There’s No Disgrace Like Home

There’s No Disgrace Like Home

Homer takes the family to stalk the neighbours and get a look at what a real family looks like. They wind up back at their own house and badmouth it before realising it’s theirs. We get another glimpse of Moe’s Tav– WHITE LOU! WHITE LOU! I’M REPRESENTED, WHITE LOU! You can clearly see the Wheel of Ethnicity at work here as they’ve coloured him without thinking about how his features or hair might be part of his racial heritage.

Legend told of one with black features and white skin, a Daywalker.

Barney starts a fight with Homer by calling his family shit, then beats Homer up. This was before Barney was a “Ha Ha” drunk. While laying on the floor, Homer sees an ad for Marvin Monroe’s Family Therapy clinic and decides his family could use professional help. He decides to pay for this help in the least Homer way possible, by pawning the TV. This is Homer’s equivalent to Marge wanting to eat dinner by herself in front of the TV a few scenes earlier. It’s not a variation in the avocado like surface of Homer’s character, it’s an avocado that turns into a peach halfway through and then a set of your grandmother’s false teeth. The teeth bite you and that is this episode. Grandma’s false teeth biting you even though she’s been dead for years and you don’t even own an avocado.

Marge fucking protests this. Marge. She resists the idea of pawning the TV to make their family better. Jesus fucking Christ.

Anyway. It’s kind of funny seeing how much Marvin Monroe is in the earlier seasons given that they cut him out so hard most of us thought he was dead. Imagine Dr Nick without a catchphrase or vague foreignness and you have Monroe. He’s an oddity, but one I thought would linger on a little more given the surge of late 90’s self-help jerks like Dr Phil. This is his big episode and he basically gazes into the pit Groening has dug for us and knows there is no redeeming the apes deep in it.

The family all draw Homer as the source of their anxiety. This would be a fair assessment in later seasons but it’s another weird example of season 1 injustice. Homer hasn’t done anything but try to be a good father and husband these last few episodes. He’s not an amazing success, but he’s not the clearly retarded blight of later Homers. Like Bart being accused of forged letters that were actually Homer’s handwriting, the family are blaming Homer for things the writers are imagining but are not showing us. It only fits in retrospect, here and now it’s just kind of bullshit. Homer should drown them all. That’s how the series should end. Instead we get a little setpiece of the family in a shock therapy setup, the failure of which allows Homer to make a claim on the ad’s guarantee for family bliss or double your money back. They get the double and Homer decides to buy a better TV which the family loves so it’s all okay the end.

These stories all feel like a kind of anti-joke. Like, what’s worse than stubbing your toe? Being raped! The early seasons lacked the trademark, era defining humour so the way they chose to stand out was to avoid the more common sitcom tropes. But this need for some kind of defining trait is so conspicuous that the twist is less a subversion and more a predictable inversion.┬áSubversion is creative and interesting. Inversion is childish and destructive. The show here can’t balance it’s need to avoid the expected happiness with enough humor to make the disappointing endings work. Without the Hollywood magic, you’re just watching the miserable suburban hamster ball the functional idiot class scream and cry in. The characterisation of later seasons grew absurd pretty quickly, season 5 features pretty much full-retard Homer, but at least he and the family were stable. Without the absurd comedy of later seasons to be the show’s mark, it’s left flipping the sitcom table and being proud of the mess.

 

Jokes, lines, and stray thoughts.

LOOK AT THESE FREAKS! Gah, I bet they’re Jehovah’s Witnesses, only those critters can manage such a persistent pod-person smile.

 

“Gelatin desserts” is fucking weird for an Australian to hear because we just call it jelly. Whereas Americanos call jam “jelly”, and Australians call jelly “wobbletasties”.

 

“I pity you”
“Why?”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. This is black humor that works. It’s the buffoon’s stupidity protecting him from the myriad reasons he has to fucking kill himself.

The Wheel of Ethnicity spins. Oh! Spin you great wheel. So as you take Black Smithers from us you deliver unto us a White Lou. But that spin continues! Nobody stops the Wheel. One day we will have a Chinese Flanders! I know this as I can divine the future from the contents of spilled board game boxes.

Never let anyone tell you that Homer can’t care or a retarded comic toilet can’t have moments of actual pathos. It’s not that which is the problem. It’s that in the face of Marge not giving a shit that is this episode’s sloppy characterisation.

 

Hungrily yours, Gabriel.

One Reply to “There’s No Disgrace Like Home”

  1. Americans don’t call it “Gelatin desserts,” we use the brand name, Jello, as a generic.

    We also don’t call jam jelly. We call jam jam, we call jelly jelly, and we call marmalade marmalade. I prefer jam to jelly. If what you call jam is what we call jelly I don’t like your jam.

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