You know, I’ve started to notice an odd pattern with the episodes from the last couple seasons. They tend to have really interesting ideas that arrive in the third act, and which should have been the premise of the entire episode if they hadn’t wasted so much time spinning their wheels. And on a completely unrelated not, let’s talk about today’s episode!
First of all I’ll note that this episode starts off with the old opening, instead of yesterday’s updated one, which seems weird to me. But whatever, things actually start off with the Simpsons fleeing from church as fast as they possibly can, wanting to be the first ones out of the parking lot. And once they’re free from the shackles of organized religion they start driving around town, trying to find somewhere to go to breakfast, since Marge deserves one day where someone else cooks for her.
Unfortunately it looks like everyone else had the same idea, because everywhere they go has a massive line. But Marge refuses to give up, so they decide to do something odd, and decide to crash a party that they see is being catered. They sneak into the house and try to mingle in the snooty-seeming party, hoping that no one will realize that they don’t belong here while they gorge on as much free food as they possibly can.
However, things hit a snag when they realize that this isn’t a party, it’s a wake. Complete with an open-casket corpse. This realization makes them decide they need to sneak out of the party as fast as they can. But Homer gets caught before they can escape, and is asked to be a pallbearer. So we head to the cemetery where Homer starts helping carry the casket, when he slips and falls into an open grave, messing up his back.
Homer’s rushed to the hospital where Dr. Hibbert starts doing scans of his back, to see how extensive the damage is. But when they have Homer on his back Hibbert makes a startling discovery. When Homer is laying down is diaphragm gets put into a perfect position, thus giving Homer a beautiful singing voice. They test the hypothesis and Homer proves to be such a great singer that Hibbert drags him around the whole hospital, singing to patients to cheer them up.
And while all of this singing is going on we see that Smithers and Mr. Burns are in the morgue, shopping for new organs, when they overhear Homer’s voice. Turns out Mr. Burns is the owner and apparently operator of the Springfield Opera House, and he’s so enamored with Homer’s voice that he offers him a job as the new lead singer. Homer agrees and he heads to the Opera House and gets to work on a production of La Boheme.
They end up barely changing the plot of La Boheme to deal with Homer’s unique singing ability, mainly by having his character always needing to lie down for ridiculous reasons. But it’s a massive success, and people start adoring opera, and Homer in particular. And just like that, Homer becomes a celebrity. He begins singing in every opera, and around town, and even gets to hang out with Placido Domingo, and give him advice.
But rapid success proves to quickly go to Homer’s head, and he starts turning into a bit of an asshole. He even hired Lenny and Carl to become his entourage, following him around everywhere to “keep him real.” Plus, now that Homer’s famous he starts getting followed around by old ladies who want his autograph. Which really starts to bother Marge, who is mad that they never get to spend any time just to themselves anymore.
Which is really hammered in when they start to get chased around the town by a pack of old lady opera fanatics like they’re the goddamn Beatles. Homer and Marge have to flee through Springfield, avoiding the rabid mob, until they get saved by a mysterious woman on a motorcycle. She takes them home, and introduces herself as Julia. She’s a huge fan of Homer’s singing, and wants to become the head of his fan-club so that she can make Homer’s career as smooth as possible.
Homer and Marge agree to this idea, which proves to be a bad call, because Julia immediately starts trying to have sex with Homer. She starts stalking him all around town, doing everything she can to seduce him, which really starts to piss Homer off. And even though she makes their life a lot easier, she finally becomes too creepy for Homer, and he has to end up telling her off, making it clear that he only loves Marge and has no interest in her.
Which obviously means she’s going to have to start trying to kill him now. She even puts a cobra in his cereal one morning. But it doesn’t bother Homer, who continues to perform at the Opera House, just with a lot of heightened security. Marge keeps an eye out for Julia while Homer is performing, and eventually realizes that she’s pretending to be the conductor, with a blow-gun. Marge swoops in to rescue Homer, and ends up causing a chain of reactions that results in Julia getting hit with the dart, getting shot by the police, and having a chandelier dropped on her. This somehow doesn’t kill her, so she’s arrested and swears vengeance on Homer. Which doesn’t really matter, because Homer announces he’s sick of opera and will be retiring.
I’m not sure what exactly it is about this episode, but it kind of did nothing for me. I think the main problem lies in what I mentioned at the top of the article, that the episode only got interesting in the last act. I suppose the idea of Homer becoming a successful opera singer is an okay premise, but the episode spends so much time setting up the weird laying down aspect that when the crazy stalker element gets tossed in the episode is already almost over. If the episode had had Homer discovering his talent earlier, and then devoted more of the episode to Homer’s dealing with the creepy fan-club manager, a la the Selena story. I guess it’s not fair to complain about this episode for what it wasn’t, but I just think that the episode drastically became a different story in the last act, and it would have made more narrative sense if that plot had been going on the whole episode. Although I will say that Dan Castellaneta has a pretty great voice, even while doing the Homer voice.
Take Away: Don’t let creepy people run your fan club. They’re going to try and sleep with you and then kill you.
“The Homer of Seville” was written by Caroline Omine and directed by Michael Polcino, 2007.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons