Early Simpsons look weird. The background faces in today’s episode, “Homer’s Odyssey,” look weird. It’s like some kid was in a rush to fill in a crowd. It’s just…bad looking.
Oh, and for one episode only, Smithers was black.
After starting with a Bart-centric episode, we move on to a Homer-centric episode. Well, we do after the episode starts with Bart doing Bart things on his way to a field trip for his class to the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. The previous field trip may have ended with Bart accidentally (or intentionally) leaving a door unlocked at the Springfield State Prison…hey, the prisoners waved at the bus as it passed, so they remembered at the least.
Then we find Homer at work, Sheri and Teri’s dad is his supervisor, Homer causes an accident after Bart distracts him and he gets fired.
Bummer for Homer.
Homer is a guy in the future who changes careers at the drop of a hat. The Nuclear Plant seems to be his fall-back job when some episode doesn’t come along to keep him busy earning money somewhere else. Here? No such luck. Homer lost his job as a technical supervisor and can’t find anything else anywhere. He’s broke, desperate, and Marge is supporting the family by working her old job as a roller-skating carhop.
What strikes me most about this episode, besides the bad animation, is Homer being, well, competent. Yeah, he sucks at his job at the plant, but when he becomes a public safety advocate (and eventually gets hired back at the plant as a safety inspector), he’s doing good. If anything, Homer is too good at making things safer. Safety signs are all over Springfield as a result of Homer, and that doesn’t seem much like the Homer we all know and love. Homer’s self-esteem, also tied so much into his desire to provide for his family, seems like something a future Homer wouldn’t be so concerned about.
That probably has something to do with the effort to keep the family more realistic. The family’s income in the future will be elastic enough to allow for whatever the story requires. Here, Homer is robbing Bart’s piggy bank for beer money before realizing how low he’s sunk. It’s hard to say if a more developed Homer would try to kill himself over something like lack of money.
Homer trying to kill himself by tying the rock around his waste before he leaves his yard and then carrying it clear across town to a local bridge? Oh yeah, that he’d do.