When Homer and Marge attend a test screening of Mel Gibson's remake of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Homer gives the film a mercilessly rough critique. Rather than be angered by Homer's remarks, Gibson decides to hire him as a consultant on the script rewrites. Together Mel and Homer turn the movie into a bloody action flick. The film studio is so disgusted by the new cut that they attempt to block its distribution. Homer and Mel steal the only print of the film and escape the studio lot with the executives pursuing them. Commandeering the old Mad Max car from the Hollywood Auto Museum, the Simpsons and the movie star careen through the streets, causing all sorts of destruction.
After Bart is caught performing another destructive act, Homer and Marge put him on medication. The boy starts taking Focusyne, an experimental Attention Deficit Disorder drug that at first turns him into the very model of manners and efficiency. But the drug has some strange side effects, and Bart becomes paranoid, ranting that Major League Baseball is using a satellite to read his thoughts. Marge and Homer try to take Bart off Focusyne, but he resists and overdoses. During his Focusyne bender, Bart steals a tank from a nearby army base and shoots a satellite out of the sky. Sure enough, the satellite is controlled by Major League Baseball, but Mark McGwire stops by Springfield to assure everyone that nothing suspicious is going on.
"Guess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner?" (AABF21)
Homer gets the perfect side job when he becomes the chief restaurant critic for The Springfield Shopper newspaper. He loves the perks, but can barely write a complete sentence. When Lisa helps out by ghosting his columns, Homer becomes the most powerful--and feared--critic in town. Soon Homer earns the wrath of every restaurant owner in Springfield and they join together in a plot to kill him with a poisonous éclair.
Homer begins challenging everyone around him to duels after he sees a Zorro film at the Googoplex. Most people back down, until Homer meets an old-fashioned Colonel who takes him up on his dare. Unable to get out of the contest with the Colonel, Homer and his family flee to the country, where they become farmers. Farm life is difficult until Homer creates a new crop called tomacco--tomatoes crossed with tobacco. The new fruit is disgusting to eat, but incredibly addictive. Selling barrel upon barrel of tomacco, Homer attracts the attention of some tobacco industry executives who want to capitalize on his new crop.
Homer breaks his tea party date with Maggie to go bowling, lying that there is an emergency at the plant. The lie is revealed when Homer bowls a perfect 300 and attracts the attention of the media. Because of his accomplishment, Homer becomes a celebrity, appearing on The Springfield Squares with Bumblebee Man, Sideshow Mel, and his old nemesis, Ron Howard. But fame proves fickle and Homer quickly goes from Man of the Moment to Where Are They Now? Depressed, he decides to devote his life to his children. Bart and Lisa don't really take to his extra-aggressive parenting, but Maggie can't refuse, mostly because she can't speak. Homer takes Maggie to a Daddy and Me swim class but she's too scared to go in the water. Later, Homer nearly drowns and only Maggie can save him. Homer realizes that he might not have fame, but he'll always have his baby.
Apu and his wife decide to have a baby. With the help of fertility drugs, their attempts to conceive prove successful--very successful: Nine months later, Manjula gives birth to octuplets. The townspeople of Springfield celebrate the arrival of the babies, and local companies shower Apu and Manjula with free products. But when a Shelbyville couple has nine babies at once, all the attention turns to them and Apu and Manjula are left to raise their babies together. It's a big job and Apu realizes he's not up to the task. When Larry Kittkill, the owner of the Springfield Zoo, offers to pay Apu and Manjula to raise their babies behind the glass of a zoo exhibition, Apu foolishly accepts. When he decides he wants to take his new family away from the zoo, Apu discovers that he can't get out of the contract he signed. Homer and Apu steal the babies but Homer must make amends with Mr. Kittkill by performing at the zoo himself.
After winning a motorcycle, Homer forms a gang with his pals, but when Marge is kidnapped by Hell's Satans, a real biker gang, he must face the challenge and come to her rescue. John Goodman and Henry Winkler play two bikers, and NRBQ also guest stars.
Bankrupt thanks to a scheme concepted by Fat Tony, Springfield Elementary is taken over by a private outfit, Kid First Industries, whose real goal is to mine the kids' minds for toy ideas. The ultimate toy, "Funzo", is soon created and it's up to the kids, Homer, and Gary Coleman to save Springfield's Christmas.
When Marge breaks her leg in a skiing accident, it's up to Lisa to run the Simpson household in her mother's absence. Lisa thinks she can handle the responsibility by implementing a structured plan and using fun management techniques like a "chore hat" from which her father and brother can randomly select a chore. Of course, Homer and Bart ignore Lisa's system and the house turns into a pig sty. Meanwhile, Marge is discovering the wonders of shiatsu massage as she receives foot, leg and hair rub-downs in the hospital. Lisa is so angry at Homer and Bart's lack of consideration that she decides to play a trick on them. With a little inspiration from the spirit of Lucille Ball, Lisa comes up with a way to trick Homer and Bart into thinking they have leprosy. Her trick works so well that Homer and Bart get sent to a leper colony in Hawaii courtesy of Ned Flanders. When Marge gets out of the hospital, she and Lisa track Homer and Bart down at the leper colony but discover that they don't want to leave.
When Homer gets his head stuck in a bucket of glue, the family stumbles across a cure in Brother Faith's Tent Revival. After the bucket miraculously comes off, Bart is convinced that he too is a faith healer.
