Homerpalooza is the twenty-fourth episode of the seventh season of The Simpsons, and the one-hundred and fifty-second episode overall. In a quest to regain his coolness, Homer goes on tour with Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, Cypress Hill and Peter Frampton as a sideshow act.
While Otto daydreams about being awarded for being the world's safest bus driver, he nearly accidentally hits and old man and swerves into an auto wrecking yard to miss him. The school bus is compacted into a cube, forcing the school to ask parents to organize a carpool. Bart, Lisa, Nelson, Milhouse and Janie wind up in a car with Homer, who decides to educate the kids about Grand Funk Railroad, much to their dismay. Bart declares that Homer has the worst taste in music ever and his constant yammering about classic rock is embarrassing them.
Homer decides to stop in at his local record store to find some cool music, but is lost entirely by the new and strange bands. He decides that it's up to him to get "back into the groove" of the music world and accomplishes this by taking Bart and Lisa to Hullabalooza, a popular music festival in Capitol City. Despite his best efforts, Homer continues to embarrass himself by buying a Rastafarian hat. Everyone believes him to be a narc and they crowd surf him to the back of the audience. Frustrated, Homer kicks a device which shoots an inflatable pig at him. He's offered a job with the Hullabalooza freak show as the fat guy who's shot with a cannon, which he naturally decides to take.
While on the road, Homer becomes something of an idol for the audience. He builds up huge amounts of attention before the tour returns to Springfield, but is told that he can no longer take cannonballs to the stomach by a veterinarian because he's had extreme damage to his internal organs. Even more pressure is put on him when he realizes how much Bart admires him, leaving him two options: take the cannonball and die or stay cool. Eventually, he decides to take a dive so that he can continue to live.
- Couch Gag: The Simpsons run into their living room where everything is green and sinister looking. An ominous musical sting plays, but cuts off when Homer turns on the lamp and everything returns to normal.
- Shinin' On by Grand Funk Railroad
- Mississippi Queen by Mountain
- Frankenstein by Edgar Winter Band
- You Make Me Feel Like Dancing by Leo Sayer (sung by Barney and Homer)
- Throw Your Set in the Air by Cypress Hill
- Keep On Trucking by Robert Crumb
- Zero by Smashing Pumpkins
- Insane in the Brain by Cypress Hill
- Do You Feel Like I Do? by Peter Frampton
- The Bands: Though the bands who contributed voices to the episode are credited as their band names, the actual actors are as such: B-Real, DJ Muggs, Sen-Dog from Cypress Hill; Billy Corgan, Jimmy Chamberlain, D'arcy and James Iha from the Smashing Pumpkins; Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo and Steve Shelley from Sonic Youth.
- Crazy Credits: The special ending credits sequence was performed by Sonic Youth. It is played over the animation of the teenagers dancing, when Bart said "making teenagers depressed is like shooting fish in a barrel."
- Cameo: During Homer's confrontation with the crowd, the band members of No Doubt can be briefly seen behind him. Animator Eric Stefani, brother of Gwen Stefani, inserted them into the background before they became popular.
Behind the Scenes
- Frampton Comes Alive: On the DVD commentary for this episode, Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein commented that Peter Frampton was the best musician/actor they'd ever seen and repeatedly attempted to get him to do a television show with them.
- Real Life: Many of the joke about the festival come from real life experiences that Brent Forrester had while researching for the episode at Lollapalooza. This includes cameras being thrown in the garbage, overwhelming advertisements and someone calling him a narc.
- Casting: Originally, this episode was going to have Courtney Love in it, but was cut when one of the bands said they wouldn't be in the show if she was (presumably Smashing Pumpkins, because of her history with Billy Corgan). Her line in the episode was:
- Courtney Love: Hi Homer! I'm a huge fan. Courtney Love.
- Homer: Homer Grateful!
Because Love was cut out of the show, the line was changed to fit Billy Corgan saying it instead.
- Playing Favorites: Matt Groening has said that the Sonic Youth version of the end credits sequence is his favorite alternative version to the typical credits.
- Not Playing Favorites: The writers and producers widely regard the "Rover Hendrix" joke as the worst act break joke out of all of the shows they've done.
- Cut Scene: In the original broadcast of this episode, when Otto said his shoes were talking, there was a short bit where Otto's shoes made reference to a Prince song. This was cut out of syndicated episodes due to censorship by FOX.
- Otto: Hey, my shoes are talking too!
- Left Shoe: Don't worry. We won't hurt you.
- Right Shoe: We only want to have some fun.
- Cut Lines: An exchange between Peter Frampton and Sonic Youth was cut for syndicated airings of this episode as well, likely for time. It takes place after Frampton catches Sonic Youth in his cooler:
- Moore: Aw, come on, Mr. Frampton. You're not gonna eat all that watermelon.
- Frampton: Please, I'm trying to perform!
- Shelley: Go ahead. We'll stay here and guard your cooler.
Allusions and References
- Lollapalooza: The title and entire festival is a reference to the popular touring music festival, Lollapalooza. The festival was established in 1991 by Jane's Addiction singer Perry Farrell and was a yearly staple until 1997 when it was shut down. It was re-established in 2003, cancelled in 2004 and changed into a two day festival in Chicago for following years.
- Homer: Grand Funk Railroad paved the way for Jefferson airplane, which cleared the way for Jefferson starship. The stage was now set for the Alan Parsons project, which I believe was some sort of hovercraft.
- Abe: What the hell are you two doing?
Barney: It's called rocking out.
Homer: You wouldn't understand, Dad. You're not "with it."
Abe: I used to be with it, but then they changed what "it" was. Now, what I'm with isn't it, and what's "it" seems weird and scary to me. It'll happen to you!
- [After Homer takes an inflatable pig to the stomach and it flies off]
Roadie: Aw, man. There goes Peter Frampton's big finale. He's gonna be pissed off.
Frampton: You're damn right I'm going to be pissed off; I bought that pig at Pink Floyd's yard sale!
- Chamberlin: The hometown show's the big one, Homer.
Iha: Yeah, people who called you a weirdo in high school get to see what a successful freak you've become.
[James Iha points to D'Arcy]
D'Arcy: Hey, I wasn't a weirdo. I was in the audio-visual club.
Homer: Really? Me too! But I got kicked out 'cause of my views of Vietnam. Also, I was stealing projectors.
- Vet: Mr. Simpson, this is serious. If you take one more cannonball to the gut, you will die.
Homer: Die? Well, you don't scare me, doc, 'cause dying would be a stone groove. Got any messages for Jimi Hendrix?
Vet: Yes: "Pick up your puppy."
[Camera pans to an old dog with a bandanna named Rover Hendrix]
- Frampton: God. Homer Simpson wrecks my pig, Cypress Hill steals my orchestra, and Sonic Youth's in my cooler! Get out of there, you kids!
- Homer: So, I realized that being with my family is more important than being cool.
Bart: Dad, what you just said was powerfully uncool.
Homer: You know what the song says: "It's hip to be square".
Lisa: That song is so lame.
Homer: So lame that it's... cool?
Bart & Lisa: No.
Marge: Am I cool, kids?
Bart & Lisa: No.
Marge: Good. I'm glad. And that's what makes me cool, not caring, right?
Bart & Lisa: No.
Marge: Well, how the hell do you be cool? I feel like we've tried everything here.
Homer: Wait, Marge. Maybe if you're truly cool, you don't need to be told you're cool.
Bart: Well, sure you do.
Lisa: How else would you know?