"Homer Badman", also known as "Homer: Bad Man", is the ninth episode of The Simpsons' sixth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 27, 1994. It was written by Greg Daniels and directed by Jeffrey Lynch. In the episode, Homer is falsely accused of sexual harassment after a babysitter mistakes him grabbing a gummi candy stuck to her pants for a sexual pass at her, resulting in Homer becoming public enemy number one. Dennis Franz guest stars as himself.
Homer and Marge attend a candy convention and hire Ashley Grant, a feminist graduate student, to babysit Bart, Maggie and Lisa. At the convention, Homer outfits Marge with an oversized trenchcoat and is vigilant in smuggling out as much candy as possible in her pockets, including a rare gummy Venus de Milo.
That night, Homer searches for the gummy Venus amongst his smuggled goods, but is unable to find it. Marge reminds him to take Ashley home and Homer grudgingly obliges. As Ashley is exiting Homer's car, he sees the gummy Venus stuck to the backside of her jeans. Homer innocently grabs the candy, and Ashley turns around to see Homer drooling lustfully at the piece of candy. Misinterpreting his poor tact and drooling as a deliberate sexual advance, Ashley runs off screaming in terror while Homer gleefully eats the candy.
The next morning, an angry mob marches onto the Simpsons' lawn and claims that Homer sexually harassed Ashley. The crowd refuses to listen to Homer, who was trying to tell his side of the story. When Rock Bottom, a tabloid news show, asks to interview him about his predicament, he agrees in the hope that it will clear his name. However, the interview is heavily (and poorly) edited into a totally inaccurate segment where Homer is portrayed as a pervert. Things go from bad to worse as a media circus arrives at the Simpson home to provide 24-hour coverage of things such as Marge letting the cat out and the family watching TV; Fox even produces a TV movie, Homer S.: Portrait of an Ass-Grabber, starring Dennis Franz as a lascivious Homer. Lisa and Marge suggest Homer videotape himself telling his side of the story to air on a Public-access television cable TV, but all he succeeds at accomplishing is angering an old-time bicyclist. It was to appear Homer will most likely be guilty.
However, Groundskeeper Willie also saw Homer's speech, and arrives at the Simpson home with a video tape of what happened the night Homer took Ashley home. The tape clearly shows that Homer was grabbing the Gummy Venus, and upon seeing it, Ashley and the media apologize for labeling Homer a monster. Later on, the Simpson family is watching a "Rock Bottom" episode that labels Willie as a disgusting voyeur and Homer immediately declares that he is evil. Marge asks Homer if he learned anything from his experiences, to which Homer replies that he has not learned a thing. After the rest of the family leaves the room, Homer embraces the television and quietly says to it, "Let's never fight again."
Greg Daniels, the writer of the episode, originally pitched this episode as being more centered on Lisa and Homer's opposing ideas on feminism. Eventually, the episode became more of a satire of the media and shows like Hard Copy. David Mirkin, the show runner at the time, felt very strongly about the "tabloidization of the media" and has said that the episode is as current today as it was at the time and things have since gotten worse. Several gags in the episode are based on what real life shows like Hard Copy would do, such as making people look to be guilty without a trial as well as a complete invasion of privacy by setting up camp outside people's homes. The talk show "Ben", which is hosted by a bear named "Gentle Ben" wearing a microphone on its head, reflects the writers' feeling that anyone could host a talk show because all they need is a microphone and an audience.
The action sequence at the Candy convention is "based on every Bruce Willis movie ever made." Homer's imagination of living underwater is a parody of the song "Under the Sea" from the Disney film The Little Mermaid. David Mirkin says he thought the sequence would be funny because Homer would eat all of the characters from The Little Mermaid. Groundskeeper Willie is referred to as Rowdy Roddy Peeper, a reference to "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, a wrestler who used a Scotsman gimmick. When Homer is found naked by an invasive camera crew outside his bathroom window underneath his clear shower curtain, (the helicopter camera crew startled Homer as he was taking his shower causing him to rip the curtain and fall underneath it), A channel 6 journalist reports that Homer sleeps under an oxygen tent giving him sexual powers, is a reference to the rumor about Michael Jackson sleeping in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber to extend his life. The talk show Ben, hosted by a bear named "Gentle Ben", refers to the 1960s television series Gentle Ben about a wild black bear who became a little boy's best friend. Among the TV shows parodied during the episode: Hard Copy, Sally Jessy Raphael, the Late Show with David Letterman and media coverage of the O.J. Simpson standoff.
In its original broadcast, "Homer Badman" finished 50th in ratings for the week of November 21–27, 1994, with a Nielsen rating of 9.5, equivalent to approximately 9.1 million viewing households. It was the highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, beating Married... with Children.
According to David Mirkin, this episode is very highly ranked among Simpsons fans. In Entertainment Weekly's top 25 The Simpsons episodes in 2003, "Homer Badman" was placed eighteenth. The Quindecim, a college newspaper, made their own top 25 list, with this episode at 15th place. The Daily Telegraph characterized the episode as one of "The 10 Best Simpsons TV Episodes."
- Groening, Matt (1997). Richmond, Ray; Coffman, Antonia, eds. The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family (1st ed.). New York: HarperPerennial. pp. 158–159. ISBN 978-0-06-095252-5. LCCN 98141857. OCLC 37796735. OL 433519M..
- Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "Homer Badman". BBC. Retrieved 2007-08-13.
- "Homer Badman" The Simpsons.com. Retrieved on March 1, 2007
- Richmond & Coffman 1997, p. 173.
- Episode Capsule at The Simpsons Archive
- Daniels, Greg (2005). The Simpsons season 6 DVD commentary for the episode "Homer Badman" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Mirkin, David (2005). The Simpsons season 6 DVD commentary for the episode "Homer Badman" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Lynch, Jeffrey (2005). The Simpsons season 6 DVD commentary for the episode "Homer Badman" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Pickard, Anna. "The 20 Best Moments of The Simpsons' 20 Years on TV." The Guardian, theguardian.com, Jan. 14, 2010. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
- "'Rockford' sweeps CBS to victory". Sun-Sentinel. December 1, 1994. p. 4E.
- "The Family Dynamic". Entertainment Weekly. 2003-01-29. Retrieved 2007-02-10.
- Culp, Sarah (2003-02-17). "The Simpsons' Top 25 Episodes". The Quindecim. Retrieved 2007-02-10.
- Walton, James (July 21, 2007). "The 10 Best Simpsons TV Episodes (In Chronological Order)". The Daily Telegraph. pp. Page 3.
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