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Homer to the Max

"Homer to the Max" is the thirteenth episode of The Simpsons' tenth season, which originally broadcast on February 7, 1999. Homer discovers that a television show broadcasting in Springfield, Police Cops, has a hero also named Homer Simpson. He is delighted with the subsequent positive attention he is receiving because of the show. However, the television character is changed into a drunk, resulting in Homer being mocked and taunted by those he knows, so he resorts to changing his name to "Max Power" to rid himself of the negative attention. He gains new friends, and is forced into a protest to prevent a forest from being knocked down. In the end, "Max" changes his name back to Homer. It was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Pete Michels. The episode was, overall, received well by critics, acquiring a Nielsen rating of 8.5.

Plot

The Simpson family looks through new mid-season TV shows, and decides to watch Police Cops, a show which follows a suave detective and his partner. Homer discovers that a television show broadcasting in Springfield, Police Cops, has a hero named Homer Simpson. He is delighted with the positive attention he receives because of it. Despite the family telling him it is just a coincidence, Homer begins to receive congratulatory phone calls and wears the same scarf as the character. Shortly after, the producers of Police Cops transform the character into a fat and lazy detective, which results in Homer being mocked by his friends. Humiliated at being laughed at and being the subject of negative attention, Homer appeals to the producers to change the character back. When they refuse to change him, Homer legally changes his name to "Max Power" after unsuccessfully attempting to sue the company.

At work, Mr. Burns is impressed by the new name and compliments Max, who decides to shop at Costington's in order to further improve his image. There, he meets a successful businessman named Trent Steel and, after a chat, they go out to lunch. Trent invites Max and family to a garden party. Despite Marge's reservations for herself and Homer, the couple attend the party, where they meet lots of famous people, including Woody Harrelson, Bill Clinton, Lorne Michaels and guest star, Ed Begley Jr. Max finds out that the garden party is nothing more than an excuse to save a redwood forest from destruction.

After traveling with the party guests to the forest, Max, Marge, and the rest of the guest chain themselves to the trees in order to prevent the bulldozers from knocking them down. Chief Wiggum arrives and decides to get rough with the protesters. Eddie and Lou start chasing Max around his tree, trying to "swab" him with mace. However, as he runs round and round the tree, the chain around Max begins cutting into the tree. The huge redwood falls, knocking down all the other redwoods. That night at home, Marge is happy that Max has changed his name back to Homer Simpson. Homer, however, informs Marge that while at the courthouse, he changed her name to "Chesty La Rue".

Production

Pete Michels, director of the episode, had read a story in the newspaper about people with famous names. He came up with a way of how Homer's life could be affected if he saw someone on TV with his name. While creating the Homer Simpson television character, the production staff was deciding if the character should be "cool" throughout the episode, or if he should be an idiot from the beginning. The staff decided to use both methods and have him become an idiot after being seen as cool in the first episode of the new program. The hat Homer wears while walking through the mall is a parody of one owned by Woody Allen. Ron Hauge, a The Simpsons show producer, suggested the name Max Power to a friend who wanted to change his name. His friend, however, did not take it. When Homer and Trent are talking and smoking cigars, the other two men standing with them are Jerry Bruckheimer and Brian Grazer.

Cultural references

The TV show Police Cops is a parody of the television series Miami Vice. One of the new TV shows features Archie Bunker in the show "All in the Family 1999". Homer suggests the names Hercules Rockefeller and Rembrandt Q. Einstein to the judge for his name change. The Max Power song is sung to the melody of the James Bond theme from Goldfinger.

Reception

"Home to the Max" finished 39th in the weekly ratings for the week of Feb 1–7, 1999, with a Nielsen rating of 8.5. Morgan Larrick of animatedtv.about.com noted "Homer to the Max" to be "one of the most unforgettable episodes". 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 that it was "funny in all the right places, this is an episode of two distinct stories, neither of which mesh together. The whole Ed Begley Jnr/saving the forest bit seems to have been tacked on, as if the stuff about Homer finding his name being abused (shades of Mr Sparkle again?) ran out of steam. Not a bad show, more a sort of 'So what?' show."

References

External links

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