Colonel Homer

By Gabriel, 02 Sep 20, 8

My Recollection.

One unhappy pappy. Sweat actually cleans this suit. Bunk with me tonight.

When it’s guys that beat you up it becomes easy to see women as just better. Sure, there are actively violent ones in the outer suburbs, but the cruelties of a barely subsistence existence tend to recategorize them as closer to wild animals. Women, but in the way you never consider the gender of the dog mauling you. Otherwise, the fairer sex distinguished themselves by accomplishing feats beyond the average young male, such as sitting still, shutting the fuck up, and not throwing a bicycle at the deaf kid.

Bar work is a useful occupation for an introvert. It’s an endless party of living archetypes you can use to fine tune a front facing personality that decades of alienation denied you. Part of what makes this easy is that you get to see people at their worst, and for the chronically depressed, this is the window to a sense of normalcy positivity could never be. Nobody is cooler than you when they’re still attempting game after retching into a woman’s cleavage.

It’s also a great way to learn that women aren’t all that different from men, even if that learning process scars you.

Rosie’s was a dive. A biopunk kaleidoscope of human features writhing within a neon glandular fog. The kind of place with STD’s so advanced PETA protest if you try to treat them. I was working there in ’09, using a punctual rotation of pills and liquor as bedding in my little camp at rock bottom and blessing the chaos of my surroundings for keeping anyone from noticing or caring.

Bar work is an endless repetition of the vile and one quickly gives up any hope of accomplishing anything for the relative comfort of letting the boulder crush them. The boulder had finished with me long ago, and this has a way of making you think the gods are out of ideas.

Part of finishing work at a bar is toilet checks. You check the toilets to make sure there’s nobody passed out in a stall. Things like this do happen, friends have been sitting amidst the calm knockoffs, talking of the night, only to have some barely sapient well-ghoul shamble from her crypt and totter out into the more forgiving atmosphere of the Rauhnact outside. You knock on the door, or march in barking, and check for corpses. So, one night at Rosie’s, I march into the Ladies’ barking.

What I saw had an improbable symmetry, the kind of universe source code mathematics you see expressed in everything from the evolutionary placement of squid chromatophores to Aboriginal art, and it left me thinking I was staring at a Necker Cube but for a dead Christmas tree. It took me a while to realise the fractal dappling of red, brown, and white was because some classy lass had hitched herself up and ripped a vicious period shit into the sink.

This one time, a friend of mine answered the question, “what have you been up to?” with the phrase, “I was publicly flogged in an Igloo.” I had no way of approaching that sentence. Every time I ascended; I’d turn around to find I’d also descended. “Publicly flogged”? Alright, we’ll leave that one for a moment. “Igloo”? In Brisbane? I felt like I was trying to find my way out of the Cube. The foetid buckshot of menstrual flavoured human waste presented a similar challenge. Different parts of my cognitive dissonance raced to be first to protect the rest of me from a catastrophic realisation, only to run into each other like three children trying to catch the one ball.

The coppery animal warning stench of blood and the faecal fructose of so many artificially sweetened cruisers combined to hit me like consciousness hitting the first ape to rub the Monolith. I stumbled out into the bar, looked at the glassies, and told them to quit. Everyone went in to look and everyone came back out like they’d been gone for what felt like years. Even for the long-time dive workers, this was fucking vile.

Not every glass ceiling is one you want to see smashed, but each smashed one is a step toward a better sense of equality. Women aren’t angels or princesses or whatever drivel some nitwit wants to print on a shirt, but they shouldn’t want to be. An angel is no more human than a devil, and only humans can be equal. As I stared into a sink spackled with diarrhea and unused uterine wall lining, still the most disgusting thing I have ever seen in a bar toilet, I saw the last of an unhealthy separation fade to white.


The Episode.

There’s a reason you go down every alley in a videogame but not in real life. It’s the same reason that Lara Croft will just plough ahead into a thousand-year-old flooded tomb without ever stopping to think whether it goes anywhere. There must be a way out just like there’s usually something in the corner of a game world because these are spaces designed with purpose, and that manifests as purpose within the space.

