2. Deep Space Homer
All hail the inanimate carbon rod! Homer is able to finagle a trip to space by NASA thanks to his usual bumbling and insanely good luck. NASA, just like every other organization, wants to attract public interest to their space launches (that are losing out to “A Connie Chung Christmas”), and decide to find an average man to go to space with them. Little does Homer know that they’ve picked him after he spends an unusual amount of time calling them to complain about their boring space launches. After a twist of fates, Barney becomes Homer’s competitor for the spot as an astronaut allowing for one of the wackiest and most memorable episodes of the series bar none.
From the inexplicable guest spot from James Taylor, to the unusual shipment of ants in to space to commit to an absurd task, right down to news reporter Kent Brockman’s shockingly easy submission to his new “ant overlords” after an unusual mix-up on the ship, there are so many laugh out loud and clever instances to experience. And you can re-watch it over and over and just take something new away from it every time. One of my favorite gags has always been the “Home Improvement” spoof where Tim backs over Wilson and declares “Oh no! I killed Wilson! Looks like it’s back to jail for me!” Trust me, as a guy that grew up watching the show, it’s a fantastic bit of satire that always inspired a loud laugh or two from me.
Much of “Deep Space Homer” is so intricately designed to be funny, but in the way that the Looney Tunes was funny. Their comedy was so carefully constructed and so damn hysterical. Take Homer’s floating in to his potato chips to the tune of “Blue Danube,” and the crunching of the chips that’s time to the rhythm of the song. It’s brilliant, and ends on a genius note as Homer crashes in to the ant farm, prompting them to argue over who their queen is. And you have to love the commitment to nods to “2001: A Space Odyssey,” a bonafide masterpiece that’s transformed in to almost iconic comedy fodder for the series. “Deep Space Homer” is one of my favorite Homer-centric episodes of the series, and one that really does highlight his average Joe quality, and his ability to be funny in almost any environment.