Animation Alley: Homer’s Odyssey

Make no mistake, there’s a lot of really weird and wonky animation in the first season. I used to find it really off-putting, but now I’ve learned to accept it, and it actually makes these shows all the more charming to me. Just as the show was trying to find its footing with the writing, the same could be said about the animation. There’s a lot of weird shit in this show, a few moments in particular I want to highlight.

I love the execution of Nuclear Energy: Our Misunderstood Friend; the designs, the limited, jerky animation, the scratched up film, it’s fantastic. Also it’s the first and only time we’ve seen Smilin’ Joe Fission, though he may have showed up on a logo somewhere, we’ve never seen another filmstrip featuring him. Pity.

Much focus is made on black Smithers, but here’s a pretty glaring animation gaffe. Wes Archer brought this up in the commentary and everyone laughed about it.

Nice quick door slamming montage of Homer’s failed job interviews. I love the shitty drawing of this guy, with dot eyes like Akbar and Jeff in Life in Hell. I also like the implication that Homer went up to the drive-thru window to ask for a job.


Another quality background. There were a lot of washed out gradient walls like this early on, they look pretty terrible. The exclamation point on the sign is great, though. Must Be 21!


I love how when Homer signs Bart’s report card, he’s not even looking at it. Then when the kids walk away, his arms just falls to the ground and the pencil rolls out of it, his expression never changing and his vacant stare never diverting from the ceiling. By moving as little as possible, we see that he’s a truly broken man. Also, more great portraits, this time one for Marge, and another for her hair.


There’s so many insane background characters in this show, especially toward the end at the power plant rally. I love the guy with the red superhero mask, and the really fat guy with the humungous smile. How come those guys never took off?


One strange but lovable piece of animation that sticks with me is during Homer’s internal monologue of whether to take Burns’ deal, as he goes back and forth with being able to support the family and stick to his principles… then notices how big Burns’ desk is and his clean shirt. He’s at the verge of a meltdown when Burns urges him to make a decision, to which Homer calmly responds, “What the hey, I’ll take the job.” Fantastic.

9 Responses to “Animation Alley: Homer’s Odyssey”

  1. 1 RaikoLives
    24 January 2013 at 5:15 pm

    I take it the people drawing Moe’s Tavern that time had never been to a bar in their life.

  2. 2 abra cadaver
    24 January 2013 at 5:53 pm

    YAY! I LOVE these posts! Just like I love season 1’s oddly charming animation!

    re: season 1’s fucked-up cast… http://rubbercat.net/simpsons/season1characters.php

    • 3 abra cadaver
      24 January 2013 at 5:58 pm

      I love the “other photo with the rest of Marge’s hair” since it’s green, so it looks like it could be one of the background trees. Weird how different the Simpsons living room looks, also.

      • 24 January 2013 at 6:50 pm

        They used the same gag in the “Raven” segment of Treehouse of Horror I, although I don’t think the “photo with the rest of Marge’s hair” was a landscape. I should check.

  3. 5 /co/mrade
    24 January 2013 at 8:56 pm

    I dunno why the animation would seem weird, it’s the closest the show ever got to “Traditional” animation.

    I saw the original opening scene of the babysitter episode and it’s probably better animated than anything that actually made the screen. I don’t know what they were complaining about.

    It seems they took more care in moving things in the first season. The later stuff looks like it was just made to be functional, with nothing needed to try make it special.

  4. 8 Anonymous
    25 January 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Hey, at least we got the guy with the giant hand a couple times!

    • 9 abra cadaver
      25 January 2013 at 11:31 pm

      “I am tired of these jokes about my giant hand. The first such incident occured in 1956 when…”

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