When Mr. Burns is given an award for being the oldest person in the city at the Springfield Award Fair by guest star Britney Spears, he checks himself into the Mayo Clinic for fear that he is too old. While house-sitting for Mr. Burns, Homer tests his youth by pretending to be a billionaire and throwing a huge boat bash aboard Mr. Burns' yacht.
After rescuing a horse named Duncan from the State Fair, Bart and Homer decide they will train him as a race horse in hopes of winning the Springfield Derby. Meanwhile, Homer is shocked to discover a secret world of horse jockeys who threaten disaster if Duncan wins the derby. Randy Bachman and Fred Turner guest star.
On a hike through the woods, the Simpson family discovers a racing track. Shortly after, the track becomes popular, with many Springfield residents attending the events. During a race, Maude Flanders is accidentally killed when a bunch of t-shirts, which were being given away, strike her and knock her off the top row of the stadium. The funeral comes and goes, with Ned and his boys coping with their loss. Two months later, Homer decides to get Ned back on the right track by making a dating tape featuring him. Eventually deciding he should go through with it, Ned sends his tape out. Flanders doesn't meet the right woman though, and almost turns his back on God. At the end of the episode, Ned hears a beautiful song in church which makes him realize that life will go on, and he'll be fine and dandy.
Homer anonymously pledges $10,000 to PBS to save Do Shut Up, his favorite British sitcom. When Betty White and her PBS cronies track him down, Homer is forced to flee for his life. Seeking sanctuary at the Springfield Community Church, Homer begs Reverend Lovejoy to save him from the violent PBS posse that has grown to include Mr. Rogers, the Teletubbies, and Oscar the Grouch. Reverend Lovejoy smuggles Homer out of the Church parking lot inside a bag labeled "Children's Letters to God" and deposits him on a Christian Relief plane bound for the South Pacific. When he arrives on a lush tropical island, Homer is forced to act as a missionary, teaching the ways of the Lord to the natives. Back in Springfield, Bart becomes the man of the house and takes Homer's place at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. Mr. Burns pokes Bart with a stick for over an hour during his first day on the job. On the island, Homer brings civilization to the natives in the form of casino gambling and beer. But Homer's newly opened Lucky Savage Casino does not lead to progress. Instead, it leads to violence and alcoholism. Attempting to repent for his mistake, Homer tries to finish the construction of the island's first chapel. After he completes the building with the help of the natives, Homer and a native girl he has named Lisa, Jr. ring the church bell so loudly that they cause an earthquake. The earthquake opens up a fissure in the island's floor that unleashes a deadly river of lava. Will Homer and Lisa, Jr. survive? It's up to Bart--and a well-placed phone call to FOX--to save the day.
Homer purposely sets off the family's fire alarm, and tricks the family into visiting a Duff festival. At the event, Moe wins Duff's beer-tending contest but his face is considered too ugly to appear on Duff's calendar. After talking it over with the barflies, Moe decides to have plastic surgery. The surgery is a great success, and Moe is an instant ladies' magnet. Moe decides to get revenge on the producers of the soap opera, "It Never Ends," who rejected casting him when he was younger. Instead, due to his good looks, Moe is cast as the new doctor on the series. After awhile, Homer and him are sent the scripts for the show's upcoming episodes, and Moe learns that they'll be killing off his character. Moe is furious, and he sabotages the soap opera in the next episode by revealing its future storylines. Unfortunately for Moe, the director tells him that his character was only going to be killed off in a dream. He ends up being fired, and while walking out of the studio, the set collapses on him. Due to this, Moe's face is restored to its previous state.
During a family outing to an Indian-owned casino, Bart sees a vision of his future courtesy of the wise Native American casino magnate. Flash forward thirty years: Bart is crashing on Ralph Wiggum's couch, trying his hardest to make it as a rock guitarist. His sister has just been elected the first straight woman President of the United States and when Bart gets evicted for not paying rent, he decides it's time to pay Lisa a little visit at her new home. Bart moves into the White House, which is already overrun by Homer and Marge and Maggie, Jr., Maggie's beautiful baby girl. As Lisa begins her Presidency, Bart makes a total nuisance of himself, interrupting press conferences to promote his demo tape, setting off the Secret Service with his Frisbee, and using an official Presidential helicopter to fly in Ralph Wiggum to hang out and drink beer. Lisa and her top advisor, Milhouse, decide to send Bart on a wild goose chase to get rid of him. But when Bart discovers the plot, he is hurt and offended. Returning to the White House, he finds Lisa in a critical meeting with other leaders of the free world, begging them not to collect the loans they gave to her financially strapped country. Bart, who is by now an expert at dodging creditors, helps Lisa fend off their demands and saves the day. Back in the present, Bart realizes that he can change his future if he tries and goes off with Lisa and tells her all about his vision.
After seeing "Tango de la Muerdo" at the local theatre, Lisa is inspired to learn the art of the dance, tutored by the former child actress Little Miss Vicky Valentine. Meanwhile, Homer decides to increase his visual acuity with laser eye surgery.
The Simpsons are studied in a Behind the Music-style documentary depicting their rise to stardom - and the "private hell" that followed. VH1's Jim Forbes narrates their story, beginning with the evolution of The Simpsons TV show, from Homer's original idea called "My Funny Family". The series took off, but the physical comedy took a toll on Homer, bringing an addiction to painkillers. Wild spending, bad investments and tax problems ensued, leading to an incident at the Iowa State Fair that split them up, and prompted solo projects - until Willie Nelson stepped in.