It’s a hard thing to discuss pointlessness in art, as doing so first requires that one nail down the point of art and that’s a slippery eel to catch. The point can be something as broad as “making you think” or as specific as “annoying you”, and this covers every possible success or failure. Was your film a complex interplay of non-narrative and classical film techniques designed to tell a story while evoking feeling or was it a mess of shitful plotting and terrible cinematography that didn’t go anywhere? Yes.

Further confounding things is the audience’s capacity to appreciate something in spite of or in direct opposition to authorial intent. The Room is a great modern example of something that is an objectively terrible piece of cinema whose artistic relevance exists entirely because its author genuinely thought the opposite. What can possibly be pointless when we can simply decide that there’s a point?

If you order a hot dog at some avant-garde restaurant and get a baffling pile of foams, gasses, and liquid dog essence, you’ve received a successful hot dog per the context around it. The identical dish from a hot dog stand would be considered a failure, even if only because each place signals its goal via various cultural sign systems. You can’t suddenly decide to speak a language you invented and then sulk because nobody understands you, so the hot dog stand needs to exert communicative effort to establish its intention to differ from a common expectation. Tommy Wiseau presented a plate of deconstructed hot dog from his hot dog stand and has spent subsequent years claiming to be an avant-garde chef after people got a laugh out of the idiot who can’t make a hot dog.

The Simpsons is a very simple hot dog stand. It may feature homemade mustards, freshly baked buns, and the hot dogs may be made from all-natural ingredients, but it’s still a meat-tube on a roll with some sauce. The complexity it does feature is internal, invisible to the naked eye but not to the palate. This stand can’t give me a bun with a runny discharge of molecular hot dog foam because that’s not why people go there. In this, purpose emerges.

Colonel Homer is a pointless episode. It’s not pointless in the way a weird art film is. It’s not pointless in the way a cruelly realist narrative is. It’s not pointless in the way a wildly awful film is. It’s pointless because it has a few very simple jobs to do, jobs it communicates it’s going to do, and doesn’t do any of them.

The external threat is a classic driver of relationship conflict for a narrative because it has a lot of internal flexibility. Life on the Fast Lane wasn’t a story about anger or direct conflict. The fight between Homer and Marge quickly became a sad distance, which emphasised the communication breakdown that was the core of the problem. Jacques and Homer never clashed, or even met, he existed as a temptation for Marge which moved the agency of the story to her. The external threat taught Homer about his own inconsiderateness, and Marge about her own power.

Season five's The Last Temptation of Homer is structured differently by necessity, mostly in that there was no initial split like with Homer’s bowling ball present, but is otherwise Fast Lane’s mirror. There’s a similar lack of direct conflict and Marge never clashes with, or even seems to be aware of, the other woman. Homer’s attraction to Mindy is simple and honest. The conflict is a battle within Homer, between who he believes himself to be and a frightening threat to that from outside of his own personality. It’s the catalyst for introspection and reflection on what it means to love, and how that relates to his relationship with Marge.

Life on the Fast Lane was about Marge but needed Homer as a framing device as the woman has nothing else to define herself by. The Last Temptation of Homer, was about Homer, with Marge taking the role of plot device to force the direction of Homer’s inner journey.

Colonel Homer starts similarly to both, with Homer being inconsiderate then spending time with another woman, but immediately screws everything up. In Fast Lane, Marge’s feelings were validated by the story world and drove the plot. Here the story punishes her for her valid outburst or mocks her for her anger. In Last Temptation, Homer is attracted to another woman which spurs his personal crisis. Here, he is completely unaware Lurleen is interested in him and spends the episode as a comic punishment for the undeserving Marge.

Choices like this aren’t like the whims of reality, Homer isn’t just a guy being a jerk, he’s a guy who’s a protagonist of a 21-minute, early 90s, American sitcom being a jerk at the start of an episode. Marge isn’t just a glimpse into a housewife suffering under numerous weights, she’s a protagonist of the same show whose narrative and comedic opportunities are shaped by audience understandings of her social position. Sometimes things like having Homer be a jerk isn’t just an event in isolation, it’s a setup for expected results to play out over the inevitable runtime of a televised narrative. There is no “not doing something” option as narratives are ontological somethings.

The episode is full of these things, moments that set-up for something but then never deliver. Homer’s complete jerk behaviour throughout the story—including shouting the end of the film he’s watching, not coming home all night, spending all his time with another woman even when he knows it upsets Marge, losing their life savings on this other woman’s career, and lying about all this—is never brought up as a negative or punished in any way.

Temptation and Fast Lane were clever to keep their secondary parties ignorant of the external threat because that conflict can only end in a War of the Simpsons level of universe-toxic exposure of the relationship. Colonel Homer brings Marge’s anger to a head by having her meet Lurleen, only to mock her for it.  It doesn’t mock her because she’s being paranoid as a point about trust, her anger is valid, but it’s never treated as such. When Homer wilted into defeat in Fast Lane it was part of his punishment and character journey, when Marge does it here it’s simply further torturing the victim. Like Homer’s misbehaviour, it just drifts through the episode like garbage in a breeze.

This leaves Lurleen. One-off characters are a double-edged sword as they can be timesinks that require work to set up or, if they utilise archetype and trope judiciously, episode pillars whose simple arc perfectly fits their brief existence. Jacques was positioned as a villain as a result of the stereotype structure surrounding Marge and as an easy way for her to remain sympathetic. Mindy was innocent to force the eventfulness onto Homer and make his feelings the point. Both were scarcely characters as they existed only to facilitate stories their characterisation would have drawn attention away from.

Lurleen’s stereotype structure, active narrative role, and fine voice work from Beverly D’Angelo meant she could easily have been an episode pillar. A girl who falls for the first guy who’s nice to her but then grows confident in her talent before moving off into the world as a better, stronger person is an easy narrative to wind into the plot. Like with everything else this story does, it not only avoids the obvious idea, but actually opts for no idea whatsoever. Lurleen bounces aimlessly between the honesty of Mindy and a kind of catty villainy of Jacques, all while being a narrative focus that pair weren’t.

Homer doesn’t learn anything, suffer any consequences, or have a meaningful arc. Marge doesn’t learn anything, get any catharsis for her feelings, and is tormented for the run of the episode. Lurleen is her own character, but a fragmented one who is just abandoned to a song when it’s convenient. The ending exacerbates this by having Homer lose his family’s savings, a point that could have easily not been brought up at all, then patching over that with the crusty piece of chewed gum that is a happily ever after trope ending the story doesn’t support.

For anything The Simpsons does to work, it needs to exist within boundaries created by the expectations that result from the use of established genre tropes. This is the hot dog stand. There are ways to cross those boundaries, to be an exciting new form of food truck that sells wild interpretations of hot dogs, but these require supporting work. Colonel Homer does none of this work. It’s position at the end of series 3 means it has a far smaller cultural cache to either build upon or rebel against and the tools it uses are systematically countered the moment they’re used. It’s a story about a man being tempted away from his family but the story immediately tells us he’s never tempted. It’s a story about a woman who is genuinely jealous and fearful for her relationship made a fool only because the story tells us she is one. It’s a story about a talented but broken woman who is as blithely unaware of her plight as Homer is of her affection. It’s a story about a threat to a marriage that constantly shows us that there was never a threat.

It’s not a complex expression that’s gone over anyone’s head. It’s not an attempt at realism that chafes against its format. It is Colonel Homer, and it is fucking pointless.

Yours in biting him too, Gabriel.


Jokes, Lines, and Stray Thoughts.

This is one of only two series episodes to be actually written by Matt Groening, the other being Telltale Head. Otherwise, all he did was write the shorts. He isn’t listed as a writer on other shows he’s ostensibly created, like Futurama and Disenchantment, and seems to have only really worked on his weird bunny people comic. The whole thing is odd to me, like, what does he actually do? Could I get some other, actually funny people to fill in for me on videos with Amber and still act like I’m responsible? I tend to take authorship weirdly seriously, though. I remember being really annoyed, and still am a little, when I found out stand-up comics had writers.

The Dustin Hoffman movie Tootsie is about a guy dressed as a woman. There are a lot of these, with the basic idea being that a guy dressed as a woman is exposed to a variety of situations made funny by that reality. In the Adam Sandler movie Jack and Jill, Adam Sandler plays his own sister who is not his character dressed as a woman just a woman played by Adam Sandler, so the core comic idea that all those jokes are predicated on doesn’t exist, making the whole exercise pointless. I kept thinking of that while I was watching this episode.

 “Googolplex” spelled correctly on the cinema marquee. A googol is ten to the power of 100 and a googolplex is 10 to the power of a fucking googol. It’s the infinity plus one of actual maths.  

Going to the movies with no idea of what you are planning to see is weird. I was alive in the 90s, you looked up what was showing in the paper, you didn’t just drive down to the mall and hope something was on like you were channel surfing.

Having Homer get a few of his spots stolen before the compact car bit is a good way of making his deranged behaviour more sympathetic and keeping your buffoon from becoming an oaf

 “Getting a lot of sparks over here, dad” and “Alright, everybody out the window” are great examples of different forms of comic dryness. Lisa’s delivery has panic but comically contrasts with the otherwise simple observation. Homer’s is delivered perfectly normal but is obviously ridiculous.

Bart’s Earnest movie isn’t on the marquee, that one is Earnest vs the Pope. I kind of wish they’d done a VS series of Earnest movies, actually.

Narrative is deliberate, and so the events within must be understood as existing within a greater context of authorial communication. It is okay to ask “what kind of god would allow this” when that god is both real and named at the beginning of the episode. There is will behind Homer’s ability to get away with bullshit, and that will is a statement that frames everything we see. Homer’s position as a main character in this narrative make his actions core parts of it, and so things like punishment, reward, or realisation become necessary to the resolution. Him engaging in common socially reviled behaviours, and having that revulsion play out in the story, frames him in a way that the narrative would has to deal with. Instead, he takes a moral high ground he has no right to, and the story never addresses it.

The gob of cinema beverage ice getting stuck in Homer’s mouth is a great sight gag. I once laughed a whole mouthful of pepsi into my lungs during a film and thought I was going to die.

The cinema marquee says Space Mutants VI, but the movie being shown is Space Mutants V: The Land Down Under.

The moment with Bart tricking Lisa into watching the violent part is funny and the pair could have been used to occupy space left to Homer’s obnoxiousness. This would have dampened it a little.

“One unhappy pappy” is a great bit and the line was a common refrain when I was a kid. It’s got all the hallmarks of a good classic Simpsons joke. Bart being a dick and making things worse, the slow revelation of accurate Homer face, the fact that the accuracy comes from things that already exist within the character design, the fact that Bart has a marker on him, and the alliterative kicker of “unhappy pappy.” There’s a lot that goes into these little jokes, like spices you couldn’t name or really recognise adding an important depth to a flavour.

The patterns of narratives only work when things like villains and heroes, tensions and releases, are understood by the audience. Homer being an asshole and tearing off is a signal the story pretends never happens.

“That stress ball we got him for Christmas isn’t working”

The driving gags are fairly mundane.

The Beer ’n’ Brawl, and the rednecks in general, are great sources of comedy. Watching this episode, it’s clear why they eventually created a renewable source in Cletus.

Homer’s aggressive peek in the door makes me chuckle.

I can’t tell if the moment is meant to be dancing or if the redneck here is actually just throwing a woman. Because it reeeeeeeeealy looks like the latter.

 “Hey you, let’s fight” great bit.

“All healed up” and “big drunken welcome” are great uses of slight bits of extra information for humour. Pursuant to the surprise principle, tiny bits of extra information can suggest larger, sillier realities and the bigger thing hidden in a smaller thing, like a laugh-TARDIS, functions as a great surprise. I do love the idea that Zeke gets hurt here constantly.

Similar point with how normally Zeke’s belting is treated. Guy walks from behind him and hits him with a chair, nobody bats an eyelid. Some great freeze frames here, too.

The bar band all have the same dead eyes.

