Springfield Elementary is on a field trip to Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, Homer's workplace. Mrs. Krabappel warns Bart to behave and not make this trip a repeat of their trip to the state prison. Otto shows up late and drives the kids to the plant. Bart has to sit next to Wendell, who throws up on every bus ride. He gets in trouble on the bus ride and Mrs. Krabappel makes him sing "John Henry Was A Steel Driving Man". When they arrive at SNPP, Smithers shows the class a very cheesy old-timey film about nuclear energy, then takes them on a tour of the plant. Homer knows the kids are at the plant and drives off in his cart to go see the kids. When Bart sees Homer and waves to him, Homer waves to him, only to crash into a pipe. He is immediately fired. Homer doesn't think he can find another job, but Bart and Lisa encourage him to start looking. However, no one wants to hire Homer. Frustrated, he goes to Moe's Tavern to drown his sorrows with alcohol, but he has no money for the beer and Moe won't run a tab for Homer because he doesn't think Homer will ever get another job. That night, Marge decides to go get her old job back as a waitress at a burger joint so that there will be money coming in. Depressed, Homer lies on his couch, not moving, while Bart gets him to sign his very poor report card. Homer sees a commercial for Duff Beer and decides that beer can get him through his unemployment, but he finds no beer in the fridge. He decides to break open Bart's piggy bank for beer money, but when he does it, he realizes he hates what he's becoming. He decides to kill himself. He leaves a suicide note, takes a big boulder and ties it around his waist, and heads off to a bridge to go jump off of. However, Marge and the kids discover Homer's suicide note and rush out to save Homer. They find him at the bridge just as he is about to jump. As they rush over to stop him, they are almost hit by a speeding car and Homer barely saves them in time. Homer realizes he cares about public safety and vows to have a stop sign put up at the bridge. He lobbies for it at City Hall, and they agree to put the stop sign in. Homer decides that he's not going to stop at the stop sign and decides he will be a safety crusader. Soon, signs are everywhere thanks to Homer and Homer has a huge rallying behind him. However, he has to take on his biggest challenge yet: His old employers, Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. Homer holds a protest outside the plant lobbying for the plant to be shut down. Mr. Burns watches this from his office up above and orders Smithers to bring Homer to his office. When Homer steps into Burns's office, he offers Homer a new job as the plant's safety inspector. Homer agrees to take the job, but his first duty is to step outside and tell everyone the plant is safe. Homer has trouble doing this, but Burns convinces him he has made the right decision. Homer tells everybody he can no longer be their safety crusader, but they don't need to worry as he will be the plant's new safety inspector. Everybody cheers Homer.
This episode introduces Otto, Sherri and Terri, Wendell, Jasper, the Winfields, Chief Wiggum, and properly introduces Waylon Smithers and Mr. Burns. We also to get to see the first Duff Beer commercial and Bart's first prank call to Moe (I. P. Freely) in the series. Mr. Burns here is voiced by a different voice actor than normal (the late Christopher Collins, instead of Harry Shearer). Homer in this episode is quite out of character (Homer attempting to commit suicide?! The Homer Simpson we know and love would never do that) and he seems more responsible than normal. This is forgiveable as it is one of the first episodes and they hadn't fully developed the characters yet. Overall this is a good episode. The only problems I had with it was that it was a bit lacking in humor (it still had a good storyline), Smithers was black in this episode (an animation error), and Homer's suicide attempt (which wasn't that funny).