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Homer Simpson ('90s)

The Simpsons 25th Anniversary
by yo go re

If reviewing the SNPP Breakroom and Frank Grimes set taught us anything, it's that the internet will complain about even the best Simpsons episodes. For instance:

Homer channeled his twenty-something romantic angst into music history in Season 19's "That '90s Show," when he put on a flannel shirt and created "Guitar Rock Utilizing Nihilist Grunge Energy" - aka G.R.U.N.G.E. With his band Sadgasm, Homer hit the top of the charts with "Shave Me," but, restless for new mountains to scale, he soon there after gave up GRUNGE for a more radical musical style: Barbershop Quartet.

In the story we'd been told, Homer got Marge pregnant shortly after high school - approximately age 20. So if Bart was 10, how could his parents be nearly 40? There was a 10-year gap in the continuity, and "That '90s Show" took advantage of it perfectly. It was smart, it was subversive... and the fanboys got SO! VERY! PISSED! about it! You know, because until that point, The Simpsons had been known for its tight, seamless continuity, so violating it was an insult to fans everywhere. Dumbasses.

Homer couldn't look more '90s if he tried. He's wearing a striped green sweater over a long-sleeved white shirt, and his jeans have giant rips in the knees. Yes, they're jeans, not his usual big blue pants - they have a fly, and seams down the sides. He's also wearing sneakers, rather than whatever formless clodhoppers he normally wears. The paint on his shirt is expertly applied, and even though you can see where the paint masks end, they still line up amazingly well. Because of his Springfield Four articulation, his hands don't quite reach the strings.

Since Marge had not yet gotten pregnant, Homer hadn't pulled his hair out in chunks, which is why he's got such a shaggy head. His downcast eyes are perfect, but if you tilt the figure back and look at him head-on, he seems to be smiling. Smiling? He should be depressed, not smiling! Maybe an appropriately frowny mouth, coupled with the angle of his head, conspired to make him look too sad?

Homer comes with his guitar, a familiar blue Fender with a mother-of-pearl pickguard. He plays it right-handed, which raises an interesting parallel.

Kurt Cobain was naturally a rightie, but taught himself to be ambidextrous and chose to play guitar left; unfortunately, he had a mild case of scoliosis, which was exacerbated by the weight of wearing his guitar over his right shoulder all the time; this led to intense stomach pain, and the pain led to his heroin abuse and his suicide. If Kurt had chosen a right-handed guitar, carrying the weight on the other side of his body could have straightened out his spine, curing his stomach pain with no drugs at all. Homer, meanwhile, is wearing his guitar the right way around, and the only drug he got addicted to was insulin (to combat his Frappuccino-induced diabetes)!

The band's original sound was harmony-laden, inoffensive, urban light hip-hop smooth grooves; after Homer created GRUNGE, Sadgasm's first album, Desolation Hatchback, went gold at least six times over, but then the band broke up in the late '90s; three years after that, in 1985, Homer cashed in on the barbershop fad that was sweeping the nation (like Vanilla Ice going nu metal), and won a Grammy; years later, he would go to rock n' roll fantasy camp to alleviate his disappointment at never becoming a big musical star. But remember, changing The Simpsons' continuity is some kind of atrocity.

Despite the idiot complaints, "That '90s Show" is, like "Homer's Enemy," a terrific Simpsons episode - easily in the Top 50. It did everything a great episode is supposed to do, but because it aired by the time it was hip to hate The Simpsons, it doesn't get the attention it deserves. All four series of NECA's Simpsons 25th Anniversary line released so far have included a member of the Simpson family (Homer in Series 1, Maggie in Series 2, Lisa in Series 3, Marge and Homer both in Series 4, and probably a Bart in Series 5), but this is the first one that was a must-get. Sadgasm Homer makes us happy!

-- 04/04/15

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