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Fear of Flying

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Episode
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Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy
Fear of Flying
Homer the Great
There's something bothering me about this place...
...I know! This lesbian bar doesn't have a fire exit. Enjoy your death trap, ladies.
Homer Simpson in the She-She Lounge

"Fear of Flying" is the eleventh episode of Season 6. It aired on December 18, 1994. The episode was written by David Sacks and directed by Mark Kirkland. Anne Bancroft, Ted Danson, Woody Harrelson, Rhea Perlman, John Ratzenberger, George Wendt guest star.

SynopsisEdit

The family discovers Marge's secret fear, after they try to go on vacation with Homer's free airline tickets (after Homer is banned from Moe's Tavern). On Lisa's advice, Marge visits a psychiatrist to get down to the bottom of her seemingly unexplained fear.

Full Story Edit

When Homer pulls a harmless and quite lame prank on Moe, he gets booed for it and is banned from the bar, ironically after laughing off life-threatening ones that Lenny, Carl and Barney pull on him. Homer visits all the other bars in Springfield (including Cheers), but finds none of them to his liking.

The final bar in Springfield he comes to is "The Little Black Box", a private bar only for airline pilots. Homer eventually settles for an airline pilots' bar, but is mistaken for a pilot (despite confessing that he's not one) and is placed in the cockpit of a plane, which he promptly wrecks after raising the stationary plane's landing gear. In exchange for his silence regarding the incident and the mistake they made, the carrier (Cwazy Clown Airlines) offers Homer and his family a trip to anywhere in the continental United States.

Homer eagerly tells his family about their free trip, and everyone seems overjoyed, with the exception of Marge. On the plane, Marge freaks out, revealing to Homer that she has a fear of flying, and demands to be let off. After the traumatic incident, Marge begins to show bizarre behavior, which Lisa sees as suppressing her fear. Homer suggests ignoring Marge's behavior, but this soon reaches the point where he takes her advice and Marge goes to a counselor (played by Anne Bancroft) to deal with her problems. Homer accepts but is opposed to this, because he thinks the shrink will tell her to break up with him, which is confirmed to the audience when the psychiatrist writes down 'husband' in large letters on her pad and underlines it.

Through the counselor, Marge begins to explore more about her past. The counselor has Marge remember one of her earliest traumatic experiences, causing Marge to remember her first day of school. After Patty and Selma upset her about scary things to expect, Marge was later ridiculed on the bus for liking The Monkees.

Sometime afterward, Marge relates about a dream in which she played the Mother from the TV show "Lost in Space," with Homer playing Dr Smith, and Lisa as Robby the Robot. At the end of the dream, as a spacecraft lifts off, Marge remarks how she yelled for her father not to go.

When the psychiatrist tries to press Marge for more information, Marge is hesitant and tries to change the conversation. After some time, Marge relents, and explains how she saw her father board a plane, while her Mother explained that he was a pilot. Marge eagerly goes into the plane, only to see that her father was a steward (or to her, a "stewardess") and not a pilot as she was told.

This upsets her, until the counselor explains that Mr. Bouvier helped make male flight attendants common. Even though the counselor, feels this is the root of her mental issues, Marge also remembers other things (a relative trying to feed her as a baby and failing, playing as a child with a small airplane that catches fire, Marge and her mother being attacked by a plane in a cornfield). She is about to tell Marge about the problem of her husband but Homer pulls her out of the session before she can.

Cured of her anxiety, she finally gets on a plane filled with confidence; this turns to annoyance as the plane overshoots the runway and lands in the sea.

Behind the LaughterEdit

ReceptionEdit

In its original American broadcast, "Fear of Flying" finished 48th (tied with Dateline NBC) in the ratings for the week of December 12 to December 18, 1994, with a Nielsen rating of 9.6. The episode was the third highest rated show on the Fox network that week, beaten only by Beverly Hills, 90210, and Married... With Children.

Since airing, the episode has received many positive reviews from fans and television critics. Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, the authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, said it was "a good Marge-centric episode with plenty of clever set pieces - the tributes to Cheers and Lost in Space are fantastic", and noted that "Marge's father looks suspiciously like Moe".

Citations Edit

Season 5 Season 6 Episodes Season 7
Bart of DarknessLisa's RivalAnother Simpsons Clip ShowItchy & Scratchy LandSideshow Bob RobertsTreehouse of Horror VBart's GirlfriendLisa on IceHomer BadmanGrampa vs. Sexual InadequacyFear of FlyingHomer the GreatAnd Maggie Makes ThreeBart's CometHomie the ClownBart vs. AustraliaHomer vs. Patty and SelmaA Star is BurnsLisa's WeddingTwo Dozen and One GreyhoundsThe PTA Disbands'Round SpringfieldThe Springfield ConnectionLemon of TroyWho Shot Mr. Burns? (Part One)

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