"Jaws Wired Shut" is the ninth episode of Season 13.
Homer breaks his jaw in an accident, requiring it to be wired shut for a month. His resulting inability to speak makes him a better listener, and he becomes closer to family and friends because of it. They all like the new Homer much better, but when the wires come off and Homer retains his new attitude, everyone begins to miss Homer's old antics.
Homer is relaxing in the yard in his hammock whilst reading his magazine. He hears a noise coming from the street he follows the noise to see a gay pride parade. After Homer notices that Santa's Little Helper is becoming sexually aroused by the "Gay Dogs" segment of the parade, the family then go to the Springfield Googolplex Theatres to get away from the parade. The movie is preceded by a seemingly endless run of previews and advertisements, which angers everyone in the theater, and Homer stands up to lead the angry mob. However, the ushers beat Homer with giant Kit Kats and chase him out. Homer runs into the fist of a newly built golden statue of Drederick Tatum during the chase, breaking his jaw.
At the hospital, Dr. Hibbert explains that he has wired Homer's jaws shut in order for it to repair itself. Homer's inability to eat upsets him because he is forced to eat liquidized food. Homer sits at Moe's Tavern as Duffman enters with a question for everyone in order for them to win a life time supply of Duff. Homer knows the answer, but since he is unable to speak, he runs out of time and misses a once in a lifetime opportunity. Homer is laid in bed with Marge and writes on a small chalkboard (as he is unable to speak) "how was your day". Marge is surprised Homer asked this as he never listens to anyone. Homer continues to surprise the family as he starts to do listen to their problems, feed Maggie, and help Bart with school projects and listen to his problems; all of which he never did when he was able to talk. Marge notices Homer's changed behavior and he is invited to attend the "Annual Springfield Formal Event".
At the event, Homer surprises everyone with his politeness and respect. They see Dr. Hibbert on the dance floor where he explains that he can remove Homer's jaw brace the next day. Homer then gets his brace removed the next day at the hospital. Later, at Moe's Tavern, Homer explains that he liked having his brace on because he listened to people at lot more. Lindsey Naegle approaches Homer in the Tavern and tells him he is an enlightened man and wants him to appear on her show "Afternoon Yak".
The next day, Homer and Marge appear on the show. Marge explains what kind of man he was before him breaking his jaw and how much he has changed after he broke it. They show a clip of Homer getting beaten up by an ostrich. Homer promises Marge that he will not revert to his former self. At first, Marge enjoys this, but later she realizes that life without Homer's crazy antics has become boring. She then seeks for some excitement, so she signs up for the local "Demolition Derby". Homer wakes up and realizes Marge's absent and searches to find her. At first, Marge has a great time in the demolition pit, but starts to worry after someone starts battering her car. Lisa, Bart and Homer spot her in the pit. Bart gives Homer some Duff (Like Popeye) to power him up to save Marge. Homer then reverts to his old adventurous ways and enters the pit on a donkey, rescuing Marge from being crushed inside the car. Marge then explains she doesn't want to be the livewire of the family anymore. Homer agrees and promises to stick with his old personality, and the family walks out of the Demolition Derby safe and sound.
Behind the Laughter
John Kassir guest stars in this episode.
Following its home video release, "Jaws Wired Shut" received mostly positive reviews from critics.
In an article on gay marriage, The Economist references the Simpsons' blase acceptance of the annual Springfield gay pride parade in this episode as being "a few steps ahead of real life. But only a few." About.com gave the episode a 5/5 saying "I really liked this episode, although I wasn't too keen on the part where he gets the braces off because that meant the episode was over."