|"There's No Disgrace Like Home"|
|The Simpsons episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1|
|Directed by||Gregg Vanzo|
|Written by||Al Jean|
|Original air date||January 28, 1990|
|Chalkboard gag||"I will not burp in class"|
|Couch gag||The family hurries on to the couch. Homer is squeezed off it and says, "D'oh!"|
"There's No Disgrace Like Home" is the fourth episode of The Simpsons' first season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 28, 1990. In the episode, Homer is ashamed of his family's behavior at a catastrophic company picnic and enrolls them in therapy. The therapist, Dr. Marvin Monroe, struggles to solve their problems − culminating in a shock therapy-based showdown between the family members − before eventually giving up and refunding their money.
One of the first-produced episodes of the season, it is known for showcasing early designs and different characterizations for several members of the show's cast. The episode is inspired by the comedy of Laurel and Hardy and features cultural references to films such as Citizen Kane and Freaks as well as the Batman and Twilight Zone television series. When the BBC began airing The Simpsons in November 1996, this episode was the first to be shown.
Homer takes his family to a company picnic where he is embarrassed by the behavior of Bart, Lisa and Marge. When Homer notices that his boss, Mr. Burns, approves of a "normal", well-mannered family who treat one another with respect, he wonders why his dysfunctional family misbehaves and disrespects everyone.
When Marge, Bart, and Lisa claim there is nothing wrong with them, Homer tries to prove otherwise by taking them on a neighborhood tour and peeking through living room windows to observe other families. This backfires when a neighbor fires a gun at the Simpsons for trespassing. Depressed by the outing, Homer has a drink at Moe's, where he sees a television commercial for Dr. Marvin Monroe's Family Therapy Center. Dr. Monroe guarantees "family bliss or double your money back", so Homer thinks therapy will improve his family's behavior.
To his family's chagrin, Homer pawns their television to pay for the $250 therapy. When Dr. Monroe asks the Simpsons to draw pictures of the source of their problems, Bart, Lisa, and Marge draw Homer. Distracted, Homer draws an airplane in flight and Dr. Monroe scolds him for being a bad father figure. After Homer gets angry and tries to attack his family with a lamp, Dr. Monroe gives the Simpsons padded mallets to work out their aggression without harming each other. The exercise fails when Bart removes the padding from his mallet and hits the doctor in the knee with the hard inner core.
In frustration, Dr. Monroe resorts to aversion therapy by wiring the family members to an electric generator so they can deliver shocks to one another to deter misbehavior. The Simpsons shock each other so many times that the generator is damaged and the entire city suffers a brownout, delighting Mr. Burns. Realizing he cannot help the Simpsons, Dr. Monroe turns off the generator and orders them to leave. Homer reminds Dr. Monroe that his TV commercial promised family bliss or a double-your-money-back guarantee. Dr. Monroe agrees to refund the money to prevent the Simpsons from tarnishing the clinic's reputation. With a fresh sense of unity, the Simpsons use the money to replace their television.
The episode shows telltale signs of being one of the earliest produced. Several of the characters notably behave differently compared to the episodes surrounding it: akin to her portrayal in the Tracey Ullman Show shorts, Lisa is an undisciplined brat indistinguishable from Bart, Marge gets drunk and is inattentive, and Homer is the voice of reason. These roles were reversed in later episodes. It was an early episode for Mr. Burns, who had been voiced by Christopher Collins in the previous episode. Originally, the character was influenced by Ronald Reagan, a concept that was later dropped. The idea that he would greet his employees using index cards was inspired by the way Reagan greeted people. The episode marks the first time Burns refers to "releasing the hounds".
The episode marked the first appearance of Dr. Marvin Monroe and Itchy & Scratchy; the latter had previously appeared in the shorts. It also marked the first appearance of yellow Smithers, who was drawn as an African-American in the previous episode. Eddie and Lou also appeared for the first time, although Lou was mistakenly animated with yellow instead of black, as he would later become. Lou was named after Lou Whitaker, a Major League Baseball player.
The idea behind the shock therapy scene was based on Laurel and Hardy throwing pies at each other. The scene was rearranged in the editing room; it played out differently when first produced. The edits to this scene were preliminary, but well-received, and remained unchanged in the finished product.
