Has there ever been a stupider man in television than The Simpsons’ Homer Simpson? Sure, Peter Griffin from Family Guy is pretty colossally dumb, but he’s always felt like a bit of a Homer wannabe; at the very least he feels inspired by Homie. Then there’s Mr. Bean and Joey from Friends. But, really, nobody holds a candle to the original bastion of battiness, Homer Simpson.
There are times when stupid things happen to him accidentally, but more often than not, he’s freely stupid. The amazing thing is, sometimes the consequences are equally stupid, but other times his stupidity leads to a tidy, happy resolution.
So, from dunce-like driving to thick-headed gluttony, here are the 12 Dumbest Things Homer Simpson Has Ever Done.
12. JUMPED OVER SPRINGFIELD GORGE ON A SKATEBOARD
Let’s go way back to season two and “Bart the Daredevil,” a true classic and the personal favorite of Simpsons creator Matt Groening. The whole mess of stupidity begins with Bart’s not-so-smart decision to become a mini daredevil after watching “the world’s greatest daredevil,” stuntman Lance Murdock (um, is there a Daredevil connection here? A daredevil named Murdock?) horribly injure himself while performing a stunt. Not surprisingly, Bart injures himself when he first tries some skateboard stunts.
Homer actually had good intentions here, and even displayed some good parenting. When Bart decides to jump Springfield Gorge on his skateboard, Homer talks him out of it, in part by saying he’d make the jump to show Bart how painful it is to watch a loved one get hurt. But, in the midst of a touching father-son moment, the skateboard Homer’s on slips down the hill and over the gorge. It’s a classic Simpsons moment, certainly influenced by any number of Looney Tunes cartoons, as Homer glides over the gorge, thinking he’s going to make it… when suddenly gravity remembers it exists and he plummets, his body bashing and breaking along the gorge’s edge.
11. CAUGHT HIS HEAD IN A BRIDGE
In the season nine episode “Lost Our Lisa,” Lisa takes the wrong bus to a museum and winds up in the middle of nowhere, and it’s up to our man Homer to save her. In an effort to look for her from above, he winds up in the bucket of a cherry picker. Just when he spots his daughter, the truck goes out of control and rolls down a hill, over a pier into a river. A panicking Homer prays to Superman for help.
As he approaches a drawbridge, Lisa orders the bridge worker to lower it so that Homer can grab onto it. But rather than grab it like a normal person, he lets the bridge sandwich his cranium, and he hangs between the two sides of the bridge by his head, while cars roll over the top of his bald noggin. Once free, all this leads to the classic line from Lisa: “Are you sure you don’t want to go to a doctor? I mean a drawbridge did close on your head.” Because of course it did, he’s Homer Simpson.
10. BECOMES A MONORAIL DRIVER
Here we hit arguably one of the best episodes of The Simpsons of all time: “Marge vs. the Monorail,” infamously written by Conan O’Brien for the fourth season. When Springfield gets an influx of $3 million, the townspeople meet to figure out how to spend it. Marge offers her typically rational suggestions, which the people are about to accept. That is until conman Lyle Lanley comes along with his song and dance promoting monorails. Literally, he had a song and dance prepared.
Unsurprisingly, the town forks the money over to Lanley and he builds his monorail. Homer stupidly falls deeper into the con by signing up for a monorail conducting course. Though as vastly unqualified to drive a monorail as he is to work as a safety inspector at a nuclear power plant, he gets the job and, not surprisingly, the monorail breaks down during its maiden voyage. Ultimately, he saves the day by using the “M” in “Monorail” to anchor the vehicle, but not before it grinds up much of the town.
9. THINKS CRUISE CONTROL IS AUTO-PILOT
As has been the case on more than one occasion, in “Skinner’s Sense of Snow,” season 12, episode 8, a string of stupidity on Homer’s part leads to a chain reaction that ultimately results in his accidentally saving the day. It starts with the kids being trapped in the school by a snowstorm. Homer and Ned Flanders hop in the car to try to save them.
