Homer discovers that worse things happen at sea.
Written by Joshua Stemin and Jeffrey Ventimilia
Directed by Milton Grey
Also starring: Pamela Hayden, Michael Carrington
Special guest voices: Bob Denver (as himself), Rod Steiger (as Captain Tennille)
Premise: Homer joins the Navy Reserve and finds himself in charge of a nuclear submarine during a war game. Can he talk his way out of a confrontation with the Russians, the Chinese and some penguins?
Features: Mr Burns, Smithers, Carl, Lenny, Moe, Barney, Grampa, Jasper, Kent Brockman, Skinner, Milhouse, Martin, Nelson, Jimbo, Sherri and Terri, Wendell, Ralph, Janey, Allison, Krusty, Apu.
Couch: The family grow from the ground in a pastiche of the Rocky and Bullwinkle title sequence.
- Amongst the films in Exploitation Cinema are Blackula (William Crane, 1972) and its lesser-known cousin Backenstein.
- Lisa reads Junior Skeptic, Moe's cat is called Mr Snuggums, and Barney's Mom is also in the Navy Reserve.
- On board the sub, everyone joins in a chorus of Village People's 1979 hit In the Navy (the group themselves don't seem to survive the sub's dive) and the sub is called the USS Jebidiah.
- The episode plays out with a military band version of the theme.
Homage: The title and the sub come from Crimson Tide (Tony Scott, 1995) but not much of the story does. The submarine captain's name is presumably a swipe at the rather unsuccessful American pop duo The Captain and Tennille. The backroom scene at Moe's with Skinner, Krusty and the Asian gangsters is derived from The Deer Hunter (Michael Cimino, 1978).
Notes for Brits: Rocky and Bullwinkle was an American kids' cartoon series that began in 1959 and was, for its era, quite anarchic; encouraging kids for instance to vandalise the on/off controls on their TVs to ensure they'd still be watching the following week. Ooh, scary stuff!
Look out for: The vast number of Starbucks in Springfield, Homer being unable to pronounce 'nuclear', and the instruction during the war game that they are not allowed to fire upon anyone 'other than Greenpeace'. Very droll.
Notes: A fairly straightforward episode where the biggest laugh comes from Homer being able to talk to penguins and Bart trying to impress his classmates by doing The Bartman. 'That is so 1991,' comes back Ralph. Indeed.