" is the seventh episode of The Simpsons
' seventh season
, and originally aired on November 5
. Homer despises the nuclear plant's new exercise program and decides to gain 61 pounds so that he can go on disability. It was written by Dan Greaney
and directed by Jim Reardon
. Joan Kenley
makes her first of three guest appearances as the voice of the telephone lady. It is well known for Homer's attempt to find the any key
on his computer's keyboard.
Mr. Burns organizes an exercise program at the Power Plant that Homer is not a fan of. After learning that someone who is disabled can work from home, (and thus be excluded from the exercise program), he tries to find a way to achieve this 'goal'. Homer soon discovers that any employee that weighs 300 pounds (136 kg) or more qualifies. Homer decides to gain the 61 pounds he needs to reach 300. Homer begins eating excessively, despite Marge and Lisa warning him he could severely endanger his health. With Bart's help, he gains weight rapidly. He reaches 315 pounds after eating some Play-Doh that Maggie offers him in the absence of other food.
Mr. Burns gives Homer a stay at home work terminal. Homer is given simple duties, yet he still fails to understand his duties as a safety inspector. One day, he leaves his terminal, with a drinking bird to press 'Y' on the keyboard, and goes out to see a movie. Homer is angered after the manager tells him he is too fat to fit in the seats. The manager tells him that if he calms down, he would give him a garbage bag full of popcorn. Homer declines the offer and storms off in a huff, claiming that he is not food crazy and that overweight people are as hardworking as anyone else. He returns home to find that, in his absence, the nodding drinking bird fell over and that a nuclear meltdown will take place at the plant. As he is unable to stop it via the computer, Homer tries to run, skateboard, and drive to the plant, all of which fail as a result of his obesity. He eventually gets to the plant by stealing an ice cream truck. Homer arrives at the power plant and climbs up to reach the shutdown button, but ends up accidentally falling onto the gas store, blocking the release tube with his behind. As a reward for stopping the "potential Chernobyl", Mr. Burns gives Homer a medal and guarantees that he will make Homer thin once more. He does so by paying for Homer's liposuction to return him to his normal girth after traditional exercise fails.
The writers of the episode wanted the title of the episode to make Homer sound proud about his weight, so they decided to name the episode "King Size Homer". The production staff also thought that Cary Grant
would have been ideal for the 'Classy Pig' but as he passed away nine years before the episode was aired, they used Hank Azaria for that voice. The original ending for King-Size Homer was going to have Homer feeling bad about his obesity, and therefore become thin
for Marge, but that idea was scrapped in early production.
- While Homer is in the clothes store, as the camera pans with Homer, we see two mannequins wearing identical outfits and riding on bikes. These are based on Billy and Benny McCrary, the world's heaviest twins who weighed 700+ pounds each. They would appear again in the same season in the episode The Day the Violence Died as witnesses.
- Homer thinks that he can order the soft drink Tab by pressing the Tab key on the keyboard.
- When Homer goes to the theater, a movie theater patron insults Homer by suggesting he see the movie "A Fridge Too Far," a reference to the film A Bridge Too Far.
- When Homer tries to hitchhike to the power plant before it melts down, he flags down a car and yells incoherently through the window, causing the driver to speed away in confusion and fear. This is a possible reference to a similar scene from Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
- When Homer vents gas from a nuclear reactor, the gas destroys crops of corn. A farmer looks and says, "Oh no, the corn! Paul Newman's gonna have ma' legs broke!" This is in reference to the legend on Newman's Own popcorn products, in which Newman threatens anyone who might try to steal his popcorn (in the original airing of this episode, the closed captioning had the line as "Jolly Time is gonna have ma' legs broke!", but this has been fixed for syndicated reruns).
- Near the end of the episode, Mr. Burns remarks that Homer turned a "potential Chernobyl into a mere Three Mile Island," referencing two of the nuclear power industry's worst disasters.
In 2008, Empire
placed The Simpsons
at the top of their list of "The 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time" and noted "King-Size Homer" as the show's best episode.
Despite the numerous laughs at Homer's appearance in the audio commentaries, the authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, wrote: "this isn't one of the best episodes. Homer's at his most irritating and childish here - you really want Marge to beat him up." During the DVD Commentary, the production staff say that this is a "Classic Homer caper"; one of the best of the season.