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Homer vs. Dignity
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Dad, how can you put a price on your dignity?

"Homer vs. Dignity" is the fifth episode of Season 12.


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.

Lenny's eye has pudding in it

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 harms the dignity of Homer and others locals, 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 Ping Ping 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. Homer also gets sprayed by a herd of skunks.


Lisa isn't proud that her father 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.

Mr Burns as Santa

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, at first Lisa thinks her father sold his soul but he is standing with the family, Lisa realizes that the Santa is Mr. Burns. Homer says that Lisa gave him an early Christmas present—the gift of dignity. They then get pelted by fish guts.

Broadcast History

United States

Broadcast date(s) Channel aired
  • November 26, 2000
  • September 2, 2001
  • December 23, 2001
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  • December 18, 2020
  • December 24, 2020
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  • December 20, 2020
  • December 25, 2020
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United Kingdom

Broadcast date(s) Channel aired
  • March 23, 2021
  • March 28, 2021
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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 the scene wherein Homer, dressed as a panda, is implied to be sexually assaulted by another panda at the zoo.

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.


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