In Homer’s first act of stupidity, he crashes the car into a fire hydrant and the car gets frozen in place by the spewing water. Stupid move No. 2: Homer tries to get away by constantly working the accelerator, which floods the car with carbon monoxide. Ned argues against leaving the engine running, but Homer wants to keep it going “until we forget our troubles.” Which, indeed, happens temporarily, as they begin hallucinating.
Stupid move No. 3 occurs when they finally get moving thanks to a hamster who escaped from the school (because, obviously), Homer hits the cruise control button and settles back, hands off the wheel, thinking the car will drive automatically. They crash into a salt silo, the salt melts the snow around the school, and the kids are saved.
8. OPENS A BAG OF CHIPS ON THE SPACE SHUTTLE
How exactly does a man as profoundly moronic and accident prone as Homer Simpson wind up an astronaut? Before we answer that, we have to mention that this episode, season five’s “Deep Space Homer,” begins with further evidence of the depths of Homer’s stupidity: as the only worker at the nuclear plant that hasn’t won “Worker of the Week,” he thinks he’s going to win it, but he’s so inept that the award is handed to an inanimate carbon rod.
Now, to space. Oddly, it’s his stupidity that gets him in with NASA, who want to to send an average person into space to generate interest in the sagging shuttle program. His complaints about boring launches and desire for Tang convince them he’s their man. Once in the weightlessness of orbit, Homer opens a bag of chips he’d smuggled aboard, and opens them despite the astronauts’ warnings that they’ll harm the instruments. Thinking he’s saving the day, he gracefully floats around, eating the chips, until he smashes into an ant colony, which clogs the navigational system. When they try to flush the ants out of the hatch, Homer causes more trouble by nearly getting blown out into space and bending the door handle, potentially dooming the mission.
7. DESIGNS A MONSTROSITY OF A CAR
In one of the earliest examples of a big-name guest voice appearing on The Simpsons, Danny DeVito came aboard as Homer’s rich half brother for season two’s “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” His brother turns out to be Herbert Powell, who runs Powell Motors. Thrilled to finally learn that he has blood relatives, Powell welcomes the Simpson clan into his life, his home and, unfortunately, his business.
He asks Homer to design a car, with complete creative control. Clearly, Powell did not know who he was dealing with. Homer’s design was not only virtually undriveable, but unwatchable – so hideous that no one would want to drive it, and certainly not with the $82,000 price tag Homer’s design necessitated. The unveiling of Homer’s car destroyed Powell’s business and Powell didn’t forgive him until his return at the end of the third season.
6. GETS BOTH ARMS TRAPPED IN VENDING MACHINES
Is it surprising that someone as simultaneously stupid and gluttonous as Homer Simpson got both his arms trapped in two vending machines? Not really. In fact, when it happens, he calls Marge and says, “Marge? This may be hard to believe, but I’m trapped inside two vending machines.” Her response is a resigned, “Oh, sure, Homer. Two vending machines.”
But how did it happen? That’s, of course, an equally stupid story. At work, he walks by a vending machine selling the new Crystal Buzz Cola. Lacking change, he decides to reach in, past the skeletal arm of someone who previously attempted this, and gets stuck. Running through the power plant, calling for help, and dragging the Buzz machine along with him, he’s distracted by a candy machine, and the rest is history.
5. PULLS A HOMER
The Simpsons writers often like to illustrate Homer’s stupidity through the ramifications of him doing his job very poorly. That job, safety inspector at a nuclear power plant, holds far too much responsibility for someone as dim-witted as him, so it’s a deep mine for comedy. “Homer Defined” is a fitting title for the fifth episode of the third season, because he’s so defined by his stupidity, and because we discover the definition of “pulling a Homer.”
In this one, the nuclear plant is about to melt down and Homer, not surprisingly, has no idea what to do. This happens not once, but twice in this episode. And both times (because, of course, he didn’t learn from the first near disaster), he uses a counting rhyme to figure out which button to press. It works both times, completely by luck, resulting in the phrase “to pull a homer,” meaning “to succeed despite idiocy.”
