Airdate: September 21st, 1997.
Synopsis: Barney Gumble, after being forced to stay sober for one night, goes insane and manages to land Homer’s car between the Twin Towers of the New York World Trade Center. Yes. Those towers. He has to choose between picking the car up or having it towed away (i.e. trashed). Homer is skeptical about going to the city, as he had a bad experience there in the 1970s. The family go to New York, with Homer going to the World Trade Center to get a cop to unboot his car, while the rest of the clan tour NY.
The family overall has a good experience in New York, experiencing the good side of things (the top of the Statue of Liberty, a Broadway play, a carriage ride in the park, MAD Magazine). Homer, however, magnifies every single fault he has, and after missing the cop because he had to go to the bathroom at the top of the World Trade Center, he decides to drive away with the boot on the car. He manages to get said boot loose, picks up the family and speeds away from New York, with no intent to return.
Review: This episode is known for three things, two of which that would dominate the show in future episodes, and all of which could be seen as a detriment against the episode.
- An early apperance of Jerkass Homer.
- One of the many “The Simpsons Go To…” episodes.
- The episode with Homer’s car is parked at the twin towers. Yes. Those Twin Towers.
It’s partially because of the latter reason why this episode was never aired in syndication in the New York Tri-State area after 9/11. Being that I live in the tri-state area, that means it was not until 2007 when I caught the episode on DVD.
This episode was produced for the 8th season, although it aired during the 9th. So, the only reason this is included is because it contains traces of the flaws that would dominate the episode later. The main plot is a bit thin and random, Homer is loud and quite obnoxious, he gets off with little comeuppance (although his car is trashed), and the subplot is quite meager (although, seeing how the subplots would fall later on, this is actually rather good).
Still, this episode is actually quite funny. For those of you who do not know what New York City was like in the 70s…. think of what Detroit is like now. It was pretty bad. I could see where Homer was getting at with his refusal to go to New York. Therefore, you expect him to amplify every single negative point about New York City and his trip. I actually do enjoy the contrast between Homer’s view of New York vs. the family’s experience of NY. Also, you can not deny the fact that “I’m Checking In” is a pretty catchy song.
This episode is, overall, not the best episode of The Simpsons ever made. But it could be worse. In fact, the next episode is going to be quite worse.
Favorite Scene: “I’m Checking In!”