1.10 Homer’s Night Out
Bart purchases a spy camera, which he uses to photograph Homer at a bachelor party. Homer then has to teach Bart about objectification.
This is one of those episodes that only gets it half right…Okay maybe not quite half.
Nice chalkboard gag that anticipates the episode’s theme. Bart writes, “I will not call my teacher Hot Cakes.”
Bart snaps a photo of Homer putting bills into an exotic dancer’s garments at a stag party, which he shares with his friends, and of course it goes viral (Apparently this used to happen through a device called a “photocopier”). The scene with the kids sharing the photo followed by the adults sharing it is some funny stuff, and a nice way of saying, “Hey grown men, here’s where your boys are learning to be gross.”
Marge finds the photo, and it’s a shitstorm for Homer, who has to sleep at at Barney’s pad in the bad part of town.
I understand Marge’s frustration with Princess Kashmir a hundred percent, but wasn’t she grinding Pepé le Pew in a bowling alley last week?
Marge tells Homer to take Bart to meet this “exotic belly person,” which, lol, and perhaps a better idea in theory than in practice. Marge wanting Bart to see women as human beings is pretty important stuff for any kidlets watching; I grant the writers that.
Problem: Marge tells Homer to apologize to Kashmir, in front of Bart, specifically for the way he treated her. Hear me out…is this the way to frame that? What did Homer do to Kashmir, exactly, besides pay her for the job she was doing and not cross any physical boundaries?
Should Homer have been at that stag party? Probably not. Should Bart have seen what he saw? Definitely not. The bigger picture here is the violation of the agreed-to relationship model Marge and Homer have. That should be explained to Bart. Also, the writers veer too far into criticizing Kashmir by suggesting that her choice of profession necessarily gives her less value. It’s possible to humanize an exotic dancer, or sex worker, or what have you, while also legitimizing how they make their living. I don’t know if you remember being ten, but these concepts would not have been too complicated for me to understand at that age.
In my view, the lesson should have been, “Don’t view her as an object and respect that her trade is part of her humanity.” This episode buys into the lie that respect and desire live in separate compartments.
Furthermore, the writers have Homer ask Kashmir to tell Bart about herself, but then have Kashmir respond with cookie cutter, Playboy interview answers; all we learn about her is what her “turn-ons” and “pet peeves” are. If the lesson is that this person isn’t a caricature, why in the blue blazes are you making her one?
Homer finds himself onstage, and delivers a speech to all men about how women are “our wives, our daughters, our sisters, our mothers, etc.” I love you guys, and I see what you’re trying to do here, but…
A) Why can’t it be Kashmir who delivers this message, oh right because you chose to make her a ditz despite the many dancers and escorts out there who are university students, artists, intellectuals, etc.
B) Viewing women in terms of their relationship to men? That’s the best you came up with? Not “she’s someone,” but “she’s someone’s?” Have the guts to make your message a little bit more radical. (That’s radical as in “radicus” (Latin), as in “to get to the root.”)
Homer’s speech is enough for the male writers, so it’s enough for Marge, who forgives Homer, end of episode.
To be fair, I do appreciate what the writers were going for. Hey, maybe some folks even benefitted from “Homer’s Night Out.” I appreciate how the writers criticize the male characters for defining Homer’s heroism through his attractiveness to women. That’s well done. Overall though, turd sandwich in comparison to the level of analysis in other episodes.
I’d say this episode is so 1990, but come on, we still make these mistakes today. (Hi, Charles Clymer 😘)
For a half-hour of TV that goes further in terms of criticizing how men get centred within feminism, watch the “Woman of the Year” episode of Parks & Recreation.
Best Moment: The photo of Homer at the stag party goes viral the way things used to go viral.
Best Quote: “Don’t even attempt to find meaning in it. There’s nothing between me and Princess Kashmir.” -Homer
[Note: I’m a cishet man myself, and while I don’t *identify* as a feminist, I do try to live in such a way that others would call me one. However, I couldn’t *not* view this episode through a feminist lens, and as such it’s not unlikely that I’ll have missed something. If I did, that’s on me, and you can tell me so in the little box below, in the hopes that I write a better review of the atrocious “Homer Badman” in season six.]