401. He Loves to Fly and He D’ohs

He Loves to Fly and He D'ohs(originally aired September 23, 2007)
Homer Simpson used to be a man who was constantly kicked around by fate, and his own lack of intelligence exacerbated his misfortunes. But regardless of his carelessness or ignorance, his actions at the end of the episode always reflected what he’d learned and his attempts to make things right. Nowadays, Homer Simpson is a screaming impulsive man child whose family coddles and enables him through his manic episodes, and any shit he gets into, he gets away with it, completely scot-free. This episode involves him being completely enamored by being on a private jet, when Mr. Burns invites him out to dinner in Chicago. Why is this? Who cares. Burns is now apparently a nice affable rich guy who will waste his time wowing this (to him) complete stranger. Homer becomes depressed after this experience, enough that the family blows their entire life savings to hire a life coach to get him out of his funk. I guess they had some money left over after rock ‘n’ roll fantasy camp to flush down the toilet on a worthless expenditure.

Colby Kraus is voiced by Stephen Colbert, and it’s another example of celebrities playing characters like them, but not actually them. I mean, his name is Colby, for God’s sake. I can’t even enjoy his performance because I have no idea what the fuck is happening. So he’s going to help Homer get a successful job? In the end, even when he instills him with confidence, we see that he blew the big interview by being a complete imbecile, so it was of no purpose whatsoever. The third act involves him lying to his family about getting the job, and wasting his “work days” away moping at Krusty Burger. When he’s caught by Bart, Homer decides he needs to come clean and tell Marge the truth… on a private jet he rents to just build his wife up further. He’s concerned that Marge is buying luxury items like Campbell’s soup on money they don’t have, yet he has the cash to rent a jet to tell his wife that they don’t have any money. Makes sense, dudn’t it? The episode ends with the pilot becoming incapacitated and Homer landing the jet, and him telling Marge he’s going to quit his “job” and go back to the power plant. So the episode ends with Homer being a hero and never telling his family the truth. It’s like “Crook and Ladder” all over again. Why should I support a character who continually lies to his loved ones like this?

Tidbits and Quotes
– More of Burns being a pathetic enfeebled prop with the whole fountain “gag.” The whole first act confuses me. He goes to Chicago for deep dish pizza specifically because Homer wants to. The two walk around the town and sit in on local improv like good buddies. Is he on some kind of ether kick? Why the fuck is Mr. Burns all of a sudden Homer’s best friend?
– Homer is so depressed he drives his car into the garage and doesn’t stop, as the car plows through the house into the backyard. But this episode makes it clear this family is made of money, so I’m sure it’s no big deal.
– Homer’s new confident life style wearing his bowling shoes simply involves him holding a staple gun the right way around and having sex with his wife. Then we cut to Colby congratulating him. For… being an actually functioning human being?
– As if Burns wasn’t desecrated enough, we later get Smithers shoving a giant pole down his throat to try to hit a button on the cell phone violently vibrating in his stomach. Very disturbing.
– After Homer goes in for his interview, we cut to him outside the house depressed. Then he walks in, puts on a happy face and proclaims he got the job. He leaves for his first day of work, sad music begins as he passes by the place he applied for and ends up at Krusty Burger. But why include that shot of him sad before? It ruins the bait-and-switch it looked like they were going for. In all, it just makes Homer that much more pathetic. Though it gave me the only laugh in the whole episode (“One small coffee, please. And a dozen of those place mats with the maze on it.” “They’re all the same maze.” “Somebody’s gotta do ’em.”)
– Homer fucks up his interview by freezing up after one question, then lunging over the desk and trying to manipulate the Rich Texan’s lips to make him say that he’s hired. Does this man have serious brain damage? Some of these episodes, I’m just really concerned about this guy’s mental state.
– “At least we can take the extra income you’ve earned in the last few months and set it aside for a rainy day.” “You’d think so, but no.” So Homer kept this charade up for several months? How long could he have kept this up? Homer’s number one priority used to be supporting his family, now he’s the self-centered sad sack loser who would rather go broke than admit his own mistakes.

26 thoughts on “401. He Loves to Fly and He D’ohs

  1. “Colby” even looks a bit like Colbert. I’m curious as to how the writers decide when a celebrity should play a character that’s essentially them, and when they should just flat out play themselves.

  2. They did this with Flight of the Conchords and it was the worst. They even had them fly at the end, like in their posters—which might have been a funny reference, if they didn’t ALREADY LOOK EXACTLY THE SAME.

    1. Yeah, I enjoyed the revised opening sequence. And while I’m not a fan of Spiderpig, the couch gag was kinda cute: “My summer love.”

      As for the episode, it should’ve been hilarious with Stephen Colbert guest starring, but it just… wasn’t. He didn’t have much material to work with (the only laugh I can recall was him being embarrassed about the college he graduated from- “Don’t make me say it.”). And while I understand Mr. Burns being so chummy to Homer was because Homer saved his life, it was still an odd relationship.

      Even though they kind of gave away that something was wrong with looking forlorn, I did like the reveal that Homer didn’t get the job and was hiding out at Krusty Burger all day. Call me crazy (especially since it was later revealed that it was his own fault for blowing the interview so badly), but I felt bad for him in that moment.

      It was so stupid, but I also enjoyed Homer requesting that one of Lionel Ritchie’s songs only contain the word “beer”. “Beer beer, beer beer!”

