Well, well, well. Look what we have here. The beginning of the 19th Season of the Simpsons. Nineteen goddamn years. That’s ridiculous. And what’s even more ridiculous is that I still have almost a decade of episodes to go. But we take this one episode at a time, so let’s not focus on that, and instead focus on the fact that this is a weird-as-hell episode to start your season off. Who doesn’t want to have an episode that’s mostly focused on how great private planes are?
The episode actually starts off with a special opening that references the Simpson’s Movie, showing everyone in town putting Springfield back together after the effects of the dome, while the Simpson’s house is being rebuilt. But that’s the only reference to the film in this episode, so that doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that Mr. Burns and Smithers are shopping in Springfield mall, looking for a new cellphone for Mr. Burns.
Smithers walks off to pick something up, while Mr. Burns lingers around a fountain. And when he notices a penny in the water, he decides that he should clearly reach in and steal it. This of course leads to Burns falling into the fountain, and becoming stuck inside, slowly drowning. Which is when Homer comes strolling by, and saves Mr. Burns’ life. Burns is actually pretty grateful, and offers to take Homer out for a fancy dinner as thanks.
Homer’s a little wary about going out with Mr. Burns, but he gets all dressed up and awaits to get picked up anyway. And when Burns does come to pick Homer up, he’s shocked to find that Burns has pretty crazy plans for dinner. He asks Homer if he likes pizza, and when Homer says that Chicago deep-dish is his favorite Burns announces they’re going to fly to Chicago and get some. But they aren’t going to cram themselves into a regular plane. Nope, they’re taking Burns’ private plane.
And Homer is amazed. He loves the private plane so much, especially because he gets to do all sorts of ridiculous things. They eat sushi, watch Itchy and Scratchy, and even get a special concert from Lionel Ritchie. And by the time they land in Chicago Homer decides he never wants to leave this magical plane, and has to be dragged out by some sort of robot. And once he is dragged out him and Mr. Burns hit the town, getting pizza, going to see comedy at Second City, and basically end up becoming celebrities in the town.
The next morning Homer get home, and Marge is shocked that he actually left the state for dinner. But Homer doesn’t really care about Chicago, or the pizza, what he can’t stop talking about is the private plane. Homer becomes completely fixated on the plane, and just won’t shut up about it. Which becomes a problem when he realizes he’s probably never going to be on a private plane again, and he falls into a deep depression.
Marge is worried about Homer’s depression, so she decides to fix things by bringing in a motivational speaker named Colby Kraus. Colby starts just spewing clichés, and telling Homer that to fix his problems he’s going to have to film him for a while, creating an inventory. And it’s pretty bleak. Homer is almost always a loser, and everything about his life is pretty depressing. He’s just too negative about everything, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But there is one place that Homer has confidence, and it’s at the bowling alley. Colby follows Homer to a game and is shocked to see how confident and happy he is while bowling, and he gets an idea. He wants Homer to steal the bowling shoes, and wear them everywhere in the hopes that this little reminder of the alley will give him the confidence to lead his life. And, surprisingly, this works out great.
Homer successfully transforms Bowling Homer into Everyday Homer, and his life suddenly gets a lot better. He starts getting things accomplished, and becoming a better person, which culminates in him getting an interview as a safety inspector for some sort of copper tubing company, primarily because they have a private jet that he could use. So Homer heads into the interview with the Rich Texan, confident that his bowling shoes will get him the job.
And when Homer comes home he announces that he’s gotten the job! And everyone is stoked. They’re incredibly proud of Homer, and tell him that this is only the first step. However, the next morning Homer dresses up in a suit, drives right past the copper tubing place, and heads into Krusty Burger. Apparently he did not get the job, did not know how to tell the family, and since he had quit the Plant to give himself incentive to do well on the interview, he’s got no job.
Homer spends all day at Krusty Burger, eating and doing children’s mazes, and then comes home that night all smiles, telling the family how great the job was. And he just keeps doing this, for who knows how long. But he hits a snag when one day while he’s sitting around doing nothing in the Krusty Burger, Bart’s class shows up for lunch after a field trip. Bart finds Homer just sitting there, and is pretty shocked and confused.
Which causes Homer to just spill the beans, and tell Bart everything. He explains that he didn’t get the job because he knew nothing about copper tubing, and confidence wasn’t enough to get him a new job. But he still refuses to tell Marge, knowing that it won’t be a pleasant conversation. Unless it was in a setting so great that she won’t care about the terrible news. And Homer knows just the sort of place that could accomplish that.
He goes to the Shellbyville airport and hires a private jet to just fly around for ten minutes, so he can tell Marge the truth. She thinks she’s accompanying Homer on a business trip to New York, and doesn’t suspect anything. So the two get on the plane, and head up into the clouds while Homer struggles to figure out how to explain everything. Luckily for them though, he doesn’t have to explain anything, because as soon as they get to cruising altitude the plane starts to buck wildly, because the pilot has passed out from a heroin overdose.
Homer and Marge run into the cockpit, trying to figure out what’s going on, and realize that they’re going to have to try and land this plane themselves. And instead of trying to contact the airport and get good advice, they decide to call Colby and have him motivate Homer into knowing how to land a plane. And this works. Yeah, whatever. The plane lands, mostly intact, and Homer decides to use this horrible situation to avoid telling Marge the truth, and explains that this plane crash has made him realize the dangers of air-travel, causing him to quit the new job and go back to the Plant.
This is an extremely weird episode, and not just because they chose it to lead the season. I would have imagined that they maybe would have tried to link it with the Simpson’s Movie in some way, maybe simply feature Plopper in some way. I suppose it could have been the production schedule on the episode that kept them from doing that, but regardless, this is just a weird episode. I mean, it’s all about how Homer gets incredibly depressed because he can’t fly on private planes? What the hell? I think the central idea of Homer getting himself in a funk and a life coach trying to lift his spirits is a pretty decent idea, but it didn’t really work for me here. I also like the idea of Homer becoming too confident and learning that sometimes you can’t get everything you want just through bravado. Well, until the end of the episode when he successfully get what he wants from lying and confidence. So I don’t know. It wasn’t the strongest episode I’ve seen in a while, but whatever, there’s always more episodes, maybe they’ll pick back up.
Take Away: Confidence is important in life, but you actually have to back that up with ability and wisdom.
“He Loves to Fly and He D’ohs” was written by Joel H Cohen and directed by Mrk Kirkland, 2007.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons