Crazy Noises: Maximum Homerdrive

Maximum Homerdrive1

For the third summer in a row, we at the Dead Homer Society are looking to satisfy your off-season longing for substandard commentary on substandard Simpsons.  This summer we’ll be looking at Season 10.  Why Season 10?  Because we’ve already done Seasons 8 and 9 and we can’t put it off any longer.  Prior to Season 10, we watched as the show started falling over, this is when it fell over.  And while the dust wouldn’t settle completely for another season or so, there is no bigger gap in quality than the one between Season 9 and Season 10.  Since we prefer things to remain just as they were in 1995, we’re sticking with this chatroom thing instead of some newer means of communication that we all know just isn’t as good.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “implausibility”).

Today’s episode is 1017, “Maximum Homerdrive”.  Tomorrow will be 1018, “Simpsons Bible Stories”.

Charlie Sweatpants: Ready to get started?

Mad Jon: As I’ll ever be.

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t think this episode is particularly worse than the Season 10 average, but it’s always stuck in my head as the quintessential "Homer gets a stupid job" episode.

Mad Jon: It has all the essential elements.

Plot that starts off one way, then lead to a split decision to become ‘blank’, followed by some insanity, a b-plot that is generally disinteresting, some more insanity, and finally a wacky conclusion that leaves me half a liquor bottle lighter.

Charlie Sweatpants: That would be the essentials, yes.

The b-plot in this one is particularly lifeless. This has gotten worse since Season 10, but Marge and Lisa versus the Doorbell is one of those really weak ideas that they don’t care too much about because they figure the episode is basically about Homer being wacky.

  And even then, they couldn’t just resolve it, they had to make it a magic doorbell that can’t be deactivated, wakes up the whole neighborhood, and is turned off by a guy in a costume with a whip.

Mad Jon: I got the feeling that it was getting down to the wire, when an intern said, "What if Marge and Lisa get a new doorbell?" Followed by a "……..ok," from the rest of the writers. Once they got into it, they realized they couldn’t go any where and just buckle in.

I did like the Senor’s line about the character being the case at one time.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s not good when the last half of the b-plot (the b-plot!) feels like filler.

Mad Jon: But then he can’t start the van, through the credits.

Charlie Sweatpants: Senor Ding Dong is a slight improvement on the rest of it, but even this has always been kinda tainted.

Mad Jon: No defense from me.

This b-plot may be more off than the one from "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday."

Charlie Sweatpants: The first time I watched this one, I distinctly remember thinking he’d have trouble with the van, and then he had trouble with the van.

That didn’t used to happen.

Mad Jon: There is most certainly a formulaic procedure for these that didn’t used to happen.

Charlie Sweatpants: Partly, of course, that’s because the van this is a near clone of Adam West from "Mr. Plow".

Mad Jon: The b-plots have become interchangeable at this point in the season. Almost to the point that I get them mixed up.

Charlie Sweatpants: And while that one is kind of a marginal repeat, the subs/grinders/hoagies thing is practically identical to "Fear of Flying".

Mad Jon: This one started with Marge bitching about how Homer gets to have crazy adventures. That could be used on half the episodes in this season, and probably most of the ones in 11 and 12.

  There were a lot of recycled jokes here.

I cite the Jehovah’s witnesses.

  a la "You Only Move Twice"

Charlie Sweatpants: You’re right. This one they make enough little fourth wall jokes so that we can at least tell they’re still a little ashamed.

  But it’s all crazy adventures to the point that Homer actually ends the A-plot with one.

I’d also point out that Homer is in full on Jerkass mode here.

  When he says "Hey Bart, watch me run down this old lady" things are decidedly off the rails.

Mad Jon: Not that it needed pointing out, but you are most correct.

Charlie Sweatpants: This is also when they started randomly bottoming out Homer’s intelligence.

In my notes I wrote "Homer’s really getting dumber", but there are so many examples I’m not sure which one prompted me to type that.

Mad Jon: It was one example after the next.

  This one really hit the ground running with that.

Back to your point about the A-plot ending, do you realize that is the one point in time someone points out that you need a reasonable way to do something? That is the only time someone calls Homer out, and it is so they can drive a train full of whatever home.

Charlie Sweatpants: That they acknowledge how dumb most of this at least means that they could still either get it or feel shame.

  These days it’s hard to tell.

Mad Jon: How does he know how to drive a truck? Sleeping pills to cancel out pep pills? Announcing the drive-box deally right after he is threatened about blabbing? Riding on the hood because it is windy?

He drives for days and ends up 2200 miles from Atlanta, where did he go? Canada?

  Although that may have been more lazy writing then anything.

Charlie Sweatpants: Most of this is lazy writing.

I cite the entire doorbell plot.

Mad Jon: Intern man. Intern.

Not that laziness was in short supply. Homer passes on the 72 ounce steak, but by Bart’s math, he starts to fail at the eating competition before he gets that far.

Charlie Sweatpants:   There are a lot of little things like that.

When Homer asks Bart about school, then Bart asks him about work, and he says "touche", that’s a mildly clever line, but it’s probably not good writing if you keep apologizing to your audience every three minutes.

Mad Jon: I imagine that line was less of an apology then it was a "go fuck yourself."

Charlie Sweatpants: Nah, there’s too many acknowledgments of the implausibility for all of them to be "go fuck yourself"s. At least one had to be apology.

Mad Jon: Well, some people say tomato, some tomato.

That doesn’t work so well typed…

Charlie Sweatpants:   Ha.

But there are still some examples of restraint. "You still haven’t told us why Lenny bit you" is one example of that.

Mad Jon: You know, I liked the tetanus joke until his jaw locked up.

Charlie Sweatpants: Agreed, but imagine how much worse it would be today.

Mad Jon: I did chuckle when Marge said that, but again, the jaw.

Charlie Sweatpants: The jaw thing could’ve been quicker, but it doesn’t take all that long, ditto a rather lame Gil appearance.

Mad Jon: Too soon. He was just a car salesman. I liked the trainee line, but the bag of crap was a stretch.

Charlie Sweatpants: And the cow hallucination is one of the few really good set pieces in the entire first act.

That could’ve gone on forever nowadays, probably into some kind of stampede that makes Homer scream.

Mad Jon: Oh sure.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’m not saying there aren’t some things that would’ve gotten cut even in Season 8. There are. But as much as this plot is classic Zombie Simpsons in terms of pointlessness, worthless twists, and crazy tangents, they aren’t doing the thing where every single good idea must take at least 25 seconds of screen time.

When the guy says "Congress is racing back to Washington to outlaw these", that’s good.

Mad Jon: True, but a lot of the one liners and visuals that used to be good, and become the 25 second deal, have started to become un-funny.

  It’s like the missing link in Simpsons comedy.

Charlie Sweatpants: Like everything else, I believe in gradual evolution.

Mad Jon: I know we talk about it a lot, but re-watching these mid-seasons is really like a lazy kind of archaeology.

I am a punctuated equilibrium man myself, but no big deal.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, this is the first season where there are more episodes I don’t watch than ones I do. There are a lot of these I’m not sure I’ve watched since Season 10 came out on DVD, and maybe not even then.

Mad Jon: That answer was perfect.

Charlie Sweatpants: But what I’m discovering is that there is a reason I never watch these.

  I’d still take them over the stuff on nowadays, but that’s not saying much.

Mad Jon: It reminds me of the time between the Pinkerton album and Weezer’s green album. Rivers Cuomo got rich, set up a song writing formula, and the rest is history. Now I don’t even know how many albums Weezer has.

  But I digress.

Charlie Sweatpants: See, I’d go with more of a television angle.

There are shows I watch, and there are shows that I like enough to rewatch.

  This isn’t a show I wouldn’t watch, but it is a show I wouldn’t rewatch.

Mad Jon: So more like the last few albums from Radio Head.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’ll take your word for that.

Mad Jon: It’s probably best.

Charlie Sweatpants: Can we digress further, or should we move on?

Mad Jon: Let’s go!

10 Responses to “Crazy Noises: Maximum Homerdrive”

  1. 1 lennyburnham
    9 August 2011 at 11:17 pm

    I’m happy to see another person make the Simpsons/Weezer comparison. It’s just too perfect.

  2. 2 mmmfreegoo
    10 August 2011 at 6:52 am

    The only thing that made me smile was when Burns was mercilessly getting the guy to slaughter those cows.

    That’s about it.

  3. 3 Thrillho
    10 August 2011 at 11:08 am

    The idea of a Slaughter House restaurant is funny in its own right, and that’s where I think most of the good jokes are. After that, it’s all downhill. (I do like the Jehovah’s Witness joke, which, though recycled, is what I immediately think of whenever I see them coming down my block.)

  4. 4 Chris
    10 August 2011 at 1:17 pm

    He called me Greenhorns. I called him Tony Randall. It was a thing we had.

    Yeah this episode is ridiculous in every way, but we still haven’t reached the point where the show completely lost its sense of humor. I haven’t looked at the episode lists in awhile, but I think it’s season 11 where the wheels completely fall off and the show becomes both stupid and boring. At this point it’s still watchable.

    • 5 Thrillho
      10 August 2011 at 4:16 pm

      Season 11 has two keepers in my book: Guess Who’s Coming to Criticize Dinner and Behind the Laughter. Everything else has either a few decent jokes but lame stories or is worth forgetting entirely.

      • 6 Charlie Sweatpants
        10 August 2011 at 4:39 pm

        There are a couple of others in 11 I watch, but those two are the highlights in my book.

  5. 7 Richie
    10 August 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Homer Simpson, the man that almost put a restaurant out of business by abusing its “All You Can Eat” offer, is unable to eat a big steak.

    The episode’s loaded with flaws, but THAT is an enormous pet peeve of mine.

    • 8 Charlie Sweatpants
      10 August 2011 at 4:42 pm

      This was the time when Homer lost all sense of character. Sometimes he gets hurt easily, sometimes he doesn’t. Sometimes he’s super duper stupid, sometimes he’s just stupid. Along that line, it’s always bugged me that right before they go to the Slaughter House, he just dumps that dinner Marge made. He’s both being a deliberate ass to Marge (which is always unpleasant), and he’s throwing away food.

      • 9 lennyburnham
        10 August 2011 at 4:46 pm

        Yeah, it seems like around this time they forgot the difference between Homer sometimes accidentally hurting Marge’s feelings because he doesn’t know any better and outright abusing her because he knows she’ll always forgive him.

  6. 10 ecco6t9
    11 August 2011 at 3:07 am

    I notice as more time goes on I give Season 10 more leniency.

Comments are currently closed.


deadhomersociety (at) gmail

Run a Simpsons site or Twitter account? Let us know!

Twitter Updates

The Mob Has Spoken

Anonymous on Quote of the Day
Mr Hankey the Christ… on Quote of the Day
Anonymous on Quote of the Day
Anonymous on Will There Ever Be a Rain…
Anonymous on Quote of the Day
Anonymous on Quote of the Day
Anonymous on Will There Ever Be a Rain…
Anonymous on Will There Ever Be a Rain…
Anonymous on Quote of the Day
Anonymous on Quote of the Day

Subscribe to Our Newsletter


Useful Legal Tidbit

Even though it’s obvious to anyone with a functional frontal lobe and a shred of morality, we feel the need to include this disclaimer. This website (which openly advocates for the cancellation of a beloved television series) is in no way, shape or form affiliated with the FOX Network, the News Corporation, subsidiaries thereof, or any of Rupert Murdoch’s wives or children. “The Simpsons” is (unfortunately) the intellectual property of FOX. We and our crack team of one (1) lawyer believe that everything on this site falls under the definition of Fair Use and is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. No revenue is generated from this endeavor; we’re here because we love “The Simpsons”. And besides, you can’t like, own a potato, man, it’s one of Mother Earth’s creatures.