The second episode we’re going to analyze is the one linked to the event that is ending soon. On Sunday, October 8th, 1992, Fox aired “Homer the Heretic”, the 3rd episode of Season 4 and the 62nd episode to date. This Episode Fact File will recap the episode with all the infos we’ve on this episode. Get the scoop right after the jump!
Homer the Heretic
Homer skips church one cold Sunday morning. After realizing the freedom he can obtain from having the house all to himself, Homer decides to stop going to church altogether despite Marge‘s disapproval.
Episode Details: ‘Homer the Heretic’ is the 3rd episode of Season 28 as well as the 62nd episode of The Simpsons. The episode aired on FOX on October 8th, 1992 and was written by George Meyer and was directed by Jim Reardon with Al Jean and Mike Reiss as show runners.
BLACKBOARD TEXT!: I will not defame New Orleans
COUCH GAG!: The wall the couch is on turns around and on the other side of the wall is a new couch.
On a very cold Sunday morning in a blizzard, Marge is gathering the family to go to Church, but Homer refuses and goes back to his warm bed. After sleeping extra-late, he finally gets up and has fun with the house all to himself: He cranks up the heat, dances in his underwear, makes his Patented Space-Age Out of this World Moon Waffles (see below), wins a radio trivia contest, watches a boring debate on TV get pre-empted for what turns out to be an action-packed football game, and finds a penny under the couch. Meanwhile Marge, the kids, and the rest of the congregation shiver their way through the service and a rambling sermon, only to find themselves trapped at the end because the door is frozen shut. To make matters worse, Marge is unable to start the car due to the cold.
Marge is very angry with Homer for giving up on his faith. Homer gives her his reasons (e.g. “What if we picked the wrong religion? Every week we’re just making God madder and madder.”), which does not please Marge at all. Later that evening, Marge prays for God to talk with Homer. Homer, meanwhile, falls asleep and has a dream where God appears to him. God is initially angry with Homer and shows it by bellowing thunderously, “Thou hast forsaken my church!” Once He has calmed, Homer asks Him what’s the big deal of going to church when he’s not a bad person and that he can worship in his own way (“I work hard and I love my kids… so why should I spend half my Sunday hearing about how I’m going to hell?”) God sees Homer‘s point and agrees (“I guess it’s okay. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to appear in a tortilla in Mexico.”), and the dream ends.
Marge, Reverend Lovejoy, and the Flanders family all try to win Homer back to Christianity and fail. The next Sunday morning, Homer is once again at home while everyone else is at church. He smokes a cigar while reading Playdude Magazines. Homer eventually falls asleep, and the lighted cigar he was smoking at the time falls on one of the magazines; the hot ash ignites the paper, and it isn’t long before the house is engulfed in flames.
Homer wakes up after his hair caught fire to find the house in flames, panics and succumbs to the thick smoke and faints. Apu, a Hindu, spots the blaze and takes up his duties as part of Springfield’s volunteer fire department (of which the Jewish Krusty the Clown is also a member). Meanwhile, the Christian Ned tries to rescue Homer. After the fire department has extinguished the blaze, Homer fears that God was showing vengeance, but Lovejoy points out that God was actually working in the hearts of Homer‘s friends, despite their different faiths. Lovejoy convinces Homer to give church another try. Homer is at church next Sunday, but sleeps through the service. God appears in his dreams again and consoles Homer on the failure of his religion.
PRODUCTION!: This was the first episode to be animated by Film Roman, Inc.
QUOTE!: Mr. Simpson, please pay for your purchases and get out and come again! – Apu
- When Homer skips church and watches TV at home, he watches The Three Stooges (obvious due to a Curly-like cry coming from the TV).
- Homer‘s slide in dressing gown and slippers to “Short Shorts” is a reference to the film Risky Business.
- Playdude is a parody of Playboy.
- The date of the Playdude is July 1986.
- God has five fingers instead of four.
- This episode marks the first appearance of God.
- It is revealed that Apu is Hindu, and Moe is a Snakehandler.
- Some fans of The Simpsons have held parties on June 5 and calling it “The Feast of Maximum Occupancy”, in reference of Homer‘s excuse to get out of work by making up a holiday by looking at the safety warning at Moe’s Tavern, which reads “Maximum Occupancy, 65”. The June 5th party date is a reference to the digits 6 and 5.
- At the end of the episode, God tells Homer the meaning of life, but the closing credits start before the audience can hear it.
- God also mentions that Homer has to wait 6 months to know the meaning of life, because Homer will die. Homer later dies for a few seconds in “Homer’s Triple Bypass“, which aired approximately six months after this episode. Ironically, that episode also has Homer dreaming about what is implied to be Hell and referring to it as a “wonderful dream.”
- The chalkboard gag, “I will not defame New Orleans“, is a reference to complaints the show received about the song about New Orleans in the previous episode, “A Streetcar Named Marge“.
- This episode shows how Homer was born. Unlike Bart‘s birth in “I Married Marge“, Lisa‘s birth in “Lisa’s First Word“, and Maggie‘s birth in “And Maggie Makes Three“, Homer was seen being born from inside the womb and not from outside the womb. You can clearly tell this by the womb’s shape at the beginning of the scene, the amniotic sac breaking after Homer‘s dance, the umbilical cord that’s attached to Homer before he pulled it out from the womb, and a hand (possibly the surgeon’s) pulling Homer‘s legs out of the womb while he grasps onto it as he gets delivered. However, just before the rest of Homer gets delivered after his legs, the scene cuts to the present, where Homer, grabbing onto his bed’s headboard (similar to how he grasped the womb when he was delivered), is getting pulled out of bed by Marge. This reveals that Homer was dreaming about his birth, and Marge was pulling on Homer while telling him to wake up, similar to how the surgeon’s hand pulled Homer out of the womb at the end of Homer‘s dream about his birth.
- Apu, Skinner, and Moe were all volunteer firefighters in this episode. They would later also be volunteer firefighters in “Crook and Ladder.” And Apu, Moe, and Ned also were volunteer firefighters in “Brother’s Little Helper“. Luann was shown as being a member of the Volunteer Fire Department in this episode.
- God is shown as having five fingers instead of the four which are the norm in the cartoon world. But at the end of the episode when God is telling Homer the meaning of life, he has four fingers and toes instead of five.
- When Lisa is telling Homer that “this [the fire] is an act of God“, Lisa‘s ear keeps disappearing and reappearing when she moves.
- When Homer is sleeping, the fire burns off his hair on his head. But when he wakes up and jumps up off the couch, his hair is back again.
- Ned, despite being an overbearing Christian, discovers the Simpsons’ house is burning while everyone else is at church. However, most churches have more than one mass so Ned could have went earlier or later.
- When Marge says, “Kids, your father doesn’t really mean that,” Bart is in front of Homer, but immediately afterward, Bart is suddenly behind Homer. Then, when Marge asks, “Homer, are you actually giving up your faith?” Bart is in front of Homer again.
That is all from this two special Episode Fact Files, see you all next later for the next new episode! 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!