Following a big fight with Marge after going to the movies, Homer wanders to a bar in the middle of nowhere and sees and becomes infatuated with a Southern cocktail waitress Lurleen who sings songs that Homer can't get out of his head. Homer becomes the girl's manager and as her country music career skyrockets, his marriage with Marge starts to crumble. At the end Homer must make a choice. This episode effectively brings the show back to the 70's, where cartoons were clean and wholesome with a strong focus on family values. The opening act with the family going to the movies is a firm homage to this theme.
This is the only episode to be written by Simpson creator Matt Groening. While his jokes are funny and the plot is good, they are only really like this on a superficial level. There is no evidence behind his plot and jokes of any real structure or complexity which are heavily featured in episodes written by people such as Jon Vitti and certainly John Swartzwelder. I also think this is the precise reason why Harry Shearer has never won an Emmy for his vocal work on the show, his voices are entertaining and diverse yet don't contain any of the subtleties that Dan and Hank convey flawlessly, hence their 3 Emmys each. Groening's script is symptomatic of his original vision of having The Simpsons has a straightforward family comedy which has long since become obscured by the many writers who have amplified the shows zanyness and satirical nature until it almost contradicts family values. It's interesting to ponder; if Groening was to write an episode now, during the show's 20th year would his script follow his original vision or comply with the trend that has been embedded in the show. It's never really certain just who the audience is meant to side with; the first half sympathises with Homer while the second half sympathises with Marge. While this adds a nice look at the two sides of a spousal disagreement; other viewers may find this just confusing. This episode was directed by Simpsons directing maestro Mark Kirkland, Kirkland is quite a good director, despite his episodes not having the cinema quality of David Silverman, and uses nice designs and layouts but there are too many instances where you feel that he just isn't trying. But this lack of detail could be blamed on the extreme lack of technology at the early stages of the show. Some positive elements are the nice uses of bright and crazy colors (note the orange sky and pink clouds in the opening scene) and the suprisingly attractive drawing of Lurleen Lumpkin. Colonel Homer is a good episode, for a first - time writer Groening does an admirable job of arranging and pacing a script with a lack of depth being expected seeing as he has only has experience with writing comics couple this with the reliable work from Mark Kirkland as director and the always strong vocal performances from the key cast and you have a great half hour of The Simpsons.