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"Children of a Lesser Clod"
The Simpsons episode
Dr. Hibbert injects Homer with morphine when he tells Homer he has to stay home.
Episode no. 268
Prod. code CABF16
Orig. airdate May 13, 2001
Show runner(s) Mike Scully
Written by Al Jean
Directed by Michael Polcino
Chalkboard "Today is not Mothra's Day"
Couch gag The Simpsons are a family of crash test dummies that get slammed into the TV as part of the test. The Homer dummy’s head falls off from the sudden trauma.

Mike Scully
Al Jean
Ian Maxtone-Graham
Matt Selman
Tom Gammill & Max Pross
Michael Polcino
Mike B. Anderson

Children of a Lesser Clod is the 20th episode of The Simpsons twelfth season.



The family goes to the YMCA to attend one-time-only free classes, along with many other Springfieldians who admit they will never return to the Y and pay for any of the regular classes. Lisa takes gymnastics (and gets yelled at by the coach for being too old), Bart gets tricked into taking an etiquette class by a black man dressed as a gangsta rapper (who happens to be the husband of the prim and proper etiquette teacher), and Homer participates in a basketball class for men over the age of 35, but suffers a torn ACL after a dunk attempt ends with the backboard crashing down on his leg. After Homer gets his surgery, he is told by Dr. Hibbert that he cannot go to work, and he must stay home. Homer finds himself extremely bored, even going so far as attempting to cross-breed Santa's Little Helper and Snowball II. One evening, Ned wants Marge to watch Rod and Todd while he attends a Chris Rock concert (that he misinterprets to be an abbreviation for a Christian Rock concert), but Marge is out identifying a body (which ends up being a very much alive Hans Moleman) so Ned asks Homer instead. The kids like having Homer take care of them, which allows Homer to establish his own day care center.

Homer starts a day care center (under Marge's ownership), "Uncle Homer's Day Care Center", to entertain himself, but makes Bart and Lisa feel like outcasts by ignoring them, giving Bart's jacket to Milhouse, forcing them out of their bedrooms for a film crew that is making a documentary about him, and having them work long hours at night to cut out felt hearts in his honor. The daycare center is wildly successful, and Homer earns a nomination for the "Good Guy Awards" ceremony. For the ceremony, Bart and Lisa splice in home movie footage of Homer at his worst (passed out on the floor drunk and almost naked during Christmas, losing Maggie in a poker game, and chasing Bart down the street while wielding a chain mace) to prove to everyone that Homer's nice guy persona is a sham. The audience becomes outraged and Homer angrily strangles Bart on stage. Everyone in the audience becomes horrified by Homer's behavior, and decide to prevent their kids from being watched over by him. Homer escapes from the ceremony with all the kids on a van, until he crashes the van into a tree, and tries to escape before Chief Wiggum stops him. After three mistrials, Homer apologizes to Bart and Lisa for neglecting them, and promises to care for his own children (including the perpetually-ignored Maggie) instead of the neighborhood kids.


This episode marks the first appearance of Lugash the Béla Károlyi-esque gymnastics coach. He would later appear in "Little Girl in the Big Ten".

This is the first episode where it's revealed that Kent Brockman and Arnie Pie (the helicopter news reporter) don't get along at work. In previous episodes, the two characters did not audibly hate each other (in fact, they were shown bowling together on the season seven episode "Team Homer" as part of the Channel 6 Wastelanders bowling team along with Krusty the Clown and The Mexican Bumblebeeman), but there were many times where Kent Brockman would brush off any misfortune that Arnie Pie happened upon (cf. Mr. Plow). In later episodes, Kent and Arnie would either argue or express hatred for each other (cf. the season thirteen finale "Poppa's Got a Brand New Badge", the season fourteen episode "Pray Anything", the season fifteen episode "The Wandering Juvie", and the season 18 finale "You Kent Always Say What You Want").

This episode was advertised as featuring Ron Howard in what would have been his third appearance on "The Simpsons" (his first two appearances can be found in season ten's "When You Dish Upon a Star" and season eleven's "Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder"). Originally, the third act involved Homer getting all the kids in Howard's latest film, a Gladiator-like picture, hence the original title of the episode being "The Kids Stay In The Picture" (a play on the title of legendary producer Robert Evans' "The Kid Stays in the Picture"). However, Ron Howard did not appear in this episode (in fact, no guest voices were used at all in this episode) and the third act was about Homer winning an award for caring for the neighborhood kids until his own children show him as an unfit father.

The original airing of the episode had a peculiar animation error in it. At the end of the schoolyard scene with Bart, Milhouse and Ralph (after Milhouse tells Bart that Bart's jacket looks better on him), the last few frames of animation show animatic layout drawings of Bart instead of cleaned and colored cels.[1] In all reruns, this error is fixed.

Cultural references

  • When Homer goes hysterical and kidnaps the children, Ralph asks where they're going. Homer replies they're getting frosty chocolate milkshakes. When the series was on the Tracey Ullman Show, this was Homer's catchphrase. It was also something of a running joke in the first two seasons (and was mentioned again in THoH XIII's Send in the Clones, in which one of Homer's clones is his Tracy Ullman Show persona).

Internet meme

A short segment of the episode features Bill Cosby asking a child on his show Kids Say the Darndest Things about a specific hobby, of which the child promptly replies "Pokémon!" Cosby begins to incoherently rambling about what Pokémon is whilst flapping his ears. This is a parodied mannerism of Cosby's that is often used on the show.[2] This is also the second time Cosby has been parodied on The Simpsons. Another similar gag was used in the episode Helter Shelter.

This sequence involving Bill Cosby's over-exaggerated mannerisms from this and other episodes on The Simpsons (as well as the Family Guy episode "Brian Does Hollywood") became an internet meme when many parodies on these particular segments became a popular feature on YTMND.[3][4]


  1. ^ The Simpsons Folder - Special
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ A Home For Quick Hits
  4. ^ [2]

External links

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