2.5 Dancin’ Homer
Homer gets a gig as mascot for the Springfield Isotopes, and then gets promoted to the Capital City Capitals. He moves the family there, but has to move back when he fails to woo the big city crowd.
It’s a lovely little episode, with moments that playfully poke fun at league sports. Bleeding Gums Murphy’s 26 minute long national anthem is fantastic. Another good one is Homer’s farewell speech to the Springfield Isotopes’ fans, which is a knockoff of Lou Gehrig’s farewell speech in The Pride of the Yankees.
Baseball is a great unifier, as even folks in opposing social classes like Homer and Mr. Burns can sit down and enjoy a game together. That’s a far more valuable thing about sport than it gets credit for. We forget how important and fragile the ability to publicly assemble with people from all walks of life is.
Sure, sports culture has its excesses, and it often does become uncivil, but in my experience it has prevented a lot more incivility than it has caused. Be it coworkers, extended relatives, or friends of a friend, I’ve talked sports with many people I’d have wanted to ruin if we were talking about anything else.
It’s for sure a better episode if you’re into baseball (or sports at all), and while I don’t watch a lot of baseball on television, I love a live baseball game. If you’re lucky enough not to sit next to any belligerent people it’s the perfect mixture of ease and tension.
A particularly funny moment is when Mr. Burns says he used to go to live games and heckle Connie Mack, who coached in the major leagues up until the early 1950’s. It’s fun when the writers subtly age Mr. Burns like that (there’s an even better moment in “Homer at the Bat,” where Burns proposes hiring major leaguers who have been dead since the 1800s).
When Homer pitches a move to Capital City to his family, Lisa says, “We’re simple people with simple values. Capitol City is too complex. Everyone in Springfield knows us and has forgiven us.” I don’t know about the complexity part, but there really is something to be said for the people around you knowing who you are. I imagine people who’ve grown up in a big city find the anonymity less jarring than I do, but for me in my brief stint in Toronto, it was hard.
I moved to Toronto in 2011 and only lasted four months, so this episode definitely hit something for me. Mainly, that it’s okay to live in a fishbowl, and that there’s no shame in choosing that over feeling like a tadpole in an ocean. Whatever city you’re in, a night at the ballpark is a night at the ballpark, just as a night at the local pub in Springfield is meaningful for Homer. The convention of having Homer tell the story of this episode at Moe’s Tavern speaks to the underlying message that fame should not be confused with community.
Sure I lost a dream or two when I moved back to the west coast, but I got my community back.
Best Moment: Marge sits with the players’ ex wives at the Capital City Capitals’ game.
Best Quote: “For the first time in my life people weren’t laughing at me, they were laughing towards me.” -Homer