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The Simpsons/Mr. Plow
Mr. Plow is the ninth episode of the fourth season of The Simpsons, and the sixty-eighth episode overall. Homer decides to buy an expensive snow plow when he finds himself without a car and starts a moderately successful plowing business.
Also Starring: Pamela Hayden (Female Customer)
Homer is driving home in the snow from Moe's Tavern, but the conditions are so hazardous that he accidentally rams into the other family car. The insurance agency gives him a meager check for his situation and he has little luck finding a used car at the Eastern European car dealership. Homer and the kids go to a car show to try their luck there, where they meet a clearly insane Adam West dancing the Batusi. While backing away from West, Homer discovers a snow plow and buys it for $20,000 when intimidated by the salesman.
Homer, now calling himself Mr. Plow, decides to start a business plowing streets with his brand new snow plow. His business starts off slowly and doesn't get a great deal of attention, despite his schemes like advertising during church, until he puts on a commercial late at night. The little jingle at the end of the commercial seems to do him well, because he starts getting work from places like the Kwik-E-Mart, Springfield Retirement Castle and the elementary school (much to the disappointment to Bart). Homer is declared a hero and is awarded the key to the city by the Mayor and, more importantly, a free beer at Moe's. Homer encourages Barney to be the best he can be.
In the morning, Homer finds all of the driveways and streets already plowed by Barney, who is now the Plow King. Barney shoots out the Mr. Plow tires and makes a commercial where he beats a cardboard cutout of Homer into pulp with Linda Ronstadt. Homer's business drops off to nothing and delinquent accounts starts to call around for payments on the plow. Lisa suggests he make a new commercial, but his bizarrely avant-garde commercial doesn't help much. There's a nasty blizzard going on at the top of the mountain in Springfield, so Homer directs Barney to the top of Widow's Peak where he becomes trapped in an avalanche. Feeling guilty over sending Barney up to the mountain in the first place, Homer goes to rescue him. The two decide to become partners, but Homer's affront to God brings an early spring and melts all of the snow, rendering both of their businesses useless. Thanks to the heat, Homer's plow is repossessed but all is not lost because he still has the Mr. Plow jacket.
- Blackboard: A burp is not an answer." The final line cuts off the last word at "an."
- Couch Gag: The family runs into the living room and finds a small stool where the couch usually is. They all attempt to sit on the stool as a family.
- Spanish Translation: The Spanish version of the "Plow King" theme song sung by Linda Ronstadt translates to English as "Mr. Plow is not manly. He is only a drunk."
- Captain McCalister's Sea Chanteys: The songs on Captain McCalister's sea chantey album are:
- Blow the Man Down
- What Do You Do with a Drunken Sailor
- Dead Man's Chest
- Asleep in the Deep
- Row Row Row Your Boat
- The Flogging Song
- Love Theme from Das Boat
- In The Navy
- Sink The Bismarck
- Columbia, Gem of the Ocean
- Continuity: The plow Homer buys in this episode was made by Kumatsu Motors, which is the same company that took over half-brother Herb Powell's company Powell Motors in the episode Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
Behind the Scenes
- Getting Adam West: The reason why producers of the show felt bold enough to ask Adam West to be on the show is because Conan O'Brien, who joined the writing staff this season, wrote the pilot for a sitcom starring West called Lookwell in 1991, about a washed-up actor who falsely believes he can solve crimes in real life after being deputized as law enforcement at the peak of his career. The series wasn't bought, but O'Brien was still something of a friend to West.
- Coincidental Cameo: The President George H. W. Bush appearance in this episode actually came shortly after Bush had given a speech about how American families need to be more like The Waltons and less like The Simpsons. The fact that he appeared in this episode was merely a coincidence, although he does appear in a more satirical situation in the episode Two Bad Neighbors.
- Original Pitch: In the original pitch for this episode, Lenny was the Plow King.
- Fun with Censorship: When Homer pretends to be Tony Plow on the phone with delinquent accounts, he says "Yeah, they were gay." This sent the censors into a panic, but they were able to keep the line when Al Jean reasoned that Homer doesn't specifically say who from Leave It to Beaver was gay.
- Emmy Award: This episode was submitted for the overall comedy program Emmy Award, as opposed to the animation program award, but it wasn't nominated in the end because the committee wasn't receptive to animated shows going up against Murphy Brown.
Allusions and References
- Circus of the Stars: The television program hosted by Troy McClure at the beginning of the episode, Carnival of the Stars, is a take off of the annually televised event Circus of the Stars, which broadcast between 1977 and 1994. The show featured celebrities performing in elaborate circus acts, including episode special guest Adam West, who appeared in the final episode.
- The Godfather: After Homer plows the road to school, allowing the bus to take all of the kids to class, Nelson and a legion of other kids appear from behind snow banks and hit Bart with dozens of snowballs for revenge. It's said on the DVD commentary that this is a direct reference to The Godfather, where a character was whacked in a similar way, except with machine guns at an abandoned toll booth.
- Taxi: Barney becoming an alcoholic instead of the bright Harvard student that he was destined to be is very similar to an episode of Taxi. In that episode, Jim reluctantly smoked pot to get it over with and wound up hooked. Incidentally, this episode was written by Simpsons developer James L. Brooks.
- McMahon & Tate: The advertising agency which Homer went to for his second commercial is called "McMahon & Tate." This is a reference to a similar agency which employed Darrin Stephens in the sitcom Bewitched called "McMann and Tate."
- Walter Cronkite: After Homer calls Barney and tells him to plow Widow's Peak, Kent Brockman reports that Barney is stuck beneath an avalanche. He delivers this information in a similar way to how CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite announced that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. The clip pays particular attention to Brockman removing black-rimmed glasses, just as Cronkite did.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark: After God melts all of the snow, two snow men can be seen melting in a far more grotesque fashion. These snowmen are meant to be references to two of the Nazis that are melted by the Ark of the Covenant at the end of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.