A live piglet is among the mess of things being thrown. Come to think of it, kind of surprised one was never lobbed into a WCW ring.

The fact that Homer’s interaction and connection with Lurleen stem from the unaddressed Homeric jerk behaviour bakes the problem into the plot. A good writer would have it become relevant later, then have their character have a realisation that resolves the established problem.

Lurleen has brown eyes. There was actually some interesting discussion in the commentary track, about how they weren’t quite sure how to make Lurleen pretty within the Simpsons art style. Those poor, innocent fools.

Beverly D’Angelo wrote “Your Wife Don’t Understand You” and “Bagged Me a Homer”.

The weirdness of a predatory side-chick being into Homer is there, but her attraction is understandable considering her incredibly low self-esteem and Homer’s genuine, non-sexual interest in her. The rest of it doesn’t work though, this is an inferior episode to Last Temptation of Homer, the total lack of attraction from him as a comic tool removes any tension.

The gap between Homer first talking to her and the conversation at the bar’s close is made weirdly long by the commercial break, considering it was night when Homer got there and daylight when he leaves. He may have arrived close to dawn, but things like fades and, particularly, ad breaks add a sense of time to a scene change.

The sequence where Homer forgets Lurleen’s name is odd. It’s funny, but in a near Abbot and Costello wordplay way, and the stupidity it suggests is more legitimate brain damage over “ha-ha” idiocy.

Either Homer drank really slowly, or he drove home quite drunk. Though I think maybe there’s a bigger light beer culture in the States. Here, it’s fullstrength to get fucking munted because Australia has a population core of alcoholic toilet whites.

The little runs of scenes used to show Homer has the song stuck in his head is a mixed bag. On the one hand, Homer working at night is a stretch for the joke of him shutting the lights off during an operation. On the other hand, Lenny singing to his ball. By the sounds of it, he’s singing the Carpenters version, and not the Herman’s Hermits one. Both are pretty terrible, but Herman’s Hermits are at least funny to look at and I was once yelled at by a teacher for calling them Herman’s Spermits.

The idea of a conflict the protagonist/hero is unaware of isn’t itself a problem, but there still has to be one. Particularly when the conflict is predicated on awareness of it to work.

“Hillbillies went blind” is a classic gag. To be fair, I nearly did drinking homemade hooch, too, so I can’t be too judgemental.

Ah, the possum kid from Deliverance, another reference-well for shows of this era. Which is actually kind of fucked up, I watched that movie at the age of 14 because I kept seeing references to it and really wasn’t expecting to see Ned Beatty get actually raped. I kept waiting for the interrupt moment, but it didn’t come until well and truly after he’d grunted that upsetting, “I wasn’t expecting to get raped on this rafting trip” grunt of his.

Lurleen’s song titles are a good run of laughing at country music gags: I’m Basting a Turkey With my Tears”, “Don’t Look Up my Dress Unless You Mean It”, “I’m Sick of Your Lyin’ Lips and False Teeth”. I particularly like the dress one, just because it speaks of a bar so very low.

To be fair to Groening, who I really think wrote this episode just to meet her, D’Angelo’s breathy, country girl accent makes me insanely horny too.

Homer’s reflection in the CD is a nice shot. Can’t frame a person’s face reflected in a download.

The scene with Homer thinking about playing Lurleen’s song on the radio is a good learning moment. Imagine trying to make a joke out of 5 seconds of silence, because that’s what this is. The long thinking time is comedically juxtaposed to Homer’s non-committal eventual reply.

More elements of Springfield as a micro-USA emerging with the town able to support its own culturally distinct “South” along with a dedicated radio station. KUDD and FUDD really emphasise the comic value of the “ud” syllable.

QUICK! Everyone conveniently listen to this country and western station! This is a good example of something that is fucking stupid, but acceptable within the confines of a 90s sitcom expectation set.

We never meet Krusty’s sister. She’s probably married to Chuck Cunningham.

The riot scene is a gold mine of little animation details, like a well deformed head, some shredded clothes, and teeth repeatedly punched out of a face. Which is actually a lot better than what comes up, as that prison guard is about to get love made to him. First Ned Beatty, now this. This is what happens when you get whites all hopped up on the country music.

