comes home with this family, and they all explain how disappointed they are at him. Homer tries to claim that this is all okay, and that he’s just a scavenger, but Marge won’t give her permission to do this. Plus, the kids have decided to fight their father’s thefts by giving him sad eyes of disappointment, which slowly start to break his spirit. He’s actually starting to feel guilty, but tries to ignore it and continue saving people from fires.
Which is when Homer, Moe, and Apu head into a burning apartment building to take care of things, and pick up some booty. Homer starts to feel bad about all the theft, and tries to talk Apu and Moe out of the theft, but they ignore him and try and pick up a solid gold grandfather clock. This causes the floor under him to buckle, trapping Moe and Apu. So Homer decides to actually be a hero, and save his two friends, getting out of the building just in time. That apparently makes up for all the thefts, and everyone ends the episode being happy. Oh, and Homer’s probably not a firefighter anymore.
This episode isn’t bad, but I didn’t really love it. These episodes about Homer finding a random new job can seem really contrived at times, but this one handles it okay. They’ve even established in previous episodes that Springfield has a volunteer firefighting force, even though they don’t run with that in here. This episode does feel a little mixed up though. The pacifier plot, the sleeping pills plot, and the firefighting plot really don’t connect that well, and it doesn’t feel like there’s a lot of flow with the episode, but the jokes are solid enough that it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is how weird that ending is. Homer has been stealing things all episode, and the way that he fixes that is by saving Moe and Apu’s lives? I don’t know it that really works. But that’s a pretty minor quibble, and it doesn’t really drag down what’s otherwise a fine episode.
Take Away: Don’t steal things when you’re saving people.
“Crook and Ladder” was written by Bill Odenkirk and directed by Lance Kramer, 2007.