Round 35: Lard of the Dance vs. Homer Alone

Round 35: AABF15 vs. LABF02.

5F20: “Lard of the Dance” (Season 10 / August 23, 1998)
Written by Jane O’Brien
Directed by Dominic Polcino
Showrunner: Mike Scully

Lisa Simpson admitting students to the school dance. In last round‘s “How the Test Was Won” there’s a montage of scenes of Homer getting hurt, which is all kinds of terrible, and the most terrible part of it, as far as I’m concerned, is the bit where his swollen, bloodshot eye is sticking out of its socket. I always hated that, and it was with that dreadful image in mind that I came to “Lard of the Dance.” And we get it not once but twice in this episode, because, as the commentary tells us, it got a huge laugh from the writers and animators. I, meanwhile, just cringe every time I see it. But tastes differ, I guess. Luckily, there’s more to the episode than gross-out humor, and it’s actually pretty good! I liked Lisa’s story, Lisa Kudrow did a fine job as Alex, and Homer’s grease scheme had a few nice moments, too.

  • Lisa struggles with popularity issues after befriending a new student at her school while Homer tries to get rich by selling a food substance? The Simpsons did it.

8F14: “Homer Alone” (Season 3 / February 6, 1992)
Written by David Stern
Directed by Mark Kirkland
Showrunners: Al Jean & Mike Reiss

Homer and Maggie Simpson saying goodbye to Marge at the train station.

“Where’s my clean underwear? How often should I change Maggie? Marge! Marge! How do I use the pressure cooker?”

This is not only The Simpsons but TV in general at its very best. The script tells a truly engaging story while still being incredibly funny and the animation is just beautiful. Naturally I loved all the Homer and Maggie stuff (I get very emotional at the sight of fathers bonding with their daughters, remember?) and then there’s Bart and Lisa staying at Patty and Selma’s and there’s Phil Hartman and there’s… there’s simply not one wrong note here.

  • Very entertaining and informative DVD commentary. (Brad Bird!)

The winner: 8F14: “Homer Alone.”