“Digitally encoded bit” is an odd line from Lisa. Not that she’d know about it, just that it’s an odd thing for the show to point out. It’s on the radio, what’s your point?

Shock DJs were the YouTubers of the before time.

Really the only benefit of hitching yourself to a dead weight like Homer is that you’d never have to worry about anyone trying to steal him, so Marge is understandably pissed, but it’s all a kind of futile anger because there’s never the slightest actual threat. Not just because of basic sitcom reality, but because the episode goes to the trouble of telling us so. Once again, laughing at Marge as Homer’s idiocy torments her for ultimately nothing.

2 days without a tornado.

Good run of hillbilly names with the triplets, Vonda Mae, and Piney Joe. Until this writing, I thought it was Wanda Mae and Tiny Joe, because these make sense, and it bothers me that Vonda and Piney don’t trigger the spellcheck. That said, I do love the use of the definite article for “the triplets”, spurious specificity is always a good joke buff.

“I was gonna ask you for a glass of water” is a great line because it works with Homer being stupid but is also the kind of thing you’d say to be funny. Same as “you did say sugar, right?”, which both help Homer’s unwitting seduction and help his obliviousness.

While Homer being Lurleen’s manager is the kind of dumber shit we’d get to at the 5-7 minute mark in later series, as opposed to deep into 10 here, the actual process of getting to it has a level of care put into it the idea didn’t really deserve. Homer just wanted to hear the song again, paid to have her sing it into a CD printer, and her asking him to do it does flow naturally from this. Being that he’s probably the only man to not try and molest Lurleen since she hit puberty, she immediately trusts him to look after her, and she’s a hillbilly, so fine. A lot of this stuff can work with a few tweaks, which goes to my oft repeated point about there being objective wrong in creative works, but that objectivity comes from within the structure of the work.

I think this is the second not power plant job Homer’s had after baseball mascot. This one works a little better as the amount Homer actually does could fit into weekends and evenings.

“Corpulent Cowboy” is a good fat guy store name. There was a store in Brisbane whose name I forget, but its tagline was “For the Significant Male” which always made me laugh because nobody has ever been diagnosed as morbidly significant.

“I think it was Lenny” is a great line.

“A couple ‘a times”

The thing about Homer’s stupidity is that if you tie it to the core of the story, its bubble has to burst in a way that helps the plot. Until now, his ignorance meant he could do all this just fine, but now that marge has confronted him, he’s into character damaging stupidity. Had he already invested his money into Lurleen prior to this scene, there’d be a way to keep him with her that isn’t an out of character level of selfishness and wilful indifference to Marge’s feelings.

The boyhood dream joke comes up for the first time here, and it’s sadly inappropriate to the scene. As they are always something stupid, they can’t be nestled in scenes of genuine emotional stress.

Homer’s anger here is similarly stupid. This is a fight without any actual conflict for the audience.

The idea of life savings is a big deal to any audience watching this, so its presence in the episode is a point that needs addressing. That it doesn’t is a flaw, and the fact that it didn’t need to be brought up at all adds to that.

Lurleen’s outright snide hostility toward Marge is pretty funny, but it’s a degree of depth that stops her from being an acceptable archetypal function, like Jacques and Mindy. The result is too much of X and not enough of Y.

“It takes two to lie: one to lie and one to listen” is a goodun.

This is some genuinely hilarious bitch behaviour here. Imagine recording a song about wanting to fuck a woman’s husband in front of said woman. I’m always impressed by woman bullshit because it’s always so concertedly evil.

A few little moments amidst the song, light gags as the point is that the audience hears the lyrics.

Fucking love hamboning, it’s like the white throat singing, someone just slapped themselves around to a rhythm and named it something absurd.

Marge’s white-hot rage is hilarious.

The montage of Lurleen becoming successful is a bit of an odd one because it adds a weight the story really shouldn’t be taking this far in. Getting it bigger isn’t adding dramatic tension to the primary one, because there IS NO PRIMARY ONE. All this does is make Homer’s eventual selling it all for $50, not even getting his savings back, really annoying.