  3. Let’s see another Apple reference (not too long til it all goes to hell) and an Oprah reference (again not too long either)

    Also the bit that pissed me off the most was Homer being unable to put on a damn sock involving a bit of idiotic boob homer and homer getting hurt… just another lame season premire from ZS.

  4. I remember this one and many subsequent episodes getting a lot of backlash on Toonzone and elsewhere, mostly from people saying “What the hell, why do the new episodes still suck? They’re done making the movie! I thought that meant the show was supposed to get better now!” And I really don’t know where they got that from. Apparently, they were under the assumption that the show had been sucking because the writers were investing all their effort into the movie. No, the show had been sucking because it was ten years past its expiration date and Homer had become a colossal unlikeable asshole.

  5. “Does this man have serious brain damage?”

    Well… he *does* have a crayon lodged up there.

    Wait, I just had a thought. What if when Moe re-inserted the crayon in ‘HOMЯ”, he went too far, and that’s why Homer became such a selfishly impulsive maniac, because he actually had brain damage? OK, it doesn’t quite explain the 3 seasons of Jerk-ass Homer before then, but still.

      1. Well, except for lowering his IQ by 50 points (supposedly).

        But like I said, my theory was that the worst effects occurred when Moe hammered the crayon back into Homer’s brain at the end of the episode, not when he first shoved it up there as a child.

      2. Great theory.

        …I have a theory on Mr. Burns becoming more and more helpless and fucked-up as time goes on. It’s a simple one, but … he’s just on a shitload of medication … probably 100 micrograms of fentanyl and shit. He also lives in constant fear of being shot by babies. And so on. SEE THE SHOW MAKES SENSE IT DEVELOPS CHARAC

    1. the crayon episode is one of the most insulting, “universe-wise”, in the whole series. so Homer always been a super genius, but that crayon made him the man we always watched and loved for 8+ seasons? great. typical ZS crap.

      1. What’s wrong with that? You still loved him. Why complain about the crayon making him the man we always watched and loved for 8+ seasons? Is it because he was worse without the crayon when he was smarter? I see.

      2. It’s stupid because it undermines the core of why Homer was a loveable oaf to begin with; it portrays Homer as an abjectly idiotic guy with brain damage rather than just a not-so-bright schlub with a short temper; it doesn’t make sense, even in the absurdist world of Springfield; and most offensive of all IT’S NOT FUNNY

  6. “One small coffee, please. And a dozen of those place mats with the maze on it.” “They’re all the same maze.” “Somebody’s gotta do ’em.”

    This was way, way, way after I gave up on The Simpsons but I’ve definitely heard that joke before and thought it was great.

  7. I have to watch this episode again because I barely remember it, but having Colbert basically play himself is a real waste. Anyone who’s watched “Harvey Birdman” knows Colbert is a hilarious voice actor who can play actual characters (he played the boss and Reducto, for those who don’t know).

  8. Episode 401…and with that, Zombie Simpsons surpasses classic Simpsons in episode.

    ::bows head for a moment of silent reflection::

    Fuck Al Jean for what he’s done to this once-incredible show.

    1. That is SO disrespectful! You should be ashamed of yourself. It’s not like all of the first 200 episodes are good and all of the other 200 episodes are bad. Don’t curse or swear at Al Jean! Are you mad because he kept The Simpsons on long past Season 13? That doesn’t mean there are no good episodes during Al Jean being show runner. They do exist when you look at the episodes Mike ranked the best of Seasons 13 through 19.

      1. 1) I’d say that, no exaggeration, probably 175 or so of the first 200 episodes are, in fact, great. Some better than others, and a few real duds (mostly around the season 8-9 mark), but yeah, close to all of the first 200 were excellent.

        2) I’ve commented on that episode’s page that i view Trash of Titans as the end of the classic era and the beginning of the Zombie era. I noted there the reasons – the episode provides a sense of closure/ending; it’s a nice, round number, which is satisfying albeit arbitrary. I also noted that the problems with the show that came to dominate the series began before episode 200 and there were a few good episodes after 200, but again, 200 is convenient.

        3)Seasons 9-13ish had a lot of great quotes but were not great, the way the first 8 seasons were. Most were not even good.

        4) By 13, the show was nearly unwatchable. I could do without anything after season 9, personally.

        5) I will curse at, about, in front of, around, in regard to, or in consideration of Al Jean whenever I fucking please. So fuck him. And fuck you too.

        6) I think the fact that ppl can point to fewer than a dozen episodes from Season 10 forward (which, mind you, is more than 20 years. As in, about 2 to 4 times the entire life of a successful show) proves that, no, they really can’t make good episodes anymore.

        7) Fuck Al Jean again, just for good measure.

      2. That’s horrible! You hurt my feelings. I don’t have to listen to the haters! Why do you want to have sex with the people you are mad at?

      3. Are you telling me that you think Al Jean is stopping writers from making good episodes and stifling their creativity until The Simpsons is just as idiotic as Norm of the North?

    2. And I guess by your math, the 201st episode was the beginning of The Zombie Simpsons whose characters change on the whim of the story, become a sadistic jerk out of nowhere that they once were not, or have no character at all. But just because Al Jean kept The Simpsons going on for way longer than he should have doesn’t mean they can’t make any more good episodes.

  9. I think Crook and Ladder and He Loves to Fly and He D’ohs are not terrible, just lazy and mediocre. They both have a lazy way to solve the main conflict by not having Homer suffer any consequences for his dishonesty to his family because he did something heroic that was unrelated to that and it automatically makes up for that. Except that it shouldn’t because the right answer to the wrong question is the wrong answer.

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