Saturday, January 18, 2020

‘Bro. Homer’s silver anniversary’


Courtesy Gracie Films/20th Century Fox Television

“Why won’t those stupid idiots let me into their crappy club for jerks?”

Homer J. Simpson

Somehow this anniversary slipped past me. It was 25 years ago—on January 8, 1995—when Homer Simpson was initiated into the Stonecutters and was hailed as The Chosen One!

I know the feeling.

IMDB offers insight into how this episode (No. 12 of Season 6) came about:

Although the episode was written by John Swartzwelder, the story was suggested by David Mirkin. Mirkin did not have enough time to write the episode and asked Swartzwelder to do it. Mirkin came up with the idea while driving home from a rewrite early in the morning and listened to a religious radio station where they were talking about Freemasonry. Mirkin decided it would make a great episode, where everyone in Springfield was a member of a Masonic society and Homer was left on the outside and felt neglected.

The Stonecutters are a parody of the Freemasons. The Freemason symbol of the Square and Compass can be seen on the walls of the Stonecutter Hall, and on the Sacred Parchment. All members of both societies are men.

The legible words on the Sacred Parchment are a line taken from Publius Vergilius Maro: Aeneid, book 2, line 774: obstipui steteruntque comae et vox faucibus haesit

The translation is “I was dumbstruck, (my) hair stood up and (my) voice was stuck in (my) throat.” Fleeing the burning Troy, Aeneas has lost his wife, Creusa, and is about to look for her when her shadow appears and talks to him. In line 774 he describes his sensations when seeing this shadow. There does not seem to be a reason why the makers chose this line.

Regular Springfield characters shown to be Stonecutters: Lenny, Carl, Moe, Dr. Hibbert, Burns, Smithers, Grampa (Abe Simpson), Jasper, Herman, Principal Skinner, Mayor Quimby, Chief Wiggum, Leopold (Superintendant Chalmers’ Assistant), Krusty, Kent Brockman, Apu, Barney, and of course, Homer, after his initiation. Barney is never actually seen wearing Stonecutter robes, but he is seen working at the Stonecutters’ daycare center.

The song We Do was not included in the original script and was suggested by Matt Groening. It was written by the writers’ room, who threw in as many things that annoyed them as they possibly could.

When Homer is being paddled for initiation into the Stonecutters, he mentions The Wreck of the Hesperus, a poem by Longfellow published in 1842.

Courtesy Gracie Films/20th Century Fox Television

So popular is this episode, it inspired a line of action figures!

Available from Amazon: The Homer Stonecutter
action man with paraphernalia.

And Number One.

And, in the quotations department:

Marge: Homer, a man who called himself “you-know-who” just invited you to a secret “wink-wink” at the “you-know-what.” You certainly are popular now that you’re a Stonecutter.

Homer: Oh, yeah. Beer busts, beer blasts, keggers, stein hoists, AA meetings, beer night. It’s wonderful, Marge. I’ve never felt so accepted in all my life. These people looked deep within my soul and assigned me a number based on the order in which I joined.

In many Masonic jurisdictions, after a quarter-century, Homer would be a Past Grand Master by now—and many Masonic jurisdictions could do a lot worse!

Grampa Abe Simpson action figure with fez.

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