Homer comes over all tree-hugger.
Written by John Swartzwelder
Directed by Pete Michels
Also starring: Tress MacNeille, Maggie Roswell, Karl Weidergott
Special guest voice: Ed Begley Jnr (as himself)
Premise: After realising that a TV cop show has a hero named Detective Homer Simpson, Homer is overjoyed. However, reaction to the show is negative and in subsequent episodes the detective is played as a fool. Nevertheless, Homer capitalises on his brief fame, adopts a new name, and becomes part of the Springfield glitterati, even joining in on their ecological protests.
Features: Mr Burns, Carl, Lenny, Moe, Barney, barflies, Grampa, Jasper, Chief Wiggum, Mrs Wiggum, Lou, Eddie, Agnes Skinner, Skinner, Otto, Nelson, Ralph, Janey, Snake, Dr Hibbert, Sylvia, Ruth Powers, Dr Frink, Hans Moleman, Android's Dungeon Guy, Krusty, Apu, Spotty Boy, Herman, Judge Snyder, Dr Nick Riviera.
Couch: Marge is hanging the family out to dry.
- Krusty has a nephew called Josh (is this who we see in Homer Simpson in Kidney Trouble outside Davey Jones' Locker?).
- Amongst Homer's other choices for a new name are Hercules Rockefeller, Rembrandt Q. Einstein and Handsome B. Wonderful, before settling on Max Power.
- Cosingtons the store, no longer has a slogan saying it doesn't have a slogan!
- Other shows in Fox's mid-season line-up include America's Funniest Tornados, Admiral Baby, All in the Family 1999 and The Laughter Family.
Homage: Police Cops (originally called Badge Patrol) is clearly based on the TV show Miami Vice.
Notes for Brits: Annie Potts and Jeremy Priven are two US sitcom stars: Potts from Designing Women, Priven from Ellen.
Look out for: Homer's actual destruction of both the forest and the American eagle. Delightful. And is The Mule that Saved Spring Bank a reference to that famous Troy McClure movie Gladys the Groovy Mule? We think we should be told! Best in-joke has to be Lisa explaining that in TV pilots, characters that prove unpopular or irrelevant are often dropped, at which point Mr Largo and the Capitol City Goofball from Dancin' Homer wander past. There's also a dig at why TV networks like cartoons - so that if an actor leaves, they are easier to replace as no one notices when a voice changes - beautifully underscored by Ned Flanders (voiced by someone who isn't Harry Shearer).
This may also have been a bit of a dig at actress Maggie Roswell for whom this was due to be her last series of The Simpsons. According to some sources, this was reportedly a result of a salary dispute, meaning all her characters would have to be voiced by a new actress. Keep an eye out at the showbiz party for Cheers and Dumb and Dumber star Woody Harrelson, President Clinton (who has apparently 'done it' with a pig) and Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels.
Song: Homer got the name Max Power from a hairdryer, and the Max Power song is sung to the tune of the Barry/Bricusse/Newley James Bond theme for Goldfinger (Guy Hamilton, 1964).
Notes: Funny in all the right places, this is an episode of two distinct stories, neither of which mesh together. The whole Ed Begley Jnr/saving the forest bit seems to have been tacked on, as if the stuff about Homer finding his name being abused (shades of Mr Sparkle again?) ran out of steam. Not a bad show, more a sort of 'So what?' show.