The episode's title is a parody of the famous phrase "There's no place like Home" from "Home! Sweet Home!", an 1823 song by Henry Bishop and John Howard Payne. The scene in which the family enters Burns' Manor contains two cultural references. The Manor resembles Charles Foster Kane's mansion from the 1941 film Citizen Kane. The characters refer to it as "stately Burns Manor", a reference to the Batman TV series. In addition, there is a reference to Freaks, the Tod Browning cult horror film, in the repetition of the line "one of us".
While drunk at Mr. Burns' picnic, Marge sings a version of the song "Hey, Brother, Pour the Wine" which was popularised by Dean Martin. The shock therapy scene is reminiscent of the 1971 film A Clockwork Orange, and is known for its brief appearance in the 1990 action film Die Hard 2.
In its original broadcast, "There's No Disgrace Like Home" finished forty-fifth in ratings for the week of January 22–28, 1990, with a Nielsen rating of 11.2, equivalent to approximately 10.3 million viewing households. It was the second-highest-rated show on Fox that week, following Married... with Children.
Since airing, the episode has received mixed reviews from television critics. The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, note: "It's very strange to see Homer pawning the TV set in an attempt to save the family; if this episode had come later Marge would surely have taken this stance."
Colin Jacobson at DVD Movie Guide said in a review that the episode is "[his] least favorite episode of Season One" and further commented: "Homer feels embarrassed by the others? Marge acts poorly in public and doesn't care about the upkeep of the family? Lisa (Yeardley Smith) engages in pranks and silliness? This ain't the family we've grown to know and love."
This episode was one of the first seen by British viewers. It was the first episode to be broadcast on terrestrial television by the BBC on November 23, 1996 on a Saturday at 5:30pm, because the episodes were shown out of order. The episode was screened with five million viewers, slightly less than the show, Dad's Army, which previously held the timeslot. The episode also faced competition from ITV's screening of Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
The episode was released first on home video in the United Kingdom, as part of a VHS release titled The Simpsons Collection; the episode was paired with season one episode "Bart the General". It was released in the US on the VHS release The Best of The Simpsons, Vol. 1 (1997), paired with "Life on the Fast Lane". It was later re-released in the US in a collector's edition boxed set of the first three volumes of The Best of The Simpsons collections. It was re-released in the UK as part of a VHS boxed set of the complete first season, released in November 1999. The episode's debut on the DVD format was as a part of The Simpsons season one DVD set, which was released on September 25, 2001. Groening, Jean, and Reiss participated in the DVD's audio commentary. A digital edition of the series' first season was published December 20, 2010 in the United States containing the episode, through Amazon Video and iTunes.
- Groening, Matt (1997). Richmond, Ray; Coffman, Antonia (eds.). The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family (1st ed.). New York: HarperPerennial. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-06-095252-5. LCCN 98141857. OCLC 37796735. OL 433519M..
- Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "There's No Disgrace Like Home". BBC. Archived from the original on June 23, 2003. Retrieved January 14, 2008.
- Jean, Al (2001). The Simpsons season 1 DVD commentary for the episode "There's No Disgrace Like Home" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Groening, Matt (2001). The Simpsons season 1 DVD commentary for the episode "There's No Disgrace Like Home" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Reiss, Mike (2001). The Simpsons season 1 DVD commentary for the episode "There's No Disgrace Like Home" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- "CBS still third despite Super Bowl". The Orlando Sentinel. February 1, 1990. p. E8.
- Jacobson, Colin. "The Simpsons: The Complete First Season (1990)". DVD Movie Guide. Retrieved August 29, 2008.
- Williams, Steve; Jones, Ian (March 2005). "THAT IS SO 1991!". Off The Telly. Archived from the original on December 20, 2007. Retrieved January 24, 2008.
- "The Simpsons - Bart the General (1989)". Retrieved April 21, 2011.
- The Best of The Simpsons, Vol. 1 - No Disgrace Like Home/ Life On The Fast Lane. Amazon.com. ASIN 6304561849.
- The Best of The Simpsons, Boxed Set 1. Amazon.com. ASIN 6304561873.
- "The Simpsons - Season 1 Box Set [VHS]". Retrieved April 21, 2011.
- "The Simpsons - The Complete 1st Season". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on May 25, 2011. Retrieved April 21, 2011.
- "The Simpsons Season 1 - Amazon Video". Retrieved April 21, 2011.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: There's No Disgrace Like Home|
- "There's No Disgrace Like Home" at The Simpsons.com
- "There's No Disgrace Like Home episode capsule". The Simpsons Archive.
- "There's No Disgrace Like Home" on IMDb
- "There's No Disgrace Like Home" at TV.com