There’s a brief moment in this episode, where Homer is asked by Marge if he drinks to escape reality, and Homer imagines himself really buff and making his pecs dance. I really like those little moments where we see the really weird world that is the inside of Homer’s mind.
Oh yeah, and in this episode, he temporarily gives up drinking.
Should it come as a surprise that Homer would skip work to go on the Duff Brewery tour with Barney? Of course not. Should it come as a surprise that Homer’s brain loses track of what he says out loud so that he accidentally confesses to Marge his plans? Oh yeah. And should Chief Wiggum and the Springfield Police mistake a clearly drunker Barney as the sober person in the car after Homer passes every test except the breathalyzer? Are you new to this show?
Meanwhile, there was a really good B-plot that could have easily been the A-plot. Bart destroys Lisa’s giant tomato just before the science fair that he would normally have no chance of winning since a Go-Go Ray doesn’t exist. Lisa, to retaliate, stops to see if a hamster is smarter than Bart. Unsurprisingly, the hamster is. Bart is so shell-shocked by Lisa’s secret experiments, he goes into convulsions when reaching for rather suggestive cupcakes. Really, they took that shot from A Clockwork Orange. The suggestiveness of the cupcakes was deliberate.
Homer loses his license, and has to attend both AA and driver’s ed. The driver’s ed doesn’t really work, since Homer finds the horrifying crash footage funny because he doesn’t know the victim. Hey, is that Ruth Powers sitting back there? And Dr. Hibbert’s wife? Well, they at least are horrified. Homer isn’t. He’s more horrified by never having a beer again, though the program works fine for Ned Flanders. No more raspberry schnapps for him!
Marge is concerned and convinces Homer to give up beer for a month. It’s hard, since everything around him tells him he needs a beer, from tupperware parties hosted by Patty and Selma, to sober baseball games, to blimps airdropping parachuting beers for some reason. Even Jub-Jub looks like he needs a drink after that tupperware party.
Of course, just as Homer did when Lisa was picking football winners, his initial impulse to run right to Moe’s the instant his time is up is knocked back by his better nature to go for a bike ride with Marge. Probably for the best. Moe seemed extra sinister this episode.
Oh, the science fair was won by Bart. His experiment was to ask whether or not a hamster could fly a plane. Principal Skinner appreciates showmanship.
Though we never learned if the hamster could fly that plane or not…