Simpsons Wiki

Welcome to the Simpsons Wiki! If you want to help us in this wiki, sign up or sign in to get started. Otherwise, enjoy this wiki!


Simpsons Wiki
This Little Wiggy
Simpson Tide
The Trouble with Trillions

"You know, Lisa, I've taken a lot from this country. Maybe it's time I gave something back."
Homer Simpson

Simpson Tide is the nineteenth episode of Season 9 (produced in 1996, and originally meant to be the final episode of season seven).


Homer joins the Naval Reserve after getting fired again, with world-threatening results when he shoots his commanding officer out of the submarine and steers the sub into Russian waters. Meanwhile, Bart gets his ear pierced so he can be cool, but soon discovers that it doesn't work if every kid in school does the same thing.

Full Story[]


Bart with an earring.

The episode opens with Homer dreaming about a doughnut parody of Planet of the Apes, when Lenny wakes him up for a coffee break. Homer, Lenny and Carl all want a doughnut, but only one is left. Homer thinks up a solution: he places the donut in the reactor core in an attempt to make it huge. Within ten minutes, the power plant is on fire and Homer is fired (after initially pretending it is his first day). While lying on the couch at home, Homer sees a recruitment ad on TV for the United States Naval Reserve and plans to make a difference and enlist. Moe, Barney, and Apu also choose to join him. Meanwhile, the entire school is impressed when Milhouse gets an earring. As earrings become a fad, Bart gets his ear pierced, much to Homer's outrage. However, as Bart attempts to impress everyone in school with his earring, only to find out that every student has his/her own earring, except for Lisa, who is forbidden by Homer to do so.

Homer and the others attend the Naval academy and soon pass out. They later participate in the annual war games and are placed on board a nuclear submarine, the USS Jedediah, which is under the command of Captain Tenille. Homer says goodbye to his family, except for Bart due to the earring. Bart bitterly gives the earring to Homer, who then boards the submarine. Captain Tenille takes a shine to Homer; when the Captain goes to check on a problem in a torpedo tube, Homer is left in charge.


Homer in command.

At this point, an enemy submarine approaches the Jedediah, and Homer immediately responds by giving the order to fire a torpedo. However, Captain Tenille is still in the torpedo tube and is consequently fired at the other submarine. The other sub fires back at them, and Homer gives the order to retreat. After Homer gives a mistake when trying to return to harbor, the Jedediah ends up in Russian waters and is interpreted by the United States government as an attempt to defect. This event creates a political schism between the USA and Russia; the Russian government reveals that the Soviet Union still exists and that its fall was a ruse. Nuclear war is anticipated until the US Navy drops depth charges on the Jedediah, aiming either to destroy it or force it to surface. The consequent explosion causes a pinhole leak in the submarine's wall down in the engine room. The crew all believe their situation is fatal, until Homer remembers the earring he took from Bart. He uses it to plug the leak and saves the Jedediah.

The Jedediah surfaces, surrounded by vessels from the United States Navy, the Mexican Navy, Vikings, the Chinese, and a vessel from Antarctica crewed entirely by penguins, and Homer is taken to be prosecuted; however, he is let off the hook because all the officers at his hearing are under indictment for various offenses, from being involved in the Tailhook Scandal to impersonating First Lady (at the time of the episode's premiere) Hillary Clinton. Homer receives a dishonorable discharge and forgives Bart, as the earring saved his life.

Behind the Laughter[]


The episode was the second and last to be written by Joshua Sternin and Jeffrey Ventimilia and was also the only episode directed by Milton Gray. This was the last episode Al Jean and Mike Reiss executive produced together, although both would return in season 13 with Jean as showrunner and Reiss as a producer.

"Simpson Tide" was one of two season nine episodes that was executive produced by Al Jean and Mike Reiss, who together were the showrunners for the third and fourth seasons. Although Jean would later return to run the show, it was the last episode that Reiss received an executive producer credit for. Joshua Sternin and Jeffrey Ventimilia, the episode writers, were working on Jean and Reiss's show The Critic at the time, and pitched an episode where Homer joins the naval reserve. Although the episode is partly based on the film Crimson Tide, the original episode pitch was made before the film was released. After the release of the film, the writers decided to start incorporating stuff from the movie in the script. In the original draft, Bart snuck on board the submarine with Homer. They were trying to do it "for the comedy of it", but couldn't get the draft to work, so it was cut. It was difficult for them to figure out how to get the captain off of the sub and they eventually decided to have him shot out of the torpedo tube.

The Navy drill sergeant was voiced by Michael Carrington, who had written the season four episode "Homer's Triple Bypass". Bob Denver voices himself in the episode and was directed by Mike Reiss. Rod Steiger guest stars as Captain Tenille and was directed by Al Jean.


Michael Schiffer, one of the writers of the film Crimson Tide is said to have enjoyed this episode. Mike Reiss considers the sequence where Russia returns to being the Soviet Union to be "the nuttiest the show has ever been".


Season 8 Season 9 Episodes Season 10
The City of New York vs. Homer SimpsonThe Principal and the PauperLisa's SaxTreehouse of Horror VIIIThe Cartridge FamilyBart StarThe Two Mrs. NahasapeemapetilonsLisa the SkepticRealty BitesMiracle on Evergreen TerraceAll Singing, All DancingBart CarnyThe Joy of SectDas BusThe Last Temptation of KrustDumbbell IndemnityLisa the SimpsonThis Little WiggySimpson TideThe Trouble with TrillionsGirly EditionTrash of the TitansKing of the HillLost Our LisaNatural Born Kissers