Thursday, March 08, 2018

22 Short Pieces About Springfield: Number Eight - "It's a pornography store. I was buying pornography."

Season 4, Episode 9
“Mr Plow”
First Broadcast: November 19, 1992

Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.

Record snowfall in Springfield leads to Homer writing off both of the family’s cars in a single incident, so it’s off to Springfield Motor Show to source a new vehicle – via Crazy Vaclav’s Place of Automobiles, of course.  Enamoured with a Kumatsu Motors snowplow, Homer opts to buy one and fund the monthly payments by plowing drives on the side.  Far from being a predictably idiotic move, Homer wins the acclaim of his peers when, armed with a television commercial and a catchy jingle, he captures both the public’s imagination and their sweet, sweet moolah.

Unfortunately, Homer’s success has inspired his downtrodden friend Barney to make the best of himself by entirely copying Homer’s business model and becoming the Plow King, with the added skulduggery of shooting out Homer’s tyres.  Even his advert is better, featuring as it does Linda Ronstadt.  Homer’s follow-up campaign is too arty to hook in the yahoos, and he begins to feel the pinch.

Faced with financial ruin, Homer puts in a hoax call to send the Plow King to a precarious mountain in a particularly bad blizzard.  Coming to his senses, he drives his own plow up the mountain to rescue Barney, and the two pledge to work together to corner the plow market.  Their hubris displeases none other than God, who puts a stop to the snows and, consequently, their business venture.  At least Homer gets to keep the jacket, which seems to get Marge in the mood...


Crazy Vaclav, the moustachioed face that launched a thousand shitposts.  Which means that I FINALLY get to publish this:

Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.
“Do YOU come with the car?”

Homer's swift backpedalling upon being contacted by the delinquent accounts department of Kumatsu Motors: "Oh, you want the Mr. Plow who plows driveways.  This is Tony Plow.  You know, from 'Leave It To Beaver'.......  Yeah, they were gay."


…Really?  Do I have to explain this?  Sigh.  ”Mr Plow”, obvs…

But also the Plow King’s advert, featuring Linda Ronstadt:


In a number of systems of belief worldwide, God is the supreme being and creator of all life, except the dinosaurs of course.  Usually portrayed as male, often as white haired and bearded - though also as often, not old and surprisingly ripped - God is also known as Yahweh and Jehovah.

The generic Christian God, who we must assume lent his booming tones but not his heavenly visage to this episode, has appeared in The Simpsons a few times, becoming a properly recurring character from "Homer The Heretic" onwards - including a dip into non-canonical waters for "The Ned Zone" segment of "Treehouse Of Horror XV".

(Oh, and Kumatsu Motors were the same car manufacturing concern that bought out Powell Motors in "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?")


This may well be the first truly classic episode of The Simpsons to be aired.  It's become iconic for the plow, the jacket and songs, but also shows off some damn sharp writing and acting, plus promoting Barney to a proper foil and featuring a rare Homer get-rich-quick scheme which actually does get him rich - and quick!

Although for me, there is another, more personal reason.  I was co-promoter (hello, Rich and Karl!) of a Simpsons-themed charity punk gig a couple of years ago.  Part of my job was to get acts to play, essentially out of the kindness of their hearts, since all the proceeds were going to charity.  A mutual friend agreed to help us out with a solo set, which really did us a solid.

Twenty seconds into his stripped-down (and fantastic) acoustic set, an attendee ran in from the bar and shouted "QUICK!  THEY'RE SHOWING 'MR PLOW' IN THE OTHER ROOM!"...  And disappeared, along with half of the audience.

Nedd, if you're out there - thank you, and I'm sorry.

Join us next time at the blog that's just going out to commit certain deeds.

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