Episode Eighteen, Season 8 of The Simpsons is entitled Homer vs. The Eighteenth Amendment which originally aired on March 16th 1997 (My 16th Birthday). I viewed this episode Saturday March 20th on a widescreen plasma TV at my Grandmother’s house. The couch gag for this episode is a repeat. This episode begins with Springfield’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration. When Bart accidentally gets drunk in public the citizens demanded prohibition but it’s discovered that a prohibition law is already on the books in Springfield.
Homer begins to secretly produce his own alcohol and is dubbed the “Beer Baron.” When Chief Wiggum is unable to stop him the town calls in Rex Banner, an old timey G-Man, to enforce the prohibition. Even Banner can’t get Homer but in the end a down-on-his-luck Wiggum inspires Homer to turn himself in. However, this backfires as Banner intends to stay and punish Homer in the traditional way prescribed by law: The Catapult. Just as Homer is about to be flung into oblivion the town parliamentarian discovers that Springfield’s prohibition had been repealed only a year after it had been enacted. Banner stands on the catapult and gives a rousing speech in support of temperance but by this time the Springfield citizens have lost interest. They catapult Banner into the distance and the episode ends with Mob Boss Fat Tony flooding the town with booze and everyone partying.
This is an excellent episode and a good one to get back into the swing of things on. It’s amazing to me that this show first aired on the day I turned sixteen. It’s been a while. It’s tough to find an analog between the episode and the real world of the time as we haven’t dealt with prohibition of alcohol in this country for a very long time. I also do not feel that this episode has anything to say about the prohibition of drugs in the U.S. While it may not have a great deal of social significance but that’s not always the point of The Simpson’s. This episode is hilarious.
Here we have jerk-ass Homer at his absolute best. He plays both hero and villain in this episode. Hero to all the local drunks at Moe’s tavern, which is converted into a speak-easy disguised as a pet store – and villain to all the self righteous “think of the children” Charlie churches and Betty bible-thumpers in town. Perhaps funniest is that throughout the episode his bumbling constantly leaves clues for Rex Banner to find in plain sight but the scion of sobriety is never able to put two and two together. I suppose one could argue that the character of Banner (voiced by Dave Thomas) pokes fun at the blind obedience to the law that while well intentioned can be destructive none the less.
The Simpsons Season 8 Episode #18: Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment
Rating: 4 out of 5