Ordering the old lady off the bench is a laugh.

Homer’s reaction to, “you’re as smart as you are handsome” is good and really, aside from everything else, Homer is in generally great comic form in this story. A lot of his lines and laughs come from genuine expressions of his character as opposed to bits.

Never noticed the portrait of Homer in Lurleen’s trailer before.

Homer’s posture here makes my back ache just looking at it.

The Newton’s cradle scooch is another good detail.

I’ve never been propositioned through song, though, to be fair, I’d have been seduced long before this.

 Hearing Homer say something is “hot” is interesting as it pushes the edge of openly adult that they otherwise keep away from. This and a reference to boobs in Stark Raving Dad are about it for a while.

“Well, goodbye”

The thing about women is that they don’t mount so much as they aggressively present. You see this in bars all the time, and it’s both funny and sad watching girls try everything except actually doing anything.

Here at minute 18 is Marge on the phone, trying to openly state what the narrative tension is. Pro tip: It doesn’t work.

Something I want to repeat, actually, is that it doesn’t work for internal reasons. Knowing Homer won’t dump Marge and run off because this is a sitcom is external to the narrative world and not relevant. Things like this are part of the suspension of disbelief, so saying that there’s no narrative tension in a film because you know the actor has signed on for 3 more sequels isn’t a point and makes you sound stupid.

“Ya don’t?” Good line from Patty.

We’re well past when Homer knows that A: this has been hurting his wife for a while, and B: she was right, so his behaviour here doesn’t work. The implication is probably that he’s genuinely tempted, but putting that in with 2 minutes left on the clock is like trying to add the eggs to a cake that’s about to come out of the oven.

Greased pig contest, excellent.

This final moment here with Marge and the kids could work if it had been built to or, really, if any of it were paid off. The savings are meaningless, turned into a joke, and the audience has no reason to believe Homer’s genuinely tempted by Lurleen.

“Ya gotta love that suit” is a good Bart line. He’s a solid vector for the quasi-external observation jokes at this point.

The show at the end, Ya-Hoo, is based on Hee-Haw an actual show that ran for nearly 30 years. It’s fucking insane, it’s sorta by and for rednecks, but the whole thing is presented in a way that feels like it’s a joke about them. Imagine if BET had a show called Yeah-Boyeeeee and the whole thing was just insanely racist black stereotypes.

Yodelling Zeke being on Ya-Hoo means he has a better story arc than anyone in the show.

Love a good list of hillbillies.


Seriously, watch some Hee-Haw on YouTube, it’s nuts. It’s also where Family Guy gets all those Conway Twitty bits.

“They don’t call me Colonel Homer because I’m some dumbass army guy” is a great comment on nearly every famous “Colonel”.

“Is there anything you need?” *locking sounds* “Well…” Women will eventually snap if their ridiculously circumspect “look at me” dance fails to get attention and watching the eventual buildup of horny energy motivate something ridiculous was another near nightly highlight of bar work.

“Dick me between sets” is the kind of boldness that I’m talking about.

See, this is why I’m against marrying someone when you haven’t fucked a bit. Selecting a mate only matters if there was a choice to begin with.

Homer’s series of rejections is pretty funny, though, if anything, this just makes Marge look dumb again.

Fast Lane and Last Temptation didn’t show the reasoning for why each stayed with the other, and that is a very good choice. Things like this are built around feelings that will be stupid to anyone not feeling them or mighty robots, hiding them in narrative blind spots lets them exist in a pocket of sensation within the audience. Seeing the logic of it cheapens it. What this sequence shows us is that Homer is with Marge because she’s the only woman who’d have him. Great. How fucking romantic.

Homer asking if he’d have gotten any is scarcely a joke.

Could’ve had the savings issue wrap up here, but no, make a joke instead. This is what I mean about there being a tension in a comedy between narrative and humour. Don’t balance it and your story sucks.

“Bit him too” is a fucking great joke.

Homer teleports home.

