FANDOM


Episode
References
Gags
Appearances
Gallery
Quotes
Credits
Lisa the Tree Hugger
Homer vs. Dignity
The Computer Wore Menace Shoes
Dad, how can you put a price on your dignity?
Lisa

"Homer vs. Dignity" is the fifth episode of Season 12 and aired on November 26, 2000. The episode was written by Rob LaZebnik and directed by Neil Affleck. Leeza Gibbons guest stars as herself.

Synopsis

Short on funds, Homer approaches the ever-wealthy Mr. Burns for a token raise, but when Burns grants his request on the condition that Homer act as his personal jester, the Simpson family finds itself the subject of degrading and embarrassing activities.

Full Story

When Bart gets his first A (he tried to "cheat" in order to get his mind off the fact that Edna Krabappel and Principal Skinner were making out in the classroom, not realizing that what he thought was cheating was actually studying), the family celebrates by eating at "The Singing Sirloin". Unable to pay the bill (due to Homer's credit card being rejected), they try to dine and dash, but are caught and end up having to play mariachi music to pay the restaurant back.

Marge sees that they are in financial trouble, and suggests they should see a financial planner. The planner tells them that their financial problems are due to Homer's being too stupid to follow a budget, and the only solution is more money—even declaring bankruptcy several times won't make them financially solvent.

Smithers takes some vacation time to star in a musical he wrote about Malibu Stacy. Mr. Burns takes the opportunity to go have some fun sans Smithers. Homer works up the courage to ask Burns for a raise, and he gets the chance when Burns wanders into the "cafe-torium." Homer asks for a raise, but Burns instead offers to give Homer money if he hits Lenny with a dish of pudding. Homer initially objects, but once he does it, Burns has a good laugh and hires Homer as his official "prank monkey."

Burns' pranks harm the dignity of both Homer and others, but Homer doesn't care as long as he gets paid. He also keeps his prank work a secret from his family, dodging the question when Marge asks where the extra money is coming from. Homer is unmasked, however, during a prank that involves Homer dressing as a new female panda donated to the Springfield City Zoo. The zoo's male panda takes a liking to Homer and makes him his mate. When Homer tries to escape, he gets caught on the fence and loses the head of his costume, and Lisa discovers him.

Lisa isn't proud that her dad is selling his dignity away, and tells him he needs to stand up to Mr. Burns. Homer succeeds in doing so, in spite of Burns' tempting him with more money. Homer is then left wondering what he can do with all the money he now realizes is ill-gotten gains, and Lisa suggests that he donate it to charity. Homer goes to Costington's and donates all the money to buy toys for poor children. The store owner is moved by this gesture and makes Homer the Santa Claus for the Thanksgiving Day parade. Homer's job in the parade is to wave from his float, yell "Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas!", and throw presents to the crowd.

Burns sees this as the perfect opportunity to pull a prank on the whole town. He pulls up beside Homer in another float (a pirate ship with the words "HAPPY PRANKSGIVING" on the side) and makes Homer an offer: one million dollars if he'll throw fish guts onto the crowd instead of presents. Homer is torn between the money and the fact that "Santa can't be evil!"

Moments later, Lisa sees "Santa" tossing fish guts at the crowd and is heartbroken, until she realizes that Homer is in the crowd with her. The Santa on the float is Burns: "Ho, ho, ho! Merry Fish-mas!" As seagulls invade the town, attacking all those with fish guts on them, Homer says that Lisa gave him an early Christmas present—the gift of dignity. They then get pelted by fish guts.

Reception and Outrage From Fans

The episode was panned from television critics as the episode was met with harsh reviews and is often rated high on lists of "Worst Simpsons Episodes Ever" due to its recycling of plot-lines, as well as the scene wherein Homer, dressed as a panda, is implied to be sexually assaulted by another panda at the zoo.

Cindy White of IGN said that while the episode is universally panned (mostly because to the infamous scene where Homer is (implicitly) raped by a panda at the zoo and the intentional recycling of other Simpsons episode premises, such as The Simpsons having financial trouble, Mr. Burns hiring Homer to be his assistant while Smithers is on vacation, Someone dressing up as a baby, Homer dressing up as Santa Claus, and Lisa worrying over someone selling their soul), it has funny throwaway jokes and sight gags to make up for it.

In September 2009, Colin Jacobson of DVD Movie Guide gave the episode a negative review, saying "Bad sign number one: when a series plagiarizes itself. That occurs here when Mr. Burns states “There’s a new Mexico?”, a line that was a lot funnier...back in season five. Bad sign number two: a scene in which Homer gets raped by a panda. A couple of the pranks provide minor amusement, but overall, this is a weak episode. Judge Mac McEntire of the DVD Verdict said the episode's best moment was with Homer and the panda. Mike Scully claims that the episode was critically panned, because not many people had seen The Magic Christian.

In January 2012, Johnny Dee of The Guardian wrote that many fans regard the panda rape scene as "a low in the show's history" and suggested the phrase "raped by a panda" should replace "jumped the shark" to imply that a popular series has declined in quality and is beyond recovery.

Citations

Season 11 Season 12 Episodes Season 13
Treehouse of Horror XIA Tale of Two SpringfieldsInsane Clown PoppyLisa the Tree HuggerHomer vs. DignityThe Computer Wore Menace ShoesThe Great Money CaperSkinner's Sense of SnowHOMЯPokey MomWorst Episode EverTennis the MenaceDay of the JackanapesNew Kids on the BlecchHungry, Hungry HomerBye Bye NerdieSimpson SafariTrilogy of ErrorI'm Goin' to PraiselandChildren of a Lesser ClodSimpsons Tall Tales