Season 27 is over, but EA just gave us an event, Homer’s Chiliad, based on one of the iconic episodes from The Simpsons, one of the few episodes with the title in a different language: El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer, The Mysterious Voyage of Our Homer! This Episode Fact File will recap the episode with pictures, video clips and more. Get the scoop right after the jump!
El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Our Homer)
After Homer downs several ultra-spicy “insanity peppers” at the annual Chili Cook-Off, his consciousness goes on a mystical journey, complete with a talking coyote spirit guide, to discover his soul mate.
Episode Details: ‘El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Our Homer)’ is the 9th episode of Season 8 as well as the 162nd episode of The Simpsons. The episode aired on FOX on January 5, 1997 and was written by Ken Keeler and directed by Jim Reardon with Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein as show runners.
It’s time for the annual Springfield Chili Cook-Off, and Marge tries everything to keep Homer from finding out about it, including cutting the ad out of the newspaper, disconnecting a phone call between Homer and Lenny, and even smoking a cigaratte to cover up the smell of the cookoff wafting over the city. Homer is surprised by her smoking and opens the front door for some fresh air, then realizes the cookoff is happening when he smells the spices from the house. He begs Marge to go, but she at first says no, reminding Homer of his drunken behavior at last year’s Cook-Off. However, Marge changes her mind and makes him promise not to drink any beer, and the family quickly races to the Cook-Off.
After they arrive, Homer is revealed to be a revered chilli critic whose opinion is highly important to all the cooks. He demonstrates an extraordinary ability to withstand hot foods, until he falls victim to Chief Wiggum‘s chili spiked with “The Merciless Peppers of Quetzlzacatenango“, humiliating himself in front of the whole town. Feeling the effects of the extremely hot peppers, Homer races desperately around in search for anything to drink, grabs a tray full of beers, and nearly drinks them when Marge catches him. Homer doesn’t actually drink the beers (instead simply dousing his tongue with them), but Marge is still furious and storms off. Homer resorts to drinking water and discovers that candle wax can protect his mouth from the pepper’s spiciness. Homer then returns to Chief Wiggum‘s stand and amazes the whole town by eating several peppers in quick succession. However, the peppers roil in his stomach, causing him to hallucinate and run off.
In his hallucination, Homer ends up in a desert, a bizarre world where the laws of physics don’t apply, wherein he breaks the sun and encounters strange creatures such as a puddle that transforms into a snake. Homer is then instructed to follow a tortoise and climb a pyramid which grows to an enormous height, where he meets his spirit guide, a coyote voiced by Johnny Cash. The coyote advises Homer to find his soulmate, and questions Homer‘s assumption that he has already found her in Marge.
When Homer regains his senses, he rationalizes his dream. For example, he compares the desert he wandered in to the real-life location where he woke up (a golf course’s sand trap) and the pyramid to the course’s pro shop, and the talking coyote to a talking dog. After returning home, he finds Marge (who thinks that he got drunk, thus breaking his promise) angry with him for his odd behaviour at the cook-off. Feeling that Marge doesn’t understand him at all, and remembering the coyote’s words, Homer sets off on his own quest to find his soulmate. After looking among the patrons in Moe’s Tavern and responding to a Personals ad placed by “GBM”, Homer happens to see the lighthouse and concludes that the lighthouse operator must be the loneliest guy in town.
Homer goes to the lighthouse and is elated to see a sign reading “This lighthouse operated by EARL”. Shouting “No more loneliness for Homer and Earl”, Homer goes inside to meet his new friend. He is frustrated, however, to discover that the lighthouse is operated by a machine: E.A.R.L., short for Electronic Automatic Robotic Lighthouse. Homer destroys the lighthouse’s giant bulb in a bout of recklessness, but Marge arrives and they fix it, warning a ship that’s just about to run aground. They decide they really are soulmates, and Homer mocks what he calls the “space coyote”. Unfortunately, the ship runs aground anyway, spilling its precious cargo of hot pants. The townspeople then turn up and help themselves to free hot pants.
The early working title for the episode was “Marge and Peppers; Lonely Hearts; Ka-Bamm!”.
“El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer” was viewed by approximately 8.7 million households and garnered a 9.0 Nielsen rating. It was the highest-rated show on Fox the week it aired.
The episode received general acclaim from television critics. In 2013, Crave Online, naming it the best episode of the entire series, praised the show’s “classic one-liners” and concluded, “They’ll never have an episode like “El Viaje Mysterioso de Nuestro Homer” again.” L.A Weekly and Ask both included it in their “Top 10: Simpsons Episodes” lists. Johnny Cash’s guest appearance was ranked at #14 on IGN‘s list of “Top 25 Simpsons Guest Appearances” in the show’s history.
TIE-IN!: An event for The Simpsons: Tapped Out was released on June 2nd, 2016. It contained many items from the episode. E.A.R.L. was also released previously on Friend Points.
- There are many similarities in the appearance of the spirit guide to the coyote from Carlos Castaneda‘s The Teachings of Don Juan. In the book, after Carlos ingests peyote he plays in the desert with a wild coyote, which may or may not be a hallucination.
- There are also allusions in the episode to the works of Richard Bach, whose works often focus on the concept of “soulmates” and typically involve quests led by spirit guides. At the end of the episode, Horatio McCallister refers directly to Bach’s most famous book, by exclaiming, “Arr! Jonathan Livingston Seagull!”
