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Make Room for Lisa
Maximum Homerdrive
Simpsons Bible Stories

"Dad, they're trying to kill us."
Bart Simpson
"Oh, why do all my trips end like this?"
Homer Simpson

"Maximum Homerdrive" is the seventeenth episode of Season 10.


When a steak-eating contest between Homer and a beloved trucker proves fatal for the latter, Homer (accompanied by Bart) decides to complete his final run for him, and discover a shady industry secret about truckers. Meanwhile, Lisa and Marge buy a new doorbell, but can't get anyone to ring it.

Full Story[]


Homer prepares to eat a steak

Lisa announces that she is going to protest a new steakhouse which allows its customers to kill their own steak, which is called "The Slaughterhouse" (it is also decorated with hanging steer carcasses and a fountain of blood, and everything on the menu is meat - even the menu itself). Homer hears the name of the steakhouse and is astonished that nobody told him about what he thinks is an amazing place, and takes the rest of his family to eat there except Lisa who decided to stay home, where he enters a challenge with a friendly truck driver named Red Barclay. The challenge Homer and Red enter revolves around who will finish off a "Sir Loin-A-Lot" first, a 16 lb (256 ounce or 7.26 kg) steak that only two people in the history of The Slaughterhouse have finished (Red being one and Tony Randall being the other). The gargantuan steak is more than a match for Homer, as for once in his life he is unable to finish his food and breaks down sobbing. Red does so, but dies minutes later of what Dr. Hibbert calls "beef poisoning". This surprises the staff and occupants of the diner before Hibbert reassures them that it was "probably from some other steakhouse" (coincidentally informing the Simpsons beforehand that he owns a fair percentage of the steakhouse). Homer then chooses to finish Red's last delivery and brings Bart along with him, leaving the rest of the family behind.


Marge installs a doorbell

Lamenting that Homer and Bart always get to go on exciting adventures, Marge says "Maybe it's time we took a walk on the wild side." However, she, Lisa, and Maggie end up going to a doorbell store to buy a doorbell that they install themselves, which plays The Carpenters' song "(They Long to Be) Close to You". Lisa wants to press the doorbell, but Marge insists that they should let visitors do the ringing first. Unfortunately, they barely get any visitors and they never get to ring for various reasons (Milhouse is trying to sell birdseed, but is attacked by birds, some Jehovah's Witnesses were about to ring the doorbell when they reconsider their careers). Marge desperately tries to order garlic bread from Luigi's to get someone to ring the doorbell, but unfortunately the delivery man, who is Wiseguy, prefers to knock on the door and leaves when he hears that Marge is not interested in the garlic bread. Finally, Lisa gets fed up and rings the doorbell herself. However, the new doorbell starts to malfunction, playing its tune over and over again.


Homer takes sleeping pills

Meanwhile, Homer and Bart are fishing for catfish in a stream running under a road-bridge. Homer remarks that they're ahead of schedule, to which Bart replies that they not only are way behind, but they have to cross much of the country in only 10 hours. To try and still make the deadline, Homer purchases some pills that will keep him awake overnight. He takes an entire bottle of pep pills, followed by a bottle of sleeping pills to balance it out. In the truck, he alternates between being hyper to being drowsy until he finally falls asleep at the wheel, almost heading off a cliff. The next morning, he awakes to discover a secret: the truck drove by itself with its Navitron Autodrive system. He talks it over with other drivers, who inform him that he should not mention anything about the truck driving by itself. The truck's Autodrive system also helps keep itself safe. To demonstrate the system, Homer and Bart sit on the hood. A passing bus notices this, and Homer outright tells them about the Autodrive system and its nature as a secret scam, and tells them to keep it a secret. Another truck driver behind Homer notices this and informs the other truckers about the situation.

Back in Springfield, Marge tries to cut the wires to the doorbell, but discovers that Homer has once again traded his tools for M&M's. She chooses to just pull the wires out, but this causes the doorbell to speed up and get louder, making the dogs howl and disturbing the neighbors.


Homer and Bart escape the truckers

Homer and Bart are enjoying themselves until a mob of truckers get in a showdown with Homer, and he survives without the help of the Autodrive system, which had ejected itself from the truck by managing to get the truck to jump over the others. The truckers briefly consider giving up scamming before choosing just to bootleg Beanie Babies. Homer and Bart finish the shipment of Artichokes and migrant workers by taking it to Atlanta, but they still need transportation home. The Lord provides one, as a freight train full of napalm headed back to Springfield needs a driver (as the original driver had quit because he didn't want to deliver a train full of napalm to Springfield).

