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Trilogy of Error
I'm Goin' to Praiseland

Meet Linguo, the grammar robot. I built him all by myself. If you misuse language, he'll correct you.
Lisa Simpson to Homer

"Trilogy of Error" is the eighteenth episode of Season 12. It is a seven minute episode repeated three times, each time from a different perspective.


Homer's thumb is severed following breakfast and the episode follows three different paths: Homer's day (as he and Marge race to get his thumb reattached), Lisa's day (as she misses the bus and tries to get to school so that she can win the science fair), and Bart's day (as he and Milhouse make use of a shipment of fireworks that Fat Tony has illegally smuggled into the country). In the end, their respective paths come together.

Full Story


Every segment begins with the garbage truck coming by. Instead of picking up Ned's garbage bin, it picks up his mailbox (making him say "Son of a diddily"), and then a newspaper boy comes by peddling on a bike and throws a newspaper on the front step of 742 Evergreen Terrace with a headline that says "First Day of Spring."

Homer's Day

Homer lost his thumb

Homer is getting ready for work and after coming out of the shower, he prepares to eat breakfast. However, Marge is serving them a really hard to eat breakfast from Europe. Bart leaves the table when Milhouse rings the doorbell. Lisa and Homer leave so Lisa can show him her science fair project.

Lisa shows Homer her science fair project, Linguo, a grammar-fixing robot. When Homer says "Me love beer," Linguo corrects it by saying "I love beer." Homer misinterprets into thinking that Linguo loves beer, so he grabs a can of Duff and pours it into Linguo's mouth, which causes it to malfunction. As Lisa takes it to be repaired, Homer then sees Marge with a tray of brownies and asks for one but Marge says he has to wait until dinner. Homer dances around Marge, singing in a mocking fashion that he is going to take a brownie, but as Marge is still cutting them, she accidentally cuts off Homer's right thumb. Marge calls 911 and tells the police what happened. However, Chief Wiggum, who picks up, misinterprets the information as a deliberate murder attempt and states that she will be arrested, forcing Marge to try coming up with a fake address of 123 Fake Street. Marge drives Homer to see Dr. Hibbert, but crashes into Rainier Wolfcastle's car. While Wolfcastle angrily smashes the Simpsons' car with golf clubs, Marge and Homer sneak into his car and steal it.

After learning from Dr. Hibbert that Homer's finger insurance does not cover his thumb, Marge starts to drive Homer to Dr. Nick's. Homer's thumb starts to decay, so they stop at Moe's Tavern and Moe gives Homer a new jar to put his thumb in to preserve it. After wasting time drinking in the bar, Homer comes out and finds out that Marge and the car are gone. Homer catches a ride with Cletus to go to Dr. Nick's. However, it has been set on fire by an inflammable ether tank that Dr. Nick mistakes for being nonflammable, and Cletus' truck is stolen, forcing Homer to walk to Shelbyville. On the way, he finds out that he will be too late to save his thumb. Just when Homer is about to throw the thumb away, he hears an explosion and sees Linguo's head lands next to him. Linguo's last words are "," and Homer grieves the robot.

Lisa's Day

Lisa runnit

Lisa is in her room doing Ta chi, when she goes for breakfast. Bart goes to greet Milhouse while Lisa takes Homer to see Linguo. After Homer causes Linguo to malfunction, Lisa goes to her room and repairs it. While Lisa was repairing Linguo, Homer said "Aah! My thumb!" When she goes to leave, however, the bus leaves without her. She decides to take her bike but discovers somebody has stolen it. She goes to ask Marge for a ride but Homer and Marge are leaving for the hospital. Lisa runs to school and sees Krusty's limo after it almost hits her. Krusty has Mr. Teeny, who is his chauffeur, take Lisa to school, passing Chief Wiggum along the way who asks for directions to 123 Fake Street. However, Mr. Teeny mistakenly drops Lisa off at West Springfield Elementary School. There, she meets a student named Thelonious, who she falls in love with, only to run out of time and leave him.

Lisa then runs to Moe's Tavern hoping to find Homer, but he is not there. She notices that Chief Wiggum is working on a sting operation to catch firework smugglers and is listening to the conversation with some people he sent undercover and the criminals. When Lisa recognizes one of the criminals as Fat Tony, Wiggum speaks into the microphone which exposes his undercover people. Just as Lisa leaves Moe's, Homer enters and Lisa runs into Marge outside. Lisa tells Marge she has to drive her to school, but Marge says she has to get Homer to the hospital. However when she hears Homer raving about the Blue Man Group, she takes Lisa to school; however, the car runs out of fuel. Marge and Lisa then hitch a ride in Cletus' truck by hiding in the back and after the truck arrives at Dr. Nick's, Marge steals the truck during the time that Homer and Cletus observe the hospital on fire. With only a few minutes of school left, they suddenly see Bart emerge from a manhole in front of them and quickly bring the truck to a stop.

Bart's Day

Bart's Day.jpg

Bart is in his bed sleeping when his Krusty alarm clock wakes him up. He joins the family for breakfast. He leaves when he hears Milhouse at the door. As Bart opens the door, Milhouse tells him that he found something in the forest and wants to show him. They steal Lisa's bike and go to a cave in the woods. There, Milhouse has found illegal firecrackers. They then proceed to blow stuff up. One of their fireworks flies towards Dr. Nick's office and hits a flammable ether tank. Suddenly they hear sirens and hide in an abandoned building which is, unfortunately, addressed as 123 Fake Street, the same address Marge gave to Chief Wiggum. There, Wiggum catches the boys, but the boys beg them not to throw them in jail.

The police then ask Bart and Milhouse to help them find the real firework smugglers. When they go back to the cave, they learn the culprits are none other than the Springfield Mafia. Bart and Milhouse are exposed when Wiggum speaks loudly into their receiver, though they quickly escape. They navigate through a sewer and exit through a Manhole cover. Marge and Lisa, who are driving on the road, observe Bart pop out of the sewer and stop Cletus' truck, slightly hitting Bart in the head. The boys are soon confronted by Fat Tony and his gang in an alley, but Marge throws Linguo at them and he starts to fix the terrible grammar of Legs and Louie. Their overuse of bad grammar causes Linguo to short out and some of the sparks ignite Fat Tony's fireworks and causes an explosion, which takes down the mobsters. Linguo's head then falls on the ground where Homer finds it. Marge finds out that both Bart and Milhouse were hiding in a trash can.


Legs is able to reattach Homer's thumb with success and Lisa presents it as her science project. It wins first place. Marge states that it was one crazy day. Then the episode cast comes and laughs, except for Mr. Teeny, who murmurs "this plot made no sense".


The episode has received positive reviews since its original airing, and Selman named it the best episode he has ever written.

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