- During Homer‘s chili hallucination:
- Jasper says “Goo goo gajoob?” which is a line from Beatles song “I Am The Walrus“.
- Ned Flanders‘ non-sensical talk includes the words “Gabba Gabba Hey” which is a reference to The Ramones.
- Mrs. Krabappel sounds like Miss Othmar from the screen adaptations of the comic strip Peanuts.
- The train heading towards Homer is a reference to the opening titles of the series Soul Train.
- When Homer comes home looking for Marge, he interrupts a conversation between Bart and Lisa where Bart says, “So then, I says to Mabel, I says” and repeats the line after Homer leaves.
- In the mid-20th century, the line was a catchphrase representing inconsequential conversation and was ubiquitous in popular culture. It is believed to have originated from the “Dere Mable” series by Edward Streeter.
- The line’s appearance on The Simpsons may be an homage to Tex Avery (1908–1980), who inserted it into several of his cartoons.
- When Bart and Lisa see Homer‘s silhouette projected into the sky, Bart wonders whether it’s Homer and Lisa says, “Either that, or Batman‘s really let himself go”, referencing the Bat-Signal as well as Batman himself.
- Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: Referenced when Marge and Homer are in the lighthouse discussing their differences. Homer says to Marge, “It’s like you’re from Venus …” and Marge replies, “And you’re from Mars.”
- E.A.R.L. being a robot rather than a human being is a reference to the The Twilight Zone episode “The Old Man in the Cave“.
- The theme to The Good The Bad And The Ugly by Ennio Morricone is briefly heard as Homer approaches Chief Wiggum at the Chili Cook-Off.
- “At Seventeen” by Janis Ian plays in the background as Homer walks through the town of Springfield looking for his soulmate after he wakes up from his chili vision.
- “Short Shorts” by The Royal Teens plays at the end of the episode (and over the credits) after Lenny (while holding a pair of hot pants), yells into the crowd: “Hey, who likes short shorts?”
- Homer‘s records are by Jim Nabors, Glen Campbell and the Doodletown Pipers.
- The episode was originally pitched by long time writer George Meyer during season 3. The staff felt it was too odd for the show, but showrunners Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein decided to use it.
- This is the second episode to have its English title in another language, the first being “Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk“.
- Some of the attractions at the Springfield Chili Cook-Off were Moe’s Chili Bar, Muntz Family Chili; It Takes Weeks to Make Muntz, and Firehouse Ned’s 5-Alarm Chili.
- Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan were the writers’ two choices to play the coyote. Bob Dylan had turned the show down many times, so Johnny Cash was given the part.
- The coyote was intentionally drawn in a more boxy way so that it looked unlike the other Simpsons characters. It was also done that way to resemble the representations of coyotes in American Southwestern art.
- The emphasis of Nelson‘s trademark laugh is reversed during Homer‘s chili hallucination.
- Most of the chili pepper sequence was animated completely by David Silverman, who wanted it to look just right and didn’t want to risk sending it to Korea.
- The shot of real life clouds is only the second time live-action footage was used in The Simpsons. The first time was in “Treehouse of Horror VI“. Afterwards there was also live-action footage in “Treehouse of Horror IX“.
- Some 3D computer animation is used in this episode for the giant butterfly seen during Homer‘s hallucination. Also, during the same hallucination, Ned Flanders‘ line (“What can I do-diddily-doodily-diddly-hobbily-hibbily-gobbily-gobbily-gobble-gabba-gabba-hey!”) was also treated on a Macintosh computer so that it increased and decreased pitch. A sample of Flanders saying this can be heard on the track “The Nebbish Route” on the album Nothing Lasts…But Nothing Is Lost by Ambient Techno group Shpongle.
- This episode’s commentary on the Season 8 DVD set was the first commentary to include children.
- The FOX censors sent a note to the writers about the part where Homer coats his mouth with hot wax so he can eat Chief Wiggum‘s super-spicy chili pepper. The actual note reads as follows: “To discourage imitation by young and foolish viewers, when Homer begins to pour hot wax into his mouth, please have him scream in pain so kids will understand that doing this would actually burn their mouths.”
- This episode mentions that Springfield slopes westward to the sea, indicating that it is either on the West Coast or western Florida.
- Ralph seems to act smarter than usual in this episode, an example being when he tells Homer he will accidentally drink wax.
- Homer is evidently ignorant of “Personals-ese”, as he responds to an ad placed by GBM, not realizing that it stands for “Gay Black Male”.
- The dialogue where Marge tells Homer that she’s been hiding the cook-out from him was used in an early beta of The Simpsons: Road Rage.
- This episode was featured in LEGO Dimensions as the level for the Homer Simpson level pack.
- The title of the episode is wrong, as Homer in Hispanic America is called Homero, and in Spanish is called Homer, nowhere in the world his name is Jomer.
- When a close-up of E.A.R.L. is shown, the rain immediately stops outside. After this, the rain continues.
- Jasper can be seen at a chili stand; then he’s with Barney, Nelson and Edna at the start of Homer‘s chili hallucination.
- When Rod asks Ned if he’s going to jail, Rod and Todd have their colors switched.
- The “Mabel” line (detailed above) also appears in the comic story Fork It Over.
- Ferl Dixon and the Second Helping Boys perform at the Springfield Chili Cook-Off. (“Bart on the Road“)
“El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer” is included on the The Complete Eighth Season.
That is all from this special Episode Fact File and I would like to thank WikiSimpsons for the information for this post and Nathan for the base design of it.
Till next time, Happy Tapping everyone!