4. KEEPS A HUGE PILE OF SUGAR IN THE BACKYARD
The season six episode, “Lisa’s Rival,” offers one of Homer’s many painfully dopey get-rich-quick schemes. In the subplot of this otherwise Lisa-centric episode, Homer finds a huge pile of sugar spilled as a result of a truck accident, and decides to bring it home. Who wouldn’t want to bring hundreds of pounds of plain white sugar home with them, right? Why, Homer, why? Well, because he thinks he can sell it door to door. Because it’s so difficult to buy sugar at the store?
As we all know, a giant pile of sugar must be guarded with your life, for fear of nasty sugar burglars running off with it. Well, that’s Homer’s theory, anyway. “Must protect sugar,” Homer sluggishly says, half asleep with a baseball bat in hand while guarding the pile through the night. “Thieves everywhere. The strong must protect the sweet.” Well, there was the vaguely European tea drinker he pulled out of the pile. Then come the bees, who swarm his sweet pile. After taking a few stings, things start to turn Homer’s way when beekeepers offer to buy the bees for $2,000. But then it rains, and the sugar, along with Homer’s dreams of financial independence, are washed away.
3. CREATES DR. HOMER’S MIRACLE SPINE-O-CYLINDER
Just one look at the heading for this one and you know it can’t be good and is not going to end well. A doctor? A miracle worker? He’s doing something to people’s spines? Okay, here we go. This is another one of Homie’s get-rich-quick schemes. It starts with Homer hurting his back at a rodeo. Obviously. When “Dr. Steve” the chiropractor doesn’t really help, a high-five with Bart pushes him backwards into a trash can, miraculously curing his back.
Homer immediately christens the can “Dr. Homer’s Miracle Spine-O-Cylinder – patent pending.” Somehow, as he invites people over to partake of his invention, it helps them, and Homer starts making a little money. That’s despite his chant, as he pushes them onto the can, “One, two, better not sue!” But, in the end, we learn that you can’t beat “big chiro,” as a couple of chiropractors come by, under the guise of wanting to invest in his invention, and destroy it.
2. GETS A GUN
Need we say more than “Homer gets a gun?” In “The Cartridge Family,” the fifth episode of the ninth season, a soccer riot leaves the Simpsons longing for greater home security. Homer, in his infinite wisdom, heads to the cheekily named Bloodbath & Beyond Gun Shop. When the shop owner hands a gun to Homer, Homer immediately points it at him. When the owner says to be careful, our lovable dimwit replies, “I don’t have to be careful, I got a gun.”
After impatiently enduring the five-day waiting period, he gets the gun, despite his mental issues, drinking problem and the fact that he beat up the first President Bush. And you can imagine how responsible he is with it. Everything he does with it is stupid: he shoots a basketball off the roof, offers to get the cat down the same way, points it at himself, shoots dinner plates and can’t figure out how to use the safety, resulting in repeated accidental shots at a picture of Marge.
1. BECOMES OBESE SO HE CAN WORK FROM HOME
At the best of times, Homer is carrying around about 50 pounds too many. But in the seventh episode of the seventh season, he became, according to the episode’s title, “King Size Homer.” But there’s nothing regal about him. He gets the bright idea that if he gains 61 more pounds, he can go on disability, entitling him to work from home, all to avoid going to work and participating in its new fitness program.
Not surprisingly, his ultimate scheme of laziness doesn’t work out so well for him. He’s forced to wear a flowery muumuu and is even too lazy to do his one job: press “Y” for “yes” on his keyboard when prompted. So he uses an automatic drinking bird to constantly peck away at the “Y” key, allowing him to run out to a movie. Of course, while he’s out something goes wrong, threatening a nuclear meltdown. Ultimately, his obesity both hinders and helps him in saving the day, which wouldn’t have needed to be saved in the first place had he not been so enormously stupid.
Surprised by the lack of later-season entries on our list? You shouldn’t be. What do you think was Homer’s dumbest act? Let us know in the comments.