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(You know what, I really have to stop.)
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DALE: Boo! I am a high-priced Washington lobbyist peddling influence. Who wants candy?
"There's No Disgrace Like Home" is the fourth episode of The Simpsons' first season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 28, 1990. In the episode, Homer becomes ashamed of his family after a catastrophic company picnic and decides to enroll them in therapy. The therapist struggles to solve their problems but eventually gives up and refunds their payment. It was an early episode, showing early designs for a few recurring characters. The episode is inspired by the comedy of Laurel and Hardy and features cultural references to films such as Citizen Kane and Freaks as well as the Batman television series. Critics noted that the characters acted differently from the way they would in later seasons.
Homer takes his family to the company picnic at his boss' manor. A cruel and tyrannical employer, Mr. Burns fires any employee whose family members are not enjoying themselves. Homer sees that Burns is drawn towards a family that treats one another with love and respect and he wonders why he is cursed with his unloving and disrespectful family. The entire picnic is a catastrophe when Bart chases and tortures the swans, Lisa swims in the fountain, and Marge gets drunk and performs a musical number.
The Simpsons observe other families on their street sharing quality time together. Although things begin well, a man notices them in the bushes and gets his gun. The Simpsons are later reported to the police for disturbing the neighborhood. Depressed because both he and his family are pathetic, Homer stops by Moe's Tavern, where he sees a TV commercial for Dr. Marvin Monroe's Family Therapy Center. When he hears that Dr. Monroe guarantees "family bliss or double your money back", Homer spends the kids' college funds and pawns the TV set to enroll the family in the clinic, causing them to become extremely angry.
When standard treatments prove useless, Dr. Monroe resorts to shock therapy and wires the Simpsons to electrodes. The family is soon sending shocks to one another (and the electricity buzzes when they are shocked), it eventually causes the entire parts of Springfield to lose power due to rapid shocking. Resigned to the fact that the Simpsons are incurable, the doctor reluctantly gives them double their money back. With $500 in his pocket, Homer takes his blissful family to buy a new 21-inch screen television set with flesh tones.
Rank Rights, if any
Member First Class Access to FGs and RPs
Member+ Access to Exclusive Board*
Member+ First Class New topics in Exclusive Board
Valued Contributor Access to Staff Lounge**
Distinguished Member Same as above
Local Mod Local mod powers
Global Mod Global mod powers
Administrator Admin powers
Head Admin Server root
* Heretofore to be renamed House of Commons and put in a Parliament category.
** Heretofore to be renamed House of Lords and put in a Parliament category.
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Homer's personality and comic efficacy lies in his frequent bouts of stupidity, laziness and his explosive anger. He has a low intelligence level, described by director David Silverman as "creatively brilliant in his stupidity". Homer also shows immense apathy towards work, is overweight, and "is devoted to his stomach". His short attention span is evidenced by his impulsive decisions to engage in various hobbies and enterprises, only to "change… his mind when things go badly". Homer often spends his evenings drinking Duff Beer at Moe's Tavern and, as shown in the episode "Duffless" (season four, 1993), is a borderline alcoholic. He is very envious of his neighbors, the Flanders family, and is easily enraged by Bart. Homer will often strangle Bart on impulse in a cartoonish manner. The first instance of Homer strangling Bart was in the short "Family Portrait". Matt Groening's rule was that Homer could only strangle Bart impulsively, never with pre-meditation, and that it would always be over quickly. Another of the original ideas entertained by Groening was that Homer would "always get his comeuppance or Bart had to strangle him back", but this was dropped. He shows no compunction about expressing his rage, and does not attempt to hide his actions from people outside the family. While Homer has repeatedly upset people and caused all sorts of mayhem in Springfield, these events usually result from a lack of foresight or his intense temper, rather than any malice. Except for expressing annoyance at Ned Flanders, Homer's destructive actions are usually unintentional.
The first sketch of Homer strangling Bart, drawn in 1988Homer has complex relationships with all three of his children. He often berates Bart, but the two commonly share adventures and are sometimes allies. Homer and Lisa have opposite personalities and he usually overlooks Lisa's talents, but when made aware of his neglect does everything he can to help her. He sometimes forgets that Maggie even exists, although Homer has often tried to bond with her; "daddy" was her first word. While Homer's thoughtless antics often upset his family, he has also revealed himself to be a caring father and husband: in "Lisa the Beauty Queen", (season four, 1992) he sold his cherished ride on the Duff blimp and used the money to enter Lisa in a beauty pageant so she could feel better about herself; in "Rosebud", (season five, 1993) he gave up his chance at wealth to allow Maggie to keep a cherished teddy bear; in "Radio Bart", (season three, 1992) he spearheaded an attempt to dig Bart out after he had fallen down a well; and in "A Milhouse Divided", (season eight, 1996) he arranged a surprise second wedding with Marge to make up for their unsatisfactory first ceremony. Homer however has a poor relationship with his father Abraham "Grampa" Simpson, whom he placed in a nursing home as soon as he could. The Simpson family will often do their best to avoid unnecessary contact with Grampa, but Homer has shown feelings of love for his father from time to time.
Homer is "a (happy) slave to his various appetites", and would gladly sell his soul to the devil in exchange for a single doughnut. He has a vacuous mind but is still able to retain a great amount of knowledge about very specific subjects. Homers brief periods of intelligence are overshadowed however by much longer and consistent periods of ignorance, forgetfulness, and stupidity. Homer has a low IQ of 55 which has variously been attributed to the hereditary "Simpson Gene" (which eventually causes every male member of the family to become incredibly stupid), his alcohol problem, exposure to radioactive waste, repetitive cranial trauma, and a crayon lodged in the frontal lobe of his brain. In the episode "HOMR" (season 12, 2001) Homer had surgery to remove the crayon from his brain, boosting his IQ to 105, but although he bonded very well with Lisa, his newfound capacity for understanding and reason made him less happy and he had Moe reinsert a crayon, causing his intelligence to return to its previous level. Homer often debates with his own mind, which is expressed in voiceover. His brain has a record of giving him dubious advice, sometimes helping him make the right decisions, but often failing spectacularly. It has even become completely frustrated and, through sound effects, walked out on him. Homer's conversations with his brain were used several times during the fourth season, but were later phased out after the producers "used every possible permutation". These exchanges were often introduced because they filled time and were easy for the animators to work on.