The Simpsons/Brother from the Same Planet
Brother from the Same Planet is the fourteenth episode of the fourth season of The Simpsons, and the seventy-third episode overall. Bart decides to get a bigger brother when Homer leaves him waiting for hours in the rain after soccer practice and Homer gets revenge by getting a bigger brother of his own.
After soccer practice, Bart declines going to see Barton Fink with his friends so that he can wait for Homer to pick him up. Hours pass and storm clouds gather with Homer forgetting to pick him up. Finally, after an intense rainstorm, Homer finally remembers but Bart isn't happy about what happened. That night, while watching Saturday Night Live, Bart sees a commercial for Bigger Brothers. He calls up the agency and tells them that he doesn't have have father.
The next day, Bart meets his new father figure, Tom, and Homer is oblivious to the disdain his son feels for him. Marge tries to explain it to him, but is sidetracked by a $300 phone bill. Lisa has been calling something called The Corey Hotline non-stop and promises that she won't call the number anyway. She breaks this promise at the doctor's office while waiting for her eardrops to settle and again while taking inventory for the school. The last one catches Principal Skinner's attention. He calls in Marge to talk with Lisa, who tells her that she just needs to make it to midnight without calling the number.
Meanwhile, Homer discovers that Bart has replaced him with a bigger brother. As revenger, Homer decides to enter himself into the bigger brother program and is assigned to an orphan named Pepe. Homer shows Pepe the stars and teaches him about garage door openers. He also gives Bart's skateboard to Pepe. Both sets of bigger brothers wind up at the Springfield equivalent of Sea World on the same day. After Homer admits to being Bart's father, he and Tom get into a fist fight which Tom wins without much trouble. In the end, Tom and Pepe wind up being partnered with each other now that Homer and Bart have reconciled.
- Blackboard: "The principal's toupee is not a frisbee." The final line cuts off at "tou."
- Couch Gag: The family jumps on the couch but the wall rotates, leaving them trapped behind the false wall and an empty couch in their place.
- Bitter SNL Writers: Much of the Simpsons writing staff originally came from Saturday Night Live and the jab at the show in this episode could be seen as coming from them. Al Jean claims that this simply isn't the case, but they all do make fun of GE Smith mugging for the camera in the DVD commentary.
Behind the Scenes
- Celebrity Cancellation: This episode was written with Tom Cruise in mind because there was a rumor floating around the offices that Cruise wanted to do an episode of the show. But, after the script had been written, he turned them down almost immediately even though the character was written completely unoffensive to his ego.
- Corey Hotline: The "Corey Hotline" was a real thing, although it was for one of the popular teen idols at the time, either Corey Feldman or Corey Haim. Matt Groening was told once by some fans that they routinely called the number and got into the system by mashing the keypad so they could change the voicemail message whenever they wanted.
- Parody Clip: In this episode, Bart and Tom watch part of The Ren & Stimpy Show in an intended parody. But, because producers actually went to the trouble of licensing real footage from the cartoon (the only time this has happened) from Nickelodeon, they were forced to abide by strict rules about what they could or could not show. As a result, the parody has no bite to it, it's just a random clip which was laid out by a member of the Ren & Stimpy team. This is doubly odd, because Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi was a very vocal Simpsons hater at the time.
- Not Like This: A year after this episode was broadcast, James L. Brooks showed the new showrunner, David Mirkin, this episode and told him not to do anymore episodes like that.
Allusions and References
- Barton Fink: The R-rated movie that Milhouse and the others plan to sneak into is Barton Fink, a movie starring John Turturro as a young writer who is suffering from writer's block. The movie, of course, is far less gratuitous than what the boys are expecting.
- Saturday Night Live: In his bed after soccer practice, Bart is watching Krusty the Clown host Saturday Night Live. When Krusty's monologue goes poorly, Bart mutters that he misses Joe Piscopo. Piscopo was a cast member in the days of the show when Dick Ebersol was acting as executive producer and not series creator Lorne Michaels. Piscopo left the show in 1984 and faded into obscurity quickly afterwards.
- Bart: I miss Joe Piscopo.
- Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: After Homer learns of Bart's bigger brother, he confronts him in an incredibly dramatic fashion. This scene is pulled directly from the movie Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, an adaptation of the play of the same name. In the movie, Richard Burton accuses his wife of adultery in the same fashion, particularly the shadows and the brandy at the end of the sequence.
- Psycho: Skinner's creepy monologue about how his mother has changed his life and the "conversation" he has with a silhouette in the Bates Hotel style house is a reference to the Alfred Hitchcock horror movie, Psycho, where the proprietor of a hotel is driven mad by his unrelenting mother, even after she's dead.