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Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish
Dancin' Homer
Dead Putting Society


S-P-R-I-N-G-F-I-E-L-D!
―Crowd at the Springfield War Memorial Stadium

"Dancin' Homer" is the fifth episode of Season 2.

Summary

Homer becomes a baseball mascot for a local team, thanks to his butt-swinging dance to "Baby Elephant Walk." The team's subsequent high scores bring him to the attention of the major league head hunters and big commercial sponsors. But will success spoil Homer?

Full Story

One night at Moe's Tavern, Homer tells the story of how he got (and then lost) his big break...it is "Nuclear Plant Employee, Spouses and No More than Three Children Night" at the Springfield Isotopes baseball game at Springfield Stadium. At the game, Mr. Burns sits with Homer, taunting the Isotopes, which are expected to lose their 27th consecutive game, reportedly the longest losing streak in professional baseball. But when Homer fires up the crowd to the tune of "Baby Elephant Walk," the Isotopes win their game.

Because of this, Homer is made the Springfield Isotopes mascot "Dancin' Homer." Thanks to his spirit, the Isotopes win more games until Homer is promoted by Antoine Tex O'Hara to the team in Capital City.

The Simpsons pack their suitcases, say farewell to their friends and move to the big city. Homer is nervous about performing for a larger crowd and sharing the stage with the legendary Capital City Goofball. When it is finally his time to perform, he uses he same antics that had wowed the crowds in Springfield. His first performance is a disaster, boring the crowd, causing them only to applaud once he is led off the field and promptly fired.

Homer sadly finishes regaling his story, only to find that the barflies are still impressed.

Transcript

Production

The episode was written by Ken Levine and David Isaacs, and directed by Mark Kirkland. It was the first episode of The Simpsons Kirkland directed. He has since directed over 50 episodes. Executive producer James L. Brooks came up with the idea of the Moe's Tavern wraparounds at the beginning and the end of the episode. It was added because the writers did not know how to end the episode. Levine had worked as a minor league baseball announcer before the episode was produced so he was able to give directions to the animators on the characters' looks and ambiance of the episode.

Many of the new characters introduced in the episode were named after Levine's friends from his announcer career. The minor league announcer in the episode, whom Levine voiced, was named Dan Hoard after his broadcasting partner in Syracuse, New York. The major league announcer was named Dave Glass after Levine's partner in Norfolk, Virginia, and the Capital City Capitals owner who fires Homer was named Dave Rosenfield after the general manager of the Tidewater Tides. The episode features a guest appearance by singer Tony Bennett, who was the first guest star to appear as himself on The Simpsons. Bennett appears in a scene in which the Simpson family meets him while taking a tour of Capital City. He also sings a song called "Capital City" over the closing credits. The lyrics and music of the song were written by Simpsons writer Jeff Martin. Tom Poston guest starred in the episode as the Capital City Goofball. The mascot has appeared in many episodes later on in the show, but he has spoken only once since "Dancin' Homer" and has been reduced to making minor background appearances. Ron Taylor was meant to reprise his role of Bleeding Gums Murphy, who he had played in the first season episode "Moaning Lisa", but was unable to record the part; Daryl L. Coley filled in for him.

"Dancin' Homer" was, together with "Old Money", selected for release in a video collection titled The Best of The Simpsons which was released May 3, 1994. In 2000, it was included on video collection of selected sports-themed episodes, titled: The Simpsons: On Your Marks, Get Set, D'oh!. Other episodes included in the collection set were "Faith Off", "The Homer They Fall", and "Lisa on Ice". The episode was again included in the 2004 DVD release of the On Your Marks, Get Set, D'oh! set. The episode was also included on The Simpsons season two DVD set, which was released on August 6, 2002. Levine, Isaacs, Kirkland, Mike Reiss, and Matt Groening participated in the DVD's audio commentary.

Reception

Ratings

In its original broadcast, "Dancin' Homer" finished twenty-fifth in the ratings for the week of November 5–11, 1990, with a Nielsen rating of 14.9, equivalent to approximately fourteen million viewing households. It was the highest-rated show on Fox that week.

Critical

Since airing, the episode has received mostly positive reviews from television critics. DVD Movie Guide's Colin Jacobson said it was "probably the best episode" of the season, and commented that "Dancin' Homer" offered a "consistently satisfying show. Like the better episodes, it packed a lot of action into its twenty-three minutes, as Homer's saga took on a near epic feeling. It also contained more wonderfully bizarre asides than usual at this point in the series' run. From the Rastafarians who appear in the crowd when Homer performs 'Baby Elephant Walk', to the existence of the Players' Ex-Wives section at the ballpark, the episode provided a fun and rich program."

In a review of the second season, Bryce Wilson of Cinema Blend said "Dancin' Homer" felt "a bit flat", but "even in [its] lowest points, humor is easy to find." Dawn Taylor of The DVD Journal thought the best line of the episode was Homer's "Marge, this ticket doesn't just give me a seat. It also gives me the right — no, the duty — to make a complete ass of myself." Jeremy Kleinman of DVD Talk said lines from the episode such as "A Simpson on a T-shirt, I never thought I'd see the day" show a "humorous self-awareness of the emergence of The Simpsons as cultural phenomenon".

The episode was by Jerry Greene of the Orlando Sentinel named the third best episode of the show with a sports theme. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette named it second best sports moment in the history of the show. Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, the authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, wrote: "Understanding baseball isn't really a requirement for this episode, as the humor doesn't come from the games so much as the personalities. Tony Bennett's cameo is great, and Homer's dance has rightly become legendary."

Season 1 Season 2 Episodes Season 3
Bart Gets an "F"Simpson and DelilahTreehouse of Horror (aka "The Simpsons Halloween Special") • Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every FishDancin' HomerDead Putting SocietyBart vs. ThanksgivingBart the DaredevilItchy & Scratchy & MargeBart Gets Hit by a CarOne Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue FishThe Way We WasHomer vs. Lisa and the 8th CommandmentPrincipal CharmingOh Brother, Where Art Thou?Bart's Dog Gets an FOld MoneyBrush with GreatnessLisa's SubstituteThe War of the SimpsonsThree Men and a Comic BookBlood Feud
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