Homer's Triple Bypass: A Review
Ah, 'Homer's Triple Bypass'. I enjoyed watching this episode, because it simply is a good episode. No, scrap that. It's a great episode.... no, it's simply an excellent
episode. It's one of the greatest episodes of Season 4, and I'm sure that many will agree in saying that Season 4 is a solid season. The episode offers everything. Naturally, as it is about a serious matter, there are scenes of genuine emotion. Yet there are also some very, very funny moments. There are three episodes that deal with Homer in a situation where he could easily die: 'One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Bluefish' and 'So It's Come To This: A Simpsons Clipshow' (by easily die, I'm talking about medical reasons et blah). 'Homer's Triple Bypass' is probably the best, though 'One fish' is still very good ('Simpsons Clipshow' is not good, however). Anyway, on to the review.
So as I said earlier, you wouldn't expect an episode about Homer requiring heart surgery as a particularly funny one. Well, 'Homer's Triple Bypass' is a funny one. Very funny, to be accurate. The humour is relatively consistant throughout. The jokes are spot-on during the first two acts, but are still solid in the third, more serious, act. What you might think that this results in is slightly jarring humour - a funny moment, then a serious moment, then a funny moment again, ruins the impact of emotional or tense scenes. In some points of the episode, it felt like this was the case, but I don't think that it really was that much of a problem overall. The episode starts off strongly. The Springfield Cops thing is amusing, and so is 'Put out an APB for a male suspect, driving a...car of some sort'. I also enjoyed Homer selectively deciding what had a bug on and what didn't in his breakfast. There were numeous scenes at the power plant that made me laugh. Mr. Burns and the poison donut was one of them ('damn their oily hides!'). The exhange between Homer and Burns was gold, especially Homer's heart attack pause at 'inefficacious'. Mr. Burns' reaction to Homer 'dying' was an amusing moment, as were 'Remember your hippopotamus oath' and Hibbert raising the price when Homer has another heart attack.
Though the first act certainly was funny, I think I found myself laughing more at the second one. Homer's meeting with the clerk at Happy Widow's Insurance (the sign of the dancing widow is hilarious) has to be one of my favourite scenes in all of Season 4. Homer's excuse that he thought it said 'brain hemorrhages' was great, but what I really found funny was
: I made an H!
: That doesn't count!
: Looks like an X.
I laughed at Homer's attempts at getting 50,000 dollars from the religious leaders. Oh, and 'Bed Goes Up, Bed Goes Down...'. I just had to find a gif of it to plonk in the review. The last act, though a more serious one in nature, still had plenty of gags to smile and even laugh at. Most of the humour in this act derives from the antics of Dr. Nick - a character I don't normally find that funny, but find hilarious in this episode. Most of the guests visiting Homer in hostpital were funny (special props to the scene where Barney thinks Homer was gonna have a sex change - that was gold), but I wasn't keen on Abe's visit. I know he doesn't have the best of relationships with Homer, but that line just felt too cruel for Abe. Dr. Nicks reaction to watching the surgery was something to relate to - I'd be an awful surgeon. Oh, and 'People Who Look Like Things'. That's a cruel show, and sounds trashy, but I'd probably watch it anyway. There were a few funny moments in the operation room. Finally: 'Well, if it isn't my old friend, Mr. McCraig, with a leg for an arm and an arm for a leg!'
Plot and Characterisation
There isn't much to say about the plot and characterisation in 'Homer's Triple Bypass', because it was great. End of.
..Okay, I'll go into a bit more detail. The premise was something we had seen before (sort of), but it was done in a way that it seemed fresh - in 'One Fish, Two Fish', the kids never find out of the danger Homer is in. The pacing was solid, as in most classic episodes. There was not a particular need to develop a complex story. The characterisation - fine (except for that one scene with Abe), Homer was perfectly likeable. What really is excellent in this episode though, were the emotional moments and story. 'Homer's Triple Bypass' is one of the few episodes that is genuinely sad
at points. Whilst many classic-era episodes have emotionally driven plots and the such, few are actually sad. Though we know that Homer isn't going to die, it is still quite the moment when Bart and Lisa talk to Homer on what might be his deathbead.
'Homer's Triple Bypass' truly is an excellent episode. This is no surprise, as it is from Season 4, home to many true classics. It offers a simple yet compelling story, solid character interaction, and solid humour. This isn't a top 10 episode for me, but is probably comfortably nestled somewhere as a top 25 episode. If 'Homer's Triple Bypass' happens to be on someone elses top 10, then there really is nothing surprising about that.
Bed goes up. Bed goes down. Bed goes up. Bed goes down...