“Papa’s Got a Brand New Badge” is the 22nd episode of The Simpsons’ thirteenth season, which was originally broadcast on May 22, 2002
is in the midst of a massive heat wave
. Every building in the town has installed a large air conditioning
device. However, this draws a lot of power from the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant
. Despite the safety measures Mr. Burns
has taken (cutting power to the orphanage), the plant is at full power. At home, without an air conditioning device, the Simpsons have to follow an old-fashioned fan. Homer decides to give them a taste of winter by plugging in his dancing Santa Claus
. This overloads the plant and causes a town-wide blackout
. Eventually, a huge riot
occur. The police become powerless to stop the massive crime
The next day, Springfield has been devastated by the crime. Quimby decides to take action by forming a Blue Ribbon Committee. At the Simpsons’ house, someone stole Lisa’s Malibu Stacy collection. Homer decides to take action by finding them. He does and later foils a robbery at the Kwik-E-Mart. He goes through a very long list of his previous jobs and decides that he likes the idea of combining his love of helping AND hurting people. Homer forms his own security company called “SpringShield.” Although it only has Homer, Lenny, and Carl, it is more efficient and successful than the Springfield Police Department. When Quimby sees Chief Wiggum trying to shoot a Piñata with a shotgun, he dismisses Wiggum and makes Homer the chief of police.
After stopping one of Fat Tony's operations, Homer practically rids Springfield of crime. However, Fat Tony escapes and vows to kill Homer unless he leaves town. Homer is unable to get protection from the citizens he protected (only Ned Flanders volunteers, but Homer ignores his offer) and Lenny and Carl lock themselves in a jail cell. When Homer does not leave, Fat Tony arrives with a few of his own henchmen (including Johnny Tightlips), as well as mafia muscle—the characters of the Sopranos series. Just before they are about to kill Homer, someone shoots the mobsters and injures them. Safe again, Homer makes Wiggum the chief of police again. When Marge thanks him for saving Homer, Wiggum says that he didn't shoot anyone, having lost his gun, badge and nearly his squad car. Unbeknownst to them, the person who saved Homer was Maggie, who fired at the mobsters from her window with a scoped sporting rifle.
- The episode title references the 1965 James Brown song “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.”
- The characters that walk past Skinner include Jughead Jones, Fat Albert, and Fonzie. Jughead Jones and Fat Albert have both appeared in animated cartoons produced by Filmation.
- Groundskeeper Willie says that the school's air conditioner is wasting more energy than Ricky Martin's girlfriend, a reference to the rumors that have been spread about the pop superstar's sexual preference.
- The picture Otto is carrying by while the Simpsons watch is Picasso’s Guernica.
- The scene where Homer is trying to recruit people to help defend himself against Fat Tony & co. is similar to a scene in the western High Noon from 1952 with Gary Cooper.
- The sequence when Fat Tony and his fellow mafiosi get in the white van is a parody of the opening sequence of the American series The Sopranos, and the song in the background is the Sopranos theme song, “Woke Up This Morning” by Alabama 3. Also the characters of Silvio Dante, Christopher Moltisanti, and Paulie Gualtieri are shown as Fat Tony’s crew.
- When the power goes out, Moe says, “I’m gonna miss FOX Celebrity Boxing!” FOX Celebrity Boxing aired the same night as this episode did.
- The short dialogue between Fat Tony and the ferret wearing a wire: “You’re not a pet, and you’re not a friend. You’re nothing to me” is a direct parody of the end of the conversation between Michael Corleone and Fredo Corleone in The Godfather Part II: “You’re not a brother, and you’re not a friend. You’re nothing to me.”
- The song playing as the riot envelops Springfield is “Summer in the City,” a 1966 hit by Lovin’ Spoonful.
- Homer also sings along to Radar Love by Golden Earing on the radio.
- In the same riot, several looters steal musical instruments from a Music World store. The song they proceed to play is the Notre Dame Victory March.
- At the end of the episode, Homer compares Maggie to Clark Kent, saying that whenever something exciting is happening, “he’s nowhere to be found.”
- One of the hats in the Woolly Bully hat store is a Cat in the Hat hat.
- In the church after Fat Tony's death threat, Homer reminds the congregation that he dressed as Jar Jar Binks last Halloween.
- The Sea Captain says that he can't help Homer because his TiVo is full of unwatched Dharma & Greg episodes. At the time this episode aired, Dharma & Greg had finished the 2001-02 season and ABC was still considering its future, but the network ended up cancelling the show during the summer.
- The SpringShield phone number given in the commercial in this episode, (636) 555-3472, uses the 636 area code, which, in real life, is used for St. Charles County and Jefferson County, Missouri, and nearby areas surrounding St. Louis.
The episode is dedicated to the memory of Stephen Jay Gould
(who appeared as himself on the season nine episode Lisa the Skeptic