I feel like if I were close to ditching a wife for a more talented, interesting, and beautiful woman, or she even thought that were the case, me just opting not to after a PROTRACTED PERIOD OF THINKING ABOUT IT wouldn’t exactly earn me any husband points. I dunno, maybe women were dumber in the 90s.

Lurleen, usually Lurlene, is a corruption of Lorelai, a Germanic name meaning “temptress”.



8 replies to Colonel Homer

Magnumweight on 03 Sep 20 said:

Between the success of Country music, Wrestling, and Jeff Foxworthy the 90's was a great time for hicks, speaking from experience.

I do think Beverly D'Angelo is one of the better guest stars, pretty much the only reason I remember this episode. Apparently she voices Lurleen again in a season 19 episode, but that was after I stopped watching new episodes, so I'm betting it's not worth enduring.

Most beers in America tend to be around 4-8% abv, mostly favoring lagers for the major breweries though microwbrews have much more variety. Don't know what it's like in Australia, though it does have a bit of a reputation for beer drinking.

Preacher With A Shovel on 03 Sep 20 said:

"Things like this are part of the suspension of disbelief, so saying that there’s no narrative tension in a film because you know the actor has signed on for 3 more sequels isn’t a point and makes you sound stupid."

As long as we're not pretending whichever Marvel sequel is on a higher level than a mid Season Doctor Who two-parter maybe, but I'm not sure I'd agree here as a hard rule. It can take the power out of your big dramatic cliffhanger if 4-5 sequels have already been confirmed with the same cast. Though that could be my exhaust with everything having to be a universe these days getting to me.

Gabriel on 03 Sep 20 said:

It's a you problem. I have to moderate how I approach works because I spend all my time deconstructing them and reading about the minutia of that process, so this cripples a work's capacity to surprise me or even work as intended. That's a me problem. I have to tune out my thinking about the moving parts behind the work because every work has those parts.

Similarly, it's not a movie's fault that you are aware of stuff going on outside the narrative universe and there is little to nothing they can do about that. It's identical to my problem, just the pieces are simpler. The idea that a threat is invalidated because the sequel is out in 3 years is like me saying nothing can work because it has a logical connection to other narrative points. It's on you to fix it, not on narrative to magically manage a way around that. Narratives that try will usually mistake "unpredictable" for "good", particularly because there is no way to have a machine work without predictable interactions between the moving parts.

You know it's there as much as you know that's Robert Downey Jr pretending to be someone else, the talent is the execution within the structure and suspending your disbelief regarding the threat is the same as understanding that Robert Downey Jr isn't a super hero. Awareness of a sequel with the same star is uncontrollable from within the narrative world, pretending it isn't doesn't qualify as a point. Complaining about Marvel films in this manner is like pointing out wrestling isn't real.

Doctor Who is a bad comparison as it has a host of problems inside its narrative structure, externalities don't even rate when compared to those.

Preacher With A Shovel on 08 Sep 20 said:

It's a fair assessment, thank ye for the time and thoughts on this, it's been something on my mind as of recent.

Gabriel on 09 Sep 20 said:

The hardest part of any of this is getting out of your own head, or changing something that's already in there. At least you can perceive your own weariness at a current trend as a motivating element in your thoughts. There are people properly paid to do this in legitimate publications who can't even manage that.

MrWishart on 02 Sep 20 said:

I always thought the "writer" of an episode of Futurama/Simpsons et al. was just the one responsible for the first draft. Having listened to the Futurama DVD commentaries, they talk about vague ideas for episodes being floated at the start, individual writers going off to draft the script and then them being put through the writer's room cruicible where jokes are added, removed, rewritten from the original, alternatives proposed etc.

I'm thinking Matt Groening is probably heavily involved in that as an overseer and final decision maker, even if he doesn't tend to draft whole episodes himself now. Basically the Vince McMahon of animated comedies.

Gabriel on 03 Sep 20 said:

I'm aware of that process, but if Groening were involved like that, his name would show up in the credits as such.

MrWishart on 02 Sep 20 said:

"It’s the infinity plus one of actual maths. "

Speaking of Futurama, they then topped that with a cinema called Aleph-0-Plex which actually is one of the infinite numbers

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