Back at the Simpson house, the doorbell's tune grows so annoying and loud, that an angry crowd has gathered. Chief Wiggum is about to shoot it until the doorbell store's mascot, Señor Ding Dong, uses his whip to silence the noise from the doorbell. Everyone in Springfield is thankful for him, and Señor Ding-Dong attempts to make a dramatic exit, but his Chevrolet van is malfunctioning and he is instead forced to ask for jumper cables.

Behind the Laughter[]


"Maximum Homerdrive", originally called "Homer the Trucker" was written by staff writer John Swartzwelder and directed by Simpsons director Swinton O. Scott III. The meat-eating contest seen in the beginning of the episode was conceived by Simpsons writer Donick Cary during a story pitch-out, according to writer and executive producer Matt Selman. When rewriting the episode, the writing staff was divided into two groups, so that one group wrote the A-story, while the other wrote the B-story. After the second act, the writers were "stuck," as executive producer and former showrunner Mike Scully recalled in the DVD commentary for the episode. Eventually, staff writer and co-executive producer George Meyer pitched the idea that the truckers would have "a secret device, that actually did all the driving for them," called the Navi-Tron Auto-Drive System.

In the season 10 deleted scenes where Homer turns on the radio listening to a song about a trucker who crashed his truck out on I-95, and one more where some of the truckers try to flatten Homer's truck. In order to animate Barclay's truck in "Maximum Homerdrive", Scott bought a model truck, which he also based the design of Barclay's truck on. According to storyboard consultant Mike B. Anderson, the trucks in the episode were very difficult to animate, as the Simpsons animators were still working with traditional cel animation at the time, and lacked access to digital tools and computers.[5] In a scene in The Slaughterhouse, an employee is shown killing a number of cows with a captive bolt pistol, however the death of the cows are not shown. Originally, the writers wanted to show the cows being killed, however when Scott saw the scene in the storyboards, the Simpsons staff instead decided to make the deaths "indirect".[4] During the meat eating contest, Homer becomes exhausted and sees two wine glass holding cows, who appear as "wavy" figures. In order to achieve the "wavy" effect, the Simpsons animators put a ripple glass on the cels and moved it around while shooting the scene. After the contest, Barclay dies of "beef poisoning". The Fox censors were uneasy with including any mention of "beef poisoning" in the episode, as talk show host Oprah Winfrey had recently been sued by "some Texas ranchers" for defaming the beef industry. In a scene in the episode, Homer buys a jar of "Stimu-Crank" pills in order to stay alert while driving during the night. He swallows all the pills at once, to the clerk's dismay. Homer replies, "No problem, I'll balance it out with a bottle of sleeping pills," and proceeds to swallow an entire jar's worth of sleeping pills. According to Scully, the censors had "a lot of trouble" with the scene, but it was included anyhow.

170px-John Swartzwelder Brighter Sharper

John Swartzwelder wrote the episode

When Homer turns on the truck radio, the song "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls can be heard.[6] Originally, a "trucker song" about "a horrible wreck out on old 95" would be heard. The song, which was sung by main cast member Dan Castellaneta, included mentions of "scraping blood and guts off the road" and was eventually dropped because it was considered too gruesome by the staff. The song was later included as a deleted scene on The Simpsons - The Complete Tenth Season DVD box set. While eating dinner at Joe's Diner, "12 Bar Blues" by NRBQ can be heard playing from a jukebox. According to producer Ian Maxtone-Graham, the doorbell tune in the episode "has a history with The Simpsons," as it is also Homer and Marge's wedding song.[7] "Maximum Homerdrive" features the first appearance of Señor Ding-Dong, who is a recurring character in the series. He is portrayed by Castellaneta, who also plays Homer among other characters in the series. Red Barclay, the trucker who dies of "beef poisoning" in The Slaughterhouse, was portrayed by regular cast member Hank Azaria, who voices Moe Szyslak among other characters in the series. Barclay's voice is slightly based on that of American actor Gary Busey. The two Jehovah's witnesses were portrayed by Pamela Hayden and Karl Wiedergott.


Season 9 Season 10 Episodes Season 11
Lard of the DanceThe Wizard of Evergreen TerraceBart the MotherTreehouse of Horror IXWhen You Dish Upon a StarD'oh-in' in the WindLisa Gets an "A"Homer Simpson in: "Kidney Trouble"Mayored to the MobViva Ned FlandersWild Barts Can't Be BrokenSunday, Cruddy SundayHomer to the MaxI'm with CupidMarge Simpson in: "Screaming Yellow Honkers"Make Room for LisaMaximum HomerdriveSimpsons Bible StoriesMom and Pop ArtThe Old Man and the "C" StudentMonty Can't Buy Me LoveThey Saved Lisa's BrainThirty Minutes Over Tokyo