The Simpsons

Season 3 Episode 17

Homer at the Bat

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Feb 20, 1992 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (22)

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  • Doesn't get better than this

    Homer and his nuclear plant buddies are enjoying a company baseball season until his power-hungry boss enlists professional ringers to beat a rival boss in the final match. Although this episode is only really known as being "the one where ten pro baseball players guest star", this episode is often seen and labelled (very correctly) as one of the best of the series.

    Baseball fan John Swartzwelder pens yet another terrific script that is arranged and paced just right, given a suitably surreal tone and is jam - packed with laughs. He is the only writer on the show who I would trust with writing lines for these athletes, had any of the smart alecky other writers had attempted it, it would've resulted in a significant ass-kicking. The only red flag of the episode would be that if one is not a baseball fan then many of the sports in-jokes and references would fly over their heads. Also while the ending is happy, in a way it isn't really a fair one; Mr. Burns acheives victory through cheating and enlisting professional baseball players and grudgingly letting the others join in when his ringers were unavailable. Most movies and tv shows would teach the kiddies that such people are punished. No matter how much they are paid, how they are portrayed, the lines they're given etc. Sports stars on an animated show will just never sound into it and this episode is a relevant example. Not only is a lack of enthusiasm blatant but the voices sound very much like they were recorded seperately and thrown in and they never really gel with the rest of the dialogue. One masterful example of sound editing is when various characters are under hypnosis and had to speak at the same time and considering the individual voices were recorded in different places and months apart and still worked is a credit to whoever is in that thankless job.

    The always interesting Mr. Burns is given a very large role in this episode and for once he is not seen as a typical evil, bitter, rich old man, his coaching duties see him become hilariously eccentric and a superb vocal performance from Harry Shearer sees Mr. Burns as the most "excellent" of the episode. (I still can't believe Shearer is the only main voice actor who has never won an Emmy).

    The episode doesn't just present animated perfection from start to finish, the closing credits feature a great musical number that adds to the monumentality that is this episode and was deserving of a "Music and Lyrics" Emmy nomination.

    Think of The Simpsons as the American economy, this episode was the epitome of the golden era where the quality prosperity was booming and from seasons 2 - 15 the episodes were superb. Too bad this period comes to an end after season 15 when the quality collapsed and the Simpsons Depression began and as of 2009 it doesn't look like a recovery is in sight.